Photo: Farnia Fekri

RSU election candidate profiles

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The Eyeopener has compiled a nearly complete list of the Unite Ryerson and Transform RU candidates, with profiles of each person. Use the menu to jump to a particular profile, or browse freely for a more informed vote.
Polls for the 2015 RSU elections close on Feb. 11, at 5:30 p.m. If you haven’t yet, get out there and vote, Ryerson.

Unite Ryerson

Unite Ryerson executive candidates. Photo Courtesy Unite Ryerson/Facebook

Unite Ryerson executive candidates. Photo Courtesy Unite Ryerson/Facebook

4. Anuja Jeeva
5. Pascale Diverlus
6. Zahra Islam
7. Islam Elkadi
8. Zidane Mohamed
9. Vilirsa Rajadurai
10. Ali Moeng

Transform Ryerson

Transform RU candidates. Photo Courtesy Transform RU/Facebook

Transform RU candidates. Photo Courtesy Transform RU/Facebook

1. Rabia Idrees
2. Ana Sofia Vargas
3. Celina Hernandez
4. Urooj Siddiqui
5. Noah Parker
6. Mariam Nouser
7. Mady Krapez-Fewster
8. Shay Alford
9. Tavia Bakowski
10. Tyler Webb
11. Obaid Ullah
12. Kinza Malik
13. Hannah Van Dyk

Unite Ryerson

Angelina Balasadas, Director for Faculty of Arts candidate

Interview by Matthew Ouellet
What program and what year are you currently in?
I’m in my second year of Arts and Contemporary Studies.
What got you interested in student politics?
I was interested in high school, I just never did anything about it, so it was kind of a like a step out of my comfort zone to start running. It at least was something I could relate to, since I’m in the Arts Faculty.I thought, ‘Why not?’ It was a suggestion too, people said, “Why don’t you run for this?” and I’m like, “I don’t know.” So I guess it was a shot in the dark, but it’s just something I wanted to try.
Why are you running for your position?
I didn’t think I was ready for any of the executive positions, so this is a little closer to me, because I’m in the Arts faculty, so that’s why I figured I’d just run for Arts rep instead.
How did you hear about Unite Ryerson and why did you choose to run with them?
I volunteered with them a couple of times last year and towards first semester of this year. I enjoyed volunteering with them and they approached me and they said, “You know what? It would be cool if you could run for this position if you’re interested.” Since they were friends I figured I would like to do this.
What types of volunteer roles had you taken on?
I was a social media coordinator with the Ryerson Students’ Union. During Orientation Week, I broadcasted which events were happening and posted pictures and videos for them as well.
Do you have any leadership experience?
In high school there was this program called Leaders in Black. Twenty-five to 30 students in Grade 12 would have to wear black shirts rather than our white uniforms. What we did around the school was help out other students — we would actually have an eye out for bullying. We also ran after-school programs for younger students.
Are you part of any clubs or student societies?
Not at the moment. I kind of just focused on school a lot, this is the first time I`ve been getting out of my shell and doing things outside of studying.
What platforms are you running on?
I’m hoping to get rid of the $35 fee for OneCard because I’ve definitely lost my OneCard a bunch of times. We’re trying to make sure that we have enough funds for more student activities and more groups so we can hold bigger events.
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Olivia Amu, FCAD Director Candidate

Interview by Rose Zboch

What program are you in and what year?

I’m a Creative Industries student and I’m in second year.

What got you interested in student politics?

When I was in high school I did a lot of youth advocacy work. I worked with Niagara Region Public Health. I did a lot of health campaigning, mental health campaigns and stuff like that. For three years I worked with them, so I was used to working on a team, working towards positive change, stuff like that. I think that’s something I brought with me to university.

Last February I co-founded the new student group Poetic Exchange with Patrick Garcia. I met him at a coffee house ‘cause I used to come out to a lot of Ryerson events. I don’t live in residence, so I came in to try and meet people when I was in first year. So I met him and then we got talking into starting a new student group so we started Poetic Exchange.

I’ve kinda been around the RSU because we have a student group. I was working with them in the summer and then I volunteered with them for two weeks straight for Frosh and Orientation. That’s when I met all the executives and I really I got to know them and for the next few months followed through with their campaigns. That’s how I got into politics.
Why did you run for this position?

I ran for this position because I like being involved. I really like what the RSU does [and] I like helping the student body. Being a Creative Industries student, it’s nice to have the opportunity to talk with other FCAD kids to see what we can do to improve student life, so I figured I’d run for this position.

How did you hear about Unite Ryerson and why did you choose to run with them?

I was contacted by some of my friends on the RSU about how the elections are coming up and then I went to a few meetings to learn about the platform points. I really liked where it was going, so I decided to run with them!

Do you have any other experience in student politics or student affairs?

Right now, part of Creative Industries is that we’re divided into sections and I’m in a couple of RTA modules and we’ve been trying to get more of a branch towards video games. I’ve been working with some of my professors about how we could get Creative Industries students involved with that as a separate interest group and to give students a space to collaborate. Other than that, it’s what I said previously: I still run Poetic Exchange this year and probably will next year as well, and I keep up-to-date with the RSU.

Are you a part of any of any other student clubs or societies?

I’m a member of Musicians@Ryerson. That’s where I met a lot of people from Poetic Exchange. Last year I used to go to a bunch of the Musicians’ events – coffee houses, open mics, stuff like that. I met their executives and we’ve done a lot of collaborations with them. I work part-time so I don’t have a ton of time to be on campus but every so often I go out to the board/video gamers group (ARRG). And then I also go to our faculty meetings.

What platforms are you running on/ what do you plan on doing if you’re elected?

The two platforms I’m focussed on as FCAD are allotting a 24-hour space for all FCAD programs – some have it right now, some don’t. The other one is to try and get a larger equipment rental service close to the members’ services office for all the FCAD programs. A broader range of equipment rentals. I support our general platform points: keep towards Freeze the Fees, women’s-only gym time, trying to get rid of the OneCard replacement fee. But for FCAD specifically, we have some other points in the works.
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Drew Silverthorn, Vice-president Operations Candidate

Interview by Jake Kivanc
A third-year social work student, Drew Silverthorn is running for the VP of Operations on the Unite Ryerson platform in this week’s RSU elections.
Silverthorn, 23, is campaigning on a multi-facet platform of improving a number of different RSU programs and university policies.
Some of Silverthorn’s intentions include reworking the health & dental opt-out program, increasing funding for student groups and lobbying the university to stop purchasing products that are created unethically.
Silverthorn has been involved with student politics since his first year when he joined the Good Food Centre at Ryerson, a place he has since served as a coordinator.
On why he chose Unite Ryerson to launch his platform from, Silverthorn cited the success the RSU had with the Freeze the Fees campaign last year.
“There was so much dedication around it,” he said. “All of the people I worked with truly cared and I can see how far they’ll go to make a real difference.”
In terms of future challenges, Silverthorn said the ever-rising costs for students are something that need to be tackled.
“The rise of everything: the cost of living, the cost of food, the cost of tuition and books. It all keeps going up and we definitely need to do something.”
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Anuja Jeeva, Vice-President Equity Candidate

Interview by Jake Kivanc
Unite Ryerson’s Anuja Jeeva is running with for the VP of equity position in the RSU election with a history of social justice in her trail.
A third-year sociology student, Jeeva has been active in student politics since her second year at Ryerson when she first became involved as an orientation week assistant.
Currently, Jeeva is the RSU’s Faculty of Arts director as well as being the equity and social justice commissioner where she has worked on campaigns to promote womens-only gym hours at the RAC and comprehensive sexual assault policy at Ryerson.
Jeeva said the RSU’s overall work over the last year motivated her to run on the Unite Ryerson platform.
“Everyone is very passionate about what they do,” she said. “[Unite Ryerson] wants to meet the students’ needs on every front.”
Jeeva’s platform is looking to expand on the RSU push for a dedicated Ryerson sexual assault policy as well as doing more for women and racialized groups.
“A lot of us, whether we realize it or not, have prejudices and stereotypes in our mind about different types of people, so I think it’s really important that we have more discussion about that on campus.”
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Pascale Diverlus, Presidential Candidate

Interview by Jake Kivanc
Pascale Diverlus is running for President of the RSU as a candidate under Unite Ryerson, a platform she feels confident in.
Diverlus, 20, is a third-year journalism student who has been invested in campus politics since her first year when she was a coordinator at the Centre for Women and Trans People.
Since then, Diverlus became the Director of Events for the United Black Students at Ryerson and was the VP of Equity at the RSU.
Diverlus chose the Unite Ryerson campaign due to values that she said “strongly align”.
“I believe in pushing the administration, I believe in autonomy and I believe in the work we’re going to be doing in the next year,” she said.
Diverlus’ platform is focusing off work she has done in the past in regards to womens-only gym hours and a dedicated sexual assault policy, as well as expanding the RSU’s multi-faith space.
According to Diverlus, the hot button issue of the next year for Ryerson is going to continue off the Freeze the Fees campaign by making education “more accessible”.
“It’s clear that students are fed up,” she said. “I really think this upcoming year is going to be a pivotal time in demanding change out of our administration and the provincial government.”
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Zahra Islam – Faculty of Community Services Director Candidate

Interview by Deni Verklan

My first question to you is what program are you in and what year?

I’m in third year nursing.

What got you interested in student politics?

So I do a lot of social justice advocacy work outside of school, like I attend a lot of protests, I sign petitions, I write letters to members of Parliament and so entering student politics is a chance to lobby for social justice and equity issues at a school-wide level.

What kind of social justice issues?

Most recently, I went to a Black Lives Matter protest. I’m particularly interested in pacifism and um, what else am I interested in? I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

(Islam later added that she is also an advocate for racialized and marginalized people in the media.)

Why are you running for Faculty of Community Services director?

Mostly because it’s a chance for me to lobby for social justice issues at a school-wide level.

And how would you go about doing that?

With my platform points I’m planning to address. I know that’s one of the upcoming questions, and I don’t want to repeat.

How did you hear about Unite Ryerson and why did you decide to run with them?

I’ve been getting more involved with student life on campus this year and I knew that they had been doing a lot of amazing work and I really wanted to get involved with them. And so that’s why I got involved with Unite Ryerson.

What kind of work were you interested in?

Just the lobbying and the social justice work that they’ve been doing on campus.

So stuff like Freeze the Fees?

Yep.

What experience do you have in student politics or student affairs?

I’ve never been involved in student politics before, but I do go to a lot of events on campus. I love being involved in school and I like attending events and meeting people. Just being involved is one of my favourite things. I’m actually the vice-president of Oxfam currently.

Besides Oxfam, are you involved in any other students clubs or societies?

Not at this point.

And what are your platform points?

One of the things I want to address is exploitative placement practices. [Students in social work have] to pay a fee to do their placement, whereas in engineering and business, they actually get paid to do their internships. I just want to make that more equitable across the board.

So is it just that that you want to do or are there any other platform points?

Oh! Also, the fact that liberal course options are always conflicting with placement times, that’s something I want to change. Also the NCLEX. Have you heard about the NCLEX, the new nursing licensing exam? This is the first year that students will be writing it. Our program wasn’t really centered around that, it was centered around preparing us for the CRNE. So what I want to do is institute regular NCLEX prep sessions to help us prepare more for that new exam because I know it focuses on a lot of different – it’s written differently than the CRNE. One of them is more pathophysiology based whereas the NCLEx is more what we should do in the situation – application based.

So what else is Unite Ryerson running for? Not necessarily for your position, but what the entire collective is running for?

The entire United Ryerson slate is lobbying for things like the 24-hour study space, for example, because U of T has 24-hour study space — why don’t we? And the OneCard fee, the $35 replacement fee, there’s now way those cards cost that much to replace. Also a sexual assault policy, they’re trying to institute one at the school because currently, they don’t have one and whenever something happens, it just gets sent off to the cops.

For the 24-hour study space, I know that they’re building the SLC right now and one of the floors is entirely for 24-hour study space. I’m just wondering are you hoping to get more?

Yeah, we’re hoping to get more student study space across campus because that’s only one floor, right?
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Islam Elkadi, Unite Ryerson FEAS Director Candidate

Interview by Emma McIntosh
What program are you in and what year?

Electrical engineering, third year.

What got you interested in student politics?

I’m a student myself, and I believe there’s always room to do something better for the students. I’m not saying it’s bad, that’s not implied at all. I know that there’s always room for improvement. I want to be part of that improvement. I want to be part of the solution for the problems of the students. That was my primary reason for getting into student politics.

Why did you run for this position?
I’m an engineering student, so it makes sense for me to be in engineering. I was contacted by Pascale and she told me, we’re setting up a team, and I wanted you to be on the board of directors. I chose board of directors because it allows me to study and at the same time work for the student union and do things better for students. I chose engineering of course, because I am an engineering student. And I know there’s so much to be done in engineering to make things better for us engineers.

How did you hear about Unite Ryerson and why did you choose to run with them?
I was contacted by Pascal. I didn’t know there was Transform going against us, I actually found out about Transform a while later after I started going to the meetings with Unite Ryerson. So Pascale contacted me, she said we’re setting up a team for next year’s RSU, and we want you to join the board of directors, so I was more than happy to say yes.

Why do you think she chose you?
I know Pascal from last year. I’m part of a student group, right? We had an event and I invited the entire team to the event, the RSU team. It was a meet and greet right, so we had to put ourselves in teams and talk. Well, I met Pascal, I found out later on that she was in the students’ union, and we invited them to some of our events. They showed up to most of the events we invited them to. I think she put me on the team as well because a lot of people know me. I’m a known guy in the Egyptian Students’ Association. I’m their president, that’s why.

What experience do you have in student politics or student affairs?
I volunteer for the MSA, the Muslim Students’ Association. I worked on the orphan sponsorship program. I got my student group involved. Sometimes they do fundraising events so we provide the food. They bring it from different student groups so they can make it more cultural. I call my people and I go, hey, there’s a charity event going on and let’s make some food for the team. I’m also working with the Egyptian Students’ Association. We do a lot of events, mostly cultural events. We’re planning to work more on educational events, as in with course unions. Cultural education events as well, to talk to people more about Egyptian culture and the history of the Egyptians. I used to go to another university in Dubai and I transferred to here. I volunteered for the student council. I also volunteered for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. We set up events and there were a lot of meeting, career fairs and so forth. I had some friends on the team and I told them I wanted to get involved, so they let me work with them for a while before I transferred.

What university in Dubai did you go to?
The American University of Sharjah.

What platforms are you running on/ what do you plan on doing if you’re elected?
I want to solve every engineering student’s worst nightmare, and I personally got affected by it as well. At Ryerson there are a lot of courses in general that are prerequisites to the following years. There are courses like, for instance, in aerospace there’s flight mechanics. We offer that in the winter. People who don’t pass flight mechanics need to wait for the next winter to take the course, right? It delays them a lot because it’s prerequisite to everything. What I want to work on is course availability. I want to make courses with the highest failure rates, the prerequisites for other courses to the following years, I want to make these courses more available to students. For the students of course, they don’t have to pay extra, because when you stay an extra year in university you continue to pay. When I transferred from Dubai most of my engineering courses got rejected because my professors didn’t have Professional Engineers of Ontario license. So they transferred the basic courses, but then I had to wait another year to start taking the core engineering courses. I could have saved an extra year, you know? I could have been graduating by next year, but it’s going to take a while now. I know a lot of people as well who were affected by that. We want to make these major courses more available for the engineering body to take, and for the general faculty as well.
What we want to do also is lab kits. There are lab kits. The package itself is expensive. It’s really expensive. Our electronics lab kit is $70. The good thing about Ryerson is that they give you the package all together. You don’t have to go and look for the components one by one. But then, for instance, I’m looking at a resistor. The resistor costs 45 cents. Forty-five cents isn’t a big deal, but when I buy them from outside, they cost 5 cents. That’s nine times more expensive. Forty-five cents isn’t a problem, but when a professor gives you a list of components and you’re looking at at least 100 components and you do the math, the cost goes really fast. Yes it does save time to buy from Ryerson, but it’s costly for students as well. I can buy an electronics kit for $30 I think, if my math is correct, and I save $40 on that. I could do a lot of things with $40. For those who lose their kits, for those whose equipment gets burned because of high electricity and stuff, you have to buy another kit. It costs more. These are things we’re trying to work on for the student body. With rising tuition fees the least we can do is try to make these packages more affordable to people. There’s a course called ELE604. That’s $225 worth of a package for ELE604. There’s always a possibility of losing it or burning it by putting too much electricity in it. It costs people a lot.
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Zidane Mohamed, Vice-President Education Candidate

Interview by Jackie Hong, transcribed by Alex Downham
What program and what faculty are you in?
I’m in fourth-year business management.
What got you interested in student politics?
I feel like student politics is a place where students can go and fight for their rights. Including me, I’ve had a lot of issues and that’s why I want to make things better. Not just for me, but everyone else too.
What are the issues you faced?
Definitely tuition fees and how expensive going to school is apart from tuition fees. For example, textbook fees and buying additional stuff around lab kits and clickers. Going to school is expensive and commuting is very expensive.
Why’d you run for this position?
I was heavily involved in the Freeze the Fees campaign and I want to continue in that work. Going for this specifically is one of the best ways to work on tuition fees.
Why’d you run on Unite?
During the Freeze the Fees campaign, we planned Tent City with others passionate about tuition fees. During tent city, there were so many people working hard for students and for their rights. I was able to meet students and get to know them and I was told that we have the same vision. I wanted to continue that vision.
Why not Transform?
The biggest distinctive feature is making education accessible. Unite is a team that isn’t just willing to work with the administration but push them further because being accessible to students is the number one priority while transform would not go as far for Unite.
What experience do you have in student politics and affairs?
My biggest experience is working with the Student Action Committee. Any student can join who is passionate about tuition fees and their experience at Ryerson that they dedicate hours and hours of their time to making sure the administration responds to student needs. That’s where i got a lot of experience, gathering petitions, sleeping in freezing temperatures. That’s where I got a lot of experience.
Are you a part of any student clubs? Societies?
Over the past years, I’ve worked part time jobs on and off. I haven’t been super involved with any groups per say, I try to go to any events I am available to go to.
What’s your platform and plans?
Definitely number one is lobby the provincial government with other schools in Ontario for more funding, so students don’t have to pay for going to school. Education is a human right that should be accessible to all. Number two is to make sure the university is doing its part in prioritize making education accessible to people and not raising tuition fees or possibly lowering them, cause that can happen on an institutional level. And I want to make sure there’s ample course selections for students so students don’t have to wait a year for that credit because it’s not offered. We’ll make sure the university is offering more courses, more tenured professors for students needs.
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Vilirsa Rajadurai, TRSM Director Candidate

Interview by Jackie Hong, transcribed by Alex Downham
What program are you in and what year are you in?
My program is Business Management, major is Global Management. I’m second year TRSM.

What got you into student politics?
Last year, I was a frosh marshall for the RSU orientation. I met a lot of friends and they’re really supportive of freezing the fees. That’s how I got into it. I came to campaign for that at the rallies and stuff. That’s how I got into Freeze the Fees.
Why did you run for this position?
Last year, I quit my part time job and I realized the student struggle this year. That’s when Freeze the Fees came up. I wanted to make a change and that’s why I’m in this now and running for this. I really want to do something that means something to my heart because it’s not like my parents are helping me with the education. I had money from last year but it’s not enough. It’s a big setback for people like me who are trying to get involved in school and pay my bills. That’s why I got into this and I really believe in Unite Ryerson
How did you hear about Unite?
Last year I was a volunteer marshall during frosh week. I was downtown for five days helping out and meeting students from other programs. That’s when I learned about the other side of the world. Usually I’m always around TRSM and involved with the TRSM activities. I never got to know the other side of campus which frosh helped me achieve that. Being a frosh marshall, that’s when I learned about the other programs and activities and that’s how I got involved with Unite Ryerson. I met a lot of friends over the summer.
Why did you chose to run with Unite as opposed to Transform or as an independent?
I believe in the things they are lobbying for. As I mentioned before, one of their biggest points was Freeze the Fees. Some of the students on our slate slept in a tent for seven days. They tried to create change for our school and really intrigued me to join their slate. I feel like our candidates have really pushed administration to create change for our school. One of our biggest things this year was getting the budget and making an alternative budget that freezing the fees is actually feasible. It’s really inspiring that change is possible in a world where it’s really hard to create a revolution.
What experience do you have in student politics and affairs?
In terms of student politics, I’ve only been to rallies for Freeze the Fees that our school held. However, I really got into it this year as a commuter. I was more involved in a part time job to pay off my tuition. I quit my job because i wasn’t really fond of my job, so I started to focus more on school activities. During frosh time, that’s the time I got involved in the school. I’m also a DECA delegate at the TRS. In terms of other student groups, I joined the Middle Eastern Students’ Association. I’ve attended a lot of different student run clubs this past year compared to last. That’s how I came across the student organization.
Are you in any clubs?
I’m a DECA delegate. It’s TRSM-known, it’s such a big club. I’m not sure if it’s a student organization. In terms of student clubs, I’m part of the TSA (Tamil Students Association), the Middle Eastern Students’ Association, the Egyptian Student Association. I have a lot of friends in those particular clubs.
What platform will you be running on and what will you do if elected?
I would love to create a 24/7 study space here on campus. At TRSM as well. A thing I’ve dealt with living in Markham, is that when it comes to 8 a.m. exams, I’d love to stay at school, finish my 8 a.m. exam. It takes two hours to commute to Ryerson from where I am. I’d love to stay there, come home, and have a 24/7 study space. Another thing I’d love to do is have a laptop rental. I know we have some in the library but it would be great to have that at TRS specifically. Our life consists of laptops all the time and we only have one lab at TRS. We need to have computers and equipment accessible to students. We only have two printers too, it’s really bad. Another thing is that we only have Timmies in our school in terms of food options. Only on two floors have a Timmies, one is totally vacant. We should optimize that space and bring in another food option. Were looking into that and another thing we want to do is have more microwaves. We don’t have access to hot water during winter time.
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Ali Moeng, Vice-President Operations Candidate

Interview by Jackie Hong, transcribed Alex Downham
What program are you in and what year are you in?
I’m in my third year economics and finance, international finance.
What got you interested in student politics?
I’ve worked for the student union for the past two years. I’ve worked with the Community Food Centre and the Racialized Students’ Collective. Being around the people I was working with, that really interested me. I thought there would be opportunities for me to get involved in student organizing.
Why’d you run for your position?
I think for me, as an international student, there’s more that the student union can do for the international students. It’s also about commuter students, it’s about students that sometimes – share the experience that I have. I want to engage as many students on campus as possible.
How did you hear about Unite?
They’re people that have worked with students before and want to bring things to students that resonate with them. Being in that group, it will push me further because we all work towards the same goal.
What experience do you have in student politics?
Like I said before, I was in the CFC, Racialized Students’ centres, and the Equity Centre. Really, we have to deal with student issues and student affairs. I have experience dealing with very diverse groups.
Are you a part of any clubs?
I’m an active member with the African Students’ Association and I’m an executive member of WUSC (World University Service Canada).
What platform would you run on?
One thing that I’m trying to create interdisciplinary collaboration. One thing im trying to focus on is student groups because they are the embodiment of campus life. They reflect the diversity from the school itself. I’m trying to get more support for campus groups. One thing I’m trying to do is introducing a grant. I’m trying to make it easier for students to do their own organizing. I’m also trying to investigate an online portal for students to find available rooms to make it easier for events.
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Transform RU

Rabia Idrees, Vice-President Equity Candidate

Interview by Justin Chandler
Rabia Idrees is a fourth-year human resources management major. She is running with Transform for the position of vice-president equity. Idrees is the director of marketing for the Human Resources Student Association and works with the social work department.
What got you interested in student politics?
I [got] involved in municipal and federal politics [at] a very young age. I was a Young Liberal and that’s what got me interested in politics in general. Because I’ve had that background and I’ve seen how [politics] works, [I know] how important it is that if you have the resources, if you have the leadership qualities and you see that there’s change that needs to be made, you [don’t] sit back and let somebody else do something that you feel should be done. I wanted to step up with the Transform slate and use my background knowledge that I have in politics and put that in my school.
You’ve volunteered for Members of Parliament. Which ones?
For the Liberal MPs in 2008, the one in my city was Andrew Kania. Currently we have a Conservative MP and his name is Kyle Seeback. At the events that they’ve hosted for the community, I’ve been there in terms of getting volunteers, training volunteers, engaging with other people, letting them know what the party is and what they can do for them.
Why did you decide to run for VP Equity?
I’ve always spent my time helping people who don’t have the resources to be able to help themselves. There are many disasters that have happened in the world. There were floods in Pakistan, hurricanes in Haiti and just knowing that I have free time, I have two hours, I have two days, I can go and help them …. That’s just the kind of person that I am and because of that, I saw that there was a need on the Transform slate to have a person for VP Equity. Because I already have the background in wanting to help people and wanting to give people who are oppressed a voice [and] make sure there is a hate-free campus. These are the fundamental values that I live by. It also helps that I am a [human resources] major. One of the big things we can learn is about diversity and inclusion in the workplace and just how important it is to not judge one another just based on how we [look] on the outside. A first step would be to have people have that kind of mindset in their schools, so that when they are in the workplace they don’t hold these stereotypes. Because of that, I feel like I am qualified to make this campus a lot more accessible for everybody and a lot more inclusive.
What are the biggest equity issues on campus?
One of the biggest issues right now that is going on is the lack of a sexual assault policy. Now we [need] people to know what assault actually is, because a lot of people will say: ‘Oh, hey, this is rape,’ but it’s actually how people look at you, what people will say to you [and] inappropriate touching. There’s a whole spectrum of what goes inside of it. [People are not] aware that this is something that happens. Another issue is mental health and there not being enough resources for people who have mental health issues on campus. [Mental health issues] affect not only [people’s] school lives, but their personal lives as well as their social lives. They cannot properly be able to go to school, not properly be able to communicate with one another. It’s a big issue just in general in their whole life. At school, we should be able to provide support and resources so that students feel safe and want to come to class and want to do things and want to get involved in school.
What platforms are you running on and what do you plan to do if elected?
There are actually a lot of things that I want to incorporate and one of the things is to be able to work with administration. Because of how there needs to be a balance on how the administration can help the school and what resources are available first of all for there to be more accessibility for everybody on campus. Like I was saying before, I do want to be able to advocate for women and for there to be a proper sexual assault policy on campus. Also being able to have mental health resources and not just in a conventional sense. Maybe something more interactive that can get a lot more students involved. The third thing, the main thing, is getting students involved. Being able to have that reach [to] all faculties. People who are in [the Ted Rogers School of Management], people who are in [the Faculty of Comunication and Design], just everybody being able to know that RSU is here, this is what RSU does for you, this is where your money goes, this is how we can help you. So to be able to get that across that we are here for you. That all goes into our main platform as well in terms of transparency so that the students know what we are doing for them.
What experience do you have in student politics and student affairs?
I’m doing a work study right now in the Social Work Department. Even though I do work on the administrative side of it, I have been able to see what kinds of services are available. For example when there’s a Social Justice Week, I worked with some kids who were hosting a smaller workshop and event and was able to coordinate with them and get the event out there. It was also during Pride Week that I was able to work with administration [to decorate] the Social Work Department. …There’s a Pride flag up there forever now, it’s perfectly painted. ….
“…I am also part of the Human Resources [Student] Association. I am a director of marketing with them. That role is about having the human resources majors engaged and knowing there are networking opportunities and that these are the resources we have. So you can have better interview skills or networking skills and working opportunities….
Do you think that being a Human Resources Management major will help you if elected?
Well yeah, for sure. Because being an HR major, you’re basically forced to learn the importance of having diversity. A lot of people [see] it as a competition [that] makes it hard to work with people but there’s actually a positive side to that where you get different aspects, things that you wouldn’t think about because people come from different backgrounds. And put all of that together, it’s a lot more reliable solution in terms of finding how things can be done than just having the same person from the same place giving you input.
How did you hear about the Transform slate and why did you decide to run for them?
The president [Andrea Bartlett] and I have been friends for a really long time. She is the person who got me into getting involved at the school. I only started getting involved in school stuff in third year because she kind of motivated me and pushed me as well. I have known her for a while and she knows that I volunteer a lot, I care a lot and so that’s when she reached out to me….
If you’re elected, what will you do differently than your predecessor?
The big push on letting people know about mental health and being aware that does not really show under the medical model. I think right now that’s how the [model with which] the school interprets it. But there are so many different aspects. When people [succeed in class] they may not know there is a person dealing with something outside of just the school. If we increase knowledge across all faculties that there is a lot more people are dealing with than just school, maybe we’ll have a more accommodating society. …. Not everybody is willing to say, “This is what’s going on with me,” right? …. Mental health is something as campus and we as Ryerson University are here to help you [with]. We have a space for you, we have resources for you and we have a hotline for you.
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Ana Sofia Vargas, Faculty of Science Director Candidate

Interview by Aurora Zboch
What program are you in, and what year?

I’m in my third year in Medical Physics and minoring in Mathematics.

What got you interested in student politics?

I got involved with the Science Society. I was involved with the student council back in high school and I went to introduce myself to many professors and the dean of the faculty, so that interested me in the Science Society. So I’ve been in the Science Society since then. Right now I feel running for the Student Union just kinda brings that connection between the different student groups within Science and the Student Union.

Why did you run for this position?

As the president of the Ryerson Science Society, I believe there has to be a connection between the different student groups and the student union. I know the faculty extremely well, so I believe I would be a very good and effective candidate with this position. Especially since it’s a decision-making position, as a faculty director you need to know your faculty. You need to know what’s happening in the university in order to make effective decisions.

How did you hear about Transform Ryerson and why did you choose to run with them?

I was contacted by the team. I was informed by the people involved within it and I’ve worked with them before. I love their work ethics so I decide to run with them.

What experience do you have in student politics or student affairs?
As I mentioned before I’ve been in several student groups throughout my entire life. I got involved with the Science Society in my first year. I’ve worked with absolutely every single course union ‘cause our board of directors is formed by the presidents of each course union. So I know what’s happening in each program. It’s just about working back for students that makes me motivated about this.

Are you a part of any student clubs or societies? If so, which ones?
I’m the president of the Ryerson Science Society, a chair of the now-called Board of Directors of the Ryerson Science Society. Within students, I’m also part of different groups within the faculty, mostly the Science Society.

What platforms are you running on/ what do you plan on doing if you’re elected?
Transparency. I think that’s our main platform right now. We want to bring back to students, we want the students to be able to run this this and to know what’s happening. As in every society, I believe that students should know where there money is going towards, how their money’s used. I believe that networking is a key thing. As an undergraduate student, me myself, I want to know what’s going to happen after I finish my undergrad. And providing that opportunity of linking with what’s next is just, in my opinion, one of the most important things.
I want to support student initiatives. I believe that just helps people with the transition of what’s next after your undergraduate degree. I believe that people should have – and one of the reasons why I came to Ryerson – is to have opportunity. Like the same way that I have, other students should have the opportunity to be doing what they want to do and know that either your faculty or your student union supporting your decisions and what you want to do.
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Celina Hernandez – TRSM Director Candidate

Interview by Deni Verklan
What program are you in and what year?
I’m a second-year business management student majoring in global management studies.
What got you interested in school politics?
I initially became interested in student politics with the RSU when Andrea Bartlett, who is running as our president elect, approached me with the idea of making a transformation on campus and letting our voices be heard as student representatives. It was something I was really drawn to because I really thought that I could make a difference with the experience I have and the passion I have for this university.
What kind of experience do you have? Like do you have experience with student clubs or students politics?
I’m very involved in student groups in Ryerson. I’m involved with the Ryerson Commerce and Government Association, or the RCGA, as well as RCM’s Breakthrough Program as a delegate and now I’m a mentor for first-years and helping them adjust to being in university as well as helping them learn the scope of how to be in business school and the fundamental skills. With that skill set in mind, I really think that I learned, obviously, the basic skills like time management, organizational skills, but beyond that, I’ve been able to learn how to think analytically as well as learn how to solve problems and really analyze the kind of demographic and looking at what, as a student group within the business school, as well as the entire university.
And do you think this will help you in running for your position as TRSM director?
Definitely. I believe that all my experience in student groups has really helped me understand many of the perspectives within TRS and how they can be related in a grander… I think because I’ve been so involved, I can maybe isolate the kind of issues or various room for improvements that the business school has.
And why are you running for TRSM director?
I’m running for TRSM director because I’m really passionate about giving back to my business school as well as the university. And I’m getting so much in terms of opportunity, and I believe that I can give back to it and help people find their passion for university and improve student life as a whole.
OK, so you said that you learned about Transform Ryerson through Andrea, so why did you chose to run with them?
I chose to run with Transform because I believe that they had a vision and that vision was something I was directly aligned with. I believe that because we’re such a diverse group of students leaders, with very strong leadership experience, that we’re bringing fresh perspectives for areas of improvement in the university and as we’re such a diverse group, we provide adequate representation for all the students at Ryerson.
What platform are you running on with Transform Ryerson?
As a TRS director or as the general team?
Both, actually.
Well, with Transform what we’re trying to do is to refocus back to the students, within our student union to truly represent what people want and what people need from their student government. We obviously stand for – so far – main campaign points, which are transparency, we want to share a board of directors meetings and we want to have a 48-hours communication rule, we want to have our budget public, as well as, perhaps hold office hours so that we could hear people’s opinions on a monthly basis – well, not a monthly basis, but on an ongoing basis, actually. Of course, we also want to have an centralized online forum for all online needs you can apply for grant admissions, you could also apply for- er, book rooms in the library or in TRS. There’s also the fact that we want to allocate our resources and time better in order to in a more effective and innovative way.

As a TRS director specifically, we are trying to build upon the need of our student body within Ted Rogers and some of the points we want to address is the need for more paid internship opportunities and we want to get this through the career centre. As many of the students know, it’s hard to make it into the field without previous job experience. We also want to offer a soft skill (?) workshop where we would educate them on email etiquette, networking skills and really just trying to engage with some of the big things to land in that interview. We also want to rally for case-cutting in our courses, now case-cutting is something that I think Ryerson does a lot, and essentially, it’s the breaking down of business cases and figuring out the best strategy based on skills. This is something that can be very beneficial for all the major students at Ted Rogers. Finally, we just want to reach out to our Alumni. Our alumni are now graduated and fully into the industry, and our connections are pivotal if we want to increase the brand and the awareness of Ted Rogers and Ryerson University as well.
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Urooj Siddiqui, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture Science Director Candidate

Interview by Matthew Ouellet
What program and what year are you currently in?
Fourth year of Industrial Engineering
What got you interested in student politics?
I think it was just wanting to help people and trying to make that difference in their lives. It was all about just having the ability to do so for a larger audience.
Why are you running for your position?
I’m very passionate about engineering students and, to be honest, I really like to help students out, especially in engineering because I can relate to their struggles. As well, I understand, like, “If this is what they’re struggling with, then this could possibly be the solution if we work together.” I feel a bond with engineering students … I run to represent them.
How did you hear about Transform Ryerson, and why did you choose to run with them?
I heard about Transform Ryerson through other student leaders. They invited me and talked about it, and it was such an amazing platform. There have been a lot of things that have gone on with the student union that, at least for engineering students, is quite embarrassing, especially if you look at, for example, Tent City. Having tents right in front of Ryerson without talking with the administration, having the media put a large focus on it… it makes Ryerson look not professional and for engineering employers, we have to look as professional as possible, especially when we’re looking for sponsorship. Having a company who may get back to us and say, “You guys aren’t representing Ryerson so well, how can we sponsor you?” or “Why should we hire you?” Professional development is one of the most important things for engineers. That’s why Transform Ryerson got to me right in my heart because what I wanted to do was prevent that kind of reputation. I don’t want that reputation for myself and I know a lot of other engineers don’t want that either.
How do you feel Transform Ryerson can fix that reputation?
The best thing about the leaders of Transform RU is that we would be able to communicate with the administration. It’s not necessarily that we agree with the administration on everything they do but what we do want to say is that we can communicate better and not go in forcefully and say, “Hey, this is how it has to happen, there’s no middle ground.” We want to say, “This is how the students feel, this is how we’d like to be represented, let’s work together to come to a solution.”
What experience do you have in student politics or leadership?
Currently I’m the president of Ryerson Engineering Students Society (RESS) as well as the Senate rep for the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Studies. I’ve interacted with the administration for two to three years. I ran for two years for Senate and I’ve been in RESS for three years. That gives me the ability, I’ve seen it, when you go up to administration and you talk to them, they actually help you out. It’s not something we’re making up, it’s not something we don’t have experience with, we’ve seen it first-hand. That’s why I’m sure if we have a conversation with them, they’ll be more than willing to meet us halfway, or all the way.
What platforms are you running on?
We’d like to provide more careers and network opportunities for engineering students. We’d also like to lobby the university to allow students to use zone tools like the Digital Media Zone, in order to help them complete their projects, their capstones. Another thing that we’re asking is getting engineering students involved in university problems so we can give students some real-life experiential learning on campus, so they don’t have to commute anywhere to go and get it.
Do you have anything else to add?
Please vote Transform RU on Feb. 9, 10 and 11. It’s a great, great team that’s running right now and we’d really like everyone’s support to transform the student union.
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Noah Parker, TRSM Director Candidate

Interview by Stefanie Phillips
Parker is a second-year business management student with a major in entrepreneurship.
What got you interested in student politics?
For a long time, I’ve been interested in student politics. In high school I served as a student trustee in my school board, I was minister of student affairs on my student council, I was voted junior citizen of the year for Burlington in 2013 and I’ve done a lot of work with the Ministry of Education on the province-wide fellow. Moving on to university, I stayed with the same organization. It was called OSTA-AECO. I applied for student ridings on the high school level and graduated and chose a post-secondary option. And at Ryerson especially I saw the Ryerson Students’ Union and Ryerson Commerce Society and what they offer to undergraduate students.
Why did you run for this position?
I decided to go for the Ted Rogers School of Management Director position not only because I felt like I have a large network in Ted Rogers and I know a lot of the students so I know exactly what students are looking for, but I felt it was an entry-level position other than something at the university-level. I don’t have a lot of experience in the Ryerson Students’ Union itself. I have more experience in the COPS Society so I’m ready to step away from the Commerce Society and into the Ryerson Students’ Union, to the position of TRSM Director. I think it’s more suited for me.
How did you hear about Transform Ryerson and why did you choose to run with them?
The major thing that really attracted me to Transform is there are not too many people that run each year. It’s a group of fresh faces … from across the campus … because they really want to see a change in this community, they really want to work for students themselves and they’re not in it for any other reason. They’re in it because they genuinely care about this university and the students and the image they’re trying to create. So i joined Transform because I truly believe they are the best shot for a better and more prosperous future.
Are you a part of any student clubs or societies? If so, which ones?
Yes, I’m a marketing associate at the Ryerson Commerce Society and I’m a delegate in Ryerson Model United Nations and I’ve won an outstanding new delegate award on behalf of the Ryerson Model United Nations. And I also volunteered at the Discover Ryerson last year.
What platforms are you running on/ what do you plan on doing if you’re elected?
For me in particular, what I really want to push for is working with the Ryerson Careers Centre to increase internship opportunities for students because I know personally [that] it’s a concern for a lot of students — whether they are going to find an internship this summer or not. If I get elected, I’m really going to increase internship opportunities for other students as well as networking events because everyone knows the ability to get an internship is ethically and mathematically increased if you have larger network.
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Mariam Nouser – FEAS Director Candidate

Interview by Victoria Shariati
What program are you in, and what year?
I’m in Mechanical Engineering, second year.
What got you interested in student politics?
Well, I’ve been involved in Ryerson since actually before I even stepped foot in my first class. I’ve been involved in so many different forms and my first election at Ryerson was last year running for Chemical Director in Chemical Engineering for the Ryerson Engineering Student Society. I always had an urge to help people and to make sure their voices are heard. I feel like I have the type of personality that doesn’t take any stuff from people who don’t listen to what the people need and I feel like that’s what qualifies me for this position.
Why did you run for this position?
This position is all stuff from everything I’ve been doing on campus. Whether it’s TedX or whether it’s with RESS, it’s just on a much grander scale. Even though I’m running for Engineering Director, I feel like I can make a difference. Not just with my Chemical Engineering students but also for the rest of the campus. You know, to help basically all of the undergraduate students, which is over 35,000. It’s something serious to take into account that people with experience like myself, I think that’s what people need, and I want to do more to make changes.
How did you hear about Transform Ryerson and why did you choose to run with them?
Several people that are on Transform with me are colleagues of mine in my student group, whether there are a couple in the Engineering Society and a couple from TedX, and they were on Transform before I joined. I was approached by several of my fellow colleagues a while back, and they explained to me what their purpose was at Transform, and what they wanted to bring to Ryerson University. It’s something that I’ve always envisioned since I’ve gotten here, not just specifically Ryerson, but it’s even an opinion I’ve had since high school, you know, to bring people together, to go against certain people in certain authorities whatever they may be. It was just their morale and what their goals were as people and I just felt like it was the right choice for me.
What experience do you have in student politics or student affairs?
Last March and February I ran for Chemical Director in Chemical Engineering for the Engineering Society, so basically I represent the 400 or so chemical engineering students, or the undergraduate students. And the kind of politics I’ve been involved in, to say the least, it’s nothing like the RSU politics and nothing could have prepared me for what has transpired and what will transpire. I think for student affairs a lot of my goals are to move people. I’m on TedX this year, I’m Community Outreach Manager, so I do outreach to my community to get them aware of what TedX has to offer, especially for the conference that we happened in November. That was my goal. So basically for student affairs, well I’m doing charity, and I’m one of the charity courses here, so I always have to deal with people.
Are you a part of any student clubs for societies? If so, which ones?
I’m one of the founding members for the Chemical Engineering Course Union, it was defunct for a couple years and when I was in Chemical Engineering last year, I decided to, well myself and a friend decided to reinstate it and get it back. I’m in TedX, RESS, ChemU, I’m also in the Mechanical Engineering Course Union, now that I’ve switched over, and those are pretty much my major roles, otherwise it’s just volunteering roles.
What platforms are you running on/what do you plan on doing if you’re elected?
As you may or may not know, I’m running with three other candidates, so it’s myself, and Urooj Siddiqui, Amar Latchman, and Dave Alcivar. We all want to bring, kind of not do something new to Ryerson, but expand on what’s started, and has a foundation. So, we’re looking for some courses to expand and we want some upper year academic support. We find that the jump from first to second to third, you know… in the engineering office, we found that first year Calc students before their midterm had study hall, so we want to bring that to upper years. A lot of upper year courses are very difficult, and we find that the students don’t have enough resources to succeed. And another one is that a lot of our courses, more or less actually 75 to 80%, had a lab report where we get to apply our theoretical knowledge. We want to expand that. We’re working with some people to get more experimental work because the only way you’re going to learn to deal with the real world, especially for engineering situations, is to get your hands dirty and get to work. So that’s what we want to work on, as well as zone learning. In a few years there’s going to be kind of like a program where it’s like zone learning, so it kind of draws upon objective things like entrepreneurship. We really want to give engineering students the chance to pitch their ideas and learn the zone environment around them. And we really want to show the talent of our engineering minds that we have, and what we have to offer to the world. And the last one is just kind of general academic support, so kind of going off the last one but with a little bit of a twist. One of our programs is a co-op based program for engineering, and we’re finding it really difficult for people to get into these positions. We need to address the department and make sure the co-op is going smoothly. And it is a problem that keeps coming up for me, as I’ve been trying to deal with it for the past nine months. So that’s something that we all feel applies not only to chemical engineering students, but also the several other chains that we have.
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Mady Krapez-Fewster — FCAD Director Candidate

Interview by Caterina Amaral
What program are you in, and what year?
“I’m in graphic communications management and I’m minoring business law and pro com, professional communications. Second year.” (Couldn’t clearly hear what her minor is, so I will text you ASAP when Mady responds back).
What got you interested in student politics?
“Ever since I was actually in high school I was always involved in student council and stuff like that. Then coming to Ryerson I actually got involved in my course union as a first-year rep (GCMCU). That was like my first introduction to getting involved on campus and I got a job through admissions as well, which opened up a lot of opportunities.”
Why did you run for this position?
“I ran for this position because as my other student leaders on the teams thought we need a change on campus. We ran as team collectively to see that positive change happen and we felt that all of us together all brought individual skills to the roles.”
What’s the RSU lacking right now?
“For me personally, I don’t really know who my FCAD directors really are. RSU has a lot of potential for events, for reaching out, for collaborations, and that’s kind of the stuff we wanna see change.”
How did you hear about Transform Ryerson and why did you choose to run with them?
“Because of my previous involvement experience I met a lot of people who are on the team. So, collaboratively, we came together. So, I know FCAD, some of us knew each other before. We have some first-years who are involved as well. So, we reached out to different student group across campus to get a good representation.”
What experience do you have in student politics or student affairs?
“I was first-year rep on my course union, I also work for admission as student ambassador, so I represent Ryerson to perspective students. I also work at housing as an academic link, so I oversee first-year students helping them with academics. So there’s a bit of everything. I also help with campus tours. I worked on the summers as a campus tour guide. This year I’m VP marketing my course union. I’m a graphic designer for Ryerson Communication and Design Society, the graphics associate for Ted Rogers Management conference…and I think that’s it.”
Are you apart of any student clubs or societies? If so, which ones?
I’m part of RCDS as a graphic designer. My course union as VP marketing. I’m not part of Commerce Society, but I’m doing Ted Rogers Management Conference, which is underneath them technically, as graphic designer, so not an executive role.
What platforms are you running on/ what do you plan on doing if you’re elected?
As an FCAD director, we really wanna see a bit of a change in FCAD. It is a really broad program cause they’re kind of split up everywhere. We wanna increase collaboration with societies and student clubs to see FCAD students come together. For example, I’m in graphic communication management, and say someone’s in fashion and they need a designer, I can help them. We’re also interested in creating a funding system for student projects, and practicums, and discount supplies. For example again, a fashion student say they’re making a design and they need fabric. Having an internal system where they can go and find the cheapest option or student discount.
I read that Ryerson Commerce Society endorses Transform Ryerson. Can you explain to me why?
A lot of student groups and societies across campus have endorsed our specific team. If you go on our website you can see a list of all the endorsements. I know why generally student groups are endorsing us is because they are also wanting to see that change on campus. Personally, don’t know why the Commerce Society did it. I just know that the other students groups just wanna see that change.
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Shay Alford — FCAD Director Candidate

Interview by Caterina Amaral

What program are you in, and what year?
I’m in RTA media production, first year.

What got you interested in student politics?
I’ve always wanted to get more involved in campus. I was involved when I was in high school. But I wasn’t really planning to get involved in my first year. Sort of a difficult thing to do, especially when you don’t have those connections yet. When the CRO (Chief Recruiting Officer) decided to open up an FCAD position ‘cause there was originally three and then opened four, I immediately contacted Mady [Krapez-Fewster], she’s actually my AL (academic link) in residence. We kind of worked together and she got me on the slate where I met the entire Transform team. We all kind of shared the same views on things it’s just when you get to the step of being involved it’s where you kind of find out this is something I like doing. From there I’m peaking my interest in getting involved.

Why did you run for this position?
There was a position available. I contacted Mady, who I knew through residence, and together we got on the slate and I met all the Transform team. They are super inclusive and super excited to meet me and I was excited to meet them, but I had no idea who they were. And then very quickly we got together. Got my names on the posters. I learned what I was doing and from there got really involved with the program.

How did you hear about Transform Ryerson and why did you choose to run with them?
I heard about Transform through Mady first. I kind of knew something was going on, there’s gonna be an opposition slate this year. Even from an outside student from that time, I was really excited about the entire process, dying to be involved but I couldn’t because you know I have no connections. Little did I know my biggest connection was right there.

(In an email, Shay said this is why he joined Transform RU: I joined the Transform RU slate because I have always had the drive to get involved further on campus. As a first year student, it’s rare for an opportunity like this come around, so when I was given the chance, I had to jump on it. The Transform team is made of student leaders from every corner of campus. We share the common goal to create a movement within Ryerson that will impact and enhance our student’s union for years to come. Being part of a team so diverse and revolutionary is truly amazing, and I’m excited to see what’s to come.)

What experience do you have in student politics or student affairs?
So my high school experience, that’s where I come directly from, so I was part of our grad council, that’s what we called our student government. We would all sit together as a board and vote on things that were gonna happen and run a lot of events. I was sort of the leader of grad council so every event we put on as a school or grad class, I would be one of the initiators. In terms of that, a lot of event experience. I’m in RTA, so there’s a lot of connections which go on there which brings experience in terms of industry connections, so we have CURTAS, our course union. A lot of connections go on there which give me the experience which I can bring back to this position.”

Are you a part of any student clubs or societies? If so, which ones?
I joined Ryeflix. Now I’m starting to define myself a Ryerson student, but before, [I was] still struggling, looking around, seeing what’s out there, but not being too committed. I don’t wanna go into my second year already committed to a bunch of things. What if I change my mind, or what if I change my views? I wanted to stay out of until I knew a little bit more about campus. This position opened up where I was able to jump in right way. It’s a great way to get started and meet people from all across campus.”

What platforms are you running on/ what do you plan on doing if you’re elected?
I’m an FCAD director. I’m one of the four, Mady is the other one, as well as Tavia [Bakowski], and Tyler [Webb]. For me specifically, we are running on three. The first one is creating a collaborative system that communicates with societies throughout FCAD. Right now there is a total lack of communication. If you were to ask any RTA student, for example, … what the RCDS is, they would have no idea. That goes to show for other societies that exist on campus as well. People don’t know exactly what they are and what they do for students. Through creating a collaborative system it would be bringing them all together and directing them to the students. If I’m able to promote these kind of ideas to my fellow classmates, together we can create more connections, more networking. Second thing they want to do is create new industry partnerships. What that means is working together with new partnerships to create a discount in materials database, specifically bringing students discounted rentals, discounted purchasing. This would be great for student projects. The final thing is increasing funding for practicums.
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Tavia Bakowski, FCAD director Candidate

Interview by Justin Chandler
Tavia Bakowski is a second-year Creative Industries student. She is running with Transform for the position of the Faculty of Communication and Design (FCAD) director.

You’re in your second year in Creative Industries. What do you want to be after university?
I want to be a large-scale live event producer or project manager for those huge award shows and things that happen where you only have one shot to get it right.
What got you interested in student politics?
It’s kind of weird. My program is brand new, so I will be [in] the first graduating class. With that I thought, “Hey, our program is brand new, we can make it and make our reputation whatever we choose it to be.” I took that opportunity and I ran. So I joined the [Creative Industries] course union the second they opened the nominations. VP of Events was open. I [said, “Hey, that is what I want to do.” …. I really like scaring myself. I really like trying new things so I applied for the Vietnamese Student Association for graphics. I’ve applied for a lot of student groups and a lot of jobs and I’ve just gotten really active in the Ryerson community. With that I’ve met some amazing people like Cormac McGee [running for Vice President of Education] and Tyler Webb [running for FCAD Director] who have helped me along my path. They contacted me about this specific one and said, “Hey, we’d love to have you, and I [said], “I’d love to be here.”
Why did you decide to run for FCAD director?
I feel like the students of FCAD really need a strong voice and someone who will represent them, in a very positive way. I talk to a lot of students in FCAD, not just Creative Industries. Because I’m on the course union I go to a lot of events for other faculties. We do a lot of joint events and I really want someone on that board who is very active, very engaging and can go out there and say: ‘Hey, how are you doing? Is everything okay? Is there anything I can hear about that you might need help with?’…. We don’t have [someone like that], so hopefully I get [elected].
Does being a second-year student make it difficult to run?
I don’t find it to be any type of disadvantage. I think that if you are passionate about what you are doing, it doesn’t matter if you are first or fourth year and I think that that passion really pushes you through everything else. Yes, you might be a little bit less experienced than other people, however that’s a challenge…that me and my entire slate love and will do everything to overcome.
Why do you like Transform as opposed to Unite Ryerson?
I like Transform because we see opportunity in terms of improvement of things like transparency and communication. The people on it, I already knew prior to going onto the slate and they are all very beautiful people. They all care about students. They’re all here for the students. They’re [passionate about] the university and for the people who are in it. All they want is for everyone to be happy and included. My views really align with theirs.
You’ve worked for the Creative Industries Course Union and for the Vietnamese Student Association. How’s your experience been with those?
I love them to bits and pieces. I’m a very social person, so [being part of them] puts me in a situation where I do get to meet new people, I do get to see other people’s strengths, and then maybe help them find other people who match them [so they can] do projects together. Things like that.
You worked as the head of Graphic Communications [for the Vietnamese Student Association] and as the Vice President of Events [for the Creative Industries Course Union], so how can you take those skills and use them in the position you’re running for now?
I feel like I am a very diverse person. I have multiple skill sets and with them I can relate a lot more to a faculty like FCAD where you have everything from a journalist to a fashion designer, to someone in professional communications. So there are different avenues I can channel…. I also think that being VP of Events, I understand more how things operate when you have to work as a whole council [or] as a whole team. I think that will put me at an advantage…
What platforms are you running on and what do you plan to do if elected?
For FCAD Director, the first thing we really, really want to do is compile a database or a list of all the student groups and all the societies. Whether you are run under the RSU or you are run under the [Ryerson Commerce Society], [Ryerson Engineering Student Society], the [Ryerson Communication and Design Society]—regardless of that—if you are [in] a student group in Ryerson, we want to have that in a list. Because we want people to be able to communicate cross-faculty, we want to give our students the opportunity to reach out to someone in [the Ted Rogers School of Management] and say, “Hey, I’m really interested in that student group, can I join?” Because as of this moment, there is no database or list that has everybody and it does make it difficult when we have people let’s say in Ted Rogers who are looking for a videographer and they only know the people in Ted Rogers. We want them to be able to go to that database and say, “Oh look, there are these student groups. We can email them and ask if they know anybody.
The second thing we want to do is try and make a discounted material system so that the students of FCAD who do have to buy those additional pieces—the fabrics, the rulers, the cardboard, whatever they need—can go to a place that will sell it for a better price than what they’re getting right now. Being a student is obviously extremely expensive and we would like to try to ease that expense. That is not something that is easily done but [that] we really want to work toward.
“The third thing is that we want to try and subsidize or create funding revenue for end of year practicums. Most programs in FCAD have the end of year practicum and it is costly, both time-wise and [financially]. We want to try and figure out a way to help students fund their academic projects because a lot of the time you shell out the money from your own pocket and you never see it again. And it is worth it because you have a great end product and we feel like it would be even better if we could help you with that.
What would you do differently than your predecessor if elected?
I want to go to events. I want to go to as many events as I am invited to and as many events as I can potentially make it to. I want people to be able to know who I am and feel comfortable coming up to me and saying: ‘Hey, I know you’re sitting on this. Can I ask you a few questions,’ or: ‘Can I ask for advice,’ or: ‘Can you bring this up for me?’ I just want to be there for the students visually.
What can you bring [to the student union] that nobody else can?
I think that I have a really weird cultural background. [I am Chinese and adopted]. My last name is Bakowski. I have grown up in a household where my visual race and my culture maybe have not matched up 100 per cent of the time. I’ve really learned how to handle that and use it to my full advantage and not see it as a challenge anymore. I think that form of personal growth is always something [that helps me understand people’s issues]. …. I guess I’m also reachable to two different demographics.
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Tyler Webb, FCAD Director Candidate

Interview by Jackie Hong, transcribed by Jack Hopkins
What program are you in and what year are you in?
I’m in image arts photography and I’m in fourth year.

What got you interested in student politics?
For the most part I’m interested in students being engaged and involved in their campus to better it and better their experiences overall. So student politics for me is a great avenue to do that and I what I think student politics should be all about is bettering the everyday.

Why did you run for this position in particular?
For FCAD director specifically, I feel like it’s a natural extension of a lot of the work I have done. I was a course union president for two years before I became president of the RCDS so through that experience and the experience of working with the RCDS I have a pretty broad knowledge and understanding of the faculty as a whole as well as the kind of relationships I have built with a lot of students and a lot of faculty. So for me it’s kind of an extension of that. An aside to that, I think Transform represents a real chance for students to see an RSU that does impact their everyday, that does focus on issues particular to students on Ryerson campus and that will better their experience here.

Speaking of Transform, how did you hear about them and why did you choose to run on their slate?
In terms of hearing about them, I was part of a group of students who were thinking about something along these lines for a while and was part of trying to reach out and see if there was support for something like this, support for an opposition slate and a change in the direction of the RSU. Gladly, we found that support and a lot of students that were interested in this and built a slate out of that so in terms of how I got involved. I would say I was kind of there from the beginning responding to a lot of the troubles specifically student groups have with funding, with delayed procedural stuff, how the grating system works. So there’s frustrations there that I’m aware of from being a course union president for two years and also from being involved in the course unions in FCAD.

What experience do you have in student politics and what clubs were you a part of?
So from the beginning in my first year I was a member of alternative spring break which is a volunteer group that travels and partners with different NGOs every year. I was a part of that team from January first year onwards when we were fundraising I was also involved in my course unions activities in first year, I also got involved in the Ryerson Image Centre when it opened up and I volunteered there for about a year before becoming employed there. In second year I was elected president of the course union. So I was involved heavily in that in organising their orientation and that kind of became my everything I guess, and the year after that I got involved in the steering committee for the Ryerson Communication & Design Society, I was able to organise an FCAD-wide orientation party night with all the course unions which was really nice. Since that I was also elected to the Board of Governors, and currently I sit on the SLC prep group which is a group that builds recommendations for the transition committee that approves who can book things, and what the hours will be and policies around security. So the group that I’m on has three students on it, a grad student and two undergrad students as well as representation from the library, the DMZ, Student Learning Support, to build up these recommendations. I’ve also been involved in the SLC ambassador program as a mentor, and an advisor. That’s all I can remember right now.

Okay, lot of hats though.
Like I said, a lot of hats. The main ones are president of RCDS, Board of Governors, and my involvement in DSLC prep group.

Final question, what is your platform and what do you plan to do if you get elected an FCAD Director position?
So specifically for Transform the main platform points are increased transparency around all financial documents and organisational documents, responding to how hard it was to get motions to publicise the budget, it’s taken about four years to do that. We’d like to see an organisation that actively promotes that transparency. A second thing would be increasing communication. Being a course union president for two years, sometimes it was very hard to get a hold of VP student life or other positions on the RSU that were essential to operating as a group and we’d also see increased communication to the student body as a whole including videotaped and publically-available board meetings, open monthly sessions with the board, . The other major thing would be to work with the university on a very specific goal which would be the waiving of document fees, so enrolment records, as well as increased staffing at financial services. In terms of FCAD, we have three main goals. One would be to increase collaboration amongst all the groups, so actively work with the professional student societies, year-end shows, and other institutions across the university to more opportunities for student in FCAD with all the students who are in other faculties. We also want to build relationships with companies and individuals and industries to create a discounted program of materials and rentals for students. FCAD faces huge costs associated with their programs and the production work that they do. Finally, a huge thing that doesn’t exist in the university is a funding system for academic projects. There’s currently many different funding system through the FCAD dean’s office, the RCDS, for projects that don’t receive academic credit. But there isn’t anything for projects that do receive academic credit. It is a touchy issue, it may be hard to fairly implement, but if anyone’s gonna tackle it on this campus, it should be a student union. So those are the three main points we have for FCAD, as well as the three that resonate for me from the Transform slate as a whole.

That’s all seven questions, is there anything else you want to add?
With Transform we have an opportunity to reject the status quo and demand more from student union. I say that being someone who wants to be accountable to that demand. I would love to see student educated about eh student union and the university, to understand everything available to them and to know that the student union is providing them with day in day out betterment of their time on campus. And that is something that across the bar we necessarily haven’t seen from the status quo and we have a chance to change that. I think that’s a really important opportunity for students.
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Obaid Ullah, Vice-President Operations Candidate

Interview by Jackie Hong

Ullah is a second-year mechanical engineering student.

What got you interested in student politics?
Well, I was always a part of the Engineering Students’ Society. Like, I joined them in first year. I’m always helping out. And this year we saw that there’s a big positive change happening when Transform came around, and yeah, it was a big change, positive, so why not?

Why did you run for this position?
I dunno, I felt like it’s a good fit for me. I mean, VP Operations, there’s a lot to do in it, there’s a lot I can do. From my understanding of the position I’ll have to manage the SCC building, manage the budget, work with students, stuff like that right? Improve …For example, the health and dental plan opt-out, Metropasses, stuff like that that a lot of student complain about. Especially jobs on campus. The RSU has a lot of opportunities to provide jobs for students and it’s something that I’m passionate about.

How did you hear about Transform RU and why did you choose to run with them?
Andrea contacted me. Andrea saw that I was hard working with the RSU and she pitched the idea to me and I was like, “I like it, I’ll go for it.”

What experience do you have in student politics or student affairs?
I am a part of other student groups, that about it.

Which groups?
I am an executive on the MSA, the Ryerson Muslim Students’ Association. I am also the president and co-founder of the Ryerson Cricket Club. I am vice-president administration for the mechanical engineering course union, vice-president finance for the Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Ryerson chapter, and I’m vice-president communications for the Ryerson Engineering Students Society.

What platforms are you running on and what do you plan on doing if you’re elected?
Well I think now all I want to do is make sure I have that… I want to create a personal connection with students. I know that in engineering, a lot of students know who I am and there’s a lot of student groups I’m associated with. I’ve been able to earn the trust of students through my hard work but, again, it is a big campus and now I want have one-on-one talks with individual students and show them that I am there for them and I want to work together with my team on Transform and bring positive change to the campus. It’s been a really long time since a whole team has combined and formed to work on the RSU and campaign against Unite Ryerson and I’m really excited to see the results of this campaign.

Certain thoughts that are crossing my head at the moment is that the RSU has a big budget but I don’t see much value or much productive work being done by the RSU. They have a lot of great actions and I’m really really happy that they’ve taken such a positive stance and they’ve done a great job in the past, but I do want to.. The main goal this year is to provide more resources to students, make sure that all the CopyRITES are functioning properly, building services are being maintained, more student discounts for members, as an example, helping negotiate, work a way to find a faster way to purchase Metropasses, a lot of students have to wait there for a really long time. Health and Dental plan opt-out was a really big issue this year, I want to make sure that doesn’t happen. I do wish to post the budget online and show people not just to what the RSU is sending money on but where its going, and they should have a say in how the budget’s formed as well. So before budget is set for the next year I do want to have town hall meetings and get students opinions on how to allocate the budget.
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Kinza Malik, Faculty of Community Services Director Candidate

Interview by Jackie Hong, transcribed by Jack Hopkins
What program are you in and what year are you in?
So I’m in nursing, and I am in third year.
What got you interested in student politics?
Well, the thing with me is that after taking a look at the politics surrounding the school and all of the inadequacies and things that students are lacking here as well as their complaints because I am a member of CNSA. CNSA is the Canadian Nursing Student’s Association, and what we do is we act as the voice for the students. So I receive a lot of complaints from students and a lot of changes that need to be made that haven’t been made. And so that’s what ushered me into student politics because I do want to create a change for the students and because I am a student myself I feel that these changes need to be made as well., so as a community we need to facilitate change.
And you said complaints from students, is it Ryerson students in particular?
Yes.
So why did you run for this position?
So for this position I am a member of the faculty, and therefore I know some of the concerns because I am in the nursing program which is within the faculty of community services. Because I receive many complaints from nursing students I know that it’s a broader problem amongst the entire faculty and because right now I’m only catering towards nursing students I’d like to broaden the scope and involve more students in there and get more feedback on what we can do to facilitate change as opposed to remaining within the nursing field I do want to figure out how everyone else feels about the situation so we can all work together to make a bigger broader change.
How did you hear about Transform, and why did you choose to run with them?
I actually was referred to Transform by a friend of mine who was the previous president of RSOS which is a Ryerson student group offering support and what happened was that Andrea shared her vision so she shared the transparency that they’re looking for, the portal they’re looking for and that really enticed me right from the beginning because many of my concerns were addressed simply by the platform that Transform was vouching for. For example transparency, something that I as a student have felt there hasn’t been enough of. So until recently we haven’t had access to the budget and we as students are investing money towards tuition, etc. so what is important to us is to be aware of where these spendings are allocated towards.
What experience do you have in student affairs or student politics?
In terms of student affairs, I have been involved in RSOS, I am currently the director of nursing, so what I do is I direct a lot, a lot of coordinating and that’s why I believe I would be fit for this position as faculty director. In addition to that I am the associate-delegate for the CNSA chapter for Ryerson and what I do is I act as a voice with the official delegate. We go to national and international conferences and we advocate for the students. So we vote on certain matters, on behalf of our students. So I collaborate with official delegate who makes the final decision and then next year I will become the official delegate and I will spearhead the nursing portion of that faculty.
Are you part of any other student clubs or groups?
Currently those are the two groups that I’m part of, there are many external community involvement that I take part in. For example I provide tutoring services and I do it for my community free of charge it’s for lower income families and I empower them and give them education that they need. So I act as a voice for people who feel that they have no voice in a community, and I would like to facilitate change for people who feel that they are in a position where they lack power.
What platform are you running on, and if elected what do you plan on doing?
To begin with, I do believe that although we do support nursing co-op placements within Ontario, I don’t feel that we place enough emphasis on global health and international placements. So what I’ve done is I’ve collaborated with MedLife which is a student group that allows nursing students to go abroad, for example to Peru. What you would do is you would practice your clinical skills and collaborating with other professionals in that field that are located abroad. This allows empowerment for the community that you’re involved in, and is a great learning place for students. Number one, I want to endorse global health initiatives. Number two, I want to allow more scholarships and bursaries to be available to students. Personally, I haven’t received any access to scholarships or bursaries that I might be eligible for, and I’ve spoken to several students in my program and they all agree. It’s a big concern that a lot of people have been mentioning to me as I am the associate delegate for CNSA so a lot of students have been coming to me about that. So it’s global health, it’s scholarships, and just being given the support. For example self-care and just de-stressors. So I want to be able to implement more workshops on self-care, because I know that us as students and members of the community services field, we do tend to endure burnout and what is of crucial importance is self-care. It’s not emphasised because we are constantly ingrained with this idea that we are meant to help others and not help ourselves. If we’re not empowered, how can we empower others and the students that surround us?
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Hannah Van Dyk, FCAD Director Candidate

Interview by Dylan Freeman-Grist,transcribed by Anika Syeda
What year and program are you in?

I am in my fourth year of arts and contemporary studies. For my first two years at Ryerson I was a journalism major and I just switched to my second year.

What got you interested in student politics?

I don’t know if I’m really interested in student politics but I am interested in creating positive change across campus. So a bunch of my friends were doing this thing together and said, “We’re doing this thing. Would you like to run on our slate?” and I was like “Oh that would be really fun.”

Why did you run for this position?

I think that the faculty of arts is missing a cohesive community. We don’t have a society the same way engineering or the communications and science [society]- yeah, the same way FCAD, engineering, and TRSM do. And I think that I have a lot of experience across campus bringing people together.

I worked on the orientation team, like the first combined orientation team between residents and main campus. I’ve done a lot to get students out to games and all of that stuff so I know that I can help create change in terms of bringing people together and that’s what I really wanted to do for the faculty of arts.

What got you interested in Transform RU? And why did you run on their slate?

I think the big push in one of the things is the financial transparency, I think that’s been a big frustration. And I think another thing is the non-partisan piece on international politics, that’s been a big thing for me. I’ve a roommate who is Jewish and who has expressed a lot of discontent over some of the RSU stances on that stuff and I’m really excited to be part of the slate doesn’t want to promote that kind of stuff. The other thing I’m really positive and excited about too is we want to bring the school together, right? I’m big on school spirit and I think that when I look at the slate, I’m looking at people from all across campus, right? Yeah, I think we can bring the school together a little bit more than it is right now.

Are you involved in any student clubs or societies?
In my second year at Ryerson I worked as a residence advisor. Then, I worked on the residence O-team as the human resource and event management lead. Then, I worked at the residence service desk and I worked as the administration assistant for the project funding allocation committee in conjunction with the position as the something (2m46s) navigator. Then, over the summer, I was the residence lead on the orientation team. And right now I currently work at the residence service desk as well as I work as a student leadership advisor in student life programs and I work as a master of ceremonies for Global Spectrum at Mattamy and I try to support people whenever I can. I’m also a big Ryerson Rams fan so I’m there a lot with my roommates and my bullhorn, cheering and stuff.

What are some of the things you want to do if you’re elected?
For the faculty of arts one of the main things we want to do is lobby for more community space on campus so we have an arts lab and an arts common area but it’s a very small space for about… realistically, if all three thousand arts students were there, it’d be like… we’d break so many fire codes. So we’d like to lobby for more space. One of the other things we want to do is increase arts student engagement and events across campus so we’d like to send out one cohesive monthly newsletter that kind of has like all the events on campus and really encourage the arts students to come out. The last thing we want to do is implement a year-end celebration for students. A lot of creative programs have these year-end shows and stuff like that. While our program doesn’t specifically deal with these those things so there’s no physical structures that we can show off, I still think it would be a great way to celebrate how far we’ve come in the last year and look forward to next year.
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Andrea Bartlett, presidential candidate on the Transform RU slate, was not available for interview.

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