SHANNA HUNTER/THE VARSITY

Miharu Ho is a first-year Rotman Commerce student and one of four candidates running for Vice-President Student Life.

Ho works at the Sidney Smith Commons, which she said has given her the chance to not only get to know other students, but also to learn more about different campus resources.

As a first-year student, Ho understands that her candidacy may raise some eyebrows. However, this has not stopped her from trying to be as involved in U of T campus life as possible, which she said is her reason for entering this race.

If elected, Ho would prioritize inclusivity and accessibility for orientation week. She sees the high cost of orientation and the fact that students may not be able to stay overnight in downtown as some of the barriers that first years face in participating. She aims to reach out to first years to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to enjoy the event that will “set off [their] whole year.”

Having participated in orientation week as an incoming student, Ho found that the wide variety of events helped appeal to a broad section of first years. When asked what she would change, Ho reiterated her commitment to promoting greater inclusivity. She also mentioned advertising to promote the event to first years.

On the topic of how the Student Choice Initiative might affect the UTSU’s ability to fund clubs, Ho emphasized the integral role that campus clubs play in creating a diverse environment for student life.

The Student Choice Initiative is the provincial government’s mandate for an opt-out option for certain student fees starting September.

Ho added that matters of club funding should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis to ensure sustainability.

When asked how she would increase student engagement with the UTSU, Ho said that she hopes that her campaign as the only first year running for an executive position encourages more first years to get involved with the student union.

She also seeks to improve access to information about the UTSU, especially for first years, saying that “no matter what year we are, we can participate and we can be involved.”

Ho sees having only one year of campus life under her belt as a strength rather than a weakness, saying that her lack of experience “provides [her] with more of a drive and more of a passion to just really get into this position and use all the information [she] can get.”

Ho believes her commitment to staying up-to-date on the UTSU and campus news in general will help her manage the learning curve of filling an executive position.

With files from Andy Takagi

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