Candidate profile: Anisha Sandhu, VP academic & university affairs

Anisha Sandhu is running to become VP academic and university affairs (VPAUA) on a platform of affordability and engagement.

Sandhu, who currently serves as the AMS’s sustainability projects coordinator and land and food systems faculty senator, highlighted the ongoing creation of a student affordability plan and Campus Vision 2050, a review of UBC Vancouver’s land-use policies, as reasons why she chose to run this year.

She is also running for one of five student senator-at-large seats.

“I truly believe that the most effective way to get that student voice heard in these spaces is by having someone who has advocacy experience and experience interacting with folks who often have a seat at the table.”

Sandhu said her platform “is grounded in a holistic approach to support student wellbeing now and for years to come.”

“We need to take a step back and look at what are some of these root causes that are contributing to students not being well, and a lot of that is rooted in the affordability of Vancouver, and Metro Vancouver.”

Sandhu said she’d like to look at “affordability all across the board” including in housing, food and child care.

She said she has talked to graduate students living “just above the poverty line” on the current stipends. “What is that saying, if that's how the university thinks of their grad students?” One solution Sandhu sees to this is the yearly indexing of grad student stipends.

Another priority for Sandhu would be to “reestablish this relationship between [the] AMS and students.” Sandhu said she would do this by building a team in the VPAUA office to engage with a wide variety of students.

“I think we're in this interesting place where, for example, perhaps younger students on campus are … seeing the [AMS] TikToks. Whereas perhaps grad students, that's not the case.”

Sandhu also talked about the importance of reaching out to underrepresented and unheard communities as VPAUA. Sandhu said her work as a project assistant to the associate dean of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in LFS has given her experience looking at things through an EDI lens.

Sandhu also highlighted the relationships she has built through her roles as a student senator and the AMS’s sustainability projects coordinator with the UBC Climate and Sustainability Hubs.

“I bring a unique level of meaningful engagement and understanding that, especially coming from the Senate, not everything happens so quickly. And when you want that meaningful engagement, a relationship needs to be built, you can't just walk into a room and be like, ‘Tell me what you want.’”

“Those are really key partners when it comes to the university arm of this portfolio, especially when you know, we're trying to put pressure on UBC to follow through with their commitment to the climate emergency,” she said.

Follow us at @UbysseyNews on Twitter and follow our election coverage starting February 28. This article is part of our 2022 AMS elections coverage.