At IGNITE, students hold all the power.
The IGNITE executives advocate for the change students want to see on campus. But did you know it’s IGNITE’s Board of Directors that approves their mandates and holds them accountable?
Board members, comprised of students elected by students, sit at the top of our organization. They have the most decision-making power out of everyone at the organization―including full-time staff. However, some students aren’t familiar with what the Board of Directors actually works on and why they’re important. We want to change that.
We recently sat down with two of our board members: Neto Naniwambote, Chair of North and Nav Sidhu, from Orangeville to discuss what they’re working on, what their goals are, and who they view as role models.
Why did you want to join IGNITE’s Board of Directors?
Neto: “I was interested in being part of a community where I could speak on behalf of student interests. Becoming an IGNITE board member let me take part in the decision-making process that affects all of us at Humber.”
Nav: “There haven’t been any students from Orangeville on the board of directors for a long time and I thought my campus deserved representation. I wanted to improve the college experience for students by giving them a voice.”
What have you accomplished in a previous experience that indicates you will thrive as a board member?
Neto: “I’ve advocated for better working conditions on behalf of my colleagues in some of my previous jobs.”
Nav: “In the past, I’ve been the type of student who I’d want to help now. I didn’t get the most out of my previous college experience and I think if I had the right guidance it would have been different. I believe that hindsight will help me find engaging ways to help students.”
When the executive director presents a budget, what are you looking for in order to approve it? What questions are you asking?
Neto: “When it comes to managing money that comes from students, everyone at the college wants to ensure it’s used responsibly. When the budget is presented to us for review, we assess every line item. Then we consider the budget as a whole, and ask questions like, “Which program or service are we focusing on most and why?” or “Is there an area we should reduce spending to benefit another program?”
What specific items are you voting on in your meetings this year and how do they tie into what IGNITE is working on as an organization?
Neto: “Until now, the executive roles at IGNITE (president and vice-president) have been elected. But they are paid full-time positions with a lot of responsibility. We’re working on changing them to hired positions (for students only) so we can hold them to a higher degree of accountability. We’ll be presenting these changes to students at our general meeting in January.”
Nav: “With the introduction of the Student Choice Initiative by the Ontario government, we’ve had to completely revamp IGNITE’s organizational goals. Now we’re working on updating our bylaws to improve IGNITE’s management structure. Other than that, we’re exploring ways to encourage students to opt-in for IGNITE’s optional fees in order to improve their college experience.”
What’s the working relationship like between the board and the executives?
Nav: “Our relationship with the executives is friendly and professional, which makes it easy for us to collaborate on projects. We have regularly scheduled meetings every month. But outside of that, we reach out to discuss the suggestions we receive from students and work on implementing them.”
What’s something you’ve accomplished in your role that you’re proud of?
Neto: “Recently we’ve been working on strengthening IGNITE’s relationship with student journalists. We know they have a lot of questions about our organization, so we invited them to meet with the board and executive teams for a Q&A session. We had really positive group discussions and the students seemed to appreciate the opportunity.”
What do you consider to be IGNITE’s most significant accomplishment as an organization?
Neto: “I think both the Soupbar and the free menstrual kits are big accomplishments for IGNITE. Other colleges don’t offer these services and they help a lot of people. Plus, they make it easy to see the value IGNITE offers to students.”
What do you hope to accomplish in your role by the end of the year?
Nav: “Seeing an increase in the number of students opting in for IGNITE’s fees by the end of the year would make me feel successful in my role as a board member. It would demonstrate that students have been taking advantage of our services and getting the most out of their time at Humber.”
Who is your role model and why?
Neto: “I admire Winnie Mandela for being the backbone of freedom fighting in Africa. A lot of people don’t know about her because she was usually behind the scenes. But she was an amazing woman who worked harder than most to affect positive social change in Africa.”
Nav: “Michelle Obama is somebody I look up to. She’s empowered so many women and remained strong in the face of criticism. I admire her courage to stand up for her beliefs.”
If you were an animal, what would you be?
Neto: “I would say an eagle because they live life without borders. They’re free to fly wherever they want, without fear.”
Nav: “The elephant because they have a strong sense of community and they stand their ground in the face of adversity.”
What message would you like to share with your fellow students?
Neto: “If you have any questions about IGNITE, or just about Humber and UofGH in general, don’t be shy–ask us. Send us an email and we’ll do our best to give you a clear answer. We’re here to help.”
Nav: “Let us know what changes you want to see around campus. And let us know what we can do to make you feel more comfortable to talk to us. We’re fellow students, so think of us as friends. We’re here to listen.”
Got a burning question? Reach out to the IGNITE Board of Directors and we’ll get it sorted as soon as we can. We’re here for you!