Campus Life
SPOTLIGHT: IGNITE Presidential Candidates 2019/2020
by Sulvey Polanco | February 20, 2019

Your presidential candidates are here for YOU

There are plenty of qualities that go into a good president, but what are your candidates’ priorities when it comes to leading you? We interviewed your IGNITE presidential candidates, Monica Khosla, and Margarita Bader to find out what they had to say about themselves and their campaigns!

Here’s what they had to say:

Why do you want to be IGNITE’s president?

Monica: I feel like my work [as current IGNITE president] is not done. I feel like we’ve made amazing strides in some of the initiatives. I really want to keep being a part of that conversation and progress them more. I also have really cool ideas and a really cool perspective on certain issues and initiatives that came out this year that I really want to dig deeper into. If I get re-elected then hopefully I get to continue doing that.

Margarita: I am running because I value the opinion of every student at both Humber and Guelph-Humber and want to be a part of creating something that students can benefit from this year, and for years to come. I believe that I can bring a new perspective to IGNITE and push for much-needed changes that students need. I also hope to inspire students and empower them to try new things, gain confidence and learn skills outside of the classroom. I feel like so many student leaders have given me support throughout the years and I hope to leave a lasting impression and inspire others to create change in their personal lives and in their community.

What experiences do you think inspired you to run in this year’s elections?

Monica: EVERYTHING! I’m someone who’s super outgoing, super talkative and I just love meeting new people. So a lot of the issues I dealt with on-campus really dealt with building relationships with students. I realized I really love doing it and wanted to take it a step further. I wanted to advocate for the students. When I started building more and more trust with the students, they started feeling more comfortable and telling me their issues and concerns because they saw me as someone with great communication and advocacy skills. So I thought I would be really suited for this role especially since I’m really familiar with the student population in each demographic whether it be aboriginal, international, BASE, anything. I really felt comfortable being in a position where I could really voice the concerns and issues for a lot of students because no one student is the same. I wanted to make sure if I was running, I had enough knowledge of the majority of people.

Margarita: During my time at Humber, I have had the opportunity to work with students in many roles. In my first year, I made it a goal to get to know as many students as possible that are involved and find out what steps I need to take to do the same. This initially started with me working as a Senior Orientation Leader for Academic Orientation, then as a Senior Peer Mentor at First Year Experience and as a Leadership Assistant with Student Leadership Academy. I also had the opportunity to work as a Social Media & Marketing Assistant within the Centre for Entrepreneurship, the Orientation Lead for Residence Orientation and of course Board of Directors with IGNITE. But I don’t want to bore students with job titles or speak to them from the perspective of my resume, instead, I want to focus on the relationships and connections that I was able to build with both students and professional staff. I have been able to learn more than I could have ever imagined in my three years and Humber, and now that I am headed into my final year, I want to use that experience to help improve the experiences of other students. This isn’t just about making changes for the year that I hope to be president, but to push for change that will inspire students on campus to get engaged in the future.

What do you think sets you apart from the other candidates?

Monica: People who know me don’t think of me as someone who has a different agenda or is doing this because I want to gain something out of it. That’s not how I work. Yes, this is a paid position, but the reason why I’m running is not because of the pay. It’s because I love what I do on a day-to-day basis. I love helping students. I love sending an email and someone responding saying they appreciated my help, you really motivated me etc. I really like feeling like I made a difference in the students’ life and that I was able to do it with a smile on my face. Sometimes issues and concerns that get brought up are really disheartening and really sad. I hate that students need to go through these things. But, I really like that I can calm those students down and myself down to work through it together. If there is no solution or there’s a solution that might come a little later long then I’ll keep them posted. I really believe in that constant loop of communication with students because they deserve that from their president. If you’re reaching out to me just know that your inquiry is going to be answered within 48-72 hours. If they are reaching out to you, you can tell in their tone that they’re exhausted and have likely been to multiple people who haven’t helped them. I make sure that when I meet them I have a smile on my face because maybe they haven’t gotten that from people they’ve been talking to. Also just being honest and telling them I understand their situation and there are services that can help it get better. I let them know that I’m going to do everything in my power to help them. I think I stand out because I’m honest, hardworking and I always try to leave a positive impact on people.

Margarita: I feel like a lot of candidates say they are passionate. I feel like that’s important, but I want students to know that I am more than that. I am committed, I am excited, and I am determined to not only to bring in fresh ideas to IGNITE, but also continue the hard work that has been already started. At IGNITE, there is a clear plan that outlines the areas in which students seek support. This is broken down into “Student Life” which supports students getting the most value out of their college experience, “Personal Life” which supports students in growth while they are in college and “Future Life” which prepares students for life after college. I wanted to come with three ideas that would directly impact every student and hit all three points in the strategic plan. This means helping students succeed without the financial stress which includes finding ways to lower the costs associated with textbooks and other course materials by looking into using open textbooks. These are textbooks that are available online for teachers and students to use that actually allow instructors to better customize their course material. As part of this goal, I would also want to speak to the Deans and Program Coordinators of every program to eliminate unnecessary costs and textbooks that are not used to their full potential. As part of my second goal, I am hoping to implement a better way of helping students in their final year of college find jobs so that they are prepared to start paying back their student loans as soon as they graduate. This can be done by partnering up with the Career Centre and further developing the opportunities they have. For my third goal, I want to look at developing workshops on campus that will support student growth in areas and skills that they do not gain in the classroom. An example would be students that want to take a course in CPR and First Aid or want to learn how to use the basic tools in Photoshop. These types of skills can help students succeed when looking for work, as well as help them professionally and make them feel empowered.

If elected, what would be your #1 priority and how would you address it?

Monica: There’s a lot of conversations that I’m already in right now as president so really progressing those conversations would be a priority. Since I’m already active in these conversations I’d probably just tackle whatever comes first and as they come. I’m not going to focus on only tackling one thing. I’m going to tackle things when they come, whenever they come. Even if it’s last on my list, but it comes up first, I’m going to do that first. I don’t really have a 1,2,3 kind of list, if it comes up, it comes up. Pretty much all of the ones that I’m currently involved with will be carried forward with a lot more experience and knowledge to make an even stronger impact on students. Coming into the position for the first time, I’d say the first year was a big learning experience. I got exposed to so many faculty and things that I wasn’t aware of. The second year will be the year to apply what I learned and make sure that I use it for the better.

Margarita: If I were to be elected, my number one priority would be to strengthen the communication between IGNITE’s executives and the students. I feel like a lot of good conversations happen around the time of elections and I would like to see that continue throughout the year so that students are being updated with changes that concern them every step of the way. I would also like to focus on lowering costs wherever possible. Since the new changes were presented by the government this year regarding the removal of OSAP grants for low-income students, I believe that now is the time where everyone involved in the student learning experience needs to get involved in reducing unnecessary costs. As a college, the number one priority should be the assurance that students are getting the best possible learning experience. Therefore, from speaking with students and experiencing the pressure of the high costs myself, the best place to start reducing that cost is from course materials. There are so many low-cost resources available for our professors to use, including those that we pay for that are found in our library. I also believe that with the college trying to add more digital learning opportunities, it’s the perfect time to switch from high-cost physical textbooks to E-Books and online research journals, which as students we have already been using.

Do you have anything you’d like to profess to the students voting this year?

Monica: If you vote for me you’re going to get a president that’s open to talking to you at any time, my door is always open. I’m not even in the office that much because I feel like my approach is to be out in the hallways for a couple reasons. I feel like some people may get intimidated by walking into the IGNITE office because there are presidents and VP’s there. I try to go out into the hallways so if students see me they can express their concerns there. I’m not afraid to grab a table anywhere to discuss issues. I want to put a smile on students’ faces at the end of the day because you don’t know what they’re really going through. My main goal is to make your experience at Humber or University of Guelph Humber a great one because it’s been a really great one for me.

Margarita: To the students voting this year, I really hope that you take a few minutes out of your day to really educate yourself on the many wonderful candidates running in this year’s elections. A lot of good ideas are being put forward with the hopes that we can all contribute to the success of our college experience. As a student, you should vote because it is vital that the student voice is heard. If IGNITE did not hold elections, we would only ever hear the voice of the faculty and the full-time staff. What kind of college environment would that be? Not one I would want to be a part of. We are the key to our own success. This election is for us. It’s for every single one of us to have a voice, to make a difference and to challenge rules.

Don’t forget to vote Feb. 25-March 1!

Want to see what changes students would like IGNITE candidates to address? Check out what Lakeshore students are saying!

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