Candidate profile: Mathew Ho, Senate

Mathew Ho, who is pursuing a dual undergraduate degree in political science and a master’s degree in management, is running for student senator-at-large on a campaign of greater transparency for course information and improving experiential learning opportunities.

Ho said he would prioritize improving opportunities for experiential learning, like co-ops, noting that it was a frustration that people had brought up with him.

“It’s time for us to take a closer look at how we could improve potential learning opportunities,” he said, “How do we ensure that the co-op program is supporting all students sufficiently if students are forced to look for their own co-ops?” Under co-op programs, students are expected to apply for their own jobs when they apply.

Ho added that this kind of learning can also be implemented by professors in class to give students more practical experience.

He said that finding ways to encourage professors to include these types of learning in their classes through policies on retention and promotion would be a priority.

This is Ho’s third bid for Senate, having previously run unsuccessfully in 2019 and 2021.

Ho brings three years of experience on AMS Council, including spending a year as the chair of the Advocacy Committee. He was also the VP finance for the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) in 2020/21.

These experiences have shaped his understanding of “where students were looking for support, or talking with clubs and knowing their needs.”

He also sat as the third year rep on AUS Council, which gave him insight into the “policies and curriculum proposals, which then go downstream in the Senate.”

In previous campaigns as well as this one, Ho has pushed for improving the way the Senate decides on academic affiliations with other universities, particularly in countries with human rights violations. He criticized the slow pace of the Provost's Office, which is currently working on a plan to address this. 

“There’s no timeframe as to when it comes out,” Ho said, further noting that there was a lack of transparency on how the planned policy was being created. 

Ho also said he was disappointed in library opening hours and would try to ensure there are accessible areas for students to study on campus. The Senate Library Committee oversees library operations.

“Because all students are coming back to campus, I think UBC has the responsibility to make sure that learning spaces are open,” Ho said. “Before COVID-19, IKB used to open 24/7 for students… during the exam period.” 

In terms of student engagement, Ho praised the work the Student Senate Caucus has done to improve communication with the study body.

In the future, Ho would like to see improvements and updates made to the Senate website, as well as increased transparency regarding access to subcommittee meetings for students.

“It’s definitely still not perfect,” Ho said.

During debates, Ho sometimes mixed up his words in his answers, but displayed a strong knowledge of policies.

Ho is running against incumbents Romina Hajizadeh and Kamil Kanji and newcomers Kareem Hassib, Ayesha Irfan, Davey Li and Sultana Razia.

Follow us at @UbysseyNews on Twitter and follow our election coverage starting February 27. This article is part of our 2023 AMS Elections coverage.