2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Illustration by Valery Perez

Faculty of Science candidates speak more about their platform at SU forum

By Luis Armando Sanchez Diaz, March 4 2022—

On March 1, students running for the three Faculty of Science representative positions participated in an online forum organized by the Students’ Union (SU) to talk about their platforms and express their ideas of what they would do if elected in the upcoming general election. 

The event was moderated by Megan Raivio and had the attendance of Chaten Jessel — both outgoing Faculty of Science representatives. 

Sandra Amin, who is a third-year neuroscience student, was the first candidate to give her introductory remarks.  

“My campaign has quite a few things focusing on. The first is to focus on accountability and transparency as well as overall improve communication with the faculty at all levels — administratively and at class level. And my second major point is to continue with pushing for research opportunities but also to provide more career opportunities,” she said.

The second platform was given by Karan Brar — a representative of the Harold Zhu campaign who was not able to participate in the forum. Zhu is a third-year Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology student.

“What [Harold] really wants to focus on is mental health and have the science faculty be more accountable in terms of training — not just for medical applicants but going forward for any student that is trying to get careers afterwards that might be in any type of professional training,” Brar said. “Focusing on these types of things will definitely help all students and hopefully [make them] feel more secure about their university experience and be able to find jobs afterwards and fulfill [their] lives.”

It is worth noting that Pragya Chopra, who is running for re-election, was not present in the forum nor had any representative to speak on her behalf.

Next, the floor was taken by Navid Ghaderi who currently is in his second year of neuroscience. 

“Essentially my platform revolves around three points. More awards, scholarships and bursaries available to undergraduate students. More career development opportunities [such as] networking events, being able to speak with professionals in the field such as faculty or people that might have the job you might want. And lastly, improve mental health support,” Ghaderi said. “We already have an awesome Wellness Service, but I really want to focus on other aspects that need improvement and implement my own touch on that.” 

Raivio asked Amin about some SU initiatives or programs done during the past year that she considered were beneficial to students and how she would improve on them, if elected. 

“I’ve seen them be very transparent and they advocate for students. That level of transparency with the Instagram accounts as well as the fact that they’ve got out of the way to continuously represent us and continue to support us, as students, in such a difficult time with so many issues. I think that’s something that I would like to continue on,” said Amin. 

When asked about the most challenging issue and how they would address it as science representative, Brar noted that Zhu would focus on accessibility to the various services and programs that the SU currently provides, as well as to further the communication with students about those services. 

“The biggest thing is accessibility. It is the biggest issue that the SU has. We do a lot of really good things but not many people know what we are doing and how are we helping. So, it doesn’t matter whether we are helping with mental health initiatives if no one knows what the initiatives are and what are they doing — nobody is going to benefit from them,” Brar said. 

“That is why we need to grow the voice and bring more people into the fold in terms of what the SU is doing and what we can actually provide for people and provide for students and help their lives.”

The candidates made positive points on each other’s platforms and expressed willingness to work with each other on initiatives and objectives they have in mind for students and the U of C community. 

“Definitely the number one thing that could be changed is the advertisement to students — the communication. That is not to say that it was lacking, because it was definitely not lacking at all, but I definitely think there could’ve been other forms of communications, other methods to target not just the main group of students but essentially everyone or as many people as possible. I do think that there’s definitely a lot of improvement in that area,” said Ghaderi when asked about one thing he would do that the SU had not done during the past months.

Jessel asked students to highlight and explain their respective strategies on how they would manage their responsibilities as SU representatives while being part of other extracurricular activities they can be involved in. 

Amin highlighted her planning skills as a way to organize her time and fulfil her commitments and responsibilities.  

“I know my limits as an individual so that’s why I think I’m confident if I am elected that I can handle both the SU responsibilities but also my education and other extracurriculars,” she said.

On the other hand, Karan expressed that he has confidence that Zhu would be able to handle his duties if elected.

“I believe he’s [an] extremely well-managed person. He has had full-time jobs while he’s been going to school and I don’t believe that [will be] the case anymore when he’s pursuing the SU. He plans to move away from that and just pursue the SU if he gets [elected]. That would be something that would free up a lot of time from him and be able to put that in towards the SU,” he said. 

“I guess the number one thing for me is wanting to see the changes in my own platform. That’s my number one drive, to actually be able to implement the things. I really have a deep passion for my points, and I’m able to see the actual benefit that it will provide to not only myself but to my fellow students as well. I guess the main drive is to see everyone else succeed along with myself,” added Ghaderi.

All candidates concluded by asking students to check their platforms and encouraged them to vote during the election. 

Voting will be held starting March 8–10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit the SU webpage to learn more about the electoral process. Read the candidates’ platforms online.

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