TCSA Spring Election Candidates: President

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Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by first name. Platforms may have been edited for print purposes. All edits were made for length, not for content.


President- Alaine SpiwakAlaine Spiwak

Dear students,

My name is Alaine Spiwak and I am a third year student studying International Development and Politics. I am excited and honoured to be running for the position of TCSA President for 2015-2016.

I am an active member of the Trent community as the current TCSA Ethical Standards Commissioner, co-chair of Trent Free the Children and Trent Get REAL, Gzowski College ISW volunteer, Trent Ambassador volunteer, and employee at the Trent Athletic Centre. I have a passion for social justice and thoroughly enjoying volunteering my time to the improvement of student life here at Trent.

My love for Trent University and all the wonderful people I have met here has motivated me to run in this year’s election. There is nothing more important to me than the students, and their ability to have their voice heard on campus. The TCSA exists largely in part to advocate for student interests, and I believe under my leadership we could accomplish this better than ever.

With improved outreach to students, greater accessibility to our board members, better advertising of services, and making our presence more well known on campus, we can work to build a better relationship between the TCSA and the students.

One of my main hopes for the upcoming year is to work with the board to uphold the qualities that make Trent and the students so special: our commitment to diversity, inclusivity, and sustainability, just to name a few. We already offer many great services, but I am looking to provide both new and improved services, along with better advertising to ensure students can access all we have to offer.

I have already begun creating ties between the TCSA and the Peterborough community during my time as Ethical Standards Commissioner with the implementation of discount cards to the Peterborough Farmer’s Market. I hope to continue developing this partnership and to increase and improve our relationship with the Peterborough community.

There are many things I wish to accomplish if elected, but most importantly, I am running to ensure student interests are always being advocated for.

In closing, the Trent Central Student Association as a whole has encountered some set backs this year, but it is time to push forward. I want to bring the focus of the TCSA back to where it should be: on the students.

Strong, reliable, and dedicated leadership will ensure that our focus never shifts, and that we can completely dedicate ourselves to the students who we represent. I can offer this to you, along with my promise to always act honestly, professionally, democratically, and fair.

If you chose to elect me, I promise to work everyday to make the TCSA an association students can be proud of.

March 16-19, 2015, I encourage you to vote for myself, Alaine Spiwak, for TCSA President.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

President- Brendan EdgeBrendan Edge

A Canadian Studies student, Edge is a new addition to the Trent family who brings with him extensive experience and a host of new ideas to make Trent University even better.

A writer for The True North Times he has had numerous Letters to the Editor published in The Hill Times, The Ottawa Citizen, and Toronto Star. Before transferring to Trent, Edge served as Vice President of the McGill chapter of his fraternity, Delta Lambda Phi, for two years and has worked to create a chapter of DLP here; an organization built on progressive values, community and weighing the minority and majority viewpoints equally. This provided him with the leadership training any representative of the people requires.

He also served as VP Fundraising on the McGill University Rowing Team, was a candidate for Le Parti Vert du Quebec in a provincial election and a nomination candidate in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke for the upcoming Federal Election; before dropping out of the race to focus on his studies. However he remains active in his political work and has acquired a working correspondence with politicians of all stripes. These experiences have given Edge a moderate, level headed approach to issues with a drive to hear all sides before coming to a decision; imperative in a world of harsh partisan politics.

Edge finds that Trent has many benefits, however he offers a number of proposals to improve student life on campus and in the community. Noting strife amongst elected officials, Brendan wants to mitigate that by actively bringing these groups together in an effort to improve communication and understanding between them; his door will always be open. This is, in part, to revitalize democracy on campus and work towards recognizing the efforts of students who not only carry a full course load; but who also participate in extra-curricular activities. If elected, during his time in office, Edge will:

  • Find the funds to ensure The Ceilie can stay open significantly later on Thursday and Friday nights so more students can enjoy it. And have TCSA invest more there
  • Lobby the school for a half credit to students who serve in Student Government and Varsity Athletics, and carry a full course load
  • Promote greater co-operation between the Executive and Commissioners, and the TCSA and College Cabinets through team building activities and a leadership retreats
  • Ensure that the Federal Election does not pass over Trent in the Fall, so that all students have the opportunity to participate in the democratic process
  • Do more to actively promote Trent’s diverse student organizations and clubs, including expanding “College Groups Day”
  • Represent Trent students as a whole, and refrain from being the voice of only a minority, to the University, Media, City, and Legislatures
  • Work with the City of Peterborough to obtain more frequent “Trent Late Night” bus service on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
  • Review and update necessary bylaws
  • Support the merger of the TCSA and the TPSA, with adequate representation for part time students

President- ChrisMckinnonChris Mckinnon


For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Chris Mckinnon and I am running for President of the TCSA. The basis of what I stand for is fostering higher standards of professionalism, unbiased leadership and mutual respect among students by ensuring good governance. My final goal is to restore confidence in the Trent student union and establish a benchmark for future leaders to hold themselves accountable to students.

My vision for the TCSA is for it to be a unified effort of students where the focus is not to tell students what they should think but instead provide the resources for students to express themselves freely in clubs and groups and make up their own minds about what they should believe in.

In my opinion the TCSA’s main focus should be addressing the big issues that affect all students around the school such as enrollment, club funding, accessibility services, health and wellness, and providing up to date learning resources for students.

In addition, something I would like to improve on next year will be better allocation of funds and sharing of information with students. This includes notifying students what key issues are being discussed and analyzing what expenditures give little benefit to students we can re-allocate funding.

During my time at Trent as a visiting member to the Board of Governors, a member of Senate, and as a member of Champlain Cabinet I learned a great deal about the issues students are facing and how the TCSA operates to deal with these issues. What I’ve observed over the past four years is that there have been instances of ethics being violated and biases being shown because personal interests interfere with the interests of the students as a whole.

With my experience as a 4th year business student and as a past co-ordinator for Habitat for Humanity I have the knowledge and expertise necessary to balance the resources given to the TCSA by the students and lead the organization with the student’s best interests in mind. With the help of the rest of the directors my goal will be to ensure we have a professional, unbiased view in regards to governance.

Some insight into my personality, I am someone who deals with challenges calmly and in an effective manner. I am professional and hold myself and others to high standards of accountability. I am diplomatic and good at managing conflict. I am an experienced leader and I am good at keeping people together. I am easy going and believe in treating people with mutual respect regardless of their differences. I am determined, persistent, and I work hard to achieve my goals and the goals of the organizations I am responsible for. These are some of the qualities you can expect from me in the upcoming year.

Thank you for your time in reading this. If you have any questions and see me around campus don’t hesitate to ask.

President- Jeff CampbellJeff Campbell

I am a fourth year political studies major and I have decided to run for President of the TCSA primarily because I am concerned about the lack of student voice on campus. I appreciate and support the TCSA’s work in facilitating transit passes, student discounts, and health benefits, to name a few of the important services provided by the association. But the TCSA is first and foremost a union, and as such its primary focus should be on leading and supporting student driven political action. There is a serious need to shift the priorities of the TCSA from organizing parties and facilitating basic student services, to providing directed, and effective advocacy on behalf of students, to all levels of government and the university administration.

The lack of student voice on campus is of particular concern under Trent’s current financial climate. The administration is passing on to students the financial pressure it is under through actions like the increasing of tuition, cuts to valued faculty and liberal arts programming (coupled with an increased focus on online courses), and attempts to freeze the wages of students working for the school in roles such as teaching assistants and lab advisors. Increased union action and advocacy is required to give voice to student concerns and ensure that financial troubles do not erode the small class sizes, unique liberal arts courses, and interactive learning environment that so strongly contribute to making Trent a great university.

In order to make real progress in addressing issues facing students, the TCSA must first accurately reflect the needs and desires of students. Recent efforts to foster engagement with students must be redoubled, by increasing dialogue and making it easier for meaningful interaction to take place between the association and the student body, in person and through social media. If elected, as part of a plan to see restored trust, and renewed student interest in the association, I would support efforts to establish a student ethical oversight committee, separate from the TCSA and executive, responsible for overseeing the ethical responsibilities of the board and holding the TCSA accountable, as was recently called for in a student-led petition for referendum.

The time to increase student influence is now. Ontario tuition fees are predicted to rise 13% in the next four years. The recent success of the student movement in Quebec has illustrated the power an organized and motivated student population can have in combatting austerity policies, and the resulting rise in tuition prices. One of my main objectives if elected, will be to increase opportunities for students to easily become informed and involved with efforts to effect meaningful change in the political environment beyond campus, which determines so much of the educational experience of Trent students. In order to accomplish this, the TCSA needs a motivated and assertive leader who is knowledgable of Canadian politics and capable of effectively interacting with government and the administration on behalf of students. This is what I offer as a candidate.

About TCSA 18 Articles
The Trent Central Student Association is the largest student association at Trent University, representing all undergraduate students (full-time, part-time, and Education students) attending classes in Peterborough.