Denver Della-Vedova and Simranjeet Singh face off in MSU presidential debate


C/O Elections MSU

The two candidates for the MSU presidential electionto compete on different approaches to advocacy

On January 21, McMaster Student Union presidential candidates Simranjeet Singh and Denver Della-Vedova engaged in a two-hour debate, during which they each answered several questions regarding their platforms and the biggest problems on campus right now.

In his opening statements, Della-Vedova said he wants students to experience a better transition to in-person learning than they experienced this year. In addition, he presented the three main pillars of his Platform: amplification of voices, stability of students and maintenance of momentum.

In his opening remarks, Singh emphasized that his campaign was inspired by research and he presented the five themes of his Platform: creating a more supportive student welfare institution, stronger Hamilton community, environmental sustainability, equitable education and career development.

The candidates then discussed several important issues for McMaster students at this time. They were asked directly how their platforms address issues such as environmental sustainability, student mental health and student spending. Candidates were also asked several broader questions about how their platforms and advocacy styles would benefit the student body.

When it comes to environmental sustainability, Della-Vedova and Singh said McMaster could do more for sustainability.

Della-Vedova suggested offering more eco-friendly food packaging on campus and collaborating with student-led environmental initiatives, highlighting the feasibility of these goals.

Singh also supported a reusable container program; however, Singh’s approach to environmental sustainability has focused more on implementing auditing initiatives regarding McMaster’s waste management and training students in sustainable waste management.

Singh and Della-Vedova clashed over the need for waste management audits. Singh said that due to COVID-19, a lot has likely changed since the last audit in 2019 and that a key role for MSU is to fill knowledge gaps at the university. Della-Vedova, on the other hand, argued that the 2019 data is still quite recent and that due to temporary changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new audit could produce less reliable data.

When it comes to student mental health, Singh and Della-Vedova agreed on the seriousness of this issue and the importance of collaborating with the Student Wellness Center.

When it comes to student mental health, Singh and Della-Vedova agreed on the seriousness of this issue and the importance of collaborating with the Student Wellness Center.

Amarah Hasham-Steele, Journalist

Singh outlined his intention to advocate for further SWC expansion, effectively expand and market Thrive Week, and advocate for expanded McMaster student health and dental benefits.

Della-Vedova proposed introducing telehealth and online booking options at the SWC to expand the use of pre-existing resources. Della-Vedova also emphasized the importance of student safety and a positive campus environment for student mental health.

As for student spending, Della-Vedova highlighted her goal of partnering with the Food Collective Center and local businesses to help food-insecure students. Regarding rent expenses specifically, Della-Vedova raised the possibility of revitalizing an MSU role dedicated to connecting students to reasonable housing.

Singh, on the other hand, proposed a full-scale audit of student housing and the expansion of the use of open educational resources to reduce textbook costs.

Della-Vedova and Singh clashed over OER. Della-Vedova argued that financial changes due to OER would likely occur over many years and that more immediate spending issues should take priority. To this, Singh responded that the structures needed to support OER already exist and that even a small decrease in average textbook costs would have a significant impact on students.

Overall, it seems that Singh and Della-Vedova clashed on two major issues: the importance of data collection and the scope of their platform points.

As for data collection, Singh has repeatedly highlighted the research base of his platform, offering two major audits regarding environmental sustainability and a study on student housing. When asked if he is more invested in student advocacy or improving student life, Singh explained that the research focus of his platform will allow him to improve student life through in defense of rights.

According to Singh, it aims to collect the information that is missing so that it can be used as a basis for more targeted and effective advocacy.

According to Singh, it aims to collect the information that is missing so that it can be used as a basis for more targeted and effective advocacy.

Amarah Hasham-Steele, Journalist

Della-Vedova disagreed with Singh on the role of data collection. He responded by stating that MSU often collects a lot of data that is not used because new leaders come into MSU with new ideas every year. Della-Vedova emphasized action rather than data collection, saying pre-existing and online data are sufficient bases for advocacy.

Della-Vedova emphasized action rather than data collection, saying pre-existing and online data are sufficient bases for advocacy.

Amarah Hasham-Steele, Journalist

The second major point of contention in this debate concerned the scope of the ideas put forward and the role of feasibility. When asked which point of Singh’s platform he was most critical of, Della-Vedova said that while he was very fond of Singh’s ideas, he thought many of them were unachievable in one go. year. Della-Vedova was particularly critical of Singh’s plan to move to more OER, pointing out that there are limits to what MSU can achieve in a year.

When asked which point of Singh’s platform he was most critical of, Della-Vedova said that while he was very fond of Singh’s ideas, he thought many of them were unachievable in one go. year.

Amarah Hasham-Steele, Journalist

Singh, on the other hand, criticized Della-Vedova’s platforming points for simply focusing on increasing the supports already in place. For example, as Singh explained, Della-Vedova advocated expanding the compostable container program, while Singh advocated a widespread reusable container program.

Singh, on the other hand, criticized Della-Vedova’s platforming points for simply focusing on increasing the supports already in place.

Amarah Hasham-Steele, Journalist

Further, regarding OER, Singh explained that while he did not expect this transition to be complete within a year, he believed that progress towards more OER was still worth pursuing. .

The vote will take place in line from January 25 to January 27. An overview of the entire Della-Vedova platform can be found here and an overview of Singh’s platform can be found here.

Image courtesy of MSU Elections


Amarah Hasham Steele


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