Alistair Kirk (Inspire UTM)

Alistair Kirk is running for vice-president external of the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) on the Inspire UTM slate. Kirk, a third-year international student studying finance and economics, previously served as an associate to the vice-president external and currently acts as the corporate social responsibility director for the Innovative Business Association, a role in which he’s organized events such as a Diversity in Business conference and a three-kilometre run for breast cancer research.

Kirk wants to better serve international students, who face higher tuition fees, cannot access OHIP, and must adapt to a new culture — all while being in school. “This is a lot for international students to deal with,” said Kirk.

He plans to host an international students roundtable to showcase “[the] voices of international students and collaborate on solutions” and work with external organizations. Kirk envisions the UTMSU as “the first point of contact to international students as soon as they land in Canada,” guiding them through the difficult steps that accompany moving to a new country.

Although his platform is focused on international students, Kirk wants it to remain accessible to all. “I want to serve as a mentor to students, helping them overcome challenges with their academics and with their social lives,” he said. “We want the UTMSU to create a community and be the first point of contact for students.”

Tamara El-Aydi (Change UTM) 

Tamara El-Aydi is running for vice-president external on the Change UTM slate in the UTMSU elections. She is a second-year student studying psychology.

In an interview with The Varsity, El-Aydi shared her prior experience that she believes will help her perform the role effectively. This year, El-Aydi was elected to the UTMSU’s Board of Directors for Division II – Directors at Large, and she is a student member of the UTM Academic Affairs Committee. She has previously participated in UTM’s Education for All Town Hall and Mental Health Town Hall.

If elected, El-Aydi hopes to help international students manage their tuition fees by working with the Ontario government to provide more OSAP loans. El-Aydi also intends to amend existing contracts with Aramark, UTM’s food provider, and amend UTM’s Sexual Harassment and Discimination Policy by “[hearing] from the people who are affected by it” and “[making] sure that we give them the support that they need.” 

If elected, El-Aydi will commit to increasing transparency between the UTMSU and UTM students. She aims to do so through frequent communication because, she says, “it’s important that the union is working towards goals that the students want, and not what they think that they want.”

The voting period for the UTMSU elections is being held from March 15–17.