Saarang Ahuja is a third-year Economics, Applied Statistics, and Mathematics student running as an independent candidate for UTMSU Vice-President Equity. His position is one of two contested executive races.

When asked why he is running independently, Ahuja replied that it wasn’t intentional.

“I didn’t really know anybody close to me who was interested [in running]. I did ask someone, but she said no.” As for his opinion on slates, Ahuja has no comment.

Ahuja has worked as assistant chef at UTMSU pub The Blind Duck for two years, and was previously an orientation leader. “I’m pretty good at working in a team,” Ahuja said.

He added that his main motivation for running was because he “went through a really hard time at UTM coming as an international student.”

Running for VP Equity, he explained, is “a personal thing I want to do right before I graduate to make other students’ lives better and future students’ lives much better.”

While Ahuja had no comment about online voting, a much-debated topic at the UTMSU’s Annual General Meeting, he has several campaigns he wants to push during his term.

Ahuja wants to increase awareness among students regarding the UTMSU’s services, due to the lack of communication between students and the UTMSU.

He also wants to increase the range of services offered by UTM’s Accessibility Services. He says that students — especially international students — often believe that Accessibility Services are only for individuals suffering from disabilities like dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but that they should also provide accommodations for students experiencing eating or sleeping disorders.

Ahuja believes that UTM will be receptive to this as it will improve student retention.

Ahuja also wants to amplify student voices regarding food options on campus, saying that he doesn’t believe students wanted the café in the new North Building as he never sees long lines there.

“If they really wanted to open a coffee place, opening another Starbucks or Tims would’ve been much better.”

“UTM has made a plan to build three buildings over the next four years,” he continued. “This gives me the opportunity to convince and to work with the faculty at UTM who are in charge of the the food services on campus to allow students to have a voice in what they want on their own campus.”

“After all, it’s them who buys the food.”