Candidate profile: Enav Zusman, Board of Governors

PhD student Enav Zusman is running for Board of Governors on a platform of graduate student affordability, food security and campus accessibility.

Zusman has been at UBC since 2014 — she completed an MSc in Experimental Medicine at the Vancouver General Hospital campus and a Doctorate of Pharmacy. She’s in her second year of a PhD in reproductive and developmental sciences, specializing in women and children’s health.

One of her top campaign priorities is increasing graduate student stipends to match inflation. Her policies on graduate student aid stem from a broader program of support for affordability and accessibility.

“I believe education is a human right,” she said. “Nobody should have to drop out.”

To promote affordability, she supports a tuition cap, subsidized housing for low-income students and sustained funding for food security initiatives including MealShare, the AMS Food Bank and the Acadia Park Food Hub.

“I believe that vendors on campus should offer affordable cost neutral meal options in their menu,” she said, citing the example of UBCO’s new Smart Meals Program, in which all on-campus restaurants include a $5 option.

Zusman previously served on the Graduate Student Society as student senator and VP academic and university affairs. In 2019, she also served on the Vancouver Senate as the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences student representative. She is also the president of the Acadia Park Residence Association, which she cited as important community building experience that motivated her to run for the Board.

In addition to being students, she said that herself and many of her neighbors in Acadia Park are also parents.

“I'm a mother of two — both of my children were born while I was a UBC student,” said Zusman.

“Balancing parental and academic responsibilities is challenging … and the financial strain experienced by many students only compounds this challenge.”

On the Board, she hopes to advocate for parents, especially mothers, by proposing policies like adding daycare spots, creating postpartum scholarships and increasing the amount of nursing spaces on campus.

“The current wait time for a spot at UBC daycare, and this is from personal experience, is between two and three years,” she said.

Accessibility for disabled and neurodiverse students is also one of her core platform points.

“Currently 49 out of 189 buildings on campus are inaccessible to members of our community who are living with a mobility disability,” she said. “It’s not fair.”

To increase accessibility, she said she will advocate for equipping all classrooms with lecture capture technology and supporting the construction of more sensory-friendly spaces like the one in the Nest.

When asked about the Board's lack of acknowledgement of student concerns about UBC’s endowment investments in companies complicit in Palestinian human rights violations, Zusman expressed sadness in a statement sent after her interview over the rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia seen in the past four months.

“[I] believe that the right approach is to focus on mending the fractures and supporting efforts that will bring our campus community together.”

She also emphasized the importance of consultation to ensure that her advocacy on the Board represents student priorities, although she acknowledged that student representative power on the Board is often limited.

“It's not my opinion that I'm running for,” she said. “It's not me, it's about the community.”

Zusman is running against current student governor Eshana Bhangu as well as newcomers Kamil Kanji, Jasper Lorien, Ferdinand Rother, Siddharth Rout and Leonard Wang.

This article is part of our 2024 AMS Elections coverage. Follow us at @UbysseyNews on X (formerly Twitter) and follow our election coverage starting February 27.