Following another year of the pandemic, the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) presents new campaigns, reintroduces previous projects, and prepares students for the 2021-2022 academic terms. President Mitra Yakubi spoke with The Medium via email regarding what students can expect for the next year.
This year’s appointed members consist of President Mitra Yakubi, VP Campus Life Tarwah Afrah, VP Equity Ryan Tomlinson, VP External Maëlis Barre, VP Internal Wei Lai, and VP University Affairs Merica Joy Carlos.
With the upcoming snap federal and provincial election, the UTMSU plans to start a campaign in which students will receive information on how and where to vote. In addition, new services will be offered to students such as in-person peer support, a textbook exchange program, job readiness support, and a Health and Wellness program. Currently, the Peer Support Program is offered virtually to guide students through their first year in university.
“The UTMSU is here to remind members that what they’re feeling is valid, and we are here to support them through these difficult times in any way we can. We will also continue to work with labour and sister unions across U of T to advocate for a safe return back to campus that prioritizes members’ wellbeing,” states Yakubi.
Students can also look forward to a UTMSU Student Survival Guide where they will find information that will enable them to succeed during the academic year. This guide will be distributed to students before the winter term. More information is yet to come.
“Another challenge students may face is Covid anxiety as we move to interacting with more and more people, students may feel anxious interacting with those around them.”
To tackle this, the UTMSU is planning a variety of events in the winter term. These include Frost Week, Multicultural Week, eXpression Against Oppression, a Block Party, and for the first time, the Undergraduate Research Symposium. These events will give students the opportunity to meet one another through different activities. Yakubi notes that these events are subject to change due to Covid-19 protocols and guidelines.
The UTMSU will continue to host Free Breakfast Wednesdays, Sauga Fest, Halloweek, Academic Advocacy week, and exam de-stressors this year. Members will also continue the Education for All campaign which advocates for reduced tuition fees, fairness for international students, increased awards and grants for Indigenous and Black Students, and more. This year specifically, the UTMSU will attempt to incorporate provincial and national awareness for these events.
The UTMSU also recognizes that the ongoing pandemic continues to impact students and their families. Some students at UTM, as with all universities, come from low-income families and like many others, the pandemic continues to heavily impact their education.
The UTMSU considers that some have either lost their source of income or their familial source of income and will continue to push for free post-secondary education. “Now more than ever, post-secondary students need to be made a priority,” says Yakubi. In the meantime, bursaries and grants sponsored by the UTMSU will still be made available to alleviate student financial burden.
“As the UTMSU, we’d like our members to know that during these very difficult times, their students’ union will be alongside them whether it’s virtual, or in-person.” The UTMSU encourages students to contact the executive team through email addresses available on their website for any questions or inquiries.