The UTM Athletic Council will be holding their annual for the 2013/14 school year, though it is very different from years past.
UTMAC’s candidates can run in slates consisting of seven executives for the seven available positions .The reason this year is so different from past electoral campaigns is that there is only one slate running for election in UTMAC: “Project RAWC”. The slate is made up of Andjela Ocicek (for president), Mike Manieri (for VP administration), Derek Wilson (for VP finance), Dianne Opena (for director of campus recreation and wellness), Essam Nadeem (for director of intramurals), Kerolles Seidarous (for director of special projects), and Natalie Hawchar (for director of public relations).
Though there is no competition for the presidency, there will only be competition for the position of director of intramurals, as independent candidate Kevin Moonsee is running against Nadeem. “I was a bit nervous seeing the seven team members sitting across the table from me,” said Moonsee, a second-year biology and psychology major.
“People are quick to ask who my team is,” he commented. “My response to that has been, ‘I am running individually for the position director of intramurals, but my team is composed of all the people who have supported me and voted for me. If I am elected, the team will expand to the voice of the students at UTM regarding intramurals and athletics on campus.’ ”
Moonsee, who has adopted the slogan “Together We Can”, isn’t overly worried about running alone. “I took this as a challenge, and I’ve always strived to challenge myself,” he said.
He is hoping to appeal to both the athletes and the non-athletes at UTM. He commented, “I hope to introduce a variety of intramurals next year that will accommodate people who don’t usually play sports.”
Moonsee’s previous experience involves working with UTMSU and his high school’s athletic council.
Although Project RAWC is running uncontested in the other six positions, the current UTMAC director of campus recreation and wellness is still focused on campaigning to inform the UTM student body about the election.
“We started out with a great social media turnout with hundreds of views on our campaign video, and a heavy volume of views on our Facebook page—we currently have 3,702 views on our page and we have recently reached 100 likes as well,” said Ocicek, a third-year CCIT major.
“We are also campaigning around campus—visiting lecture halls, talking to students in the Meeting Place, TFC, the IB lobby, CCT Building, et cetera,” she continued. “We will continue campaigning throughout the final week of school from Monday, April 1 to Wednesday, April 3, which are the voting days, and we encourage students to come and talk to us to find out more about Project RAWC and what we will bring to UTMAC next year.”
When asked about the lack of competition, Ocicek replied, “It was very surprising that there was no other teams running this year, especially since last year was very competitive with ASAP [All Students Actively Participating], Yes We Can, and RAWC You, who I thought set the bar for future elections.”
As for what Project RAWC looks to accomplish in the new school year, Ocicek has a clear set of goals ahead.
“It is our commitment to enrich the athletic community on our campus and cater to the needs of athletes and non-athletes alike. We will work towards improving our existing athletics program as well as introducing additional events to engage the student body, such as introducing varsity sport leagues on our campus, building an artificial [turf] field to be open all year round, and increasing team and school spirit as well as athlete recognition,” she said.
Ocicek’s experience in her current position has included involvement in the organization and promotion of UTMAC’s Charity Week, Health Week, Sports Skills Challenges, and various campus recreation tournaments, among others. Her athletic background includes playing for the Division 1, Division 2, and tri-campus women’s basketball teams, refereeing intramural basketball games, and participating in campus recreation tournaments and leagues.
The end of the school year always comes with both anxiety and anticipation. As students stress over exams and plan their summers, it is not uncommon for students to enter “zombie mode”. But as you walk through the crowded halls of UTM thinking about all the work you’ve done, take time to acknowledge the names and faces plastered on the walls for the upcoming student elections. The results will be announced at the annual UTMAC Athletic Banquet on April 5.