Candidates debate housing, academic experience issues

Candidates debate housing, academic experience issues

While many of their goals and visions – and even their favorite former U.S. president – are similar, Student Government Association (SGA) presidential candidates Joey Fiore and Christopher Bourne focused on some different aspects of the university in debates this week.

A greener campus is first on Fiore’s plan of action, while increasing students’ quality of life through themed housing, late-night dining options, and the expansion of the Husky Card are priorities for Bourne.

In their platforms, both candidates spoke of “enhancing the academic experience” and were asked to go into more detail at Tuesday evening’s debate in the Library Quad, which was moderated by Chris McGill, director of student leadership and engagement, and sponsored by The News.

Bourne, a sophomore political science and psychology major, said he wants to focus on offering more courses, especially in the summer.

“I also want to increase the honors programs. People think it ends freshman year, and that is not right,” Bourne said.

Working with the administration and President Joseph Aoun to enhance the interdisciplinary studies Aoun announced in his inauguration Monday is another goal for Bourne.

On the other hand, Fiore, a middler geology and history major said enhancing experiential education and increasing the international co-op opportunities would be an advantage for Northeastern.

“I want to increase the opportunities for all students so every major in every college can go abroad to learn,” Fiore said.

Fiore and Bourne both spoke of creating a larger sense of community at Northeastern.

Bourne said he wants to push for co-ed housing, student group themed housing and Greek life housing.

Separating housing in that way would only create smaller communities on campus, and not unite the university as a whole, Fiore said. Instead, he wants to work on large-scale student group collaborations and enhancing school spirit.

Both candidates have heard complaints from students who do not know what SGA is or about its impact on campus.

For Fiore the solution is to open the senate to the student body and make it “friendlier.” He plans on a large recruiting process in the summer to increase the number of senators.

“Students don’t feel comfortable coming to senate. I want to put the open discussion at the beginning of the agenda [at senate meetings] and not wait for the last potential five minutes for discussions,” Fiore said.

Having the entire executive board talk with students and talk about various concerns is the strategy Bourne plans to close the rift between the student body and SGA.

“Students don’t know what SGA does for them. I want to make sure students can come to the student government and voice their opinions,” Bourne said.

In response to a question about personal strengths and weaknesses at Monday’s debate sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Council moderated by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Jim Stellar, in West Village F, Bourne said not serving as an executive board member was one obstacle, but his dedication to the association since his freshman year was a primary strength.

Fiore said he does not think a lack of executive board experience will hinder his ability to serve as president. His main strengths are the leadership positions he has held in other student organizations.

In their closing statements the two candidates encouraged the student body to vote for them.

“Vote for integrity, experience and dedication and make Northeastern a better place to live, work and learn,” Bourne said.

Fiore said, “Leadership is about vision and that is what I bring here. I have a goal. I have a vision. Think big. Change is now.”

More information about the specifics of Bourne’s and Fiore’s platforms can be found on their websites, www.bournetolead.com and www.joeyfiore.com, respectively.

The two candidates will debate once more before voting begins through myNEU April 1. The debate will be at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Senate Chambers in 333 Curry Student Center, and is sponsored by Smith Hall Council, the West Village A and F Hall Councils, the NU College Democrats, the Off-Campus Student Association and Utsav, the Northeastern’s Undergraduate South Asian Student Association.

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