Candidates list scholarships, communication as priorities this year

By: Iris Dyck

With the Red River College Polytechnic Students’ Association (SA) elections just around the corner, candidates are busy campaigning with the added challenge of doing so remotely.

Over noon hour on Oct. 14, five candidates read their speeches over Zoom to a small audience of students and other SA reps. They described the challenges students have faced over the past year with rising tuition fees and remote learning. 

Jahnavi, a first-year Business Administration student running for VP Academic, had a hard time feeling connected to the college when she started classes. She didn’t know the SA existed until she read about last year’s elections in the Student News email. 

“I’ve never been on campus,” she said. “I would say that gap is a very major thing when you study online.”

She’d like to see more communication from the college and the SA so students can take full advantage of the services offered to them.

Posters outside the RRC Polytech Students’ Association office are the only physical evidence of the upcoming election. Voting will take place online beginning Oct. 25./IRIS DYCK

Joshua Malam, a Business Administration student running for a board position, also thinks more could be done to inform students of the SA’s reach. He admits it can be difficult to engage students virtually and hopes to use his position to advocate for students who are struggling.

“I think that it’s one of the most important things, people having someone to help them speak their voice,” he said. “As a mature student, I’ve got a lot of life experience I can throw behind it.”

Harjinder Dhesi is a first-year Data Science and Machine Learning student also running for a board position. After seeing the discrimination some LGBTQ+ people faced in his home country of India, Dhesi wants to ensure RRC Polytech is a welcoming place for all students.

“They were just objectified,” he said. “So I didn’t want that here also, so that the whole campus can be diverse and equally encouraging.”

Riley Gibbons is a second-year Business Administration student who hopes to sit on the SA’s scholarship committee if elected. He wants to see more scholarships, especially for international students, whose tuition is often two to three times that of domestic students.

“Helping define those students that may need help in those financial situations…I think for me, that’s the main focus, is helping all students with scholarships, and whatever I can,” he said.

Adeniyi Adekola is in his second year of Electrical Engineering Technology and is seeking re-election to the board. He wants to make sure all decisions at RRC Polytech are made using a “student-first” approach.

“To put any policy, they must consider the students,” he said. “The students make the college.”

Online voting begins on Oct. 25 on the SA website. Voting closes on Oct. 27 at 3 p.m. and the results will be posted the following day.