Candidates for SA director of education and equity share their priorities
The Student Association of George Brown College’s (SA) 2019 election will see students vote for the director of education and equity, one of three executive positions on the SA board of directors. The Dialog is funded by the SA.
Six candidates are running for director of education and equity. They are Asif Farabi, Arnel Fleurant, Taliyah Gallwey, Nusrat Khan, Manisha Punjabi and Shewta Shukla.
The Dialog held a round-table interview with candidates on March 22 where they shared their vision and campaign priorities.
Asif Farabi and Nusrat Khan declined to participate in the interview.
Arnel Fleurant is a business administration–accounting student who was the SA’s director of education in 2018-19.
He’s interested in bettering student experience at the college.
“I want to bring more advocacy services for GBC students, better co-op opportunities, more accessibility, access and awareness on campus,” he said.
Fleurant said that the provincial government’s cuts to OSAP are “very problematic” and wants them reversed.
He said that when the college has less funds the first place they look is international students and is concerned they will be paying more in tuition.
“Everyone is being affected and it’s a bad decision,” he said.
He is confident in the work he has done to improve programs and services at the SA. Fleurant said he wants to continue reaching out and working with students across the various campuses.
Taliyah Gallwey studies fashion techniques and design and has been involved in community work for the past three years.
Her mission is to provide a platform for students to express themselves and to access the services they may need.
To achieve this, Gallwey plans on developing a website to facilitate discussion, where students can voice their opinion on services and programs offered at GBC.
“I would also like the students to be fully aware of all their benefits so they could use them and just get the most out of their tuition of what they pay for,” she said.
Offering a low-cost breakfast to students is another initiative she wishes to implement.
Gallwey said she looks forward to working with students who share her vision to improve the school’s environment.
Manisha Punjabi is strategic relationship marketing program student who was the SA’s women and trans representative in 2018-19 and is running as part of the Students With a Dream slate.
Punjabi’s campaign focuses on the need for an improved sexual violence policy and to defend LGBTQ rights.
Punjabi said she would help promote the NewView Collective, a mental health peer-support network on campus.
“My target will be to promote NewView Collective, as much as we can, to make it accessible to students and let them know we are there for you,” she said.
Punjabi is passionate about improving the co-op programs offered at GBC.
“We work 24 hours a week and we still don’t get paid for that,” she said.
As such, she is advocating for more paid co-op opportunities.
Shweta Shukla, an IT business analysis student at GBC is on a mission to increase the number co-op opportunities offered to students at the college.
She said that it is difficult for international students to secure co-op opportunities given that they are often unaware of the criteria in Canada and may be lacking references.
She would like to see more career coaching for international students to help them find co-op placements.
Shukla said she hopes to use her influence as director of education and equity, if elected, to promote a collaborative environment on campus where students can rely on each other for support.
“My basic agenda for this election is to let student know there is an entity called SA and it’s here to help them,” she said.
How to vote
Online voting will be accessible at sagbc.simplyvoting.com starting on Thursday, March 28 and will be open until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3.
Students can also vote in person at the following dates and locations between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Thursday, March 28 and Wednesday, April 3
Outside the Kings Lounge, Room 150
A Building, 200 King St. East.
Tuesday, April 2
Student Centre, E building, first floor
142 Kendal Ave.
Monday, April 1
51 Dockside Dr.
With files from Neebiir Kamaal.