The election season has officially begun with the first slate vying for the USC presidency announcing their candidacy on Monday.

Team Avila consists of two fourth-year students; Eddy Avila and Jamie Cleary, hopefuls for the USC presidency and vice-presidency respectively.

Avila was the orientation coordinator for the past O-week and brings four years of experience from the Science Students’ Council and off-campus soph experience to the presidential candidacy.

“A common theme in our [platform] is going to be the focus of student engagement in these decisions, whether it’s the USC singular or in collaboration with Western,” Avila said. “We really want to empower the students and make sure that the student feedback that we actively seek out is something that is heard in these decisions and there’s weight behind these student voices.”

Cleary is a current associate vice-president external on the USC and the internal affairs officer on the Science Students’ Council, but has worked as a USC research intern splitting his time between last year’s internal and external vice-presidents.

“I did a lot of external research, worked with the city as well as provincial issues, but for [former vice-president internal Emily Addison] I did internal research and I wrote two of the three policy papers that were approved back in September, so one on international students on campus … and the other one was with mature students.”

Cleary continued to emphasize that Team Avila’s platform would be built in collaboration with students.

“We want to be able to engage the student experts and the students who are passionate about certain issues to help them advocate for what they believe in, and that’s why our platform is not being written by the two of us,” he explained.

“We’re engaging all areas of campus, all different students on campus, because it’s a platform for students written by students, it’s not written just by the two of us thinking ‘this is what we want to do’, we’re here to say ‘this is what students want to do’ and we want to be that voice for students.”

The two met in first year during orientation week and began the friendship that would lead to their current partnership.

“In terms of why I think we are a very good pairing, when looking for a partner especially in the vice-president position, I was looking for someone like Jamie who had expertise in both the external and the internal issues on campus and off of campus,” Avila explained.

Avila also attributed his choice in vice-presidential candidate to Cleary’s advocacy knowledge, past experience and their close friendship.

Hopeful candidates for the USC executive slates must submit their applications to the USC office by 4 p.m. on January 22, 2016.

Editor's note: This article originally misstated that Eddy Avila was the current orientation coordinator and Jamie Cleary was a REACH councillor.

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