WRITTEN BY: Marta Switzer, and Eric Schwenger, SLC Co-Chairs
The University of Toronto Student Leadership Conference: Represent is an opportunity for student leaders
in elected and appointed positions across the tri-campus student body to consider, reflect upon and embrace what it means to represent other students. Student leaders are often placed into roles based on a group of students that they are elected to represent; in our positions as student leaders we must take this responsibility seriously, and strive to advocate for and support our respective constituencies as well as our fellow U of T students outside our divisional populations. We want to invite student leaders to consider what it means to be speaking for and taking action on behalf of the constituency you represent and voices you lead.
This can mean reflecting on whose voices are being represented through us and whose voices might be left out in the same conversations. We want to encourage student leaders to never be satisfied with their accomplishments in representation: to continue to search for better ways to represent a diverse demographic of students, to perpetually consider what it means to represent and to embrace the best representative leaders they can be. We want to encourage student leaders to not only imagine what representation could mean, but also (re)imagine how their actions reflect the responsibility of representation.
We should be asking many questions about representation as we either present our platforms or cast our votes in the UTSU election. How are the candidates speaking to the various meanings of representation? Will the voices you want represented be heard? Will you be represented? How do the candidates reflections on representation translate into the ways they will take action? Are candidates platforms suggesting new ways to better represent students, to represent you? What could representation look like next year on our campus?
Regardless of your political position, get informed, talk to your fellow students and make an educated decision in not only the UTSU elections this year, but all elections taking place across campus. Remember that your voice matters, and ultimately we’re all a part of the same U of T community!