Following the Annual General Meetings of the foremost political student organisations, Studenti Demokristjani Maltin (SDM) and Pulse last week, Insite caught up with the two newly elected Presidents, Neil Smart Costantino and JohnLuke Ellul, respectively.
1) Are there any changes to SDM as a political organisation to look forward to now that it is under your leadership?
Neil Smart Costantino - Definitely! I am very motivated to be leading this powerful political organisation, especially next to two people whom I trust very much in Jake and William. We need to keep in mind as a team that our role is not only to simply contest elections, but also to represent students on a national scale. As such, you can expect SDM to be very active politically throughout the next year. I believe that our society is in need of future politicians who can think, discuss and make an effective difference in people’s lives. We have a responsibility to shape the leaders of tomorrow to be able to serve their roles in the most professional of ways, and that is exactly what my team plans to do.
Johnluke Ellul - As an organisation we will continue to strive towards overcoming new challenges while pushing forward our progressive agenda. Under the leadership of Wayne Sammut and Ayrton Mifsud we managed to strengthen our institutions, and now we must continue to solidify our position as one of the biggest student organisations. Under my leadership we will further strengthen our administration without radical changes and, along with my team, we will continue pushing forward our education and social policy offices.
2) Which projects will you continue, and are there new things in the pipeline?
NSC - I can assure you that all members of the executive are ready to get the ball rolling. We do have a plan to introduce new things for sure, and I urge students to stay tuned for a lot of campaigns and initiatives that we will be taking up. With so many fresh faces in the executive, the potential of this group is endless. When it comes to continuations, I will certainly make sure that our door is always open for every student who wishes to speak his or her mind. We will continue to listen to what everyone has to say and efficiently represent those views, as long as they are in line with our fundamental values of equality, respect, tolerance and solidarity. In addition to this, we will continue building on the Leave Your Mark campaign. We need to promote the excellent work done by our organisations on and off campus - the fight against apathy is a fight that we have to go into together, as a unified force.
JE - First and foremost we will continue our successful Student Fund initiative, as a team we are working on new ideas to go hand in hand with our vision, and I encourage students to stay tuned and join this project. Following a year of successful International Ambassador opportunities, we will be further enhancing said office. The Education and Social Policy offices will embark in interesting projects which, as an organisation, we are looking forward to launch and share with the student body.
3) Do you feel like you will be following your predecessors, or blazing a new trail?
NSC - While I thank my predecessors for their excellent work, it is essential to have something fresh. Both individually as a President, and as a whole executive, we will build on the good things that have been achieved by previous teams. On the other hand, it is important to learn from the mistakes that were made throughout the year. From my end, what I can promise is that I will always be readily available to listen and introduce fresh ideas. Society is at a point where we need key players to drive change forward. Even if one looks at the recent KSU Car Pooling Project, it was received with a backlash, but I have full confidence that in the long run, we will see massive steps forward. This is because we are always comfortable with what we are used to, but if we want to make a difference, we cannot be afraid to take bold steps. This is the same attitude with which I would like to lead SDM; no one ever made a difference by being like everybody else.
JE - As said before, as a team we must continue to strengthen our institutions, keeping members at heart and ensure that we keep our progressive social democratic agenda on the forefront. As every President, I will introduce new ideas to ensure that as an organisation we will remain relevant and up to date with current issues.
Mr Costantino will be working together with new Vice President Jake Scerri and Secretary General William Farrugia along with the rest of their team. Mr Ellul will in turn be assisted by new Vice President Owen Grech and Secretary General Noel Mifsud and the rest of the executive. Insite would like to wish both executives the best of luck and a healthy political rivalry for the upcoming year.