I would like to take this opportunity to express my utmost excitement for being able to advocate on behalf of students in Ontario this year with the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance. My name is Niveditha Sethumadhavan (everyone calls me Nivi), and I am honored to serve as the Vice-President, External Affairs of the Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU), along with serving as a Steering Committee member for OUSA this year.
Having always had a keen interest in international relations and diplomacy through my continued experiences as a Model United Nations delegate and Director, I choose to study Business/Corporate Communications and Environmental Sustainability at Brock University. Going into my fourth and final year of university, my interests in government relations and global affairs have continued to manifest and grow, having lead me to the shining beacon of advocacy. My first taste of advocacy began when I was a Building Advocate on residence in my first year, and saw the unbelievable result that a group of students and I had achieved in successfully advocating for a new kettle and microwave on our floor. Though minute, I was intrigued by how I could continue to leverage my diplomacy skills to make a bigger and louder impact for the benefit of those around me. This intrigue lead to me taking several leadership roles during my university career, that ranged from positions such as Orientation-Week Volunteer Team Lead, Student-At-Large Council Representative, an Executive for my Faculty and several clubs, an OUSA General Assembly delegate, and most recently as the Speaker for my Student Union.
With a strong passion for student leadership and advocacy, I decided to run for Vice-President, External Affairs and I am so humbled to be in my role today. One of my key focuses this year is to ensure that all students are receiving an accessible and safe channel for post-secondary education. I hope to achieve this by constantly advocating for better mental health programs and resources, and devising ways to prevent sexual violence and increase support on campuses. The cost of resources required during post-secondary education increases every year, and through continued advocacy efforts, I hope to find more accessible and affordable ways for students to be able to receive their education.
In a year consisting of the Federal Elections, Student Choice Initiative and a Conservative government in play for the first time in a long time, I hope to effectively build and maximize stakeholder partnerships, lobby the provincial government to affect change that prioritizes student concerns and solutions, and most importantly, advocate for accessible, affordable, accountable and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario for undergraduate students, while simultaneously enhancing the overall student experience.
It’s going to be a wild ride!
Until next time,