By Matt Rabey
Four candidates vyed for the VP Issues position in a by-election on Sept.26, in front of the SGA board: Joshua O’Connor, Carolyn Leblanc, Chris MacCullough and Chloë Mirfield.
At 7 p.m. Sept. 26, Joshua O’Connor was elected as the new SGA Vice-President of Student Issues.
Senator McKenna Elsasser is excited at the prospect of working with the new VP, saying, “He seems like a very driven individual and I look forward to working with him.”
The by-election took place at the Wednesday night SGA meeting on the eleventh floor of the Parker building, with 21 voting members casting ballots. The VP Issues seat was vacant, as Jarrod Shook was unable to fill the position when he won it last school year, due to personal reasons.
The election saw two candidates receive the majority of the votes, with number of ballots cast per candidate as follows: O’Connor 13, Mirfield seven, MacCullough one and Leblanc zero.
Upon the formal announcement of his victory by Charles Wilson, O’Connor said, “I’m pretty excited to be elected as the SGA Vice-President of Student Issues and I think that Andy, Iain and myself bring a wide variety of skill sets that [will] be very beneficial serving the student body.”
O’Connor has had previous experience in working with the SGA, including being president of the school of human kinetics student association where he organized charity events.
He has also had his share of involvement with roles in residence life. He was a residence advisor for two years before assuming the role of senior residence advisor for one year.
VP of Services Iain Park is pleased to have O’Connor as his executive counter-part and said this in regards to O’Connor’s election: “I think it’s great. It’s definitely a point in the right direction. We seem to have formed a pretty good trifecta that will reach out to the student body.”
The new VP Issues has key areas of the student experience that he would like to focus on during his tenure of office. One of the priorities he cited was organizing awareness weeks for the entire school, such as alcohol awareness week.
“This past [awareness] week was alcohol awareness week, and there was not much done to promote awareness,” O’Connor stated, “As VP Issues a big goal of mine is to run these weeks, and make sure they are ran properly and in a way that engages the entire student body.”
O’Connor has also stressed the need for all students, both on campus and off, to have an experience at Laurentian University that appeals to them.
“I will also run these weeks so that they appeal to both off-campus and on-campus students, as the SGA needs to provide programming and awareness for every one of its members.”
Another area that O’Connor emphasizes is the importance of being a team player.
“Looking at the team this year it is evident that sharing the workload is very important and teamwork not only helps each student more quickly, but also keeps the entire executive on the same page.”
During the by-election question period, Nathan Knott asked if as VP of Issues the candidates would be prepared to put in extra hours and without hesitation. O’Connor responded, “yes.”
O’Connor will have to hit the ground running, as the school year has already commenced, but he is adamant that he is the right man for the job.
“I will be able to continue and contribute to the healthy, friendly work environment that is present right now and will make sure the year continues to be as amazing as it has started.”