Ramandeep Singh is a third year computer science student who is running for the Dalhousie Student Union’s vice-president of academic & external position.
Four students — Singh, Nick d’Entremont, Alex Amin and Brijesh Varsani — are running for the position. Amin and Varsani couldn’t be reached for interviews.
The below snippets of the Gazette’s interview with Singh are edited for clarity and grammar.
Why do you want to become the academic and external vice president?
The first thing which caught my interest was that we would be addressing student issues. I came to Dal as an international student and I faced a couple of difficulties — finding places [to live], finding jobs and getting to know people was a hassle for me back then. I didn’t know anyone in the community. I came two years ago to this land and because of the pandemic, I actually didn’t know anyone and didn’t have a place to go to. I had a pretty bad experience with my landlords, but then some people from my community helped me a lot.
What makes you the right candidate for this role?
I’ve had multiple jobs on and off campus as an international student. I think I am really well prepared for this role because I have been involved with the community. I’ve been to international tuition increase consultations, I’ve been a Dal mentor and I worked at the IT help desk. So since I’ve done all those jobs, I think I possess great experience. I’ve worked for Dal’s department of student life and for several other departments across campus. So I do believe all those experiences make me a good fit.
What are some of the key points of your campaign?
A key point of my campaign is advocating more for funds so students can actually feel comfortable. One of the main issues is the increasing cost of tuition. So I would say we should advocate more at the provincial and federal levels to try to get more funding for Dal.
Students are also suffering from malnutrition. Some students do not even have one meal a day. We should allocate more for The Loaded Ladle, allocate more for Monday Night Meals. Monday Night Meals are actually offered by the Multifaith Center and those are used by the communities around campus. So I would say we should advocate for things like that so students who are working a lot at least have a meal on us.
Also, the Killam Library closes at 11 p.m. when assignments are due at 12 a.m. That doesn’t make sense. I think building a good community where students actually help students is important. When I came two years ago, I remember having bad days. Now that I’m in a better place, I think it’s my time to give back and serve the Dalhousie community.
How are you currently involved in the Dalhousie community?
I’m a mentor with the faculty of computer science, an orientation week leader, a student leader and part of the safety team in the residences. I am also actually a production technician with the student union. We handle lights and sound for all the events. I’m a classroom technician. I help professors or any instructors if they’re facing any trouble in the classroom regarding audio or video conferencing tools. I’m working part-time as a software developer as well. I’ve done my first co-op as a full-time software developer and I’m working part-time with them. And apart from that, I have been a teaching assistant for one course. I am also a multifaith office assistant. I think I have experience in all the different departments. I always ask myself how I can contribute.
How are you planning on fitting this role into your schedule?
I take all of my commitments seriously and try my best to fulfill them. I would focus on planning my time to work efficiently. I’ll try my best to accommodate everything I can and would be willing to take a reduced course load. I think these are all things that will help me. Plus, my friends are my biggest strength. I’ll have support from friends and family from back home and right here in Halifax.
Cover photo: Dalhousie Student Union