Nathan Ching is a second-year student double majoring in criminology & sociolegal studies and public policy, and minoring in political science. He is running for vice-president student life at the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU).
Ching currently serves as a councillor on the Victoria University Students’ Administrative Council (VUSAC). He is also the Victoria International Students Association’s director of events.
His priorities include increasing mental health awareness and diversifying the programs available to students to include more student-run resources. In an interview with The Varsity, Ching said that he feels that previous vice-presidents have been disengaged with student mental health issues. Addressing this problem is a large part of what is motivating him to run.
If elected, Ching wants to organize a club gala and plan more joint events between the UTSU and U of T clubs. He feels that clubs are currently disconnected and disengaged from one another.
He also plans to streamline the club funding process by making it more accessible, especially to newer clubs. This would entail simplifying the procedure and lowering the requirements needed to start a club.
With regard to how fall orientation will be conducted, Ching said that he will take an approach that is based on the latest government restrictions. He said that he is currently in favour of a hybrid orientation that includes both in-person and online activities.
Maria Lin is a third-year Rotman Commerce student running for vice-president student life. Lin hopes to improve communication with students and clubs, and streamline the process for clubs to gain funding.
Lin has been involved with student life since her first year. She was an intern and director for the Rotman Commerce Law Association in her first and second year, respectively, and became its president in her third year at U of T. She has also been an executive assistant for student life at the UTSU.
Lin emphasized a need for events that are focused on career development. She said that when she was working with student life, students with little business experience often approached her for help with résumés and cover letters. Her plan is to develop a series of workshops to help students develop long-term skills.
“I really want to make sure [to] create things that people actually care about and create events that people actually want to attend,” Lin explained in an interview with The Varsity.
In terms of plans for orientation, Lin said that her plans depend on whether students will be able to attend in person. Her main goal is to make the event as engaging as possible by inviting artists, planning informative events, and coordinating with all the colleges.
Anusha Madhusudanan, a first-year student hoping to double major in international relations and economics, is running for vice-president student life. If elected, she would aim to improve equity and transparency in the UTSU.
To uplift student voices, Madhusudanan would create an event suggestion box and revamp the Clubs Committee so that it is able to review policy reform in addition to approving funding for clubs.
She would also change how clubs are funded. Currently, clubs can only obtain 50 per cent of their operations budget from the UTSU. Madhusudanan believes that the proportion of available funding should increase for newly established clubs.
As a first-year student, Madhusudanan is confident she knows what students want from orientation. Chiefly, she would introduce a ‘buddy system’ wherein orientation attendees would get paired up with someone else based on their interests.
Madhusudanan has been involved in several different initiatives over the past year. She was the president of the UTSU’s First Year Council, where she started a mental health working group, and has worked with Trinity College groups as well.
“Governance is just something that I’ve enjoyed from a young age,” Madhusudanan concluded. “Being able to advocate for student voices at a university level has been a very humbling experience for me.”
Disclosure: Nathan Ching is currently an associate photo editor for The Varsity.
The voting period for UTSU elections will run from March 17–21.