My Student Governor Experience

About me

I am Vishar, CEO and co-founder of a dental-care startup dedicated to enhancing global oral hygiene that is affiliated with the Faculty of Dentistry. While earning my B.Sc, I served as the student governor on Governing Council (GC), representing over 50,000 undergraduate students for two consecutive years. I also was the Mental Health Director at Woodsworth College for two years.  

A person smiling at camera

Election period

From 2019-2021, I ran for Student Governor. During all three election periods, I competed against 20+ individuals for two positions. I created a campaign website and engaged with students outside U of T buildings for an entire week, presenting my campaign objectives to them. My outreach resulted in conversations with over 5,000 students to whom I distributed campaign materials. 

Photo of a person standing in front of a U of T sign

Year 1 

In my first year as a Governor, it was a learning process to understand the intricacies of the system. Each Student Governor can be a member of two committees, councils, or boards. I sought re-election to secure additional time to make a substantial impact within mental health systems at U of T.  

A diagram of a government

Description automatically generated

What do you do as a student governor? 

You thoroughly review policies, agenda items, and documents provided in advance of the meetings. My primary role was to advocate for student concerns and ensure students' perspectives were effectively represented within each policy.  

Beyond meetings and meticulously reviewing materials, I actively pursued opportunities to effect change. During my time as the Mental Health Director, Joyce Fung and I co-founded WCSA Care, an initiative that hosted monthly wellness events aimed at emphasizing the significance of well-being and mindfulness, facilitating awareness of mental health resources, and encouraging students to voice their opinions on the campus mental health systems.  

However, I aspired to implement larger structural changes to the university's mental health systems, changes that would have a lasting impact, and I continued to raise mental health issues in GC meetings. Eventually, my dedication was recognized, and I was recommended to join the Review Committee on the Role of Campus Safety Services in Responding to Students in Mental Health Crises, initiated by the university in response to students in mental health crises. This committee was tasked with formulating recommendations for structural changes for how student mental health is approached. We consulted with over 100 stakeholders, including student groups and campus police, to gather insight on various issues such as mental health problems within the university and campus police. After eight months, we compiled a comprehensive 100+ page document and submitting our recommendations to the Vice-President and Vice-Provost, outlining changes for enhancing student mental health (Read the Final Report and Recommendations here).  

Contrary to misconceptions, I firmly believe that a Student Governor wields the power to instigate structural transformations aligned with their passion and effectively advocate for the concerns of the student body.  

Time commitment 

My weekly commitment was approximately 15 hours for reading materials, meetings, and engaging with student clubs such as UTSU and other university councils to learn about problems they faced first-hand and their needs. This in-depth understanding was crucial for accurately representing student voices during meetings instead of making assumptions. The more you invest in this role, the more you gain from the experience, and it remains one of the most enriching and impactful experiences of my life. 

Photo of a group of people digging in the ground

The 2024 Nomination Period for Governing Council opens Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 12pm and closes Thursday, Jan. 18 at 5pm. For more information, please visit the Governing Council website.

Reminder: There are many mental health resources available to you at U of T, wherever you are. For a list of resources, please visit

24/7/365 support:
📲 U of T Telus Health Student Support
📲 Good2Talk: 1-866-925-5454

💻 Visit the U of T Mental Health Website
💬 Chat with Navi about U of T resources

🗣 Health & Wellness Peer Support: Access in-person and virtual peer support from 11am-4pm, Wednesdays to Fridays

💙 It’s important to recognize and respond to mental health distress. Health & Wellness provides access to the following free online training to help students, staff and faculty respond to presentations of mental distress and suicide:
💻 IAR (Identify Assist Refer)
💻 LivingWorks START
💻 SafeTALK

0 comments on “My Student Governor Experience

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *