New Board of Governors student rep cites food, transit and housing as 2024 priorities

Candidates suggest changing the voting process after low voting numbers in recent election
Photo: Nathalia Lencioni
Aditya Mishra, Algonquin College's newly elected student representative, standing beside his poster outside of E-building on Feb. 24.

Aditya Mishra, the student representative recently elected to the Board of Governors, says he will work with the board to address three main student concerns: food costs, transportation issues and housing costs.

“Food on campus is much more expensive than outside, it should be less,” said Mishra. “Students have a hectic schedule, a lot of them work after school and they don’t have that much time or a large budget for food.”

Mishra said that his second priority after food costs is making sure transportation is more reliable and frequent, as well as possibly arranging for transportation provided by the college.

“I want to increase the frequency of buses for some areas,” said Mishra. “There are areas where students are more concentrated. I want to just increase the frequencies of buses to that area. There should be buses coming from the college as well.”

Voting in the Board of Governors election opened on Feb. 21 at 12:01 a.m. and closed on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m., a week when most of the student body was going through midterms.

A total of 615 votes were cast: 253 for Mishra, 154 for Germain Arrighi, 117 for Mouatez Aissaoui and 91 for Linh Ngo. The official numbers were released by Duane McNair, vice president of finance and administration, on Feb. 23 through an email addressed to all students.

The college has over 20.000 full-time students in 200 programs, according to the Algonquin College website. It means only about three per cent of students voted in the election for their Board of Governors representative.

Mishra shared his priorities with the Algonquin Times after the college announced his election victory.

“The next thing is accommodation, due to inflation, rent costs have become too much,” said Mishra. “I have said this [during the campaign], I am saying it again, I will try, with the help of management, to have conversations with landlords to see what we can arrange in the form of a discount.”

One of the runners-up, Arrighi, said his experience running was overall positive, but he would like to see reform to the election process.

“Campaigning was fun, and I would consider it again. However, I feel there need to be some changes to the election process,” said Arrighi. “Although the turnout is better than last year, these numbers don’t seem representative of the student body. Physical polling stations would be great for students to have the experience to prepare for federal and provincial elections.”

Arrighi also said he believes the voting was hindered due to site operational maintenance and election day being scheduled to happen during midterms.

Mishra said he expected the votes to reach the thousands and agrees physical polling stations would be a good solution to explore in future elections.

“In-person voting is important. And more than that, it’s important that people are aware of voting,” said Mishra. “The college voting system in my opinion does not make it convenient for students either.”

Ngo said she has learned a lot through campaigning.

“I wholeheartedly appreciate those who supported and voted for me,” said Ngo. “This was such a great experience and I do not regret my decision at all. I have learned a lot and hopefully, I can try again next year. I just want to congratulate the winner. I wish him a great run as the student representative.”

Aissaoui did not respond to a request for comment.

“I have met so many students who said they were with me, and it just filled me with such positive vibes,” said Mishra. “Management also helped me a lot. When I was running, 20-plus posters were stolen by someone, and management helped me a lot. They even gave me more posters.”

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