Victoria Ritchie is an independent candidate for Director-at-Large in the 2020 UVSS election. Ritchie is a second-year environmental studies and geography major with a focus on Indigenous studies.
What are the three most important aspects of your campaign?
Ritchie: Sustainability, inclusivity, and decolonization.
What did last year’s board do well and what did they do poorly?
Ritchie: Last year’s UVSS board lobbied the Board of Governors hard for full divestment. They created an inclusive environment for students and presented a very comprehensive financial plan.
How do you plan to improve upon, or do differently, what you feel the previous board has done poorly?
Ritchie: I plan to continue to aid in the development of campaigns such as Divest UVic, Let’s Get Consensual, and Wellness Week. In terms of what the current UVSS board did poorly, I do not feel it is my place to assume they did anything poorly. From my understanding of the current board’s efforts, they did all that they could within their term to further develop our UVic community.
What compelled you to run in this election?
Ritchie: I have been quite involved with the UVSS this past year, and as a volunteer I feel that there is more work to be done within the organization. I see the need for strong advocacy on topics of sustainability and inclusivity. I also see the need to hold UVic as a collective accountable for its alleged values of “reconciliation.”
What is the biggest issue facing students on campus, and how would you address it if elected?
Ritchie: One of the many issues facing students on campus is the university’s lack of accountability. I feel that the UVic Board of Governors and the UVic Foundation must comply with the demands of students, staff, and faculty, and I plan to hold them responsible for their lack of transparency.
Typically, only about 15 per cent of the student population vote in UVSS elections. How do you intend to raise student participation in student politics, or events you would run on campus if elected?
Ritchie: I plan to hold classroom talks in a variety of buildings across campus in hopes of reaching out to demographics of students who may be under-represented in the current student voting population. If elected, I will work to extend the knowledge of the UVSS, hoping to further the diversity of degree programs represented on the student union.
What do you think is important for students to know about your campaign and the upcoming elections?
Ritchie: Some important things to know about my campaign: I want to represent student needs, and as a Director-at-Large I will work to provide safe places for students to work to better the UVic community. This election is a great opportunity for students to elect a board that isn’t based off a slate system, but rather chosen nominees that are the best fit for the position.
Do you think it’s the UVSS’s responsibility to focus on issues outside of just the University of Victoria campus? If not, why? If so, what issues?
Ritchie: I think that UVSS has a large outreach, as they have worked with community groups in the past to further their impact. UVic students live and work all over the Victoria area, therefore the UVSS has the responsibility to stand for community issues that affect students, such as housing, affordability, and transportation.
Voting for the UVSS elections will take place from March 4 to 6. The Martlet and CFUV are co-hosting two election events, the All Candidates and Referenda Forum on March 2 and the Lead Directors Debate on March 3, both at 2:30 in the Vertigo lounge.