Andrew Alvarez is a first-year kinesiology and physical education student. His campaign focuses on mental health and inclusivity.
Alvarez is an Afro-Latino adopted into a predominantly white community, so growing up, he often felt like an outsider. He told The Varsity that he has helped create communities where African Canadians and Latinos would feel welcome and safe. At U of T, he plans to build similar spaces.
“A big punch in the gut was when I was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma in my femur,” Alvarez explained in an interview with The Varsity. Returning to high school after chemotherapy was a huge challenge for him, but this experience taught him to look beyond the surface and treat people well while respecting their differences.
Furthermore, Alvarez recognizes the stress students feel and aims to provide sources of support, like workshops on stress management, and connect students to learning strategists to improve their time management.
He also plans to improve connections between the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) and students by creating more opportunities for face-to-face interactions. Alvarez recognized that these interactions declined due to the pandemic and emphasized that social interactions are essential.
Fiona Hewes is a third-year student in cinema studies, history, and art history.
Hewes has been involved in community service since high school. They were part of the Tri-M Music Society and the National Honors Society and were responsible for organizing and running fundraising events for charities and music programs. They founded the U of T Rideshare Program, which seeks to provide safe transportation for students, and they have been an event director for the Visual Arts Club for two years.
In an email to The Varsity, Hewes wrote that the primary focus of their campaign is student safety. If elected, they hope to implement a ridesharing program that would grant students $10 in Uber or Lyft credits each week, eligible to be used between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am. The goal of this program would be to ensure students can travel home safely from campus.
If elected, Hewes would also prioritize communication between the UTSU and the student body, and would encourage greater student involvement. They also wish to host events to allow students to network and foster a sense of community.
Glen Xian Quan Hung
Glen Xian Quan Hung is a first-year student planning to major in political science.
Hung has been involved with student governance and was selected as a proctor for the Arts & Science Council. He has also worked with his local MPP on case studies that focused on immigration and passport issues, and other campaigns during the 2022 provincial elections.
Hung’s platform includes advocating for more student-organized groups and more communication between colleges and faculties. He aims to promote events that involve students and faculty, orientations that are not exclusive to first-year students, and an environment where staff and students can socialize and engage with each other.
In an interview with The Varsity, Hung mentioned logistical issues within student life. He believes that social media is one of the best ways to connect with students and reach more people, and it can help build a strong community.
Ranveer Kalra is a second-year Rotman Commerce management specialist. He wants to become more involved with the UTSU to experience co-curriculars outside of the classroom.
In high school, Kalra was involved with Toastmasters — a public speaking group — and was vice-president of education within his school’s chapter. A main responsibility of the role included hosting bi-weekly meetings with over 50 people.
In an interview with The Varsity, Kalra said that he wants to be “a voice for the student body at U of T.” He hopes to promote more interactions between upper-year and first-year students because he believes that first-year students can learn from upper-year students. Kalra also aims to host more intercollegiate events. Additionally, he wants to increase club funding and help establish clearer communication between clubs and the wider student body.
If elected, Kalra hopes to increase promotion of UTSU events. He also plans to send the student body more emails about the UTSU.
Kalra added that he wants “to make everyone feel connected to this university” by increasing student engagement.
Catherine King is a second-year student in political science and contemporary Asian studies. Her two main goals are community and club communication.
In an interview with The Varsity, she said, “My campaign really focuses on building community, because I feel that our campus is so large, it’s really hard to find.” She added that she struggled with this in her first year and aims to help first-year students, international students, and anyone new to campus find community.
King became involved with the UTSU as a first-year. She then realized that she is passionate about event planning. She was the social director at the Innis College Student Society and is currently the event coordinator at Jack.org UTSG, a mental health advocacy group.
According to King, the UTSU could improve how clubs get their information and fast-track the funding process. Her overarching commitment is to bring “more of the student bodies’ voices into whatever I do.”
Ayesha Narang is a second-year psychology and cognitive science double major. Her previous experiences include participating in peer leadership at New College Orientation this past year, as well as being a member of the New College student and residence councils. “It’s just given me a chance to really get insight into what other people want, and again, just kind of made me see how much I enjoy doing this.”
Narang is running on a platform that wants to put students first, including advocating for improving the transition to university life for first-year students, and improving transparency regarding resources available to students. She told The Varsity that, after serving on the orientation team, she realized that “we give them that one week of really kind of prepping them but then nothing after that, which I do feel like it’s a little unfair.” She would also like to focus on mental health, such as making resources more visible.
Finally, Narang would like the UTSU to improve how it represents students. This would look like planning more inclusive events around holidays — to account for students of different backgrounds — and improving accessibility.
Hannah Yin is a second-year student in peace, conflict, and justice, contemporary Asian studies, and political science.
Her previous experiences include taking part in Woodsworth College Orientation, and various course unions and clubs. Yin was the logistics director for Woodsworth College Orientation this past fall, and was responsible for planning and implementing orientation events.
In an interview with The Varsity, Yin outlined three main focuses for her campaign: organizing the largest in-person orientation to date with events also offered to upper-year students, incorporating student feedback when planning events and implementing rules, and prioritizing equity in her work.
Yin also voiced her commitment to improving communication within the UTSU, as well as between the union and the student body. She said that if she were to be elected, she would work on including more student feedback in the UTSU’s work and would seek to improve student body engagement.