UBCSUO Elections 2018 Candidate Biographies: Board of Directors
February 28th, 2018
Sahej Mangat- Arts and Science Representative (Arts)
My name is Sahej Mangat and I’m a third-year sociology major. I’m running for the SUO Arts Representative position in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Of my three years at UBCO, I’ve become immensely passionate about all that I have had the opportunity to learn in my field. I’m learning about social issues that occur not only around the world, but in our community. I’ve also become knowledgeable on the formation and functions of societies, which encourages my interest in learning more about our student union. My involved with the Sociology Course Union as an executive member has given me the experience to affectively administrate my duties as representative of Arts’ students.
My motivation for running is to become more involved with campus life and further fulfill my interests in aiding our community through policies. My goal would be to reflect the voice of diversity and inclusiveness for those represented by the Faculty of Arts. Since they are encompassed by many different disciplines, I would ensure that UBCO policies and strategies represent the wide-ranging interests of the students. To achieve this, I will ensure a large degree of accessibility to myself. I believe it is important that the students are able to address their concerns about the issues that are pertinent in our campus. I would welcome your support in becoming your Arts representative in our student union at UBCO.
Cody Isaac- Arts and Science Representative (Arts)
My name is Cody Isaac, and I am running to be your representative for the Faculty of Arts. I am from the Okanagan Nation in Vernon, and am in my first year of the Bachelor of Arts program looking to major in Indigenous studies. I enjoy building meaningful relationships, working with diverse groups of individuals, and being a positive influence on community members. I am confident in my critical thinking skills, I am detail oriented while being able to handle multiple tasks. I have exceptional problem-solving skills and always take into account both perspectives of the situation.
Having the experience of living in China for 8 years and running an English school has helped me gain skills that will help me to be a good representative for the Faculty of Arts. While working with a large diverse group of teachers and teaching assistants I had to learn to be flexible, a good listener, and aware of the cultural differences that affected my everyday interactions. It was important to remain impartial and fair in that position, just as I believe it is important to remain impartial and fair as a representative of the student body.
I am very passionate about representing the Faculty of Arts, and If I am elected, it is my promise to you that I will be transparent with the information coming from board meetings and will assure that your voices and concerns will be heard at the same time. I will do this by making myself available in the UNC center every 2 weeks for you to sit and chat with me about the different things that are going on within our campus.
Nimrah Pannu- Arts and Science Representative (Science)
My name is Nimrah Pannu, and I am a third year medical and molecular biochemistry student. I am currently running for the position of the faculty of science representative. My main reasons for running are to increase activities and opportunities for science students and to encourage a tight-knit community feeling around campus. Despite being a science student, politics has always been a strong passion of mine as I thoroughly believe it is essential to be a part of the campus not just as a student, but a strong leader.
Being very social, outgoing, and open-minded are the key reasons why I believe that I would be the perfect voice for the faculty of science students. It is an imperative decision that the faculty of science elects a strong spokesperson who is not only knowledgeable about their position but is approachable as well. I would ensure to be highly approachable via social media and around the school to answer any questions or concerns that the students of the faculty may have. Though academics are of significant amount of importance to achieving success at university, having fun is also incredibly important to the success of students as it builds interpersonal connections and establishes a sense of a community.
If elected as the faculty of science representative, I would hold the SUO accountable for all actions and ensure all the decisions made are done in fair way while still in the best interest of science students. I think a fresh voice is needed on the general board of the SUO, and I am that fresh voice.
Casey Stein- Director at Large
I am running for Board of Directors at Large for three reasons: I want mental health to be a priority for UBC, I believe politics should be about helping others, and I want the SUO to exercise more fiscal responsibility.
As someone who struggled with depression and anxiety in high school, I know how much mental health matters. Being from Texas, I’ve experienced what it’s like to deal with people who don’t understand mental health or its importance. Though I am glad Canada is ahead of my home country on this issue, my heart aches to know that suicide is still the 2nd leading cause of death among 19-34 year-olds in B.C., and that 1/5 Canadians will develop a mental health condition in their life. Having shared my personal struggles with others on behalf of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) in Texas, my friend Caro and I were inspired to work with Tracey Hawthorne, Director of Wellbeing, to establish the UBCO Cares social media campaign. We are coordinating with all mental health resources on campus (B.A.R.K., Health & Wellness, Wellbeing, etc.) to make sure students know that they are not alone!
I also believe politics has become too selfishly motivated. As a result, I will be donating all $300 of my monthly salary as a Director to B.A.R.K, which I believe is an incredible initiative with a lot of potential.
Finally, as an aspiring PPE major, I have become concerned about overspending by the SUO. UBCO Cares has done most of our work without spending money by being innovative and assertive; I would like to bring this same, fiscally pragmatic approach when starting my own initiatives and when voting on resolutions to ensure student money is being used for things that matter.
Erik Nicolajsen- Director at Large
Friends describe me as genuine, dedicated, and funny. While paperwork, regulations, and structure excite me, I care even more about people. I value both the broad community and the individual. Taking time to listen to others and understand their perspective is important to me. I strive to work with community members to find solutions to the issues they face. I am excited by the opportunities that we have at UBCO and desire to continue investing in it, helping the Student’s Union function efficiently for the benefit of all students. A third-year International Relations Major with a strong interest in Human Geography, I care about people and the place in which they exist. Social justice, culture, family, language, and music are my core interests. For the last year, I have held the position of VP Connections for UBCO’s UCM club, and have also volunteered with Red Frogs (a harm reduction program) at multiple campus parties. I chose to study at UBC Okanagan because of its academic reputation, opportunities for recreation, and its geographic location. Having grown up in BC, I was raised with a strong passion and respect for this province and region. I have also traveled extensively, and love learning about other cultures!
Dela Hini- Director at Large
When I first embarked on my journey in student politics, like many I wanted to stand for transparency, to advocate for students, and to challenge the Board of Directors by holding them accountable. Now that I have had the experience of being Applied Science Representative, I feel even more passionately about those same pillars that my previous campaign was built on. As I transition in my educational career, I want to expand my reach as a potential member of the Board of Directors, by representing all students as a Director at Large. I believe that with my experience as a student leader, previous Board of Director, and my interdisciplinary background, I am able to recognize and adequately voice student concerns. Without students there would be no university, therefore it is important that your voices are heard through all of the commotion. A vote for Dela Hini as Director at Large is a vote to be heard! I am also honored this year to be running alongside students who represents a rich background of cultures, disciplines, and values. One thing that we all have in common is our desire to see the Students Union thrive, and therefore we are all committed to upholding the integrity of all students. I invite everyone to do their part in this year’s election by educating yourself on each candidate’s platform and doing your part as voters to ensure that your voices are well represented!
Jeremiah Hyslop- Director at Large
Hello UBCO. I’m Jeremiah, a 3rd year sciences student who is running for a Director at Large position. I am an excellent candidate because I know the campus well, and know that changes must happen. I have worked for 4 departments on campus, which has provided me with the opportunity to meet many people from a variety of different backgrounds. I have heard their concerns and desires, and wish to take these to the UBCSUO in a capacity where I can create the changes they wish to see. While campaigning, I promise that I will not send out a million friend requests to people I do not know, because I also find it annoying.
I am running for this position because I love UBCO, my home away from home. I care deeply about the student body and university, and want to see them at their best. If I am elected, I promise to make decisions based on what is ideal for everyone, because everyone deserves a voice. I will hold the UBCSUO accountable, because many have expressed concerns about the spending of the fees they contribute. I will ensure that spending is distributed evenly, because funds should benefit all students, not just those of certain groups or with certain interests. I would also like to see the implementation of more social programming to allow students to connect more with one another. For many, this will be the most memorable aspect of their UBCO experience.
Josh Ajayi- Director at Large
No bio included.
Tashia Kootenayoo- Director at Large
I’m Tashia Kootenayoo and the main goal I wish to achieve if elected Director at Large is to build a stronger connection between UBC Okanagan students and the Student Union. I found through my second year here at UBCO that when it comes to clubs and organizations we have a variety of wonderful and exciting opportunities for students to become involved in the UBCO community. Yet, in my opinion, student politics are less inviting in comparison. I’ve realized there is continuously a promise of ‘transparency’ put forth during elections. Yet, this promise seems to fall flat as the year progresses. Arguably, this is due to an issue of communication between students and the student union. Students are often left out of conversations that affect their experience at UBCO. I believe this is because of a lack of coordination. The student union needs to be a cohesive unit to be successful in protecting student’s interests. These interests need be vocalized, acknowledged and upheld. As such, I aim to create a strong pathway of communication between students and the board. If elected, I want to develop a platform that is successful in reaching out to students. I believe there should be a structure that ensures accountability of the board. Students should feel empowered to engage in student politics. I want to help create an effective board that students can trust in. It is important to me that we ensure every aspect of the UBCO community is inclusive and improves a student’s experience here.
Parisa Sharif- Director at Large
My name is Parisa Sharif and I am running for Director at Large. As Director at Large I will strengthen the connection between students and their Student’s Union by working with any sources that want to broadcast material that happens within the Students Union. The better informed students become about their Students Union the more they can get out of it. Many opportunities are offered on campus that pass students because they just don’t know about them. Facebook is an excellent way to find out what is happening in our community but UBCSUO page barely plays the part it should in it. If I am voted as Director at Large the UBCSUO will be a page that serves daily announcements, reminders and updates like a student body agenda. This will ensure that all resources are being used at their fullest extent. The students union is the heart and soul of the campus so it needs to be used as a tool to increase student welfare. UBC Okanagan is bursting with unrealized potential everywhere. Together we can make sure that no idea gets lost or voice unheard. Small changes can make impactful differences which is why every vote counts this March.
Michael Gauld- Director at Large
My name is Michael Gauld, and I am a fourth year Bachelor of Arts student involved in most of what UBCO has to offer, and over the past year, I have immersed myself in student governance and leadership.
Being the President of the UBCO Sociology Course Union, I oversee and facilitate events & opportunities for students and faculty. This opportunity allows me to understand the needs of students in our most primary pursuit; to gain a career and degree we value. Being the Faculty of Arts Representative since November, I have used the short time to leverage the resources available in pursuit of the best interests of the students. Involvement includes but is not limited to activities such as the MNP Student Governance review, provincial activism through the BCFS, and through being a member of the intercampus UBC Substance Use Committee. Also through working with other members of the board in the Campaigns Committee which is openly campaigning for Open Educational Resources among others.
Finally, I am attempting to re-establish the Environment and Sustainability Committee which will hopefully provide an example of how any member can make a difference. Allyship and activism such as involvement in Idle No More, Take Back the Night, SARA, and poverty reduction along with campaigning has been at the forefront of my academic and UBCO experience. Maintaining this focus will hopefully aid in shaping our campus into a more progressive and accepting community, and this is my primary goal.
Alimurtaza Kermali- Director at Large
My name is Ali-murtaza Kermali, I am currently in my second year of university; as a Civil engineer. Having been born and bred in Tanzania, I came to witness the massive opportunities that are available for students in UBCO. At the same time with my experience and diverse epistemic values I believe I will bring a different approach to this committee regarding decision making. Over the last two years I looked at adjusting myself to the Canadian society. Having looked introspectively, I believe my personality has been shaped perfectly for this position. If elected to this position I will look at bridging the gap that is so evidently witnessed between the students and those working for them (in this case Director at Large candidate) to leave a long lasting positive impact. Having had the opportunity of being part of the organizing committee for Age-Link club, I have been able to experience the various gaps that deter students from pursuing their ambitions and goals, I plan on becoming that bridge!
Regardless, these experiences, have allowed me to facilitate and administrate ways to best benefit both parties – which is exactly what the Director at large looks at doing. Putting the students voice first, whilst hearing the other side, to come up with a concrete decision. I look forward to working with diversity, – to learn, and teach one another.
Soji Ogunbanwo- Director at Large
My name is Isojiolu Ogunbanwo but people call me Soji. I am running for the position of Director at Large on the UBCSUO Board of Directors. The reason I am running for this position is because I feel like there is a disconnect between the SUO and the students that it is meant to represent. I believe there needs to be a more direct pathway to discussion between the SUO and the students that they are tasked to represent. It is my goal to establish a bridge between the students and the SUO, and to eliminate the disconnect that currently exists.
One of the ways this can be done is the creation of an online platform in which students can directly voice their issues and opinions to the board or to the executives. This way students can know that their voices are being heard by people who can implement the change they desire. Another way this can be done is working directly with each faculty representative on the UBCSUO board of directors, this way, the concerns of every faculty is heard. Another issue that is close to my heart is the lack of late night study spaces. I believe it is the duty of the SUO to improve student life, and the spaces we have to study are an extremely important part of student life.
Finally, the allocation of finances in the Student Union is something that needs to be revisited. I believe that the finances need to be allocated to issues that actually deeply affect student life. Thank You, I look forward your vote.
Anusha Shivram- Director at Large
As a first-year student, I am heavily involved on campus. I founded the Indian Culture and Dance Club to provide a platform for students to experience a diverse culture, and feel welcomed on campus. For my contributions through the club, I received the Student Community Recognition award. I strongly encourage on-campus involvement, and believe the Student Union is essential in providing students with such opportunities. I aim to bridge the gap between student concerns, and executive actions. As a former Student Ambassador, I will ensure that issues will not be based on assumptions, but direct communication with students in order to accurately capture their perspectives. An area that resonates with many students, and that needs improvement is the need for affordable and diverse meal options. There is a need for increased nutritional options and increased accessibility, and I plan to work towards this. I aim to create an environment that welcomes diversity amongst the different interests and pathways that students can explore. Primarily, I hope to increase student engagement in the form of clubs and societies that enable them to choose among a various array of interests. I propose to establish a clearer framework on the formation of clubs and societies that empowers every student.
In the end, it is key we maintain our university experience and exercise our right to elect representatives that resonate with our concerns. I hope to be that voice, and make sure our voices are heard.
AmirAli Rahmani- Director at Large
My name is Amirali Rahmani and I am a third-year science student. I would like to run for director at large. The main reasons why I would like to run for director at large is to promote mental health awareness, and to encourage campus engagement. I want to ensure that all people suffering with mental health have help easily accessible, more than it is right now. I believe that I would be perfect for this position as I am super loud and outgoing! I would make the perfect bridge between the students of UBCO and the general board of the student union. I promise to voice any concerns conveyed to me. Feel free to stop me on campus and ask me questions about my platform!
Abid Wahab- Director at Large
I am Abid Wahab and currently a 2nd year Management student. I am exalted to announce my candidacy for Director at Large as part of your Student Union this year. Since coming to UBCO, I often ask myself this one question: how can I contribute to this society and make it a better place? Having grown up in five different countries in three continents, this position will allow me to use the vast number of unique skills I have acquired to facilitate the evolvement of our amazing university. Most importantly, being your Director at Large will enhance my ability to act as an ear to your needs, wants, and/or concerns on a broader scale. I love to solve problems of any sort… even calculus (I’m such a nerd). I believe in challenges, that they serve one main purpose, to be overcome head on.
I am a strong advocate of empowerment, unity, and responsiveness. I aim to achieve the following:
-Enhance the study facilities by expanding the study spaces, increasing the number of hours these facilities are open, and making all students aware of available study spaces through a more effective platform.
-Extending the hours of operation in all cafeterias, increasing the variety and quality of food served.
-Increasing mental health awareness and facilities through finding a more effective platform to reach all students and introducing a weekly online self-management scheme.
-Improving sports facilities by increasing the number of activities/games offered and expanding the gym space and/or equipments.
Holly Denby- Faculty of Applied Science Representative
My name is Holly Denby and I am running for the position of Faculty of Applied Science Representative. I am a third-year electrical engineering student and heavily involved with the engineering community on our campus. I am currently the Vice President External for the Engineering Society, the Financial Coordinator for Women in Engineering, a Student Ambassador for the School of Engineering and a Member of Alpha Omega Epsilon. Through my leadership roles, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with multiple engineering students and student clubs and have gained an understanding of the issues they face. I have been involved with advocacy on a local level to the School of Engineering and a national level to the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students (CFES.) If elected two of my main goals are to advocate for eliminating shop fees for the machine and wood shop and making it more accessible to students; as well as student representation on the space committee. The space committee, who is responsible for the equitable allocation of space on campus, consists of six representatives, none of which are students. Students make up 80% of our campus population and should be involved in decisions that directly impact them. I want to hold the UBCSUO accountable and ensure they are complying with their governing documents and the Societies Act of BC. My knowledge of policy and Robert’s Rules would be an asset in BoD discussions. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!
Barb Dawson- Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
No bio included.
Sage Cannon- Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
Sage Cannon is a first year student in the faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. She is majoring with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Performance. Sage grew up in rural Nova Scotia and recently moved to the Okanagan Valley. She has a deep love for the arts and feels that the thoughtful voice of the Creative and Critical Studies Faculty should be heard. For the past few years Sage has worked at an Art’s Centre and so she is suited to this type of leadership role. She brings an open mind and a creative approach to her work. Sage would love to represent her faculty this upcoming year!
Aman Dehal- Faculty of Education Representative
Hi everyone. My name is Aman Dehal. I am a fifth year student in the faculty of education. I graduated last spring from the BA program majoring in English and minoring in history. Hence, currently I am a teacher candidate and a student leader with alumni UBC representing my faculty. To continue my role and responsibilities in order to provide the teacher candidates a better experience of the program, I am running for the faculty representative position. I will support new students who would be interested in entering the BEd program to make their transition smooth and easy for them. Also, my aim to expand the faculty by making it more known in our community.
Violet Ignace- Faculty of Health and Social Development
My name is Violet Ignace and I am a proud Cree woman from the breathtaking territory of Northern Saskatchewan. I am a first year nursing student who has previously studied two years of biochemistry. Since starting at UBCO, I have been involved with on campus programming such as Equity and Inclusion office, Aboriginal Resource centre, and the Women’s Resource centre. Holding positions and volunteering for these initiatives has helped prepare me for this moment of candidacy and this position. What is your platform?
There are so many times as students when we see that there could be improvements in regards to our education. I hear the criticism and want to advocate for change! I am creating representation and critically applying my perspective as an Indigenous woman for the changes I would like to see. My values are based on cooperation, community, and equity. I am creating patterns of representation in having a voice at the table. Let’s show them who we are as a faculty and what we represent and would like for a better and overall healthier system. As health affects all aspects of student life, we need to be actively engaged at the table. No decision be made for us, without us.
Hannah Gomes- Applied Science Representative
Hello Everyone! My name is Hannah Gomes, a third year mechanical engineering student and I am delighted to be running for the position of Applied Science Representative on the UBCSUO Board of Directors. My journey at UBC has been a marvellous one as an international student studying in Canada and being indecisive about what major to loving every decision I have ever made. I am extremely grateful to the ones that have guided me in the smallest possible ways.
Some of my involvements in the past years include: Research Assistant in the Advanced Thermo-Fluidic Laboratory on campus, Leader of the Global Engineering Community, Senior Peer Leader for Destination 2017 , Student Ambassador of the School of Engineering, First Responder of UBCEFRT, Outreach Director for the EngSoc and the Secretary of the CSME.
I am running for this position to provide a voice for engineering students, to ensure that the decisions made by the SUO are fair and are in the interest of our students. I want to share my experiences with students and be easily available to address their concerns directly at the Board meetings and will turn my campaigning page into a platform to encourage discussion. I have previously noticed that some of the executives do not have their report ready for the meetings and I want to ensure that this does not happen. There are various opportunities for students on campus and I encourage my fellow students to be involved in at least one opportunity at UBC as as motto rightly says “TUUM EST” which means it is yours.
Miriam Woldu- Faculty of Health and Social Development
Hello, my name is Miriam Woldu. For the upcoming year, it would be my pleasure to enthusiastically serve as the
representative of the Faculty of Health and Social Development. As a second-year Human Kinetics student, I have
experienced what the program is able to offer as well as gained a general understanding of how the Students’ Union
Okanagan (SUO) operates. I am running because I want to voice the ideas, concerns, and needs of Human Kinetics,
Nursing, and Social Work students to the SUO. I want to provide a transparent relationship between the Faculty and the
SUO. In addition, I will advocate for the students within my Faculty to the best of my ability, by ensuring that the SUO is
held accountable. I plan to strengthen the relationship between Human Kinetics, Nursing, and Social Work students and
work on unifying the course unions/associations. I want to ensure that students are aware of the resources available to
them by engaging and enlightening students on what the SUO provides for them. While doing so, I will inform students
within the Health and Social Development Faculty on how the SUO can enhance and fully optimize their experience here
as part of the UBC Okanagan student community. I am passionate about improving these programs for current and
prospective students. I encourage all to educate yourselves about the platforms of the candidates running for the
upcoming elections, and engage yourselves by asking questions and casting a vote for whom you believe will best
Gabby Lees- Faculty of Management Representative
No bio included.
Maher AL-Hawarneh- Graduate Studies Representative
No bio included.