MLSA 2023-2024 ELECTION CANDIDATES
President: Jayden Wlasichuk, Ayden Schumacher, Melinda Moch
Vice-President Internal: Selene Sharpe, Sawarn Benning
Vice-President External: Jamie Robertson, Eric Gagnon
2L Class Rep: Anna Kozak, Larissa Einarson, Jordan Wagner
2SLGBTQ+ Rep: Quinn Thomas, Colin “Emily” Peterson, Gillian Findlay
Womens’ Rep: Maia Bacchus, Lauren Corcoran
Valedictorian: Megan Filyk, Chris Dick, Dustin Seguin, Ben Leahy.
JAYDEN WLASICHUK for PRESIDENT
Hey Robson! My name is Jayden (she/her) and I am excited to be running for your MLSA President next year! I bring almost a decade of experience in student advocacy through various positions at the University of Guelph and now Robson Hall, where I’ve been involved in the Feminist Legal Forum, the Constitutional Committee, and the Clinical Experience Committee. I hope to continue enriching Robson Hall through collaboration and community-focussed advocacy.
Next year will be our second full year in person, and I want to use it as an opportunity for us all to create and shape a revitalized Robson community! If elected MLSA President, my main goals are to:
- Create a supportive and inclusive environment through relationship-building and open communication with MLSA Counsellors, and through building and maintaining positive relationships between the MLSA and other vital student groups, such as MILSA, the Black Law Students Association, the Bilingual Students’ Association, and the newly ratified Harm Reduction Group.
- Foster a sense of community through increased engagement with clubs and events by establishing a friendly competition between the years at Robson where students can earn points for engaging with the Robson Hall Community through event attendance and participation, and also through charity events!
- Bridge gaps between students and faculty by encouraging collaboration between the MLSA, student groups, and committees and the Robson Faculty on events and initiatives.
I lead with empathy and enthusiasm. I have an open-door policy, and welcome feedback in all avenues as we work to make Robson Hall ours!
AYDEN SCHUMACHER for PRESIDENT
Hey Robson Hall,
My name is Ayden Schumacher and I’m running to be your next MLSA president.
This school year I’ve been able to gain valuable experience which I will bring into my presidency working within the MLSA as both your UMSU Representative and one of the co-chairs of the Social Committee. Working as your UMSU Representative has given me a chance to learn the nuances of both the MLSA and UMSU and my time as a co-chair of the Social Committee has given me a chance to help lead a team of students, work with the university, and work with businesses outside the U of M to create a number of Robson Hall social events. Some Social Committee events that I have had a hand in creating are: orientation week events, Frosh, MedLaw, and the Carbolic Smoke Ball. The experience I have gained through these two roles has given me essential tools and knowledge that if elected I will bring into my role as your MLSA President, allowing me to ensure that the 2023-2024 academic year is the best one yet.
I also believe that an important aspect of our time here at Robson Hall is to have the opportunity to learn and grow within a vibrant community. If elected I will work to make sure that the halls of our faculty foster a space in which we not only attend class and write exams, but one in which we all feel comfortable having fun, connecting with our peers, and creating connections. I want us to all have a space in which we create connections that will not only improve our day to day at Robson Hall, but which will stay with us long after we have moved on into our professional careers.
I want to be there for YOU and you specifically. I plan to be the type of president that any and all students feel comfortable connecting with, whether it be a concern, a new idea, a comment, or even if you just need someone to chat with between classes. No matter what the reason is, I’ll be there to listen and talk and take all that I learn from you into my decision making as president.
I hope I can count on your vote on February 16th and 17th, and if you’d like to connect for any reason over the course of my campaign feel free to reach out over social media, in person, or email me at email@example.com. I can’t wait to hear from you.
MELINDA MOCH for PRESIDENT
Hi folks. For those who know me, hello friends! For those who don’t know me, I’m Melinda. I’m a 2L here at Robson, and I’m one of your candidates running for the office of President of the MLSA next year. I’d like to start off by thanking our current MLSA body. I walk these halls, attend the events, receive the emails, and can only stand in awe of all of the dedication and hard work that goes in to that. Our experience in Law School is truly only as great as the student body leadership that advocates for and supports our studies. And yes, the Robson Hall Curling League, and the Christian Fellowship Group, and the Robson Hall Jets, and Carbolic, and OUTLaws, and Law Games and all of the student groups and student activities: these are all supportive of our learning. These groups support our mental and physical health, they support our ability to form lifelong relationships, and memories that will help us all get through the next grueling yet rewarding years of practice.
So, let’s be honest. I can wax poetic and make a lot of promises…some of which I will be successful in, others that might be completely BS, and many that will simply have too many barriers in place to accomplish. So I’m not going to do that. I am a person of my word and, as such, if I make any promises to you that I cannot bring to fruition, I will personally wear that shame for the rest of my life. What I can promise to do is listen…and to try. There is no person in Robson Hall that I am not willing to listen to and to advocate for. Truly. I have many years (I won’t tell you how many) where I have experienced not being listened to. We are a student body of very diverse, differing opinions. All of which, provided they bring no hurt or harm to others, are completely valid and welcome. So I promise to listen and to try. And in seeing the names of those, like me, hoping to join the MLSA executive, I see next year as being home to a like-minded group that will do exactly that.
I am not special. I know that everyone wants to hear candidates identify something that sets them apart from the other candidates. I’ve got nothing. There is truly nothing about me that makes me special or more qualified for this position. In fact, I can likely think of a few things that might make me your least qualified candidate. But one thing I can promise you is that I am not competition. My future is decided – my future was decided long before I entered law school. I have my firm, I have my people, I have my practice area. I have absolutely no reason to stand in anyone’s way. In fact, I will stand beside you. Better yet, I will push the door open, and hold it open. I’m a mom. In being a mom, I can only tell you how incredible it is to see people who have any influence in the world open doors for my own children. Doors I have no power over. So the one thing I will promise you is that I will do my utmost to hold open doors for as many as I can, and I hope that you all will do the same – hold open doors that you gain access to.
VICE-PRESIDENT EXTERNAL CANDIDATES
JAMIE ROBERTSON for VICE-PRESIDENT EXTERNAL
For those of you who don’t know me, I have been actively involved in the Robson Hall Community. Beginning in 1L with representative positions, I am now the Co-President of the Robson Hall Mental Health Group, the Vice-President of Advocacy for the Robson Hall Debate Society, I am a member of the Strategic Advisory Committee, and I am a Networking Coordinator for the Professional Development Committee. My role with PDC is especially relevant to the position of Vice-President External, as through this position I gained valuable experience in organizing networking events and seeking sponsorships.
As your Vice-President External, I envision Robson Hall to be a place where law students can connect with the Manitoba legal community and feel well prepared to start their legal careers. If elected, I will create an environment where students have networking events and opportunities to meet lawyers from a vast variety of practice areas and workplaces. I will also handle sponsorship opportunities for groups that are seeking more money for events such as their own networking events.
I hope to make Robson Hall a better place and help students connect with the Manitoba Legal community. We need more information on all the different types of legal career options out there for us, and I will organize this information in an accessible way so that you know the options and have the networking opportunities to make any of your goals come to life. I hope to aid in the sponsorship program and use what I have learned from being a PDC Networking Coordinator to gain sponsorship opportunities and help Robson Hall students engage with the legal community.
I hope to receive your vote on February 16th and 17th. If you have any questions, please reach out. I am always happy to answer!
ERIC GAGNON for VICE-PRESIDENT EXTERNAL
Hello Robson Hall,
My name is Eric Gagnon (he/him/il/lui), and I am excited to announce that I am running to be your Vice-President External for the 2023-2024 year.
Community engagement, event planning, mentorship, networking, and advocacy form the core of my volunteer experiences. As a law student, I have had the pleasure to serve as your Manitoba Bar Association (MBA) Representative and as an executive of the Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) Law Students Section. I also serve as the Chairperson of Robson Hall’s Bilingual Students’ Association where I have worked to improve French-language opportunities for students and foster a deeper connection with the French-speaking legal community of Manitoba.
If elected as your Vice-President External, I will:
- Allocate funding for MBA/CBA conferences and workshops.
- Continue developing a national mentorship program.
- Foster external relationships with Manitoba’s community of French-speaking lawyers.
- Employ my community programming experience to oversee MLSA events, services, and initiatives.
- Work effectively with the Faculty of Law and advocate for Robson Hall students.
More information about myself and what I have planned for this upcoming year can be found here: https://ericforvpx.weebly.com/.
Thank you for your time and consideration – I hope to count on your support!
VICE-PRESIDENT INTERNAL CANDIDATES
SAWARN BENNING for VICE-PRESIDENT INTERNAL
I am Sawarn Benning (she/her), and I am thrilled to be running for Vice President Internal (VPI)! The VPI is meant to facilitate communication and advocacy on behalf of Robson Hall committees and students. My passion, excitement, and experience make me qualified and excited to take on this role for you.
I am a member of the Academic Committee and Vice President External of the Mental Health Group. I have also held multiple part time positions with the Faculty of Law. Having experience being a part of and working with committees and groups has given me firsthand experience of the hard work and challenges facing student groups, and the support they need to thrive at Robson.
This year has been a transition from virtual to in-person and I know the next year will build on that momentum. For our second year back in-person I will improve and foster our new community life at Robson Hall. As VPI, my main goals are to:
- Communicate with and advocate on behalf of committees & students: A major part of the VPI role is to champion the concerns of committees and students. I hope to establish regular meetings with the committees to establish an open line of communication beyond the other mechanisms (email and ad hoc communication). I will also maintain an open-door policy to ensure that all voices are heard and respected at Robson.
- Bring momentum to Robson’s student life: Starting with orientation week, I want to use this as the first look at fostering community for the next year. It’s a great opportunity to find a footing and sense of belonging in the Robson community. Beyond the social events of Frosh, Welcome Night, and Bingo Night from last year, I hope to have a committee and group spotlight event—to showcase the invaluable work and support that the various groups at Robson Hall provide.
- Be transparent: I hope to ensure openness of all changes that are being made or are in the works, so that students remain in the loop and informed at all stages.
I will actively listen, as well as maintain and foster and sense of community at Robson Hall as your VPI. I will uplift, both current and future student groups and committees at Robson Hall and leave this community better than we found it.
SELENE SHARPE for VICE-PRESIDENT INTERNAL
My name is Selene Sharpe, and I am running to be your Vice-President Internal for the 2023-24 school year.
My experiences throughout my time at Robson Hall make me an ideal candidate for the role of Vice-President Internal. I am currently a member on the Communications Committee where I create content for the MLSA Instagram, attend all of your favourite RH events in order to get the perfect shot to feature on our social medias, and assist with the branding of the MLSA. I am also a member of the Robson Hall Mental Health Group where I serve as the communications lead for the group. Furthermore, I am on the MLSA Social Committee where I help organize events, design advertisements, and contribute creative ideas to the group. In my free time, I enjoy playing in the Robson Hall Curling League with my Material Curls, as well as on the Pitblado Soccer Team in the Law League with several of my Robson Hall peers.
I am passionate about fostering a positive community at Robson Hall. If elected, I am committed to listening to new ideas and concerns from the student body. I have been fortunate enough to have an incredible experience at Robson thanks to the guidance that I have received and the people that I have met. My main focus is to ensure that every student feels welcome, appreciated, and heard. I hope I can count on your vote on February 16th and 17th, 2023.
If anyone has any other questions, please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or message me on Facebook! Thanks so much and best of luck to all of the candidates!
2L CLASS REP CANDIDATES
ANNA KOZAK for 2L CLASS REPRESENTATIVE
LARISSA EINARSON for 2L CLASS REPRESENTATIVE
My name is Larissa Einarson, and I am excited to be running as your 2L Class Representative. I chose to become a 1L rep this year with the goal of being an accessible resource for all to share concerns and ideas with. As your potential 2L rep, that goal is still my top priority. I have been privileged with the opportunity to get to know so many of my classmates and advocate for our section. I have made it a priority this year for all A03 student’s voices and concerns to be heard and have worked diligently to coordinate with upper years and faculty to ensure that our needs as students were sufficiently met. I promise that as your 2L rep, this effort will not be shifted, and I will continue to work with all students to make sure our year is the best it can be.
Student life and being involved on campus has been a major part of my university experience and I am looking to continue this next year. In addition to being a 1L rep, I have served as a Resident Advisor from 2018-2020 and presently work with Student Affairs since 2019. Through these roles, I have gained substantial knowledge of the University of Manitoba campus and advocating for students. In addition to my experiences at the UofM, I have embarked on other leadership roles, such as mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters Winnipeg.
The most important responsibility of this role is to represent you all to the MLSA and Faculty, and I am truly honoured to do this. It is my promise that I will always make the time for you all to come and chat and share your ideas with me. My hope for Robson Hall is to create an environment where every student’s voice can be heard. We have an incredible year of students with diverse viewpoints, and in being your rep, I will listen and crowdsource all of our ideas to help improve our experience here. I am dedicated to listening to your concerns, advocating for change, and creating a fun environment for us all to experience. I will ensure the community aspect remains strong by planning and organizing events for students to engage with each other, including more buddy events throughout the year to ensure 1L students feel adequately supported in their transition to law school.
I really hope to continue to represent you all and be someone you all feel comfortable coming to. Please feel free to message me on Facebook or send me an email (email@example.com) if you have any questions! Thank you for reading and I hope to have your vote February 16-17!
JORDAN WAGNER for 2L CLASS REPRESENTATIVE
My name is Jordan Wagner, and I am running for the position of 2L Class Representative beginning this fall. I want to start off by congratulating all of my 1L classmates on their law school success so far. It is not always easy to balance your classes, personal life, and extracurriculars, but you have shown that with hard work and determination, you can accomplish great things!
I decided to run to be your representative because I care deeply about helping my fellow classmates succeed. Law school can be very challenging, and it is important to reach out in times of need. Helping my classmates through good times and bad is something that I know that I am capable of.
Since I started here in September, I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing people and being a part of groups such as the Robson Hall Debate Society, the Business Law Group, and PBSC, just to name few. Along the way, I have learned so much, made strong connections with my peers, and I believe that getting involved with the MLSA is an invaluable way to help my fellow law students. I have always loved helping people and could be a tremendous ambassador and advocate for students in their law school journey. Throughout my undergrad degree, I built my leadership skills up by being a part of student clubs and competing in case competitions. Throughout my latter years of high school and all of university, I was employed at the City of Winnipeg as a Swimming Instructor and Lifeguard. My six years in this position gave me an abundance of public relations experience and the ability to adapt to challenging situations.
I look forward to continuing the buddy program and exam cram that 2L representatives have been responsible for in the past. With these initiatives, I want to receive feedback from my fellow classmates, so that they can become even better. A couple of qualities that I will bring to this position are accessibility and transparency.
First, I believe in being accessible to everyone. No matter the time of the day, I will always be available for a phone call or email to help my fellow students here at Robson Hall. I truly mean it, whether it is six in the morning or eleven at night, I am here to help. The best way to reach me is at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting me at 204-470-4412. I will ensure that your voices are heard and communicated to the MLSA, the Faculty, the University, and MILSA. I guarantee to represent all of my classmates fairly and equally.
Second, I strive to be as transparent as possible. It is important that my fellow classmates know exactly what is going and they should be notified immediately for anything important that pertains to them. The way that I plan on doing this is through social media, class group chats, and any other methods that my classmates prefer.
I want to thank you all again for the opportunity to run alongside some of the brightest students Robson Hall has to offer, and I hope to have your vote on February 16th and 17th. I believe in being accessible and transparent to law students, and I cannot wait to be an ambassador, advocate, and leader at Robson Hall.
2SLGBTQ+ REP CANDIDATES
QUINN THOMAS for 2SLGBTQ+ REPRESENTATIVE
My name is Quinn, and I’m running for the 2SLGBTQ+ Representative position for next fall.
As MLSA’s 2SLGBTQ+ Rep, I would work alongside community reps and student groups to ensure that all 2SLQBGT+ students are represented and provided with opportunities.
I would endeavour to create welcoming, safe, and inclusive spaces and events for 2SLGBTQ+ students to feel valued and supported at Robson Hall!
EMILY PETERSON for 2SLGBTQ+ REPRESENTATIVE
Hello! I am Emily Peterson (she/her) and I am running for 2SLGBTQ+ Representative. Some of you may know me by Colin, but Emily is my preferred name.
As 2SLGBTQ+ Representative, I would seek to promote greater openness on campus and greater solidarity between the different marginalized communities at Robson Hall. This means hearing your concerns, advocating on queer issues, and reaching out to other groups to build a more vibrant community where we all feel safe being ourselves, both in class and in the legal profession as a whole.
At Robson, I have been involved with OUTlaws, worked with the Trans ID Clinic and JusticeTrans, and been involved in planning both big and small queer events. As Representative, I would continue to work in these capacities as well to promote a stronger 2SLGBTQ+ community here at law school and in Manitoba.
Thank you for your consideration. Feel free to approach me if you have any questions
GILLIAN FINDLAY for 2SLGBTQ+ REPRESENTATIVE
My name is Gillian Findlay and I think I could do an amazing job as your 2SLGBTQIA+ MLSA Representative!
I am incredibly passionate about queer rights and education, and hope to demonstrate the drive that I have to create a safe, fun, and comfortable learning environment for queer students if elected. Some goals I have are to increase connections between queer students at Robson and the broader queer legal community, and start new small social and educational events for the queer student base and beyond. If elected, I promise to be conscious of the struggles unique to gender and sexual minorities and to be a clear and confident voice for queer students at Robson Hall. I have a lot of ideas for the year to come, and am filled with determination, excitement, and passion that I hope to bring to the position!
WOMENS' REP CANDIDATES
MAIA BACCHUS for WOMENS’ REPRESENTATIVE
Hi everyone! My name is Maia Bacchus, and I am a 1L student at Robson Hall. I am running for MLSA Women’s Rep in this election as I believe I am the right person to advocate for and support women at Robson Hall.
The Women’s Rep role brings together a wide variety of people, from all different walks of life. No one woman’s experience will be the same, but we all deserve to have the experience and opportunities that we want to have! This is why I will be taking an intersectional approach to this role, by working closely with other Community Reps, Student Groups, and addressing individual student’s concerns.
My goal for this position is to ensure that every single woman here feels that I am someone who can provide a safe space and support for them throughout their time here at Robson Hall.
For this next year, should I be elected, I will advocate for and organize women specific networking events, panel discussions, and informal get togethers to really connect with women who are already in the legal field. This will build up support networks once we all leave Robson Hall and start our own careers! I want my time as Women’s Rep to go beyond the four walls of Robson.
I have a long history – both volunteer- wise and professionally – of intersectional work that focuses on women in professional fields. I have extensive experience representing women in sport, as a national team member for the sport of fencing, and as a coach and referee on an international scale. I’ve sat on various boards through Fencing Canada, Coaching Canada and Sport Manitoba, all aimed at increasing representation of women in sport.
Currently, I am doing work with the Anti Racism in Sport Campaign to look at ways to increase accessibility and inclusivity of all women in sport, particularly First Nations, Metis, Inuit, Black and Racialized women. As well, this campaign examines how accessibility, sexuality and gender identity all impact an individual’s experience in sport and is seeking to address the gaps that occur.
I also have served in previous student council roles. During my undergrad, I was elected as Director of Accessibility for Arts Student Body Council and I learned so much as to what inclusivity and accessibility really mean, particularly in an academic and a professional environment.
If I am elected as your MLSA Women’s Rep, I will be your supporter, your safe space to vent to, and your biggest cheerleader. Thank you so much for taking the time to read all of this today, and I hope you will consider voting for me!
LAUREN CORCORAN for WOMENS’ REPRESENTATIVE
Hello Robson Hall! My name is Lauren Corcoran (she/her) and I am running to be your MLSA Women’s Representative for the 2023/2024 year.
I have been a passionate advocate for gendered issues since I came to Robson Hall: I have served for two years on the Feminist Legal Forum, currently as the Vice-Chair. As President of my Undergraduate Department at the University of Alberta, I championed students’ voices on issues of sexual violence policy, racialized teaching practices, and trans rights within my community.
As your Women’s Representative I hope to:
- Support and enrich gender parity within Robson Hall by advocating for gender diversity and inclusion on panels and speaker events;
- Foster mindfulness regarding how gender impacts all members of Robson Hall, and perpetuates inequalities within the profession;
- Enhance community and open discussion surrounding gender and gendered issues at Robson Hall by collaborating with student groups and committees.
Not Included Below: Chris Dick, Dustin Seguin, Ben Leahy
MEGAN FILYK for VALEDICTORIAN
Hello fellow classmates,
I am seeking your vote to be elected the 2023 class valedictorian. Essentially, I believe I have the necessary skills and ability to make a speech that will capture the experiences we have all been through over the past few years. We all have different paths and journeys that got us to the point of graduating, I will make sure those perspectives are included. As well, I hope to share some insights that I have learned over the rights few years through personal experience. I will (attempt) to make you laugh and possibly cry, but mostly laugh.
If you have any specific questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com. Thank you!