Big student events, mental health and the most overused campaign platform of all: awareness. Those are the points that Kevin Smith and William Lau are campaigning on in the race for Vice-President (Student Life).
Although the portfolio is broad, VP (Student Life) is mainly in charge of the recreational events on campus, which essentially makes them vice president of fun. When it comes to ideas for fun events, both candidates are adamant that bigger is better at the U of A.
We didn’t try to break the dodgeball record this year, and Smith and Lau are open to the idea of bringing it back. Smith has said that he and other students he’s talked to have felt a void because we didn’t try to take back the record from UC Irvine this year, and he’s prepared to make it an even bigger event next year. However, it doesn’t seem as if Smith has given any thought to the logistics of how to make this a bigger event. There’s only so much space on campus to house thousands of dodgeball players. Last year, organizers were forced to turn people away at the door because it was physically impossible to fit more students in the Butterdome. If Smith has any idea on how he’ll organize an even bigger game, he should voice it to students.
Lau has said that he’d like to pass it over to the students to see if they want to attempt to break the record again, but how somebody can ask the entire student body if they want to play dodgeball remains to be seen. If we want to set a record, I’d personally like to see the VP (Student Life) go for a record that’s unique to the U of A, one that can’t easily be taken away. Dodgeball has been a major source of campus pride, but it’s time we expand our campus activities.
Both Lau and Smith believe that more can be done about Lister and residence issues. Here we go again: more executive candidates who are willing to drag the Lister negotiations on for another year. Lau has specifically mentioned the Lister alcohol policy, which forbids drinking in public areas. According to Lau, this a safety concern to residents. How, exactly? Lau argues that drinking in rooms can increase the risks of accidents and health concerns because people are now drinking behind closed doors and some people might even drink by themselves. Plus, the walls are thin and that might disturb people.
Let’s not forget that drinking is usually a social activity, meaning that if someone is drinking with their friends in their room, and someone gets hurt, there are still people there to call for help. If someone is drinking by themselves and they get hurt, that’s not the fault of the alcohol policy. If someone is going to drink by themselves, they are going to drink by themselves, regardless of whether or not drinking is allowed in social areas. As for the noise issue, hopefully people are mature enough to not be loud drunk assholes. And if they are, campus security is just a phone call away. None of Lau’s arguments against the alcohol policy hold up.
Smith believes that his experience as a councillor and his attendance at in camera sessions of Students’ Council have prepared him to take on the Lister negotiations. He’s also stated that he believes that the student voice wasn’t heard when it came to these changes. If Smith truly cares about championing the student voice and making the SU accessible to students, maybe he should speak up against going in camera in the first place. Students’ voices can’t be heard when they’re not allowed to know what’s being discussed in council chambers.
Another one of Kevin Smith’s points involve bringing the Students’ Union to the everyday student. But he hasn’t outlined how he will do this, or how there’s a barrier between students and the SU in the first place. One of the platform points on his posters is “increasing awareness.” Awareness of what exactly?
Much like every other executive candidate this year, Lau is making a big push for mental health on campus. Promoting student art in stairwells, strengthening the marketing for SU movie nights and organizing a “campus got talent show” are all ways the Lau is fighting for our mental health. However, Lau has failed to explain what art, movies and talent shows have to do with mental health and how it’s supposed to help students. These are potentially fun, little events, but it’s hard to understand how they’ll better students’ mental well-being.
The race for VP (Student Life) is largely filled with vague, unnecessary and boring ideas. Neither candidate stands out, which is unfortunate because this is one of only two contested races. In this case, I’ll be picking none of the above.
The remnants of chivalry still linger today, especially in the dating world.