Residence Council president Nana Zhou is the only UTM student running for one of four undergraduate positions on the Governing Council, the highest decision-making body of the University of Toronto.
The council has 30 elected seats, eight of which are filled by students. This includes graduate students and both part-time and full-time undergraduate students. Out of these available positions, UTM is limited to one member on the council, if they’re lucky enough to be elected.
The role of student representation is very significant. The elected student acts as a liaison between the council and the student body, bringing up issues and casting votes on behalf of the constituency.
“Having a UTM representative is vital to ensuring we have someone who will work for UTM students. We need someone always working to bring the ideas of UTM students to the administration and working to implement them,” said Aly Madhavji, the current UTM student representative on the Governing Council. “Without this, our ideas and things to benefit UTM students may not happen.”
There are 15 full-time undergraduate candidates running. Most of them are from the St. George campus and two are from UTSC. Zhou is the only candidate from UTM.
Zhou created a $15,000 annual bursary, open to domestic and international residence students. She successfully negotiated the gradual phase-in of credit card and meal plan acceptance in campus vending machines, and worked to increase the diversity of food available in several buildings.
Zhou also worked to increase the shuttle bus services to St. George and Sheridan for weekends and evenings.
“My platform for the Governing Council includes lobbying for the establishment of bridging programs of undergraduate students towards employment and graduate studies, as well as lobbying for more money and resources for academic societies and increasing bursary and scholarship funds open to domestic, out of province, and international students,” said Zhou. “Especially as a voluntary full-time student experiencing the same challenges and needs at the students on our campus, I will be able voice our student body’s concern and demands with full empathy and integrity.”
UTM’s Gary Crawford, an anthropological archaeologist, is running for a faculty position on the Governing Council.