IGNITE Board of Directors candidates host meet-and-greet at Humber North

Feb 22, 2023 | Campus News, Headlines

By Joshua Drakes, Megan Rampersaud, Leshae Barrett, Scott Hoogkamp, Mikulas Horvath, Liam Neilson and Julia Vellucci

The Humber student union IGNITE hosted an event Wednesday to meet the candidates on the board of directors from the 2023 election.

Candidates worked at information tables between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the North Campus where students got the chance to meet candidates, ask questions, and enjoy refreshments provided by IGNITE.

Candidates also got the opportunity to share their campaign plans.

Swarnim Deshwal, an engineering student at Humber and one of six candidates, said that his focus is on the lack of transparency between the student body and the administration.

“I would like to make the relationship between students and the college more transparent,” he said.

“There’s no proper communication between the students and upper body. If you have any problem, you have to raise your concerns with your professor or program coordinator, but they generally tell us to contact our office instead.”

Deshwal also said that this issue is worse for international students.

Rahul Sohal, an international Humber student, said that he feels IGNITE could do more to represent international student needs.

Sohal said these changes are needed because of the financial hurdles that come with being an international student.

“The tuition fees are increasing like $1,000 a year and it is crazy that nobody has done anything about it,” said Sohal.

“Being an international student is hard, not having your mom or dad, and being on your own,” he said.

This especially applies to international students. If you were to reach out to the college or the registrar, they usually reply after two to four days. But sometimes you don’t get a response or it comes too late.”

Angad Handa, another candidate up for election, also said he believes that there needs to be a stronger connection between students and college officials.

He said he is positioning himself as a bridge linking the two groups.

“I would be the bridge between the students and the top officials,” he said. “I would take student concerns and issues to the table and reach the best conclusion. That’s my main concern.”

He is also seeking to lower parking fees, which he views as steep.

“The fees are high,” he said. “While I don’t guarantee that I could cut it in half, I would get that to the table.”

While there are plenty of new candidates entering the ring, there are returning contenders as well.

Jessica Carrera, was IGNITE’s chair in 2022, but is now aiming to be re-elected this year. She said transparency between the the student union and students remains a priority.

“I currently sit on the board already as the chair of the board of directors. I’m trying to get re-elected because I want to continue the work that I’ve been doing this year,” she said.

“I have been advocating for more transparency for student tuition for international student tuition.”

Carrera is also continuing her push for accessibility on campus, as well as more paid internships.

“I have also been pushing towards more accessibility needs like wheelchairs on campus,” she said. “I’ve noticed there are a lot of visually impaired students on campus who need more support,”

“I have also been trying to push towards more paid internships. I started off with an Ontario restaurant, a hotel and motel association, something small. But I have connected with them to work with them with our hospitality programs here on campus to get more paid internships and connections as peer mentors,” she said.

“I started off with this college, and now it has expanded to the other six colleges in Ontario, which is great,” Carrera said.

Students who came out to the event were also supportive of their friends who were new and returning candidates.

“Our friend Karanveer Singh is running for an IGNITE candidate here and we are here to support him,” said Hermeet Kaur, third year business management student.

Lionel Campbell, an IGNITE event manager, said that the turnout this year for the elections is much more competitive that last year with a total of 15 candidates, six being from North.

“We do have an Indigenous student and two candidates from the International Graduate School as well so we are pretty positive about this as everyone has to work hard to get a spot,” said Campbell.

IGNITE’s voting week will be March 6-10. More details will be released on Humber’s website as the election date approaches.