EUS Election Results and Analysis – Part I

This is a guest post from Lin Watt and Nick Sertic. Lin Watt was the 2008-2009 EUS VP Academic, the 2009-2010 EUS President, and the current outgoing APSC Student Senator. Nick Sertic was the 2009-2010 Engineering Physics President, the current outgoing EUS VP Academic, and a current outgoing AMS Councilor.

Elections for the Engineering Undergraduate Society concluded last Friday, and the offical results have been posted online. Turnout for this year’s EUS elections were a disappointing ~5%, especially compared to last year’s ~32%.

With the new executive getting ready to officially transition on April 1st, we’d like to take the opportunity to assess each of the elected candidates to provide a snapshot of their intentions, and the direction we feel they should take their portfolios.


Dan Olson has triumphed (232-34) over the Fwat Love Gun (a joke candidate) breaking the almost-streak of female EUS Presidents over the last two years.

Despite the lack of real competition for this race, Dan Olson has the experience and the platform to make an excellent President. He is the outgoing EUS VP External, responsible for conferences, competitions, alumni relations, industry events (including the 2-day massive career fair held during E-Week every year), and liaising with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia. His platform focused on increasing efficiency, empowering individuals to provide input and become involved, and facilitating the Engineering Student Centre project. He also supported the more inclusive direction the EUS has been headed in over the last few years.

His platform is solid and we can’t disagree with any of his points! From Lin’s biased perspective as one of the main organizers for the Engineering Student Centre, the more help the better. The EUS is still in the growing pains stage of becoming a more inclusive society and needs somebody who is on board with its vision to keep it going in the right direction. Dan also avoids the trap of over-involved students, who think that their organization is the only and the best one to get involved with. He recognizes that being involved in activities within engineering that aren’t volunteering directly with EUS, such as Engineers Without Borders, student design teams, etc., still contribute to UBC Engineering and hence the EUS community as a whole.

However, he will need to learn how to make the tough decisions and support his team without doing their jobs for them. We’ve seen him pick up slack in others’ portfolios this year, but what we haven’t seen is Dan taking a stand on any one issue, despite its unpopularity with the loud and the proud. That doesn’t mean he can’t, but that’s one thing that we’ll be looking out for from the far-off reaches of the alumni community!

We hope that he focuses on not only making EUS processes more efficient, but also repeatable. Transition is a problem for all student societies, but the recent trend of more junior EUS Executives (one first year and four second years have been elected) means that the incoming executives have had less time to absorb EUS practices from simply being around and the learning curves will be steeper. Dan Olson is also an extremely charismatic, friendly, and generally really chill guy, who has a huge opportunity to bring the EUS closer to the average student.

VP Communication and Administration

Hans Seidemann was successfully ratified (194-17) as the next and potentially last EUS Vice President Communications and Administration.

Hans’s professional experience way outclasses most of the other Executives and in fact most of the engineering student body: he comes from an eclectic background of modern dance, computer science, and business at Simon Fraser University in addition to years of professional experience with sales, management, and business development. He’s also finishing up a year as co-Spirit Coordinator, arguably the most time-intensive and high-stress of all the non-Executive volunteer positions within the EUS, not to mention his involvement with the Engineering Student Centre project on both the governance and student working groups.

His platform is to improve the accessibility and transparency of the EUS and better organize the roles within the VP ComAd portfolio so that it can be split into two separate VP positions in the future. Without getting into the merits/detriments of splitting the VP ComAd position in two (as Nick and Lin disagree on this!), the overall calibre of Hans’s platform does not live up to his experience.

What we would like to see him focus on are marketing and management, the two strengths he brings from real-world experience. The VP ComAd portfolio is vast and diverse, and needs someone with Hans’s skills to turn it into a well-oiled publications-making machine while increasing the use of volunteers in the administrations portfolio so that the EUS operational efficiency improves. There are other portfolios better suited to focus on accessibility and transparency (specifically the President, who has the authority to mandate executives to hold office hours and post on blogs, for example).

Hans will also have to make the challenging transition from a public man of mischief to the professional second-in-command of the 4000-person, $220k operational budget Engineering Undergraduate Society (although all VP positions are equal in rank, VP ComAd is technically next in line in the absence of the President). Again, we feel here Hans has the chance to really excel: the EUS has been in a period of metamorphosis over the last five years, focused on better reaching its own constituents. Engineers still participate in a few cross-campus events, but as a recent Ubyssey editorial attempted to point out, we no longer incite campus to collective rage at our pranked destruction of public artwork, or the ransom of the Nine O’Clock Gun, or Speaker’s Chair. Times change and we are not suggesting that the EUS should commit criminal acts, but Hans’s more impish side could help the EUS to think and plan collectively on recapturing that spirit of campus engagement and return the engineers en masse to that far-distant North side of campus!

VP Academic

The VP Academic race, one of the few seriously contested positions, resulted in a large margin of victory for Jack Park over Jennifer Peverelle (221-51).

Arguably the most involved first year engineering student within the EUS, Jack’s experiences as First Year (PP) President and as an active member of the Engineering Student Center (ESC) Governance Committee should translate well to the skills needed for an effective VP Academic. During the campaigning period, he focused on four major areas: creating an engineering-wide course directory, expanding the tutoring program, active participation in the upcoming First Year Curriculum Review, and maintaining the new Academic Review Website.

Jack’s first idea, the course directory, is one that has been suggested numerous times over the past few years and sadly has been not come to fruition yet. Although several smaller course directories exist within the Departmental Clubs, there has not been a major effort by the EUS to create one for all students due to considerable bureaucratic hurdles. The primary obstacle is getting approval from each professor to post content, as the university owns the intellectual property. Recently, the AMS passed a motion supporting the creation of a university wide-campus campus directory, and the UBC Senate will also be having a discussion about a central examination database at the March 23 meeting as well.

The First Year Redesign Committee is an initiative that started up during the summer of 2010, but due to issues finding a champion from the faculty, never actually achieved anything. Following the appointment of Carol Jaeger as Associate Dean of Undergraduate Program a few months ago, this process can finally be resurrected. Jack will need play a pivotal role in this process, as first year courses have consistently been a lightning rod for student complaints and this is perfect opportunity to rectify a handful of problems in one go.

Jack is a down-to-earth and personable guy who truly has the best interests of engineering students at heart. He has a good grasp of the issues currently plaguing students and we think he will be able to act upon them appropriately. His outstanding work ethic and dedication should make it possible for him to manage all aspects of the portfolio, and we look forward to what he can accomplish next year.

However, it was clear during the candidates forum that Jack was nervous, which negatively impacted the delivery of his campaign points. To be a successful VP Academic, he will need to work on public speaking skills so that he can effectively lobby the faculty on behalf of students. He will also need to cast aside the mentality that drastic positive change can occur quickly – academic reform is a very, very slow moving process so he will need to build upon the momentum from previous years and have ample amounts of patience. Last we heard, he was planning on entering either FIZZ or MECH, both notoriously difficulty in 2nd year, so he will absolutely have to recruit qualified volunteers to whom he can delegate tasks.

The tutoring program underwent significant changes last year, going from one single tutor to having a hiring process for multiple tutors with mandatory training. Instead of trying to expand and change once again, we suggest that Jack pursues a consolidation year to iron out the kinks and ensure it can run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. We also hope that Jack lobbies the faculty for proper Academic Advising – this has been consistently been a complaint from students. The main platform point for Jack’s opponent, Jennifer, was to work with the faculty and UBC Orientations to improve the experience for transfer students. We completely agree with her and advise Jack to make this one of his issues as well.

While it is unfortunate that Jennifer was unsuccessful in her bid to become the next VP Academic, we think that she has a lot of potential and hope that she will continue to stay involved within the EUS in the upcoming year. She would be very well suited for a CM or Ex-O position in the Academic Portfolio, in addition to her volunteering with E-Team. Jack would be well advised to take Jennifer out for coffee and convince her to join him!

VP Finance

As expected, the unopposed Ian Campbell has been resoundingly elected to the VP Finance position (197-17).

As a 2nd year Electrical & Computer Engineering student, Ian has been involved with the EUS since coming to UBC. Last year he served as Academic Representative for First Year Council, and is currently serving on Spirit Committee as well as the Engineering Student Centre Student Working Advisory Group and ESC Student Governance Committee. Most notably however, he served as Red Sales Manager this year, where he impressively managed to get the business out of debt and made a considerable profit for the first time in several years. He has turned Red Sales from a dingy in-the-closet business into a lighted in-the-closet business that now offers a wide range of engineering paraphernalia aside from the usual Red Jackets and patches.

Ian’s main new initiative for the upcoming year is to provide funding opportunities for students who wish to undertake new initiatives, very similar to the AMS Innovative Project Fund, but only intended for engineering students. Students would apply to this fund in a similar way to current Endowment Fund and Professional Activities Fund, and the VP Finance (or executive) would evaluate the merits of the proposal and consider the impact on the individual as well as the student body at large. We believe that this is a great way for the EUS to support students in their endeavours, and look forward to more details from Ian regarding its implementation.

He has also suggested to revive the EUS fencing business, which has been stagnant over the past year. For those who aren’t aware, the EUS owns approximately 200 linear feet worth of metal fencing which is used for licensed events. The original proposal was to rent these fences out to other groups on campus when not in use by engineers for an additional revenue stream, but this year the fences have been either sitting idly at the Cheeze or stretched across the courtyard waiting to be taken down. If Ian is able to revamp the program, advertise well, and find someone willing and able to transport a bunch of rusty fences when needed, this could be a very viable way of increasing the EUS budget.

On the administrative side of things, he has adamantly promised to process reimbursements as quickly as possible, which we hope he can maintain for the entire year. He has also promised to provide regular budget updates on the EUS website in the interests of transparency. Following a selective outpouring of student complaints during last year’s elections, the EUS promised to be more open and accountable with their operations, yet there is still a long way to go.

We were very impressed by the amount of campaigning that Ian did, considering that he was the only candidate to run for VP Finance. This demonstrated that he truly cared about the position and wanted to hear what every student had to say. Compared to first year, Ian has tremendously improved in professionalism, but as an executive, he will need to push a little further. He has to be a role model for other students who will look to him for leadership. In short, Ian Campbell may need to stop trolling and being offensive on the interwebs.

Furthermore, the VP Finance position has not grown substantially since its inception, but there are a lot of opportunities for business development. We were slightly disappointed not to see Ian suggest other ventures for expanding the revenues of the EUS and we hope that he spends the next few weeks working with his new executives to brainstorm ways to do this. Nonetheless, he is well suited to the position, and the EUS will greatly benefit from his involvement this year.

Other Races

Check back for analysis of these results in Part 2.

VP Events: Stephanie Mah ratified (188-24)

VP External: Alex Lush (133) elected over Madison Myrfield (74) and Ben Kernan (50)

AMS Representative: Hans Seidemann (166) & Karanbir Gill (124) over Jannel Robertson (66), Alexandra Annejohn (61), and Jihua Zhou (23).

Applied Science Senator: Sean Heisler acclaimed (only candidate nominated)


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. Don’t worry Nick, I’ll just stick to trolling you this year :P

    Posted by Ian Campbell | March 20, 2011, 11:52 pm
  2. AH! So close to coverage yet again :P

    Posted by Alex Lush | March 21, 2011, 10:34 pm
Please vote for us in the Continuous VoterMedia Contest