The second University Students' Council's presidential slate hopefuls, Team Tobi, have officially announced their candidacy for the upcoming 2017 elections.
Tobi Solebo is a third-year BMOS student running for president, and Landon Tulk, a third-year political science student, is vying for the vice-presidential spot.
Although both candidates are in third year, Solebo and Tulk are running because they feel prepared and motivated.
Last month David DiBrina and Harry Orbach-Miller, two fourth-year students, announced their candidacy for the executive positions.
The pair met in their first year during O-Week when Solebo performed a spoken word poem about black rights that resonated with Tulk. Impressed by the poem, Tulk approached Solebo and thanked him for speaking out about those issues.
Throughout university, the duo kept in touch and realized they wanted to form a slate together after their experiences working for the Austen Berlet CampOut for Mental Health, a 24-hour campout in Victoria Park that raised awareness for mental health. Both Solebo and Tulk said they compliment each other well as a team.
While neither candidate has been directly involved with the USC before, both have other extracurricular experiences under their belts.
Tulk is the co-director of research for Western's student senators. Tulk and Solebo have also been sophs and are members of the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji), with Solebo holding an executive position. Solebo has been a member of the Black Students' Association and worked with the Mental Health Advisory Board. Formerly a Huron student, Tulk was on the Huron University Students' Council.
Solebo hopes his variety of extracurricular involvement will resonate with the student body.
"I’m hoping that seeing my face is something that not only inspires people to want to vote and learn more about the USC, but on top of that inspires people to join more clubs...get involved with what the USC is doing,” Solebo said.
A central objective of the slate is to inspire other students to become more involved with the USC and to decrease disenfranchisement.
“We’re trying to make sure the voices being heard at the top are representative of the entire 100 per cent and not just that 24 per cent [of students who voted last year]," Solebo said.
“A large part of our campaign is understanding that the students that are currently disenfranchised with the USC aren’t going to make the effort to go out and reach the USC."
Throughout the campaign period, Solebo wants to approach students across campus and ask them what they know about the USC and what they would like to see from the executive.
Tulk added that the slate's platform is currently being created as they continue to engage with students and want to incorporate their thoughts.
If elected, they want to further increase student engagement throughout their tenure. Tulk cited his admiration for the current executive's initiative to host 'office' hours to meet with students and said he would look to build on it.
Further, Tulk expressed disappointment with the USC's lack of consultations with the student body, citing the MTP program cut, the shortening of clubs week and Homecoming changes. It's important to note, however, that the MTP program cut and Homecoming date changes fall under the purview of the University and not the USC.
The campaign period officially begins on Jan. 16, at which time slates will begin sharing their platforms and more specific information on their goals.
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