Eli Ridder, Melissa Martinez | The Post
Candidates campaigning for IGNITE leadership positions related to the University of Guelph-Humber vied for student support during the first Elections Forum on Thursday, with issues around transparency, accessibility and unity taking priority.
Candidates for the GH-designated seats on the Board of Directors, vice president of Guelph-Humber and IGNITE president took to floor in GH303 to give pitches and answer questions predetermined and from students.
Transparency was largely identified as an aim to bring more awareness to students about the role, events and opportunities that are available with IGNITE Student Life, the association that binds Humber College and Guelph-Humber’s students.
Most candidates identified accessibility as a specific issue for the Guelph-Humber campus, with president candidate Monica Khosla and vice president candidate Harry Carlisle going into further detail and specific solutions.
Board candidate Michaela Wong said that she is partnered with fellow candidate Raakeve Gunas to make campus “a better community” and wants to invite all students into the “second family” with campus as a “second home”.
But the pair were not the only two to cite student body unity as a primary concern, with several candidates offering specifics as to how improve togetherness.
Platform ambitions ranged from a student lounge in the Atrium proposed by Carlisle to an IGNITE mobile app by fellow VP candidate Maheen Nazim, but all candidates stressed that students were the top priority.
The next Election Forum is at Humber College North Campus on Mar. 6, with the Lakeshore forum taking place the following day.
Engagement vs. accessibility
While both presidential candidates showed strong support for both priorities, Allisa Lim prioritized engagement while Monica Khosla took a stance for continued accessibility reform during the pitch and question periods.
Lim, currently the vice president of IGNITE for Lakeshore Campus, said that she aims to get more students engaged in student leadership by opening up administrative academic and non-academic committees to students.
The Post followed up for clarification, and Lim said that she has already been working towards “implementing academic committees at Humber” as VP, while counterpart GH VP John Kokkoros has also been focused on academics at GH.
Lim said she would do “more research” in regards to Guelph-Humber before making moves on academic involvement.
Currently, Guelph-Humber has four senators that represent students on the University of Guelph Senate that tackles issues related to academics and non-academics.
Also active is the Academic Reform Group, which Lim said she would be connecting with.
Khosla cited physical and social accessibility as areas of improvement for IGNITE, referencing work she did representing students at the AODA committee that exists to hold campus to standards found in the provincial disabilities act and a deficit in awareness for IGNITE events and opportunities.
“Letting people know what IGNITE is” in the first place is a critical issue for Khosla, saying that she was for “face-to-face” interaction with students over surveys and social media posts.
When later asked about managing time and expectations, Khosla said that she is flexible and open to “making sacrifices” to meet with students, even if it is early or late in the day.
While acknowledging that IGNITE executives should “should step outside the office many times throughout the week”, Lim wants to ask students “how do you want to be aware of us?”
Lim said she wants to do more of hearing student issues and lead execs to “do their best” in engaging students, explaining “I’d rather die doing something then live doing nothing.”
Lim said she “understands the importance of the president” when asked by the panel about her leadership ability, going into detail about how she will use a team strategy to administer the three vice president’s that will make up the IGNITE executive group.
When asked about her leadership abilities, Khosla said she is honest, organized and transparent, saying that students don’t receive the transparency they want from IGNITE Student Life, something that will be crucial to her if elected.
Read the tweet chain for the presidential section of the forum.
Vice president candidates
Although vice-presidential candidates shared similar concerns for accessibility and awareness of IGNITE, the issue of academic reform was also brought to the forum.
Rose Bonello slogan “a vote for me, is a vote for us,” was shown with her concerns of student involvement within academic. She claims by creating more communication between students and educators.
Maheen Nazim also expressed her opinion on parking issues and shared her own experience with getting in contact with IGNITE for the statues of the new parking garage but says she did not receive a response.
Nazim also wants to eliminate repetition in Justice and all program to root out “best education possible,” urging the need for accessibility ‘now’ instead of the mapped-out plan said earlier by competitor Harry Carlisle.
Harry Carlisle is an event associate at IGNITE and he wants to expand carpooling service, sustainability via solar panels, and wants to implement accessibility options.
Once solar panels and accessibility option were brought to the forum, the discussion of budgets was also brought to attention. Panelists made Carlisle aware of the $10 million budget and Carlisle responded saying using only $29,000 for computer labs and solar panels would be the most efficient and economic option.
The discussion of student education was made a priority, including with Nazim’s app idea that would be used to inform students on educational service including Academic Program Representatives.
Bonello also expressed her intention to bring awareness to students to understand their options when it comes to academic programming. Bonello says she is also a APR for FCSS, and hopes to build communication for APR’s students claiming that communication is key, wants to put out more surveys, hold forums and go out to classes and find out more information and that will connect with students.
The board candidates section will be updated at 9 p.m.
More details to follow in the coming minutes. Image of IGNITE banner from the Post.