Thursday, July 25, 2024
HomeUncategorizedDal Votes 2015, Candidate Profile: Anthony Saikali

Dal Votes 2015, Candidate Profile: Anthony Saikali

Anthony Saikali

Age: 21

Hometown: Halifax, NS

Program: Neuroscience

Nominated for: Board of Governors Representative

Relevant Experience: Established the Dalhousie Medical Campus Response Team

(Photo by Bronwen McKie)


Dalhousie Gazette: Why do you want to be on Dalhousie’s Board of Governors?

Anthony Saikali: My experience with the Medical Response Team really made me want to take on a position as a representative on the Board of Governors. I started working on this initiative two years ago. The Medical Response Team, over the past year, especially, has really grown into being an essential service on campus. What it allowed me to do, over that time, was voice the interest on a really diverse group of students in a way that I think branched beyond conversation. It’s led to implementation and action.

I was privileged enough that this initiative also allowed me to connect with some of the top administrators in the university including Student Services, Health Services, Dal Security and Residence Life. I believe that student values should be embodied not just by the student union alone, but by the Dalhousie community. And that starts with the Board of Governors, at that level. So that’s why I really want to extend student-to-admin ties: because we as students initiate, and together create, more effective action.

DG: What do you plan to do if you are elected?

AS: First and foremost, I’m going to be dedicated to studying and representing the issues that are most important to students. With that, I have three objectives.

The first is increasing transparency both at the Board of Governors and at the student union level. Because not only do students have the right to know what decisions are being made, they deserve to know why they’re being made and to have a voice in that. Although transparency may seem quite fundamental, I believe it’s extremely necessary for Board of Governor representation.

Secondly, I would obviously like to continue my work in progressing the efforts of campus health and safety. Health and safety is the essence of the university environment. I think we have to consider these dynamics on all fronts to ensure immediate well-being and long term sustainability of that.

Thirdly, I think that overall action should be taken at the academic and resource level so we can work to advance Dalhousie as a leading institution among Canadian universities. And in part, that would certainly involve addressing issues around tuition, especially for international students in some of our professional schools.

DG: What do you mean by “health and safety?” Is there anything specific you plan to focus on here?

AS: The biggest one that’s been at the forefront of many Canadian universities is the issue with mental health support on campuses. Within my role as president of the DMCRT this past year, we’ve actually already been working with some of the administration within the university and we’ve established mental health first aid programming for students and staff. So, that’s taking the first step in addressing that issue. Where I’d like to see it go from there is from the education side to the actual support services side. That’s definitely something I hope to build on – the biggest area I hope to build on for the upcoming year, and hopefully within the position of Board of Governors representative.

DG: What experience do you have with the Dalhousie Board of Governors?

AS: I don’t believe I have specific experience with the Board of Governors, per se, in this respect. In some other capacities of volunteering, I’ve had the opportunity to know some of the folks that are on there, as well as some of the administration they deal quite directly with within the university. Overall, that’s just allowed me to become quite comfortable in dealing with some of these members who are leading professionals in the community. But as a student and in regard to the Board of Governors specifically, I haven’t had any personal experience.

DG: If you had been on the Board of Governors this year, what would you have brought up?

AS: I think the biggest movement in recent time has been with the Divest Dal group. I strongly believe we need to move forward on the mission toward divestment. And while certain requests were not met this year on the Board of Governors, there has been excellent successes the group has been accomplished. I think we need to capitalize on those areas of success specifically, so that we can progress the mandate of divestment, for two reasons mainly. Number one would be so that we can keep the pressure at the Board of Governors level. The second reason would also be so that we can embody change immediately, for the purpose of environmental sustainability. That’s the mission that we’d like to see as students at large.

DG: What role do you see the Board of Governors having in the upcoming year?

AS: As an academic institution, the Board of Governors has three major aims which would be academics, increasing student retention and advancing research.

However, in light of recent events that took place within one of our professional schools, I believe it’s going to be more important for the university and of course the board, now than ever, to ensure that these aims are not obstructed by any means.

So ultimately, I see the Board of Governors having a big role to play this year in promoting issues that students want to see addressed. This is one of ones over the course of the year. Obviously, this is something we need to take into consideration, mainly for the purpose of ensuring that it doesn’t happen again.

DG: Is there anything else you want to say?

AS: With the founding of the DMCRT, I was exposed to a very versatile learning experience. From a logistics standpoint, we’ve been able to successfully introduce student presence throughout various high-level administrations within the university. And it’s allowed me to employ effective communication in a manner that mobilizes this action.

Having established this reputation, I believe I can extend a strength to the Board of Governor members within the interest of students. And I think the biggest thing I try to get across and really accomplish throughout this, and it again kind of stems back to what I’ve learned and what we’ve been able to accomplish at the DMCRT is that within the DMCRT we’ve ensured that our 59 student volunteers work in collaboration with administration to provide optimal services.

So it’s that kind of collaboration that I hope to bring to the Board of Governors, so that students can continue to initiate and have the confidence that there will be action through whatever they seek to address. That’s the biggest thing I want to bring about, is collaboration and breaking down the barriers and breaking down the walls, so we can do this and solve the issues and whatever presents itself effectively or as effectively as possible.

DG: Why do you think there are communication and collaboration issues in the first place between administration and students?

AS: I think that’s the million dollar question. If we knew the answer to that, we’d hopefully be able to solve all the problems we have. Number one, in terms of the Board of Governors: these folks come from various disciplines. All leading professionals within their fields, so they certainly have an advanced or different scope of insight on various topics. So, in part, it may be a lack of understanding on either part. On both sides of the table.

The other part can simply be a lack of productive communication – keeping productive communications up. I think the other part of it is creating a willingness of the Board of Governors to come to terms and to seek out student interest and the root of student interest. In order to accomplish whatever it may be effectively, there has to be a willingness. And that’s the biggest thing we have to work towards, is creating an inherent and implicit willingness for them to take our interest into consideration.




Most Popular

Recent Comments