Shine Bright UTSC’s candidate for Vice-President External is Kalkidan Alemayehu, who aims to represent the diverse student body on campus and to make it easier for international students to transition to off campus housing. She is also focused on lobbying the Ontario government to protest its changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program.
Alemayehu is campaigning under the name Kali Tadesse.
Alemayehu has served as President of the African Students’ Association, worked with the Equity and Diversity Office, and volunteered for Let’s Talk Science, a charitable organization that encourages science education among children and youth.
Speaking on her platform points, Alemayehu said that she wants to “make sure the transition for international students going from residents to off-campus housing is easier” and aims to work with an external housing company. She also suggested implementing a “lottery system” to ensure that placements in housing are randomized. She further said that she wishes to prioritize international students, as it can be harder for them to “navigate the system in this country, because they come from a different country and a different system.”
If elected, Alemayehu hopes to lobby the Ontario government to “reconsider eliminating free tuition” for low-income students.
To make this a reality, she plans to mobilize and continue protesting against the Ontario government’s changes to the program.
In case student fees for the SCSU become optional, she aims to raise funds for the SCSU by contacting “external sponsors” to add to the SCSU’s funding.
On the topic of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), an organization comprised of student unions across Canada and that many members have attempted to leave in recent years, Alemayehu believes that it does benefit the SCSU and the student body to remain.
She said that it helps students participate in programs abroad, and that the roughly $4 semesterly fee that students send to the CFS–Ontario is “not as much compared to what we gain from it, even though the system could be improved.”
Explaining what she thinks could be improved, she said that there is a perception among students that the CFS National “doesn’t do much for students,” but noted that the CFS–Ontario does do good advocacy work on behalf of students. She credited the CFS’ lobbying efforts for convincing the previous provincial government to raise grants last year, though she acknowledged that it has been reversed with the current government.