Sierra Codeluppi is running unopposed for the position of vice-president external of the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU). Codeluppi, a third-year PhD student in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, currently works closely with the vice-president external as an executive-at-large. She also serves as the mental health and well-being associate for the Pharmacology Graduate Student Association and mentors individuals through the Research Application Support Initiative.
Mental health is a particular focus for Codeluppi, whose research focuses on major depressive disorders. “My whole life [I’ve] been advocating for mental health because I, myself, have a lot of anxiety,” she said in an interview with The Varsity.
To improve student awareness of mental health programs, Codeluppi hopes to hold student panels and town halls. She also pledged to continue pushing the university to update its Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment policy, as well as theUniversity-Mandatory Leave of Absence policy.
Codeluppi also drew attention to the role of grants and scholarships in mental health. “For me, a big part of my anxiety was always not being in a financially stable place,” she said. However, Codeluppi had difficulty finding funding because many grants were only merit-based. If elected, Codeluppi hopes to expand grant opportunities for students engaged in extracurricular activities or who come from areas with ongoing crises.
Codeluppi’s platform also focuses on encouraging student activism, including supporting an anti-war movement and protests pushing the university to accelerate their plans for carbon neutrality.
Voting for the UTGSU elections opens on April 8 and closes on April 14 at 11:59 pm.