Feb. 4 is the last day for students to put their names down as candidates for IGNITE’s 2024 Board of Directors election.
IGNITE Student Advisor Melany Palacios-Naranjo said it’s important to have a board of directors filled with students.
“A lot of the time when decisions are made, especially at the College and University level, students often tend to get overlooked when at the end of the day, it’s the students were the most affected by these decisions,” she said.
IGNITE is the official student union representing over 30,000 students at Humber, North, Lakeshore, and International Graduate School as well as students from the University of Guelph-Humber.
Students fill directorial board positions and are designed to have students’ voices heard and address their needs to the General Board of these two post-secondary institutions.
“Having a student panel be the voice of these changes, policies, and regulations, we’re having their input be shown and having their voices be heard on what changes are benefiting them versus what changes are going to end up hurting them,” Palacios-Naranjo added.
The COVID-19 pandemic hurt participation rates in 2022, but last year saw an improvement. Fourteen candidates ran in 2023 and Palacios-Naranjo said she is seeing several students express interest in running this year.
Last year’s voter turnout was 23.6 per cent compared to nine per cent in 2022.
A big challenge IGNITE faces, especially among new students, is creating awareness about what it does and how students can have a say.
Humber student Sana Muhammad feels that students should be more aware of IGNITE.
“It should be advertised more because I don’t know the sectors. I don’t know exactly what it helps with,” she said.
“There needs to be more promotion in a way that makes sense so everyone understands.”
Along with being a voice for students, IGNITE helps fund the campus clubs.
Lanvy Nguyen, the president of Humber College’s gaming club, hopes the election will help advance clubs around the school.
“I haven’t looked at the candidates yet, but I really hope they focus a little bit more on involvement because many people didn’t know that this club existed,” she said.
The gaming club and IGNITE have partnered before but the relationship hasn’t been permanent due to funding.
“The funding, they (IGNITE) can cut short for another event, so we have to that one has event to be fundraised by the people in the club,” Nguyen said.
Before the voting process begins, Palacios-Naranjo hopes that students will take advantage of IGNITE’s services.
“It’s important that just students overall understand that they do have a voice on campus,” she said.
“Even though they might feel that things may be overwhelming or concerned about certain things, even if they don’t necessarily want to be on the board of directors or necessarily have a higher position, they can always reach out to the current board of Directors as well as to the student advocates”