Jakob Kramer is a third-year philosophy specialist. As an executive of the University of Toronto Pre-Law Students’ Association (UTPLSA), he told The Varsity that he has experience running large-scale events and coordinating logistics for trips.
During his time with the UTPLSA, Kramer said he has gained the interpersonal and leadership skills needed to succeed as vice-president operations.
In an interview with The Varsity, he highlighted his three main campaign focuses: increased transparency, productivity, and value for the students. If elected, Kramer hopes to increase the accessibility of the University of Toronto Students’ Union’s (UTSU) financial statements. He said students should be able to “click one document and have [an] understanding of what’s going on and how the union functions.”
Additionally, Kramer hopes to streamline the UTSU’s internal processes. He believes that the UTSU is a member-run organization for a reason, and wants to see members bring things to the table themselves. Lastly, Kramer wants to increase the value that the union brings to the students and, if elected, he wants to make it easier for students to get involved with the union. He emphasized the importance of the UTSU to the university community.
Nick Leiper is a fifth-year history and African studies student. Leiper served as the chief of associates at the UTSU this past year and he said that he gained an understanding of the union’s strengths and the areas that need improvement.
In an interview with The Varsity, Leiper said that his experience working for non profits on national development and different community groups on campus has prepared him for the role.
If elected, Leiper wants to tackle transparency issues. He believes transparency factors into the union’s ability to collaborate with the community, and that it is important the UTSU knows what students want so it can coordinate events and services for students’ needs.
Leiper also hopes to create services with a “material impact on students’ livelihoods and well-being.” Additionally, he hopes to build off of the success of last year’s orientation and continue to build community.
Lastly, Leiper hopes to fill the Student Commons with space for the community to gather. He described the building as being “a bit clinical.” He listed rehearsal studios, theatre rooms, and gathering spaces as potential additions to the Commons.
Samir Mechel is a fourth-year student majoring in English and literature and critical theory. Mechel believes that the UTSU could do more to expand its outreach programs and connect with students, citing low voter turnouts in the past.
Mechel has experience in community organizing as a rally marshall, as well as in the labour movement, supporting strikes and picket lines.
His campaign is focused on advocating for more student grants and amnesty instead of loans, providing accessible education, and fighting discrimination. Mechel is also looking to advocate for international students to be eligible for OHIP: “They live here, they work here. They study here and they should be treated like students and not just sources of money [for] the university.”
Moreover, Mechel wants campus employees to earn a living wage and to hold U of T accountable for its divestment plans.
With files from Kamilla Bekbossynova.