At CESA debate, executive teams present similar platforms with some key differences

Teams focus on student wellness, student engagement, and accessibility 

The debate happened Monday night over Zoom.

CESA Executive Teams BluEJay and AmPLify went head to head at a debate Monday evening over Zoom.

Team BluEJay is composed of Presidential candidate John Habib, Vice-Presidential (External) candidate Esther Eisen, and Vice-Presidential (Internal) candidate Brendan Lerant, all Con-Ed ’22.

Presidential candidate Alexis Pascoal, Vice-Presidential (Internal) candidate Lexie Ingoldsby, and Vice-Presidential (External) candidate Paris Tomazic, all Con-Ed ’22, make up Team AmPLify. 

While both teams focused on many of the same concerns in their platforms, they each took a unique approach to addressing them.

On the topic of mental health and student wellness, Team AmPLify emphasized avoiding reliance on “stress-relieving” activities that “don’t actually get to the root of the problem” as the only mental health resources accessible to students. 

The team plans to create the position of Wellness Representative, should they be elected, who would be responsible for “spread[ing] […] the importance of mental health advocacy […] through community outreach," in the Queen’s and greater Kingston communities.

READ MORE: In contested CESA Executive election, Team AmPLify aims to uplift student voices

Team BluEJay said they plan on “being proactive and not reactive” when it comes to student wellness. 

Acknowledging the mental health impact of COVID-19, Team BluEJay wants to focus on helping students build support systems through initiatives like Con-Ed specific clubs and hangout groups that are a safe space to check in with each other.

Both teams are passionate about providing academic support and professional development opportunities. 

Team BluEJay said it wants to collaborate with the psychology department in the Faculty of Arts and Science to create a half-year developmental psychology course focusing on psychology from the perspective of an educator. The team also mentioned plans to work closely with existing academic support services. 

“Career counsellors have so much valuable knowledge,” Eisen said.

Team AmPLify said it plans to implement a Volunteer Portal to provide students with opportunities for professional development and strengthen the relationship between CESA and the Kingston community. 

Given how student engagement has dipped in recent years, the teams have plans to promote and facilitate engagement within Con-Ed, Queen’s, and the City of Kingston.

Team BluEJay said it wants to encourage students to voice concerns by inviting them to AMS meetings, holding regular Town Hall meetings, and providing an anonymous Google form where students can raise issues. 

Team BluEJay also mentioned ensuring events cater to a wide variety of interests, as the team believes this will help foster better student engagement.  

READ MORE: Running on ambitious platform, CESA Team BluEJay confident they have experience to follow through

Team AmPLify plans to interact directly with the student body as much as possible to encourage engagement. “One thing we’ve focused on doing is reaching out to as many Con-Ed students as we can,” Ingoldsby said.

In response to a question on accessibility, Team BluEJay highlighted its plan to add the position of Sponsorship Coordinator, which would help students access sponsorship-funded bursaries to cover event fees and increase financial accessibility.  

Team AmPLify also highlighted fundraising initiatives it plans to implement, should the team be elected.  

Both teams acknowledged the importance of fostering an inclusive, equitable Con-Ed community.  

Team AmPLify plans to take a collaborative approach, focusing on initiatives like club outreach and a CESA Educates page—where Con-Ed students from diverse backgrounds can share knowledge and experiences. 

The team emphasized active listening as being key to accurately representing all Con-Ed community members.  

Team BluEJay highlighted the significance of providing a platform for others, instead of speaking on behalf of those who identify as part of a minority group. 

“We cannot speak for other peoples’ experiences,” Habib said. “I think it’s very important that we empower minorities and BIPOC […] to speak for themselves.”

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