Volume 90, Issue 71

Thursday, January 30, 1997



CANDIDATE PROFILE: Mark Smiley - Turning heads with a fresh look

By Donna MacMullin
Gazette Staff

Mark Smiley wants to build a new foundation for the University Students' Council.

"The USC exists to help students," Smiley said. "I don't think students get the representation we deserve and I think it's time we did."

As part of his presidential election campaign plan, Smiley wants to create a USC educational foundation – a non-profit student organization designed to raise money for student-created scholarships. "It's a proactive thing," he said. "It's a good way to bring people together for something besides political issues."

Smiley said he has a different view about student apathy towards USC politics. "Just because someone doesn't vote doesn't mean they are apathetic," he said. "Rather, the USC has been apathetic about trying to reach [students]." He said all students at Western are involved in the school in meaningful ways, but he added he also recognizes students often seem indifferent to political issues.

Three years experience on the residents' council of Medway Hall and his involvement in various other clubs and committees at Western has given him a balance of experience which helps him relate to people on different levels, Smiley said.

"I call a spade a spade," he said. "I have found people will respect you as long as you have an open mind."

One of the things Smiley intends to keep at the forefront of his campaign is the idea of getting directly involved in student needs. "You have to talk with people, not at them," he said. Smiley also said a president cannot take himself too seriously. "Then you start treating people like numbers and can lose the personal aspect that is so much of what Western is."

Smiley sees the USC as a beneficial volunteer training centre where students can learn a lot by getting involved. There are so many areas where the USC can use volunteer help – and it's great for students who want to develop their people skills, he said. "I want people to better understand what [the USC] is."

Smiley said he also plans to make some improvements to communications operations at Western – making TV Western more informative and less commercial and revamping council's promotional paper PRAVDA. "The USC needs to respond to student needs on campus and get away from the corporate side of things," he said.

If elected, Smiley said one of the first things he would try to do is meet with as many groups as possible and learn about USC operations. "The USC has a lot of potential to become something that will turn heads and give people a new perspective of Western so they can see beyond the Maclean's survey and party school image," Smiley said.

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Copyright The Gazette 1997