Romesh Hettiarachchi

Monday, January 1, 2007

Why are you running?

Two words: Create change. I think the Central Students Association (CSA) has a lot of unfulfilled potential in terms of meeting students' needs, and needs to be more involved in the lives of students. Aiming to make the CSA more relevant to students, I will work to engage a broader percentage of the student population. My hope is that they not only know what the CSA does, but become more involved in their student government.

What are your priorities for next year?

With tuition being a major part of my job description, I will ensure that the University of Guelph presents a united front to the provincial/federal government with regards to tuition, with students and administration collaborating at all times. Additionally, I will create a framework to facilitate the success of students' own initiatives, utilizing my experience in various movements on campus such as the Masai for Africa & the Make Poverty History campaign. Lastly, I would initiate consultations for hiring a full time staff advocate that works to support the needs of students in the areas of academics, human rights and housing. This would ensure that professional help would be available to students, should they need it.

Who would win in a fight: Robocop or Terminator?

Is this even a contest? Of course the terminator will win. Robocop only uses guns, while the terminator is far more innovative. Actually... the terminator would probably hack into Robocop's circuitry and use him to fight humanity.

How will you work to promote educational issues in this fall’s provincial election?

With poster campaigns becoming increasingly ineffective as a promotion tool, I will use contemporary marketing techniques to publicize campus debates between provincial candidates. Collaborating with Citizenship and Community Engagement (part of the Office of Student Life), as well as with other community groups, I will strongly encourage a campus-wide discussion about the quality of education, as opposed to a narrow focus on tuition freezes. While not excluding an effort to try and reduce tuition, I want to ensure that tuition freezes or cuts do not impact the quality of the education we receive and/or the safety of our students. However in order to hear your viewpoint, I will organize events around this issue (including debates and speaker series) that create informed votes at the polls.

If they named a sandwich after you at the Bullring, what would be on it?

Hm. Considering I sometimes eat it breakfast, lunch and dinner, I'm going to go with curry. Chicken preferably.

What’s your strategy for working with the CFS?

Collaborate only so far as is good for the students of this University. While CFS does a number of awesome initiatives, my responsibility is continually aimed at students of the University. To those that believe I must closely follow CFS policy, I shall paraphrase the response of Cordelia in Shakespeare's King Lear:

"I love the Canadian Federation of Students, According to my bond to University of Guelph students; no more nor less."

Why are you qualified to represent the U of G on the provincial/national stage?

As a former writer for the Ontarion, I have developed a strong ability to communicate ideas cross-culturally both in writing and in my dialogues with other people. Additionally, my skills as an advocate have been strengthened in my role as Chroma Program Facilitator that, among other things, allowed me to be involved in the University's response to the many incidents of hate graffiti on campus last semester. These skills as an advocate and communicator will be crucial when I discuss the issues within my portfolio on the provincial/national stage.

Harper, Dion, Layton, Duceppe or May, who would you vote off the island?

While I disagree greatly with Harper on almost every issue across the spectrum, I do respect his ability to follow through on his campaign promises, effectively changing the values of being Canadian. Additionally, I think it is very easy to do the anti-Harper thing especially when diverse political viewpoints can be difficult to find on this campus. I would actually love to hear a good debate of ideas between a Conservative and Liberal/ NDP/Green member without disparaging comments being made. Oh, I guess that’s my job for you.

Having been exposed to separatist movements for three years in Sri Lanka, and seeing how tumultuous and violent they can get, I vote Duceppe off. Besides, I think Duceppe would be happier this way.

How external can you get?

As external as students need me to be.

*Anything else that you wanted to add? *

If you want to find more information about me, check out my website. Good luck with midterms and what not... and remember if you don't vote in these elections, then please don't complain about the CSA next year. I say the same thing to those that choose not to vote in provincial or federal elections as well.

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