The USC Elections are right around the corner (February 14th and 15th) and with it the race for USC President. As the head of the most powerful student union in Ontario and one of the largest in Canada, the winning presidential candidate will, to put it lightly, have his or her hands full. As a Western student, the outcome of the election will affect our lives and so it’s every student’s responsibility to take action, learn about the candidates and make an informed decision. To help you along the process, we interviewed the presidential candidates and got to know them as a potential leader and as a person.
For our first interview, we met up with Claire McArthur, a fifth year political science and history student from Brantford; “I decided to run for USC President because I wanted a student to represent the students and not a politician.” In regards to her platform - and her slogan of “You deserve more”- Claire states “I think students have a difficult life at times and sometimes that gets overshadowed. By implementing some of these changes we can make student life a little easier.” In order to achieve those goals Claire plans on changing the culture at Western; “I think there’s a huge disconnect between the Greek system and the jocks and the nerds and the “cool” kids. I think Western will never reach its full potential unless we bring that together and reach our potential as a whole and not as separate groups.”
Western pride and love is evident in all of the candidates’ campaigns and personal beliefs, and Claire is no different. What she loves most about Western is the student body; “I love that at times, not as often as I would like to say, we students come together. With charity for this year we’ve raised over $200,000 which is phenomenal. This culture that we’ve created through O-Week and programs like sophing and the Greek community is phenomenal, but like I said, it’s separated and we can’t have that, I want to be the person that brings us all together.” The sense of community at Western and unparalleled pride exhibited by students is what makes Western the greatest student experience in Canada. As part of Claire’s time at western, her most memorable experience revolves around the same sense of pride and community we are famous for; “this one time in Ceeps I was watching the boy’s basketball final on TV. In my second year they went to Ottawa in the semi-finals and ended up losing. But at that moment, we were chanting in Ceeps “Western” and I looked around for a little bit and it made me feel like I was a part of something.” Western pride was palpable that night as students didn’t care that their cheers weren’t being heard by the team, Claire says “we were doing it because we had pride in our school and we had pride in our boys that were playing. That goes back to one of my platform points of creating a better match between the Mustang athletics and USC, because as I looked around that night I didn’t see any USC counsellors or the USC President; I saw students and that’s why I’m running because I want to be the face for the students.”
With so much drive and passion for Western, what inspires this presidential candidate? “My brother, he inspires me because at such a young age he knows who he is. I’m a writer, I get my inspiration from anything, the students inspire me, the faculty that stays up late and puts together lesson plans everyday; the students that get to the library at 8:30 in the morning to do their work and still manage to see their girls by the end of the night.” According to Claire, “we live in a culture where everything can inspire us, pictures and photographs that will change how you view things for that moment.” Claire calls herself a dreamer and even has her own saying that she holds true to her life; “Realists never live, dreamers never die.”
The inspiration extends to the student body at Western, with whom she credits her most memorable experience at Western; “I love hearing about students that are starting their own ventures. I’m meeting students that are wonderful people who are in charge of their dreams who are “seizing fate by the throat” – that’s Mozart – and that’s what’s rewarding.”