Al-amin Ahamed is a third-year student in the Doctor of Pharmacy program. They plan on bridging the gap between the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) and students in second-entry programs like their own.
As a former Faculty of Arts & Sciences student, they’ve found that the UTSU has less presence in the professional faculties. As vice-president professional faculties, they’d like to engage with students more actively and build lasting connections with student organizations. As someone who has personally benefited from UTSU supports, Ahamed also wants to improve the understanding of the professional faculties’ students on the union’s resources. “Leadership, scholarships, financial aid, emergency bursaries… I feel like a lot of those supports are not recognized by a lot of students,” they said in an interview with The Varsity.
Ahamed is currently the president of the Undergraduate Pharmacy Society (UPS) and has also worked with the UTSU as an orientation coordinator. They’ve been working on student advocacy with the UPS and the UTSU for the past three years, including an ongoing campaign for a follow-up reading week for students in the Doctor of Pharmacy program. They hope to extend this advocacy work to represent students in other professional faculties.
Maria Ebeid is seeking reelection for the vice-president professional faculties position. A third-year student in the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education (KPE), Ebeid aims to complete her ongoing projects.
For one, she is working to pass the credit/no credit policy for students in KPE, music, and engineering faculties. “We have created a report, and we are ready to start the conversations,” Ebeid told The Varsity.
Moreover, she is working to implement gym access in the summer for second-entry students in professional faculties and extend the UTSU’s peer support program in the summer to accommodate professional faculty students with different entry dates.
She said that being the UTSU’s vice-president professional faculties this year helped her understand the role. She has been talking to faculty, registrars, and students about policy changes that the students wanted to see.
Previously, Ebeid sat on the UTSU’s First Year Council and board of directors. She was also an ambassador for Women in Science and Engineering — University of Toronto chapter and an executive for U of T’s Pre-Dental Association.
Ebeid’s “top priority” is to increase communication between the UTSU and student clubs, and to increase student engagement.
Harvi Karatha is a second-year student studying engineering science.
In an interview with The Varsity, Karatha highlighted her experience in many U of T clubs and organizations across different faculties. She said that her experience gives her a diverse understanding of what professional faculty students need. She added that she will ensure that all professional faculties have an equal voice and are heard by the UTSU.
Karatha’s campaign acronym is CAMPS: “C” for cutting costs, “A” for academic support, “M” for mental health services, “P” for professional opportunities, and “S” for student needs. Karatha hopes to increase flexibility for meal plans and T-Bucks in the professional faculties. She highlighted the high cost of tuition in STEM fields like engineering and pharmaceutical medicine, and wants to push for lower tuition. She also wants to increase opportunities for students to interact directly with professors.
Karatha stressed the need for additional mental health support within professional faculties. She said the university needs to institute faculty-specific mental health services and increase acceptance and funding.
Lastly, Karatha highlighted the issue of harassment in professional faculties. She spoke about the barriers that students in professional faculties face in reporting harassment, and said she hopes to reduce these barriers through town halls.