VP Student life
The VP Student Life’s portfolio deals with clubs and services, student services, mental health initiatives, and independent student groups. Sophia Esterle
The VP student life is responsible for overseeing SSMU’S liaisons with the Board of Directors (BOD), student clubs and services, as well as managing Mcgill’s mental health initiatives.
Esterle previously served as the SSMU equity committee, and the Douglas Hall Spirit Representative. Esterle emphasized the need to advocate for marginalized voices through prioritizing mental health on campus, which has consistently been a prominent election issue in recent years.
During the debate, Esterle emphasized the need for reforms on the Mcgill Counselling Services, noting the month long wait for the first appointment. Esterle criticized Mcgill Counselling ‘s binary designation of gender in their sign up sheets, which they feel is “purely wrong and discriminatory.”
When asked about the cutbacks on the Eating Disorder Program (EDP) at Mcgill, Esterle responded that they will advocate for the right to a treatment program, and regain the resources firstly through communication with Mental Health services, then by pressuring the BOD. If elected, Esterle will attempt to create an in residence support system, and a search engine cataloguing clubs and services.
Esterle also stressed the importance of individual contact with students, despite the building closure, which may limit accessibility. Esterle plans on increasing office hours as needed, in order to maintain direct communication with individual students, and to represent their needs better on the BOD.
Esterle is running for VP Student Life on a platform largely based around mental health services at Mcgill. Her platform is divided into administrative changes, individual changes, and creation of committees. Main points of her platform include: a research engine for Mcgill clubs and services, and making Mcgill counseling services more efficient and easier for students to navigate. Esterle’s platform, while hopeful, is relatively limited in scope, and may at times forget to take institutional memory into account. While her commitment to the improvement of mental health services at Mcgill is valuable, The Mcgill Daily is not confident that her previous experience as Douglas Hall Spirit Representative and serving on the SSMU Equity Committee has adequately prepared her for the role. As a result, The Daily endorses a No vote.