An-Noûra Compaoré, a Master of Public Policy candidate, has previously worked as the vice-president finance & operations of the Students’ Union Okanagan of the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union’s (UTGSU) finance commissioner, and an executive of the Munk School Black Students Association.
Through her experience in developing student funds, planning events, and advocating for students, Campaoré feels confident in her ability to navigate the position and bring forward compelling arguments for her stances. She wrote in an email to The Varsity that, if elected, she plans to demand that the university divest of fossil fuels by 2030, implement a relief fund for students in crisis, and create a discussion forum.
On the discussion forum that Compaoré plans to set up, students could share their experiences, mental health tips, and help each other through the stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic. She will also aim to increase awareness of resources, including for marginalized communities. She also encourages students to approach her with their questions at any time.
Moreover, with the help of student leaders and campus groups, Compaoré will demand that the university divest from fossil fuel companies and that it commits to releasing zero net emissions by 2030.
“As students, we must lead the fight against climate change, and this starts on our own campus,” she wrote.
Jacqui Spencer is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education’s Department of Social Justice Education.
She wrote in an email to The Varsity that she wants to “provide leadership that puts students first and [run] again for a UTGSU role to further add to diverse representation within the union.”
Currently, Spencer is the UTGSU’s external commissioner, focusing on equity and advocacy based on UTGSU initiatives and establishing relationships between the UTGSU and external bodies. Spencer wrote that her work as the external commissioner “has given [her an] opportunity to advocate effectively with administration and the graduate community on issues that include student funding initiatives and COVID related impacts.”
Additionally, in the 2020–2021 academic year, Spencer was elected as the executive member to serve on the selection committee for the Black Graduate Student Excellence Bursary, which was formed in partnership with the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and provides financial support and equitable access to Black students pursuing graduate studies at U of T.
If elected, Spencer plans to advocate for COVID-19 safety, writing that she will “encourage clear and transparent communication about measures being implemented that ensure the safety of our graduate community.”
Spencer also wants to build community engagement on issues like food insecurity, housing, and financial support. She wants to ensure that the UTGSU hires an equity officer to promote a more inclusive environment. “When our student community feels a sense of belonging and safety, that will encourage greater engagement and participation in decision making,” wrote Spencer.
Tua Hytonen is a first-year student in the Master of Urban Innovation program at UTM who has previously served as the social commissioner for the University College Literary and Athletic Society and the president for the University of Toronto Big Brothers Big Sisters program after being an executive the year before.
In an interview with The Varsity, Hytonen stressed the importance of building more civic opportunities as the pandemic has caused stress to students. Hytonen’s main goals are equity and accessibility and helping students.
One of her plans is to create more initiatives that encourage sustainability for the SGS and the university.
She also hopes to bring more transparency to students about what the UTGSU’s council does. She wants to “[make] sure that [the council is] keeping students in the loop, but also talking to one another… to make sure that [it is] creating events and programming that’s relevant,” she said.
Editor’s note (April 1): This article has been updated to include comment from Compaoré.