Position: DSU President
Candidate: Munavvar Shakhzodova, a.k.a Moonie
Editor’s note: This interview was edited for length and style.
Why are you running for DSU president?
I’m running because I saw a lot of change happened in the DSU this year and I feel like enough is enough. Students’ voices need to be heard and they need to be aware of what’s going on. The Student union is here for the students and I feel there’s a huge disconnect between the DSU and the students. I think most students don’t even know what the DSU is, honestly. I’m here to change that: I’m here to make sure students are aware of what DSU is doing, that students can go to the meetings, can watch the meetings online and have livestreams, and make sure DSU is present not only on this campus but Sexton, Carleton and the Agricultural campus.
What do you admire about the current DSU executive?
I admire Aisha [Abawajy]. I admire that she uses her social media platforms, especially Twitter, to advocate for a lot of marginalized groups. She makes sure to post up-to-date news about events going on so that people go out and support them. But, not a lot of students use Twitter right now. Our generation is more on Instagram and Facebook I think.
What would you like to see DSU do differently?
Like I said, make sure livestreaming is up again, of the meeting. Another thing is to make sure Sexton office hours are actually there. Right now, they are by appointment only. I know there’s a Sexton campus rep, but the thing is – most students are saying it’s always empty. I would make sure we have office space available where we can go and talk to students… it’s very important. Making sure the office hours are there and students can come, and execs are actually there when the office hours are supposed to happen – that would be great.
What is the main focus of your campaign?
The focus of my campaign is to increase the trust and restore the faith of students in the DSU. I’ve read a lot of social media comments and talked to people and…they’re like, “Oh the DSU sucks” but I’m like, “No, we can improve it. I just need suggestions. I want you guys to tell me what you would like to see happen.” I think it’s very important to change the opinion of students, that DSU is not just something that’s against them – but for them.
My other platform point is increasing resources to all campuses. And, increasing mental health resources for all students. Having puppies show up once or twice a week is temporary relief. Just making sure there’s more communicating with the university, so we can have more therapists come in so we can offer more same-day counselling for students is very important. Also, increase awareness of peer support groups. Most students aren’t aware of them.
What do you think is the biggest issue on campus?
It’s that students’ trust in the DSU is lost. The societies don’t feel communicated. I’ve talked to several societies and they’re saying “we’ve emailed people but they never get back to us,” or “we aren’t promoted enough.” I think those things are important to change and to increase trust. To make sure societies are communicated with, and that there are strict deadlines for societies to follow and information available.
Societies don’t know when they have to do what and changing that is important. Like, they’re not receiving funding because they were not told when to submit plans for the years. This issue with communication needs to be changed. I don’t know if it’ll look like creating a brand new email for societies and the DSU executives to communicate more efficiently, or hiring social media person that will manage those and promote societies equally.
What are you watching on Netflix?
Right now it’s been a stressful few weeks so I’m just rewatching Friends again. But, I started watching The Handmaid’s Tale and the new season of Outlander is out, so I’ve been watching that.