Campaign Messages of the Candidates for GSU Election 2022

Baset

Baset Oli Mishkat (Candidate for Executive Director- External Affairs)

Hello Friends. My name is M M Baset Oli Mishkat. In the 2022 GSU election, I am running again to represent you as the Executive Director of External Affairs (EDEA). I am pursuing my Ph.D. degree in General Management, and my research area is Entrepreneurship.

Why am I qualified?

Since 2018, I have been involved in different societies and unions. In 2019, I contested the President position in the Teaching Assistants’ Union of Memorial University of Newfoundland (TAUMUN), and graduate students had faith in me. I made some decisions that helped the union members. Notably, I launched the Employee Assistance Fund that supports the members to cover health and medical expenses and childcare costs. I cut administrative expenses for donating to the covid crisis fund created by MUN. I resolved two grievance cases.

In 2021, when graduate students elected me as EDEA of GSU, I faced two big challenges. I renewed the six years old lease of Feild Hall. Then, I focused on the renovation of Feild Hall, which was supposed to be started two years back. Suddenly the previous General Manager (GM) left, but I managed to recruit a new GM by forming a committee within a month. I worked almost 40 hours per week to resolve these issues, along with finishing regular GSU work. I attended three big protests with other unions for denouncing tuition hikes. I called for a dialogue to stop the tuition hike with the university’s top administrators, who responded positively to my call. Only around ten programs’ tuition fees were increased from 100+ grad programs. It could be considered a success compared to that 100% of undergrad programs’ tuition fees were raised. I solved many pending GSDF, PMG, PDG and Travel Grant issues. Currently, I am advocating to increase residents’ spaces and the parking place for graduate students. I have already started talking with different administrators about these

The accomplishments at GSU and TAUMUN and my voluntary experiences make me the right candidate who can set some more realistic goals for students’ betterment and formulate the right strategy to achieve those goals.

What will I do for you?

  • If you elect me, I promise to stand for your interests and bring changes in 2022-2023. My primary goal will be “to make your voice heard.”

Specifically, I will

  • Advocate increasing the baseline research funding and students’ post-graduation employability as we graduate students face comparatively high living costs and tuition fees.
  • Stand up for increasing the support for mental health as mental health is vital and should be getting the most priority.
  • Negotiate to improve the health plan coverage, housing, transportation, and parking facilities based on the students’ needs.
  • Work to increase on-campus jobs (e.g., GradSWEP).
  • Promote equity and diversity in GSU.
  • Support and promote every initiative to acknowledge, incorporate, support, and include Indigenous Groups.
  • Support all the decisions for the enlargement and growth of research in MUN.
  • Ensure a better service in facilities management by bringing transparency and accountability to the table.

Siddant

Siddant Sunil Shetty (Candidate for Executive Director- External Affairs)

 

I am Siddant Sunil Shetty, a fellow graduate student from MUN. I am honored to be given this opportunity to compete for the position of Executive Director of External affairs.

 

MUN strives excellence and I would do everything in my power to achieve that excellence with this position. Coming from an Indian descent, we tend to understand and keep the needs of people above ours and it is that selflessness that I carry with me which would really help me reach my goal of ensuring that every voice on this campus is heard. During my undergraduate course, I demonstrated the leadership qualities that were necessary to succeed as a student representative. Additionally, I am capable of being apprehended since I have excellent communication skills. My ability to establish empathy and to help others whenever possible is also highly regarded. As a practitioner of karate, I value the calmness and the sincerity that one needs to have before taking a further step into action which I can surely agree is a skill that comes with great practice which I believe would be my strongest asset if awarded this position.

 

I am running to this position in order to move the needle towards equality, to hear the concerns of every graduate student without regard to their caste, creed, religion, country, or gender after all everyone at this campus is no less than a family. As an Executive Director of External affairs it is my desire to make MUN a righteous place that takes informative decisions and provides a meaningful outcome which benefits each & everyone residing on this campus.

I understand with a position like that of an executive director, comes with great responsibilities and requires me to devote time and patience and lend my ears for the concerns that are faced by the students that are residing in this university which I am willing to do because I have learned my way through hardships and I know how it would feel if your voice goes unheard which wouldn’t be the case if given the opportunity.

I am always willing to take all the challenges that would be thrown at me, no matter how difficult they get I know that with a team that I would have with me would surely find the best way to tackle anything that would ever come across us. If justice is desired, it shall be served when and where necessary.

 

Knowing that we have all faced a dreadful pandemic, some of us even lost our loved ones while others still recovering from a massive change that the new virtual system has brought to us makes me realise that most of us are fighting our own unspoken battles by ourselves which shouldn’t be the case anymore. We are here to lend our support to you and get you the help that you require at all times.

If given the opportunity I will strive to represent the views and opinions of all the students that make up this glorious university.

Zia

S M Zia Hasan (Candidate for Executive Director- Communications)

Please Vote, Every Vote Can Make a Difference!

Hello everyone, my name is Zia Hasan, and I am re-running for the Executive Director of Communications (EDC) position in the GSU election 2022. I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Neurosciences, Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine. Since joining MUN, I have involved myself in different volunteer organizations. In 2020, I involved with GSU as a volunteer at Constitutional, Graduate Student Awards, Social Events, and the 22nd Annual Aldrich Interdisciplinary committees at GSU. In 2021, I participated in the GSU election, and you elected me for the EDC position. Since joining GSU as EDC, I believe that I have performed all the responsibilities sincerely. I have updated the GSU website and organized all documents. Now, students can access any relevant information regarding GSU from the website with ease. I have completed most of the work that I had mentioned last year in my election manifesto. For instance, I have updated the GSU constitution with the help of the constitution committee, launched a LinkedIn account for GSU, and so on. I have tried my best to complete all tasks within a limited time-frame as mentioned last year. However, a lot of work still needs to be done to make GSU more organized. I have sorted the several remaining issues of GSU, and my plan is to next resolve these issues and make GSU better organized for current and future graduate students.

 

What Is My Plan For You?

  • Increase on-campus job opportunities, housing, funding opportunities, and other academic services by lobbying the MUNL for the current graduate students.
  • Archive all important documents and reports on the GSU website, especially adding and archiving the GSU yearly budget on the website to ensure the highest form of transparency among graduate students.
  • Improve the existing constitution of the GSU to make it timelier. My goal is to remove the outdated Bilaws and clauses and to keep it updated by adding new information.
  • Update the GSU policy manual.
  • Launch a blog page for the graduate students (e.g. voice.gsumun.ca) where they can share their concerns and I will try to promote it via local news medium.
  • Launch a new website for Bitter’s pub with several features.
  • To improve the students’ mental health, I will work with the MUNL to ensure the highest support for graduate students.

Hear Your Voice

I have worked tirelessly over the past year as EDC to improve university life for graduate students. As an experienced student, I believe that I can support you more efficiently and effectively than the other candidates. I look forward to representing you. Please vote, every vote makes a difference!

Please choose someone who can work for you, stand for you, and hear your voice. Choose someone who truly deserves this position.

If you have any queries/concerns, feel free to contact me at smzhasan@mun.ca. I am always happy to help

Md Mahe

Md Mahe Alam Chowdhury (Candidate for Executive Director- Academic)

 

Greetings, everyone; my name is Md Mahe Alam Chowdhury; I started my MUN life as a master’s student in Economics. I am contesting for the Executive Director of Academics (EDA) position in the upcoming GSU election, 2022.

As a graduate student, I have always realized the importance of academic learning and barriers throughout the campus. I know the challenges a graduate student faces. Graduate students face different issues that need to be solved so that their journey to be successful in their academic and professional lives. An eligible student representative can help students deal with the different aspects of their university life. As a graduate student, I started my journey in September 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. The classes were online, and students were somewhat deprived of some of the fantastic experiences of graduate student life. However, as I have always felt that it’s my responsibility to help other students in the tough pandemic time, I devoted myself to the welfare of students. I was a peer mentor for new students and had some amazing experiences with new students in fall 2021. Participating in this program taught me that it’s not always easy to cope with all the problems. This peer mentor program has broadened my mind and inspired me to support my fellow mates in their tough times. After joining the university, I have found that GSU is the best platform to help other graduate students fulfill my responsibility towards my student community. I have volunteered in Social Events and Aldrich Committees to gain experience about how an efficient organization like GSU runs, and now I feel it’s the time to come forward. I am ready to help the graduate communities of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador for this year, where we will be back in the pre-pandemic period.

If I get elected with all your support, I will be the graduate student representative and Academic Council Executive of the School of Graduate Studies. I will support graduate students and represent my colleagues in the SGS. I will act as the voice of students and maximize students’ welfare. I will be one of your own in terms of the academic disputes and issues and work so that a graduate student gets his rights and justice properly. My experience from Aldrich Committee will help me organize the next Aldrich Conference, and with all your support, we will be able to make the conference successful. If I get elected, I will always try to help you with your academic and non-academic problems, and we will work together to solve the issues. I will act as the voice of the students in meetings where decisions will be made for the betterment of graduate students. With all your support, I hope we can make the life of graduate students comfortable. Thank you so much, and I hope you have a good time in your life ahead.

Md Mahe Alam Chowdhury

mmachowdhury@mun.ca

Susmita

Susmita Dev Burman (Candidate for Executive Director- Campus Life)

 

Hey everyone! My name is Susmita Dev Burman, and I am a graduate student studying Economics. I am contesting for ‘Executive Director’ of Campus Life. I want to serve in this role because I have worked as an ‘Events Coordinator’ at Campus Life since June 2021, and I have a working knowledge of this unit. Now I ask for your support in achieving my vision for a better ‘Campus Life’ where I can negotiate more funds for better events, ensure more awards of excellence for the graduate students, and experience more student activities through quick ratifying of clubs and societies and help them thrive.

I was selected for the role of Events Coordinator in an uncertain time of coming back to campus after months of lockdown. Nonetheless, during my tenure of 9 months, I planned, organized, and hosted many online events, trivia nights, photo contests, discussions, seminars, out of which 8 events were in-person, and we had a good turnout of Graduates (Trip to Bell Island, La Manche, GSU Lunch, Rec room, Movie night, etc.). One of my fondest memories is the success of the ‘BBQ Event and Welcome Package Distribution’ during the ‘Fall Grad Fest’ of 2021. Being the only events coordinator, I put additional work into selecting and getting the best welcome package items, food, and suitable locations for new students. Now, seeing students with grey GSU backpacks around the campus makes all the efforts worth it.

I have loved restarting and accelerating the ‘Graduate Student of the Week’ series. My favorite part of the job is to highlight a fantastic graduate student each week (32 so far), reach out to them, encourage and make sure they get the recognition they deserve. I have also served in different units of GSU as a member of the Social Events Committee, Aldrich Committee, Board of Regent representative, and Sexual Harassment representative.

Apart from GSU, I have worked with the Student Experience Office as an ‘Experience Supporter’ and an ‘Assistant Mentor Coordinator,’ where my job responsibilities were planning, coordinating, and executing events, filling gaps, hosting live programs, and supporting new and returning students. Most notably among others, I have volunteered with Student Experience Office, Student Volunteer Bureau, Internationalization Office, and I have completed the Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels of volunteering.

My priorities have always been to increase cross-cultural communication, ensure diversity inclusion, and make more graduate students aware of the resources available at GSU and MUN as a whole. I want ‘Campus Life’ to be a symbol, a place where graduates can celebrate their differences while enjoying, interacting, and learning new skills.

As your Executive Director, I promise to hear your concerns, raise my voice for the collective interest and make the presence of ‘Campus Life’ more prominent by reaching more students and creating impactful student interactions. I am a good fit for this role because getting elected would allow me more exposure and means to fill the gaps I have seen while working here as a coordinator.

Adedotun O. Adesanya (Candidate for Executive Director- Finance)

Greetings to you,

My name is Adedotun Oluwafemi Adesanya. I am an international graduate student studying Master of Business dministration (MBA). Before now, I worked as a corporate banker in two of Africa’s most profitable and largest banks. I have been privileged to have key knowledge and eight years combined experience in financial planning, management – credit analysis, and structuring. This I did with passion and diligence whilst managing clients’ accounts/funds in various business forms and industries. Such organisations include business corporations, nongovernment agencies, associations, religious organizations – to mention a few.

Seneca once said… “Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation.” I very much buy into his idea, and if I may add, I would say, “therein lies greatness.” Given my level of granular attention to pecuniary details over the years, I confidently assure you of an elevated era of financial management of the GSU. I very much acknowledge and appreciate the good work that is being done. However, there is room to grow, and we have to be deliberate about it. Hence, my declaration to vie for the Director of Finance’s (DoF) office in GSU.

Primarily, the Director of Finance is responsible for overseeing the financial affairs of the GSU. Managing all properties owned by the GSU, the Director of Finance is active in the University and local community as an advocate for additional student funding. In furtherance to this, if your very good selves can afford me the opportunity to serve as your next DoF, the following will be put on the front burner as we hit the ground running: I will ensure to heighten the level of transparency in the income and expense accounts to enable members have an appreciation of funds flow and/or usage; Work with stakeholders to seek funding opportunities for the union so more planned programmes can come to life; I will also work to intimate members with understanding and workings of what is obtainable within the constitution of the union as most of these things go into oblivion; In light of contracting economic indicators, I hope to oversee preparation forecasts and comprehensive budgets; I will be assessing, managing, and minimizing risk whilst giving the board prompt report and invaluable financial insights; Also, I will be putting self-regulating systems in place to ensure efficient management of our internal controls in GSU.

 

As it is being said in Latin maxim, “nemo dat quod non habet” (literally meaning – you cannot give what you do not have). This begs the attention and importance of adequate skills necessary to deliver on the aforementioned value propositions. To this end, our ideal candidate for DoF should possess strong analytical skills, good strategic thinking, excellent communication skills, exceptional numerical proficiency, and strong leadership skills. The noteworthy finance director should harmonize financial operations, develop effective financial strategies, guide efforts towards financial stability, monitor all economic activities, promote revenue growth, ensure compliance with accounting regulations, and maintain good relationships with school management, staff, and fellow students. All of these you will find in my humble personality.

Please be assured of my warmest regards as you accord me the chance to serve on the Graduate Students’ Union board, Memorial University of Newfoundland, as Director of Finance. Remember, “Audentes Fortuna Juvat” (fortune favours the bold). I eagerly look forward to the task at hand. I thank you for your time, consideration, and attention.

Let’s do it together.

Sunzida Ali (Candidate for Executive Director- Finance)

Hey Folks! I am Sunzida Ali, running for the position of Executive Director of Finance for the Graduate Student Union (GSU) Elections 2022. I am currently pursuing my second master’s in Political Science, and I am currently in my first semester.

Since my school days, I have been active in volunteering. While studying at my undergraduate level I have actively participated in organizations like the Debating Society, Law Students Society, Moot Court Society, etc. While doing my first Master’s in Denmark, I have been elected as the President of the Student Organization for International Security and Law (SISLO). As a President, I have worked hard to revive the organization and increase student involvement. I have arranged several events like a pub quiz, fall and winter orientation, regular get-togethers, career talks, etc. Though I did not know the Danish language still I put my effort to manage as much funding as possible for the organization and after serving there for one year I have worked to make an autonomous system that helped the next members to run the organization beautifully.

I got to know about GSU last year when I got my admission to MUN. Since then, I wanted to be a part of this and as soon as I got the opportunity, I joined GSU as a BOD member this year. And what I have found out is that a lot of work is pending on the part of the finance section of GSU, and it needs someone very hardworking and multitasking to take over. As I already have experience working hard and sorting out an organization as a President, I believe I am the best candidate for this position. I have a simple three-step plan to provide the best service as the next ED Finance:

  • Clear the backlog of work.
  • Run the regular duties with precision and transparency.
  • Organize the work in a manner that will make the work easier for next ED Finance.

When it is needed, I can play solo to fulfill my duties but in terms of need, I can be a part of AVENGERS as well. I do not believe in making fake promises to attract voters, rather I make simple and achievable plans. I will not create any false hype that will eventually disappoint everyone. I can promise you precise work as PRECISION IS MY POWER! I am COUNTING ON YOUR VOTES and support to fulfill this mission. I believe we all want GSU to work better for the interest of the graduate students and the finance section has so much to do about it. I am here to listen to all of your concerns and resolve them s soon as possible and open to any kind of suggestions from you as we all learn from each other, and this is all of our union. I will be your voice here and work for you. I encourage you to get in touch with me with all your suggestions, concerns, and questions. You can reach me at sunzidaa@mun.ca. Clear the backlog of work. Run the regular duties with precision and transparency. Organize the work in a manner that will make the work easier for next ED Finance. YOUR VOTE MATTERS!!

 

 

Chiamaka Nwachukwu (Candidate for Senate Representative)

Greetings my fellow graduate students!

My name is Chiamaka Nwachukwu and I am currently studying for a master’s degree in Occupational Health and Safety. I am vying for the Senate Representative position in the upcoming Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) election, 2022.

Over the years, I have been contributing my quota to the welfare of humanity through volunteering, and by taking up leadership roles in various capacities in order for my voice to be heard, and to make desired changes; these are the reasons I am vying for the position of Senate Representative in the 2022 general elections of the GSU. Many graduate students have concerns pertaining to their studies that they would like to voice out, but they do not know how to make their voices heard. If given the mandate as the Senate Representative, I will:

  • Try my best to represent the voice of the GSU at the university level, by letting the university know the concerns and interests of graduate students
  • Take necessary actions that will be beneficial to graduate students
  • Ensure a tenure that fosters inclusion in decisions concerning graduate students.

With your support, the desired enabling environment for graduate students to thrive academically can be created. Please support this move.

 

 

Arshad Ali Shaikh (Candidate for The Board of Regents)

The Board of Regents communicates a vision for the university and works to ensure that the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) fulfils its mission of education, research, and outreach. My job will be to become the voice of the graduate students and represent the Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) at the meetings of the Board of Regents. I will make sure that our voice has been listened to by the university and all the decisions have been made after considering our opinions. If some decisions, such as tuition fee hike, have been taken, then I will raise my voice against it and ask them to reconsider the decision. I will go through every possible and legal way to extend our voice if the decision is not benefiting the students.

It will be my job to let the Board understand that the frequency of engagement with graduate students or their representatives is not enough. It is not that we do not appreciate the opportunity and the role given to us, but we would like to see a parallel commitment. Other than that, I will ensure that both the members and the decisions taken are independent and not beholden to any group’s particular interests.

To be given an opportunity to talk with a financial representative of a group or party, the concerns about the financial issues of graduate students will be shared, and funding to MUN or GSU will be asked. As I will be bridging the gap between the higher authorities and GSU, I will make sure that the communication between them is transparent and clear. Before going to the meetings of the Board of Regents, I will have a discussion with the GSU working committee regarding their concerns and if there is a particular thing to bring in front of the Board. I will make sure that not only a group’s issues but also an individual will be heard.

I do not find that there are enough scholarships for graduate students. Therefore, I will ask the Board to provide more to the students, specifically if there is a tuition fee hike and they are not backing that decision. It is not a denying fact that some students face mental health issues. I will ensure that Board understands that we are not only students but also students with responsibilities. Therefore, the decision should be taken after considering that.

Overall, I will try my best to provide feedback and opinions to the Board, considering every individual student to serve not only GSU but a broader community.