Hello, faithful readers of the best newspaper on campus! We are Team Ignite, running in the FedS Executive election, and we’re going to tell you why you should care and vote in this FedS election! Remember, if you’re voting Team Ignite, also vote Matt Gerrits to support experience and reasonable governance! The link to go vote is:
Vote.feds.ca (from February 5 – 7, 2019)
Find out More at uwignite.com
At a high level, Team Ignite is focusing on a few key issues for students: Mental Health, Transparency, Sustainability, Student Engagement, and protecting students, among many other ideas.
Mental Health is not just a buzzword for us! We have sat on the PAC-SMH and the CoSMH. We understand enough to know that we can’t do this alone, but we have a starting point. Notably, expanding the network of mental health support and embedding it within the student body, lobbying the government and other sources of funding for more support, and fostering belonging in the UWaterloo community.
Transparency is very important to us, especially after the unfortunate handling of the Bomber’s closure. We have already worked to make more budgets publicly accessible for students who care about how their money is spent. Most of all, we want to implement full financial transparency for full members of the Federation – you should be able to go into the office and ask the VP OF for the Federation’s ‘books’ at any point.
We have spent years working in sustainability-related fields, and talking to and learning from experts. Using what we know, we want to work on improving our environmental footprint using proven techniques such as eliminating single-use wastes like Styrofoam and plastic, and avoiding greenwashing (boxed water, anyone?). Environmentalism costs money, and where we put our money matters too. So, we’re going to lobby for the ability to decide where Endowment fund money goes, and we will control the Federation’s own investments.
We are not going to pay lip service to student engagement to win the election. FedS hasn’t had a stellar track record, especially when reaching out to Engineering or the satellite campuses, until quite recently. We will hold office hours outside of the FedS office in Engineering, Math, Architecture, GBDA, Pharm, etc., generate opportunity for engagement between elected councillors and their constituents with town halls and office hour support and aim to increase the ease of access to satellite campuses with inter-regional busing support.
Finally, we hope to protect students better than has been done in the past by providing you with agency and support to represent yourselves better. Members of Team Ignite wrote the language for the Legal Service Referendum. We submitted it to Council for approval so that you might vote on it this election season. We hope to be able to implement the results of a successful referendum. The legal service will empower students by providing a 24/7 legal help hotline and will allow you to better know your rights for tenancy and housing, academic grievances and affairs, and co-op and employment issues.
Meet the Candidates
Michael Beauchemin is running for President of the Federation. You may know Michael from his work with the Engineering Society (flying high since F14!), where he has been VP Finance for the past 2+ years. He’s done all he can for the Engineering Society and is now passing the baton to the next generation. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have more he wants to see change! To better advocate for students and improve living and education conditions at the University, he wants to tackle FedS. Students deserve better and more from the Federation of Students, which just won’t stand up for them enough.
Seneca Velling is running for Vice President, Operations and Finance of the Federation. You may know Seneca from the couple of times he has appeared at EngSoc Council, through his work as FedS Councillor, or as a Nano Eng wannabe. Seneca has been hard at work already trying to fix FedS policies and procedures, as well as its financial practices, but for some stuff, you need just a bit more sway. He’s hoping that being able to exercise more control over the budgeting process will allow him to make sure the Federation’s commercial services actually work to serve students, instead of just subsidizing a business’s losses.
Tomson Tran is running for Vice President, Student Life of the Federation. If you attended the recent All Societies Assembly, you might have met Tomson, who is the AHSUM (AHS’s Student Society) President this year, as well as a Director on the FedS Board of Directors. Tomson is, similarly to Michael, happy to pass the torch to the next generation in AHSUM, but FedS requires an experienced touch to course-correct and stabilize and solidify the Federation for years to come.
Matthew Gerrits is not a Team Ignite candidate, but Team Ignite is officially endorsing him for the position of Vice President, Education of the Federation. Matt has already been doing an amazing job as the current VP Education and because he knows FedS needs sound leadership and driven advocacy moving into an uncertain future, he is preparing to give another year of his time to the Federation. He is already hard at work with OUSA lobbying the Ford government about changes to tuition, ancillary fees (he’s the reason UPASS is protected!), and OSAP, as well as providing information and context to students potentially affected by these changes. Matt is great at keeping the pressure on the University and government officials, following up with and seeking student commentary, and is as complete and thorough a person as we could ever ask for. We highly encourage you to check him out at vpedmatt.com!
If you’d like to learn more about Team Ignite, you can find us online at