Ally Buchanan
Ally Buchanan
Ally is in her second year at Renaissance College, pursuing minors in Political Science and English. She is originally from Hampton, New Brunswick
February 26, 2021

Student Union executives and representatives elected amid significant drop in voter turnout

Image credit UNBSU

The closure of the voting period on this year’s election on Feb. 28 saw Sean MacKenzie elected as President of the UNB Student Union for the 2020/2021 academic year.

This election also saw a voter turnout of only 13.1 percent, a significant drop from the high turnout of 2019.

“I guess all I have to say about winning is that I am very honoured and humbled,” says MacKenzie.

MacKenzie edged out his opposition, Khaleem Shaik by a comfortable margin, gaining 547, or 59 percent, of a total 927 votes cast, as compared to Shaik’s 380.

MacKenzie plans to begin his presidency by conferring with the rest of the executive and student representatives from student demographics across UNB to develop priorities for the next year. Among his priorities is improving the cross-campus relationship between UNB and our neighbours up the hill, St. Thomas University.

“My first initiative would be to have a meeting with the St. Thomas executive team to discuss how we can work to improve cross-campus services and events,” says MacKenzie.

Kelsi Evans ran on a slate alongside MacKenzie, and was elected as VP Advocacy in a tight race with candidate Téa Fazio, ending with only a 3 percent margin. Evans received 473 votes while Fazio received 442.

Evans has been meeting with various student groups to “find out their pressing needs” and develop her first action items. She speaks highly of her opposition, and all others who ran in the election.

“I was extremely proud of the people who ran and made it such an amazing and collaborative few weeks,” said Evans.

Fazio ran on a slate with Lydia Chong, candidate for VP Student Life, and Grace Pelkey, candidate for VP Internal. Chong lost to Vishnu Vardhan, as did the third VP Student Life candidate, Liam Lutes.

Vishnu was elected with 452 votes, or, 52 percent, as compared to Chong’s 281 and Lutes’ 219.

Vishnu describes feeling “ecstatic” at the results of the election, and looks forward to working with the rest of the incoming executive team. He hopes to build a collaborative strategy and set of goals as a team going into the next year.

“I feel like the first initiative in office would be to try and figure out what the team members strengths are and how we can draw the best out of us as a cohesive unit,” says Vishnu. “The pillars from the campaign will be incorporated into the teams vision for 2020-2021 along with the goals set by other positions.”

Pelkey, who ran unopposed, received enormous support in her election into the role of VP Internal, with 94 percent of voters responding in confidence.

Pelkey aims to honour this confidence in continuing open conversations between the Student Union and the student body.

“I am excited to start the transition into the role, to continue the incredible work that has been done this year by the current Vice President Internal,” says Pelkey. “I am really looking forward to working with the newly elected Student Union and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish.”

Adriana LeFort, who ran unopposed for the position of VP Finance and Operations, was also elected with resounding support, receiving a positive vote of confidence of 92 percent.

LeFort aims to place the needs of the student body at the forefront of all goal-setting going into the upcoming year.

"My first initiative in office will be to meet with the new executive team, alongside students, to find how we can address certain issues to better the lives of our students on campus," she said.

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