JOSIE KAO/THE VARSITY

Shehtabbanu Shaikh is a first-year psychology specialist at UTSC who is running as an independent candidate for Vice-President Campus Life. 

When asked about her plans for further improvements in campus programming, Shaikh responded that the SCSU’s current programming was not easily accessible. 

“These [initiatives] that they’re doing, they’re not public, they’re not very well [advertised]. I feel like if people get more knowledge about them, there will be more… volunteering.” 

Regarding her plans for orientation, Shaikh proposed icebreakers, team building group activities, and bringing in the occasional celebrity. 

“It’s about having fun because you’re just making new friends. It’s about building a connection, a network.” 

In response to recent complaints against food vendors at the Student Centre’s Market Place, Shaikh said that the restaurants need to be revamped, further proposing to cancel contracts with current vendors and do regular food inspections to ensure adequate food quality. 

“I think people are taking [the food] part of university very lightly. I feel like we need to look at the whole thing and do some surveys, get what people want, to get their opinion on it, and then implement it.”

When asked why she chose to run as an independent, Shaikh referenced the difficulty creating a slate and meeting fellow candidates. “In the beginning, I didn’t know many people, so it was hard to figure out who’s on whose team,” she said. 

“After I actually chose to [run as an independent], I started meeting with the other candidates on the other slates and honestly, most of the teams were really supportive.” 

Despite this, Shaikh still prefers running independently, mentioning tension faced between fellow members. 

“I’m actually happy that I chose to run individually, seeing all the tension between the slates.”

— With files from Josie Kao

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