Thai Dillon Higashihara is running for vice-president external on the UNIFY UTSC slate in the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) spring elections. Higashihara is a fourth-year student pursuing a double major in political science and international development studies. He is also the campaign and outreach director at Oxfam UTSC, an organisation that combats poverty in part by advancing women’s rights.

As a candidate running under the UNIFY UTSC slate, Higashihara stresses the importance of forging connections. “I really believe that UTSC can be better and brighter by reaching out. With Unity, we can achieve far greater things than by working on our own,” he wrote in his candidate statement. 

As vice-president external, Higashihara hopes to increase campus sustainability, advocate for UTSC students, and create inclusive opportunities. To actualize these goals, Higashihara plans to strengthen the SCSU’s Unite With Students campaign, which lobbied municipal and provincial governments for increased educational funding and investments in Scarborough’s infrastructure. 

His other potential projects include improving the insurance and health benefits that are available to students, hosting an “International student symposium” as a way to learn how to better serve the student body, and reducing TTC fare for commuting students. Previously, Higashihara has participated in TTCriders, an organisation that advocates for improved public transit with a focus on sustainability and access for marginalised communities.

Higashihara also hopes to build connections with the Scarborough community by inviting local leaders and Indigenous groups to speak about Toronto-based activism. “We can work together both with other student groups and community leaders to build a sustainable unified transition back into in person student life once more,” he wrote. 

The voting period for the SCSU elections is being held from March 1–3.