In this year’s SUO (Students’ Union Okanagan) elections there are two candidates running for the position of Vice President - Finance and Administration, Rohan Dabral and Muhammad Waseem.
As the name suggests, this role requires the elected executive to chair the finance and club funding committees, oversee and coordinate the finances of the Student Union, and ensure the long-term financial stability of the Student Union by creating the annual budget and frequently presenting financial reports to the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. On average, this position requires roughly 25 hours per week of dedicated working time.
In order to get to know the candidates a bit better, The Phoenix put each of them in the hot-seat by asking them three important questions.
Rohan Dabral: 3rd year Management Student
The Phoenix: Tell us why we should vote for you, Rohan.
Dabral: I have several initiatives in mind, the first one is to create a new budget line that will solely focus on subsidising online programs like Creative Cloud, Ableton, or any program a student is interested in. These programs will allow students to build on their skill sets and it will act as a stepping-stone for future career opportunities.
TP: What are your proudest achievements in your previous role as Director at Large?
Dabral: I got to work with several bright minds within the SUO and we collaborated to bring the first ever SUO investment in fossil fuel free funds. We held numerous meetings with different investment advisors in order to figure out which organisations meet our end goal of being sustainable for the future.
TP: Tell us 2 important ways that the allocation of funding needs to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dabral: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, online schooling has been tough for all of us. Many students have started using mental health services, and due to this increase in demand, I've decided if elected that we will run most of our SUO businesses at breakeven. This will allow better allocation of funds, as the profits that the businesses will be making will be transferred to other budget lines where we would be increasing the mental health cap for services like counselling. I want to emphasize that the SUO is here to serve its students and not to make profits. The money that these businesses generate should be reinvested back into our student community.
Find out more about Rohan’s platform at https://linktr.ee/VPFinanceRohanDabral
Muhammad Waseem: 4th year Mechanical Engineering Student
TP: Tell us why we should vote for you, Muhammad.
Waseem: I could talk about past experience from my university career, but I would rather tell you about my plan for the future. I’m here to show you guys what a SUO with me as VP Finance looks like! My platform is meant to benefit students across all faculties from all years! I commit to continuing student emergency funding; increasing club, resource center, and graduate student funding; bringing more companies and career fairs to campus (as well as acquiring universal student licenses for LinkedIn Learning); initiating a graduate student bursary; and bringing back RECESS for 2022! I will also be working with Studentcare and the UBC Okanagan Administration to provide international students with the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge.
TP: Describe the 2 biggest tangible changes you will make if elected.
Waseem: I believe all my commitments will translate into tangible benefits for the students. Specifically, our commitment to providing all UBC students with LinkedIn Learning for free and our commitment to improving the UBCSUO business review.
LinkedIn Learning currently has over 5000 courses available to its users. As well as this, UBC already offers it to their employees for free and I believe students should receive it free as well because of its benefits to individuals who are about to enter their professional careers.
The UBCSUO Business Review might sound boring at first, but I think it can absolutely revolutionize services provided by the Union. The idea is that we will allow students to leave a review on a SUO business after making purchases. We will then use the review to hold SUO businesses accountable to improve the quality (or quantity in some cases) of products and services provided by them. The business review will help us improve food options on campus while gauging how students feel about pre-existing services on campus.
TP: Do you think any of the changes being made due to the COVID-19 pandemic should continue after the pandemic is over? Please briefly explain.
Waseem: Something that the SUO has done this year that I would like to continue into next year is increasing the Student Aid and Endowment Fund in the form of a comprehensive Student Emergency Bursary. I think the Emergency Bursary is a great way of using student money to give back to the student. I would like to raise awareness about this bursary among the students and explore avenues of increasing the fund through various sponsorships.
Find out more about Muhammad’s platform at https://linktr.ee/WaseemforVPFinanceandAdmin
The voting period for these elections opens March 1 at 8 a.m. (PST) and closes on March 3 at 11.59 p.m. (PST).