The campaigning period for the 2017 fall by-elections for the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union has begun to select two Division I first-year representatives, two Division IV part-time representatives, and one representative for Division V from the Mississauga Academy of Medicine. 

There are currently nine candidates running for Division I and one candidate running for Division IV. There are no current candidates running for Division V. The Medium was able to interview six of the nine candidates for Division I. 

English student Tania Khan intends to focus her campaign on improving student transition on campus. 

Khan stated she also intends on helping international students and the LGBTQ community adjust to life at UTM. 

“I want everyone to be aware of everything that is happening on campus. If it’s on my calendar, it can be on theirs too. This way no one misses out on any opportunities,” stated Tania.

Matthew Prebeg wants to increase student involvement and engagement on campus. 

He stated that students want to participate in activities and often miss out on their passions and hobbies because of lack of knowledge of the opportunities that are accessible to them on campus.

Prebeg stated that the university experience and overall development of a student is not restricted to just academics, but expands to all extracurricular activities that they are interested in.

“I want to live by example, help people understand what they want and motivate and guide them in the right direction,” he said. 

Using prior experience from working on various student councils in high school, Prebeg wants to use that motivation to give UTM students a better experience. 

Life Science student Marie Odihiamo emphasized the importance of improving mental wellbeing on campus by increasing the amount of ‘de-stressors’ that the university offers during exam time. 

“I’m interested in being able to represent students and voice their interests to the student government and the faculty, and be that link between the two to make the school more comfortable for everyone in it,” said Odihiamo.

Odihiamo continued to express an interest in closing the division between students on residence and commuter students, by hosting frequent campus-wide frosh-like events.  

In relation to her international background, she states that “With UTM being as international as it is, I think it’s important to have a first year rep who can relate with loads of different cultures and people and therefore be able to help them.”

Matteo Scurci stated his intent to create a closer community with first-year students and ensure that they have their opinions heard.

“I’m more of a representative, but it’s not just my ideas, I’m representing you. If you want something and you have an idea, that’s what I’m for.” 

Scurci also expressed his interest in creating pop-up food festivals to help celebrate the diversity on campus and bring first-year students together.

Computer Science student Manik Rana stressed the importance of improving the transitioning for international students and creating an academic advocacy campaign to educate students on academic integrity and student rights. 

“This is not just a task about representing, it’s more like administration and making decisions,” said Rana.

Vasil Bourak, a life sciences student, expressed his interest on the overall improvement of campus life. Bourak stated an intent `to create more study spaces for students, expand the transit system, create more clubs and activities, and diversify the food on campus. 

Bourak is currently working towards the creation of a club, in the field of medicine, that focuses on research and active involvement of all students.

Other students running for Division I posts include Yue Sun, Fan Wang and Cai Yu Huang. The candidate for part-time representative, Pu Qi Zhao, did not respond to request for comment at the time of publication. 

The voting period for the fall By-elections will run from September 26th to September 28th. 

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