Kiki Ayoola is running for vice-president external on the Thrive UTM slate in the UTMSU’s general elections. A second-year biology for health sciences and biomedical communications student, she wants to advocate for better transit services.
“Commuting can be, and is, a financial burden on a lot of students, including me,” Ayoola told The Varsity. If elected, she will advocate for better fare integration — meaning that she will work with transit agencies such as the MiWay, TTC, and Brampton Transit to consolidate their fares so that students do not have to pay multiple fares across transit systems during their commute.
Ayoola will also advocate for “more accessible” bus routes and discounts on the GO transit, as well as start a UTMSU transit bursary that will help students afford their transit fares.
Ayoola is running for vice-president external because she has “experience in working with outside connections and outside organizations.” Previously, she was an outreach coordinator with Toronto Community Housing, in which capacity she advised low-income and immigrant families and youth about resources available to them.
She also volunteered as a medical assistant at Unison Health and Community Services, and has collaborated with the African Students’ Association, UTM Black Students Association, Caribbean Connections, and the UTMSU in planning Black History Month events at UTM.
Niguel Walker, a second-year student double majoring in biology and chemistry, is running with the It’s Time UTM slate.
In an interview with The Varsity, Walker noted that he has “always been passionate about student representation,” and explained that, from grades 10–13, he served as a student representative for his high school. He currently sits on the UTMSU’s board and participates in the UTMSU’s bursary committee. He also works at the sports program office as an inclusion ambassador and sits on the Council of Athletics and Recreation.
Walker compared the parking prices at UTM to those at UTSG, noting that he found the UTSG prices to be “a lot lower.” He would like to lobby the university to lower parking fees and create a subsidy or bursary for parking passes.
Walker also touched on expanding the UTMSU’s food center. It’s “a little room, but it’s a very powerful room,” he said. He hopes to implement a second weekly food pick up for students so they can spend their money on other necessities.
Safwan Hossain, a second-year economics and political science specialist, is running with the United UTM slate.
In an interview with The Varsity, Hossain highlighted his experience running a podcast, for which he “brought in UFC fighters, professional athletes, [and] presidents of big MMA and African organizations.” Hossain believes his experience working with external parties will aid him as vice-president external. “I can negotiate with external stakeholders at the local, provincial and federal levels representing UTMSU,” he said.
Hossain aims to use his communication skills to represent students, attract sponsors, partner with local companies, and create more internship opportunities for students. Hossain highlighted parts of his campaign focusing on bringing martial arts and Varsity sports back to campus. “I’ll bring a UFC fighter to conduct a self-defence seminar for women and just people who feel like they need to learn self defence,” he said.
He hopes to focus on bringing more diverse food trucks to campus to cater to the diverse student body, increasing the gym hours to consequently increase employment, and increasing transit frequency.
Unity is a main focus for Hossain’s campaign: “UTM has never been this diverse before, and it’s high time we actually unite that diversity to create some positive change.”