Do you know who wants to run your Student Association?
The Student Association (SA) of George Brown College (GBC) elections take place annually and students have the chance to run in hopes of being elected.
There are five executive positions on the SA’s board of directors three of which are full-time positions paying $28,500 a year and two are part-time during the school year at $22,800 annually.
Why should you vote for them?
“By engaging students and hearing what they want, we can have their voices heard,” said Coty Zachariah, incumbent aboriginal representative and candidate for director of education and equity who is running on the Student Voice slate. “United voices are stronger.”
Zachariah says he will continue to the fight for student voice through continued student involvement.
As the local representative to the Canadian Federation of Students–Ontario, Zachariah also plans to continue advocating for student rights, while fighting tuition fees at the provincial level.
Jatinder Maan, the candidate for director of education and equity running on the ACT Now! slate, is also for lowering tuition fees.
“My goal is to lobby to lower tuition fees and existing campaigns such as the 24-hour library campaign,” said Maan. “I also want to make sure equal rights are considered throughout the college.”
Running for director of public relations, Gagan Deep’s goal is for more student opportunities. “I really want to increase the networking opportunities for students with employers from all over Toronto,” said Deep.
Networking is a primary concern for both Deep and his opponent, Dipendra Dhankar from ACT Now!, who is focused on increasing student accessibility to services.
“We are accountable to the demands of the students, credible and transparent,” said Dhankar explaining the acronym ACT of the ACT Now! slate. “We will keep these three things in mind if elected.”
A lack of diversity of events is another concern which many candidates have acknowledged.
Currently the St. James campus director, Saroop Pahal is running unopposed for director of internal affairs on the Student Voice slate. Pahal says he hopes to make all campuses aware of each other and “one big happy family.”
Halley Requena-Silva, the incumbent director of student life who is running unopposed for re-election with Student Voice, wants to continue “promoting diversity by bringing all cultures together.”
Requena-Silva plans to uses his experiences in the role as a “growing tool that will help enhance student life at GBC.”
ACT Now! candidate for director of finance and operations Shaheer Bajoo says his main goal is to start a mentorship program. “Me and a few friends have done that for the BBA program and with the help of the Student Association it could be extended to a lot of different programs,” said Bajoo.
Bajoo, who has a daughter, is also critical of the amount of money it costs for students to add a dependent to the SA’s health and dental plan. “I, for one, think that it wasn’t taken into consideration when they negotiated with the insurance company,” said Bajoo.
Bajoo is challenging Geneve Gray, the incumbent director of finance and operations who running on the Student Voice slate with hopes of continuing existing projects.
“One of the things I want to improve on this year is actually putting forward, the levy,” said Gray about the $25 fee that students pay that goes towards scholarships and capital costs. “This year we have over $270,000 worth of bursaries available that will be coming through this year and I want to make sure that we promote it.
In terms of existing projects such as the 24-hour library campaign, plans to renovate the Casa Loma Student Centre, and supporting George Brown’s diversity has not only become a fort for Gray, but a battle she is more than willing to fight.