By Preeteesh Peetabh Singh
Election bells are ringing in all four campuses of George Brown College (GBC). Posters, banners, meet and greet forums, online promotions—the campaigns for the Student Association (SA) are in full swing.
It’s that time of the year when students get an opportunity to elect; executive directors, campus directors, educational centre representatives and constituency representatives who in simple words try to provide students with value, commitment and support in return.
Events; health benefits; academic advocacy; food banks; grad photos; a tax clinic; constituency centres for women and trans people, international, Aboriginal, LGBTQ, and ASL students; and various student clubs are some of the services which the SA provides to students.
Students in return, pay a fee to the SA each year.
The two election slates running against each other are ‘Students First’ and ‘Unified 4 Change’. While Students First are evenly distributed with seven incumbent board members and seven new candidates. Unified 4 Change consists of six new candidates and two current and former board members – including Chris Bourque who resigned as Liberal and Preparatory Studies Rep. on Friday, Feb. 22. Twelve candidates are running independently.
Students First candidates
- Mohammad Ali Aumeer – director of Education and Equity
- Nikhil Gulati – director of Finance and Operations
- Julia K. Mackenzie – director of Internal Affairs
- Halley Requena-Silva – director of Student Life and Campus Relations
- Nicolas Kiriakou – Casa Loma campus director
- Saroop Pahal –St. James campus director
- Thomas Hadwen – Construction and Engineering Technologies Rep.
- Nick Dilawri – Business Rep.
- Vinh An Tran – Business Rep.
- Yassamin Yassini – Arts and Design Rep.
- Nik-Keisha Moodie – Hospitality and Culinary Arts Rep.
- Jeang Yen Han – International Student Rep.
- Kyle Rodgers – LGBTQ Rep.
- Chirysh Dupie – Women and Trans People Rep.
Julia K. Mackenzie said, “Students First started largely with me and Mohammad. We wanted to make sure that next year we not only continue the work we have been doing this year but also that we had a really strong board, who were interested in doing the work for the students, who were passionate about being here and not just being here for a paycheck, or to sit in the office and do their homework, who actually care.”
Mohammad Ali Aumeer summed up their focus in this election as improving on issues of accountability and transparency within the organization; empowering students at the program level, providing them with resources to self organize; providing discounted TTC passes to students and lobbying for lower tuition. He also mentioned the $400,000 bursaries and scholarship plan coming up next year.
“Our name is enough, Students First. We are here for the students, to provide services for students, work for the students, their own association”, said Nikhil Gulati.
Unified 4 Change candidates
- Cassandra Thompson – director of Education and Equity
- Real Nompumelelo Kunene – director of Public Relations
- Yuchen Sun – director of Finance and Operations
- Chris Bourque – director of Internal Affairs
- Sebastian Sannes – Business Rep.
- Keisha Mcfarlane – Community Services and Early Childhood Education Rep.
- Jaylynn Egerton Brooks – Arts and Design Rep.
- Avanish Agarwal – Hospitality and Culinary Arts Rep.
Unified 4 Change’s campaign seems to be more focused on increasing accountability and transparency within the SA. “There aren’t enough avenues for accountability and the board mediation committee has been proven to be ineffective many times. We don’t have board members who are actually holding other board members accountable”, said Cassandra Thompson.
This slate of eight candidates seeks to improve student involvement; the implementation of voting student positions on committees; improving promotions for events and activities to increase student participation; implementing an open-door policy; functional mediation and conduct policies for directors; job availability on campus for international and domestic students; and lobbying the government and institution for lower tuition fees.
“We are running to change the current situation of SA, operate better so that we can better serve the students”, said Yuchen Sun.
- Ali Shahid – director of Public Relations
- Shirley Atchico – director of Finance and Operations
- Geneve Gray – director of Finance and Operations
- Rabia Qureshi – director of Internal Affairs
- Harmandeep Singh Sardar – director of Internal Affairs
- Aaron Holder – St. James campus director
- Jordan Sarracini – St. James campus director
- Amanda To – Arts and Design Rep.
- Kal Bekele – Hospitality and Culinary Arts Rep.
- Mairi Cote – Hospitality and Culinary Arts Rep.
- Jessica Romanovsky – Hospitality and Culinary Arts Rep.
- Coty Zachariah – Aboriginal Rep.
Candidates running independently were also seen engaging with students and campaigning according to their specific positions.
Positions remaining vacant for the elections are Ryerson campus director, Waterfront campus director, Liberal Arts and Preparatory Studies Rep., Health Sciences Rep. and ASL Constituency Rep. Byelections for those positions will take place in the fall of 2013.
With files from Mick Sweetman