2016 ASSU Candidate Statements

Here are the statements from the candidates for the upcoming ASSU Executive elections
Candidate for President

Ondiek Oduor

Hey Friends®,

I’m a fourth year student studying Social-Cultural Anthropology, Book & Media Studies, and Women & Gender Studies – and I am running to be your President.

Having the privilege of serving ASSU this year has taught me the importance of maintaining a unified sense of community. It has also opened my eyes to the structural barriers that impede our success. While we do have some of the most intelligent individuals in the world—both studying and teaching here—we must acknowledge that more work has to be done before we can have a reciprocal relationship with the University.

This year, we actively strived to increase student involvement within our exceptionally diverse community. In my term, I organized and advertised (re: Facebook lol) all three coffeehouses – including Ariana’s Grande which I considered iconic. Furthermore, I organized equity training for the executive members, participated in the Fall Reading Week Referendum, and re-launched the Arbor Journal as Co-Editor in Chief. I also brought my favourite podcast—The Read—to the University for totally unselfish reasons.

I believe that I have the necessary experience to continue our progress. I’ve held several roles including, but not limited to: being the Head of Non-Resident Affairs at Trinity College, interning for the Office of Student Life’s social media networks, co-founding Intersections: the Clapback journal, and being a regular contributor to the Salterrae and Gargoyle.

It would be a privilege to take on the presidential role, and I can’t wait to see what the new year brings!

Candidates for Executive

Tian Yi Bao – no statement

Nathan Chan

Hello!

My name is Nathan Chan and I hope to become an executive member of ASSU. I am currently in the third year of the Physiology Specialist and Pharmacology Major Programs.

Previous commitments have lent extensive experience that is applicable to ASSU. Having been both the Executive Administrator and Second-Year Representative of the Undergraduate Physiology Student Association, I have two-years’ experience collaborating with course unions and developing academic and social programming for students. Within Trinity College, I have served two years as Vice-President, Academic of LGBTQ+ support group “Rainbow Trinity”, two years as Co-Captain of student safety group “Sober Patrol”, and two years as a Member-at-Large of anti-sexual harassment advocacy group “Trinity Against Sexual Assault and Harassment”. I further have founded “People of Colour at Trinity College”, a social support group for racialised students.

Through my experience, I have interacted with hundreds of students from various identities. As an executive member of ASSU, I hope to improve student experience in three ways:

1) encouraging greater inter-course union collaboration to provide greater opportunity for student engagement

2) educating course unions to ensure campus-wide social and mental health resources are used and accessible

3) engaging in campus-wide student outreach to address issues of social and financial inequity

Above all, I recognize the diversity of our studies and the diversity of our lived experiences. By focusing on the aforementioned goals, I hope to improve the student experience for all students.

I hope you will strongly consider my candidacy for executive membership of ASSU.

 

Jia Chen

Hello,

My name is Lisa Chen and I am finishing my third year at U of T, as well as my third year as an executive on ASSU. If elected for a fourth year, I will work to bring more structure to the Budget Review Committee and Course Union Special Funding Request forms, as well as continue to push for improvement in the Faculty’s annual Course Evaluation.

In the three years that I have served on ASSU, I have helped the union push for Faculty-wide change such as Syllabi Regulation and an International Students Survey in 2014, and a referendum for a Fall Reading Week in 2015. Both with my team and as an individual, I have hosted internationally-renown speakers such as Wab Kinew and Ta-Nehisi Coates, in addition to fun de-stresser events such as a Nightmare before Christmas themed coffee-house, a ‘90s Themed Dance Party and cupcake decorating.

This year in addition to being an executive, I held the position of treasurer and worked closely with the Budget Review Committee to approve the Special Funding Request forms of Course Unions. I found that the Committee did not have a concrete set of guidelines to work from, and we had difficulty reaching consensus on which parts of a request to grant, and whether or not to grant 100% of the request. In 2016, I hope to create a solid set of guidelines based on precedent and approve SPFs in a fair and objective manner.

 

 

Crystal Gao

When I joined ASSU in 2014, I aimed to make an impact on the academic experiences of students in our faculty. Little did I know how this space would change me. Each of you play an important role on your course unions and engage with student affairs beyond… I am certain you can relate. Somewhere along the work we have been doing, this big campus began to feel a lot smaller.

Over the past two years, I’ve had the privilege to work on initiatives to support our first year and international students, Mental Health week and course evaluations. This week, I am proud to be hosting our first Transition Week to help first year students find their crucial next steps for off-campus housing, academic planning and program enrolment. On Election Day, I will share a more in-depth overview of my past and ongoing projects as well as what I hope to achieve with ASSU Council next year.

To the course union leaders here today, I want to say, thank you for giving me your trust for the past two years. I hope you will give me another opportunity to work with you and continue on the projects that I’ve begun!

 

Amani Bosibori Moragia

Hey y’all,

My name is Bosi and I’m running to be your next ASSU student executive. I’m looking forward to bringing a dose of consistent black excellence to the Arts and Science Students Union, as well as a wealth of activities and initiatives that cater to the diverse student body. It’s lit.

 

Harrison Perry-Daiter

My name is Harrison Perry-Daiter and I am running for election to the Arts and Science Students’ Union Executive. I am a second year student majoring in European Studies, with minors in Russian and Jewish Studies.

I have been a firm advocate of student activism throughout my academic career. Pursuing broad education reform, I presented my speech “Sexism in the French Language” before a forum of Ontario secondary school French Language Department heads, for which I was awarded the Emblem of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

I have prior experience in student governance, having served as Vice President-Academic of the Slavic Languages Student Union.   Acting upon our members’ right to efficient course evaluations, we are working with the Department to facilitate access to internal reviews, drawing from standardized year-end student feedback. Among my other student leadership initiatives, I served as Vice President of AFTER UofT. In this capacity, I co-organized a Professional Development Conference, a full day event that featured thirty guest speakers, and accommodated over three hundred students.

While building upon ASSU’s successes, my targets for 2016-2017 include efficient course evaluations, by offering accessible sessional feedback on professors, course instructors and teaching assistants. I would apply ASSU’s broad student outreach to promote engagement in Course Union events of all sizes.

 

Natalie Petra

I’m Natalie Petra and I’m running for re-election for the ASSU Executive. I am majoring in Ethics, Society and Law and Peace, Conflict and Justice, and minoring in Equity Studies. I am also a course union executive with the PCJ Society. I have served as an elected member of the Faculty’s Committee on Standing, on the UCLit’s Finance Committee, and as an orientation executive. Outside of school, I am a library board trustee, and serve as the Director of Communications for the New Democratic Youth of Canada.

Working with ASSU and the Faculty, I have learned and grown immensely. I had the pleasure of seeing the work of course unions and hearing student needs. Last year, I implemented an email system for ASSU, and ensured budgets, policies and minutes were accessible online. I was proud to work on the Fall Reading Week Referendum, and to advocate for an improved Course Evaluation system, better support systems for first years and international students, and mental wellness resources. I want to build on this by:

1) Implementing a feedback system for course unions, and providing resources to facilitate joint events.

2) Lobbying for nap spaces, improved mental wellness services, equity training and ending exam deferral fees.

3) Creating an open committee for students to get involved with the ASSU Executive’s work, and promoting ASSU’s services more widely.

4) Working to create a bursary for students in crisis.

Thanks for a great year – I sincerely hope to be able to serve again!

 

Priyanka Sharma

Hi there! I’m Priyanka Sharma (call me Pri!), studying Criminology and Psychology with a minor in English. As my second year comes to a close, I find myself at a place where I have gained enough experience to enhance my initiatives to the greater UofT community, and now am just awaiting the opportunity to do so – ASSU Executive is that perfect opportunity.

In the past two years I have been involved in my college and the university in almost every capacity. At Trinity College, my involvement ranges from being an executive member for organizing Frosh Week, Saints Charity Ball and Conversat Ball, to sitting on the executive panels for the Equity Committee, the Trinity Against Sexual Assault Initiative, Dramatic Society and more. As part of the larger campus community, I have had the pleasure to play on the St. George Tri-Campus Volleyball team, photograph for The Varsity, and represent the Pre-Law Society at competitions.

Through my interactions with the wide range of students at UofT, I have seen the possibility of creating a positive space, and how ASSU can expend it campus-wide to provide the healthiest and best academic and social experience to the largest faculty at UofT. I aim to focus on raising awareness of our student’s rights, varying from academic to other code of conduct policies (i.e. campus sexual assault). Through information empowerment and community events, I hope to foster an equitable space focusing on positive mental health, where every student can be engaged and supported.

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