Tasnim Choudhury is a third-year cell and molecular biology and human biology student running for vice-president student life of the UTSU.
Choudhury is currently the vice-president student life at the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), where she was in charge of the association’s fall orientation “to make sure students do not feel overwhelmed by their new surroundings.” If elected to vice-president student life, Choudhury would aim to ease the transition to university by making the UTSU Orientation Week more accessible and equitable.
Choudhury believes that her past experiences at the MSA as the director of special events in her second year, and the vice-president student life this year have prepared her to manage her desired role at the UTSU. In these positions, she has organized events for the Muslim community at U of T, such as the annual MSA formal, farewell dinners, and orientation, with the goal of helping incoming students “embrace the diversity at U of T in terms of clubs and culture.”
She commends the UTSU for its efforts to create better relationships with student clubs this year. However, she thinks that the UTSU could have better handled orientation by making events more accessible.
Choudhury also plans to minimize waste during orientation, and increase the available space so that the events are not too congested. She believes that strong communication between the orientation leaders and volunteers is highly important, and hopes to organize more workshops for students to be better prepared for university life.
Neeharika Hemrajani is a second-year history and ethics, society and law student running for the vice-president student life at UTSU.
She is currently representing St. Michael’s College on the Board of Directors at the UTSU where she has sat on several committees, including nance, clubs, and campaigns and outreach committees. She noted that she is aware of the isolation that students, especially commuters, face at university. She hopes to shape more of a community across campus.
Hemrajani is the president of her house council on residence, which she wrote has given her the experience of community-building. She also worked as a student ambassador for Sephora Collection and Bumble, as well as contributed to The Varsity.
Hemrajani appreciates the UTSU for introducing the First Year Council this year, among other achievements. She wrote that she is “eager to see further collaboration between the Equity and Student Life portfolios” in order to increase the scale of the eXpression Against Oppression events. She believes that UTSU should ensure that clubs receive “communication regarding their funding much quicker.”
She also believes that “that the clubs committee should work to support funding opportunities for [club] specific events rather than by a particular timeline,” in order to make the process for funding requests more accessible.
Hemrajani also called for “greater collaboration between the colleges, faculties and the UTSU to broaden the scope of orientation activities and expand the sense of community to be campus wide from the very beginning.”
“If I could change orientation, I would push for the necessary collaborations between the student groups across all three campuses,” she wrote.