The Brandon University Student Union election is quickly approaching. On March 1st and 2nd, students across campus will cast their ballot for who they want to represent them in BUSU executive and council positions. But what does BUSU actually do? Why should students take time out of their busy schedule to vote in the student union elections? Throughout the majority of your high school journey, and perhaps even before, you were most likely told how important voting is and how you should cherish the right to vote as many others across the world do not get that opportunity. Indeed, as not too long ago even various groups of people in Canada did not have the right to vote. Voting in the BUSU election is no different, and given the amount of services and programs BUSU has for students, it’s well worth your while to analyze and decide who you think should run and oversee those programs.
In truth, BUSU provides a variety of services, many of them covered in your initial tuition fee payment. One of the most important services that they manage for students is the student health and dental plan. Every year students pay approximately $250.00 and in return get coverage for things like vision care, dental care and prescription drugs. Many students do not have other health insurance coverage, making this plan even more valuable for some. You never know when you could get an infection and require antibiotics or get a toothache and require dental work. Although BUSU executives and staff are the ones that oversee the opt in and opt out process for the health and dental program, the actual insurance is through StudentVIP, part of C&C Insurance. Another service that BUSU provides to students in exchange for their fees is the U-Pass program. This program is in cooperation with the City of Brandon and Brandon Transit and has been in operation since 2011. It provides students with an annual, unlimited transit pass, that allows them to get around all across the city. The best part is that the U-Pass is extremely cheap, only costing a total of $19.00. This service like the health and dental insurance plan, can prove to be invaluable to students. Even for students who possess a car, it never hurts to have a backup plan, especially if it costs less than $20.00.
Did you now that as a student of Brandon University you’re entitled to various discounts around Brandon? That is because of the Paw Pass program that BUSU manages. The Paw Pass program enables students to receive discounts between 10-50% at over 40 businesses across Brandon and neighbouring communities. Some of the major discounts include 40% off at Domino's pizza and 20% off at MedSafe Pharmacy. All that students have to do in order to cash in on these discounts is to get a Paw Pass sticker on the back of their student cars. These stickers can be picked up at the BUSU office. Another important, yet confidential service, offered by BUSU is the BUSU Food Bank. Every Friday from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the third floor of the Knowles-Douglas Building BUSU operates a food bank for all Brandon University students to use. The BUSU Food Bank distributes well-rounded, meal supplement food hampers, which has items that cover all four major food groups. The food hamper includes products like bread, milk, eggs and non-perishable food items. If students cannot pick up food hampers during the regular hours of the BUSU Food Bank, then other arrangements can be made by stopping in at the BUSU office on the first floor of the Knowles-Douglas Building.
These services are just a fraction of what BUSU provides to students in exchange for the large chunk of cash they get at the beginning of the school year. Programs like the health and dental plan and the Paw Pass provide benefits to students throughout the school year. Although some of these programs have a large up-front cost, many of them prove their value overtime. Therefore, it is instrumental that students exercise their right to vote in this BUSU election. You have the opportunity to decide who will be overseeing these programs and services. Make good on those high school promises and vote!
President - Olusola Akintola
Vice-President Internal (contested) - Whitney Hodgins
Vice-President Internal (contested) - Tyler Mackenzie Kilbride
Vice-President External - April Li
Indigenous People's Director - Valerie Sandy
Graduate Studies Director (contested) - Shumaila Qurashi
Graduate Studies Director (contested) - Natashalee Thompson
Music Director - Katherine Charles
Part-Time & Mature Students Director - Abosede Janet Akintola
Arts Director - Uzoma Duru
Health Studies Director - Ken Neufeld
Women's Director - Fatima Abdullahi
International Students Director (contested) - Tanya Fletchman
International Students Director (contested) - Dooshinee Indurjeek
Student at Large Senator* - Brittany Rigby
Student at Large Senator* - Denise Henry
Arts Senator - Rachel Shurvell
*There are two Student at Large positions in the Senate and so these are
not contested campaigns