A breakdown of why students should care about the CSU elections and how their vote impacts their school life
Maia Lomelino // Contributor
As the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) gets ready for the upcoming Board Elections on Mar. 17-19, many students still have questions about what role the CSU plays in their academic lives. The CSU is the voice of students at Capilano University (CapU). “In a nutshell, the CSU is here to make sure that the interests of students are heard, understood and respected by educational decision-makers,” CSU President and VP of Equity and Sustainability Emily Bridge said.
At the CSU, the entire Board of Directors is elected by students. “The Board plays a critical role in deciding organizational priorities; for determining what the CSU’s stands for, on behalf of CapU students; and for ensuring that the needs of CapU students are met,” said Bridge.
“These elections are an opportunity for the members of the CSU (i.e., all CapU students) to set the organization’s direction for the next year,” Bridge said. Students can participate in the election process by campaigning for their preferred candidate or by running in the election themselves.
To aid students in choosing their representatives, the CSU will promote the Candidate’s Forum on Tuesday, Mar. 10 and Thursday, Mar. 12 at noon. The forum is an opportunity for candidates to express their perspectives and say what they would bring to the board if elected.
The CSU has implemented important changes in CapU such as a gender diversity audit of the university’s policies and practices. The university identified how the campuses could be made more inclusive for trans, two-spirit, and gender non-conforming students. In addition, the creation of a fall reading break was due to elected student leadership pressing for the change. “Recently, the university administration committed to a number of accountability measures and consultation requirements around the assessment of the university’s new ‘student success fee’ being implemented in September 2020, due to the advocacy work of our elected student leaders,” said Bridge.
The election process starts with the “notice phase.” After the notice, it is time for the “nominations phase” from Feb. 25 to Mar. 5. Following the nominations, campaigns begin and candidates can use the period from Mar. 5 to Mar. 16 to communicate to the other students why they are the best choice for the board of directors. The voting period starts at 9am on Mar. 17 and closes at 5pm on Mar. 19; voting takes place online and information can be found in students’ emails. Recently, students approved a modification in the electoral system; in this election, students voting will rank their candidates instead of only choosing one. The change ensures that every vote counts.
“One of the things that we noticed in the last student experience survey we conducted is that there is less awareness than we would like of the advocacy work that we do behind the scenes with the university administration, and with governments, to ensure that the interests of students are taken care of. This is something we’re committed to changing,” Bridge said.
Voting is an essential part of our lives in a democracy and a right that should be cherished and used with responsibility and respect. Make sure you make your voice heard and vote. Students can find more information on the election process at the CSU website.