Jared Dodds, News Editor

Monday marked the beginning of voting for the elections of the next batch of IGNITE Board of Directors.

Orangeville is the only campus without a candidate running for the now nine open spots. North campus has four positions with five candidates vying for them.

The candidates include Eli Ridder, Keithtian Green, Anthony Grguric, Sirene Qureshi and Aisha Ahmad, who could not be reached for this article.

This is the first campaign for Grguric, a first-year industrial design student, and he his hoping this campaign will be the next step in his growth as a person. Ridder ran unsuccessfully the Guelph city council in 2018.

Anthony Grguric, a first-year industrial design student, is running for a board of directors position at North campus. (Jared Dodds)

“In high school I never ran for anything, but here it’s a new start, new me, and this seemed like the best option for me in that new start,” Grguric said. 

He said he was inspired to run after being named the head of social planning in his residence.

Green, a third-year student in the nursing program, was driven by her long Humber career, from the Child and Youth program to where she is now, and the knowledge she has gained through all that time at Humber.

Qureshi, a post-grad paralegal student, is relying on her experience running for student unions in the past, particularly two campaigns at York University.

Ridder, a first-year journalism student, chose to run to push for the change he has been hoping to see in IGNITE since his time at the University of Guelph-Humber.

“I believe we need more transparency, more collaboration and more integrity in our student union, and they can be a lot stronger in advocating for students,” he said.

The four who are elected will represent the largest percentage of students from any campus on IGNITE’s board, which controls an $11 million budget funded by Humber students.

Eli Ridder, a first-year journalism student, is running on the promise that he will open up board meetings to students. (Jared Dodds)

Ridder said he’s confident he will be able to handle that budget because of the different approach he would take to directors in the past.

“My approach would be to talk to students about what we’re doing behind closed doors, and actually open those doors up for students,” he said. “This is their money.”

Qureshi and Grguric mirrored the student-first mentality, with Grguric saying he felt no concern managing a budget of that size.

Green took a slightly different approach, saying she wanted to focus on cooperation among board members to ensure the budget is handled appropriately.

All the candidates have similar platforms with a focus on advocating for students, but each has a unique point setting them apart. 

Sirene Qureshi, a post-grad paralegal student, is relying on her experience running for the York student union. (Jared Dodds)

Qureshi said she wants to increase the sense of community between students while educating them on the programs the college presents to them.

“I think when students come into college and university, they’re not aware of the services or opportunities available to them, job opportunities even” she said. “Not only that but there’s even tutoring here that the students don’t take advantage of.”

Grguric is also running a campaign focused heavily on community, aiming to bring a more high school feel to the halls of Humber.

“My perfect world is everybody knows everybody, everybody is friends with everybody, and everyone wants to talk to everybody,” he said. “I don’t see that happening here, and that’s what I want to change.”

Ridder said he wants to bring cannabis-safe zones to Humber, places where students can go to smoke without risking at minimum a warning from security. This contradicts Humber’s current policy banning smoking on campus, something Ridder said was a product of poor planning by the college.

Green said she wants to lobby for international students.

Keithtian Green, a nursing student, is advocating for increasing the number of bursaries and scholarships offered to international students.

“I think it’s very necessary to have someone who is an international student on the board,” said the student from Jamaica. “I want to see the same opportunities IGNITE offers to domestic students, international students are also able to access.”

Green cited the increasing the number of bursaries and scholarships that are offered to international students, as well as giving other international students a face and a voice.

“A Caribbean black student is getting up and saying diversity is here, not just saying [it’s] inclusive, but having students actually see it and have someone to relate to,” she said.

A common theme among all the campaigns was the issue of transparency, but each candidate has a different definition of what it means.

Ridder, a long-time critic of what he views as a complete lack of transparency from IGNITE, is campaigning to reopen board meetings, which would reverse a bylaw change made last November.

Grguric and Qureshi said they too would open be in favour of open meetings, with Qureshi going as far as to say media members shouldn’t be left out, but rather invited in.

“Media is the first source to get information out there, and if they [past board members] can’t even deal with the tough questions what are they doing in this job,” she said.

Ercole Perrone, the executive director of IGNITE, said in interviews with Et Cetera reporters the reason board meetings were closed off was to ensure the comfort of the board of directors.

Students have until March 13 at 4 p.m. to cast their ballot.