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
November 28, 2020

UNBSU Byelection: VP Advocacy Candidates

The polling period takes place from November 30 to December 4.
Téa Fazio

My name is Téa Fazio, and I am running for the position of UNBSU Vice-President Advocacy. 

UNB students are amazing, our community is strong, creative, friendly, and perseverent UNB students constantly inspire me to push my boundaries for the greater good. I am so proud to call myself a UNB student, but as a UNB student, I know that we deserve more from our university, our government, and our community leadership. I have held multiple roles with the UNB Student Union that have taught me about being a good leader, communicating with others, planning effectively, and so much more. If given the opportunity, in the role of VP Advocacy, I will advocate to, and collaborate with, students, the university, and community partners to create meaningful change. 

What unique skills, experience, or perspective would you bring to this position? 

In the past 4 years at UNB, I have learned so much from my roles with the UNBSU, including: Computer Science Councilor, Student Senator, Orientation BlackShirt, Wellness Team Member, Lobby Season Delegate, and Get Out the Vote Coordinator. In these positions I have collaborated on meaningful initiatives such as the Breaking Barriers series, organized impactful events like a Trivia Night collaboration with the ISAO, and I have provided a strong voice for students' rights at the UNB Senate and at NBSA lobby meetings with leadership such as Fredericton South MLA, David Coon, or the COO of GNB, Jean Marc Dupuis. 

What issues/causes would you focus on in your work within the position?

As UNBSU VP Advocacy, I will advocate for actionable change and accountability from our leadership. I want to see students receive more financial support, health and wellbeing resources, equitable experiences, and strategies to succeed in “blended” learning. I would consult with students to introduce new policies and campaigns to ensure that everyone feels safe, respected, and valued. 

How do you plan on connecting to the student body and adapting the role of your position while UNB is so disconnected?

Communicating with students is an incredibly important part of the VP Advocacy role and the way we connect will be different this year due to the increased use of online media. I plan to make use of social media, especially livestreams, for increased communication with students especially via Instagram and use of the new UNBSU TikTok account. I also want to have regular consultations with student clubs, groups, and SU councilors who can further consult with their represented demographics to give feedback.

Melissa Ghanem

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My name is Melissa Ghanem and I’m a 4th year BBA student running for the position of Vice-President Advocacy. I’m a second-generation immigrant, born and raised in Fredericton, NB. Being new to the UNBSU scene, I realize many students haven’t gotten the opportunity to know me on a personal level, but in a nutshell, I’ve been described as a quirky individual with an edgy aesthetic. 

My love for advocacy runs deep, as I come from a long line of advocates - whom I’m proud to call my family. Since these incredible figures have influenced me, I have learnt from a young age to advocate for myself, my loved ones, and my friends regularly. In each of these occurrences, I have become more and more aware of my privilege and the ongoing oppression that lives in our society. If I were to be elected as VP Advocacy, I would be able to continue this work of allyship, awareness, and actionable change.

What unique skills, experience, or perspective would you bring to this position?

My experience as UNBSU Wellness Coordinator, in addition to my experience being the Office Coordinator at the Chimo Helpline, has given me a unique lens on mental health and wellness at UNB and in our surrounding community. Also, in creating a service directory covering services all cross NB, I now have extensive knowledge of accessible community resources that I would like to utilize and share with students. In addition to these two experiences, I was also the Interim VP Advocacy. If elected, I would be able to employ my advocacy skills by continuing to raise awareness on student issues, while facilitating meaningful, actionable change to improve student life at UNB.

What issues/causes would you focus on in your work within the position?

I would like to focus on the following 3 topics - mental health, sexual assault and multiculturalism. Mental Health and sexual assault services have always been in demand at UNB, but these issues have been particularly exemplified by the pandemic. As such, I would like to strongly advocate for greater accessible and inclusive mental health and sexual assault services to support the needs of students during these unprecedented times. Additionally, I would like to focus on multiculturalism as a means to foster an inclusive and enriching environment where students of all cultural backgrounds feel welcomed, embraced and celebrated. 

 How do you plan on connecting to the student body and adapting the role of your position while UNB is so disconnected?

I was fortunate to be the Interim Vice-President Advocacy, which means I could easily adapt to this role in a timely manner. This would allow advocacy work at UNBSU to continue without disruption. That being said, I would like to create greater opportunities for students to voice their concerns and connect with the SU in a more personal and interactive manner. For instance, offering virtual Student Union Town Hall Meetings where students can meet with the entire executive team to express their concerns, leading to meaningful dialogue and SU deliverables that can enhance the UNB student experience. 

Kordell Walsh
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Hey UNB! My name is Kordell Walsh. I am in my 4th year of Renaissance College. Although I am from Renfrew, Ontario, I have been so proud to call Fredericton my home since coming here in 2017. I have had the great opportunity to work with community organizations on projects and have had the pleasure of being a leader in the residence community through my role as President of Tibbits Hall last academic year. I love hanging out with friends, playing chess, and discussing world issues! I hope to combine my passions for community engagement and policy development with your voices to create meaningful and lasting change to improve the student experience at UNB! You can check out my detailed platform on my Facebook event "Vote Kordell Walsh for UNBSU VP Advocacy."

What unique skills, experience, or perspective would you bring to this position?

I suppose my experiences in politics and government are the most unique. I have had the opportunity to organize Get Out the Vote campaigns, sit on executive boards, work for Elections Ontario, and to do some with within the Ministry of Education in Ontario. All these experiences together taught me about the importance of consultation, how slow-moving bureaucracy is, and that change does not happen overnight. It helps me to temper expectations and has helped me to understand how institutions such as UNB and governments work. These experiences will help me be effective and knowledgeable as VP Advocacy. 

What issues/causes would you focus on in your work within the position?

At the end of the day, all the work done by the VP Advocacy should be grounded in extensive consultation. I want students to always know that by reaching out to me, their voice will be heard when finding solutions and resolving the problems students face. It is clear that mental health services need to be expanded, sexual violence policies need revamping with survivor led discussions, and the cost of education needs to be more stable, with further supports for students in understanding financial concepts – so these are some of the issues I am most passionate about working on.

How do you plan on connecting to the student body and adapting the role of your position while UNB is so disconnected?

Online education to this magnitude is new to all of us. UNB can pride itself as a small but connected community, and so with UNB being so disconnected it poses a unique challenge for the Student Union. I want to consult with students to learn what they think will be the best way to bridge that gap. I would like to set up a Microsoft Teams channel for students to contact me, either casually or formally. I would also like to ensure when applicable, events and campaigns have an interactive component that allows students to interact virtually.

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