From March 4–6, UTSC students will have the opportunity to choose who they want to lead the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) for the 2024–2025 school year. The president — the chief spokesperson for the organization — leads the other executives and helps determine the union’s direction.

The Varsity spoke with both of this year’s presidential candidates about their experience and plans if elected.

Vanessa Opoku (ELEVATE UTSC)

Vanessa Opoku — a fourth-year student double majoring in human biology and population health — is currently running under the ELEVATE UTSC slate.

She is the current Racialized Student Collective Coordinator with the SCSU. In this role, she organizes cultural events and operating hours for the Racialized Students’ Collective — an SCSU office that runs monthly events and aims to bridge the gap between the SCSU and student clubs that may not be aware of the union’s club funding. 

“From what I’ve surveyed from students, there’s a lot of skepticism with SCSU,” said Opoku in an interview with The Varsity. She believes there are a lot of “improvements” that the SCSU can make by forming closer connections with departments and the university as a whole, and she feels her experiences shape her to be a good candidate for the job. 

Her main campaign points include creating a community care hub with mental health support, providing resources to students through discounts to platforms like Grammarly, and championing a Bias Reporting System and Anti-Racism Task Force to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all.

“I want to advocate for you correctly,” she said.

Hunain Sindhu (IMPACT UTSC)

Hunain Sindhu is running for SCSU president under the IMPACT UTSC slate. As a fifth-year environmental geosciences specialist, he has been interested in campaigning for an SCSU executive position “for a while,” he said in an interview with The Varsity. He served as president of the Muslim Students’ Association over the last two years and is the current SCSU director of physical and environmental sciences. 

“The president is responsible for shaping not only the vision, but also sort of the mindset of the team and leading the executive team of SCSU… I have a lot in mind that I want to change, or implement, or make better,” said Sindhu in an interview with The Varsity.

His main campaign points include overseeing an expansion of the Student Centre to create an inviting, equitable space for campus groups; designing policies so that UTSC provides students from globally distressed regions with financial, academic, and mental health accommodations; and establishing avenues of communication so students can share their aspirations and concerns about the SCSU’s initiatives and operations. 

“Really getting those ideas from students that a lot of students may have is important,” he said.