Dominic Ringler – Environmental & Sustainability Candidate

I am a first-year at Trent University and am studying Business and Environmental Science. I am an international student from Kenya and am very fortunate that I have been accepted into Trent. I am also fortunate that the campus is located in such a beautiful part of Canada, and it is obvious that the environment is very significant in the community.

Prior to coming to Trent, I studied at Peponi Secondary School, where I was in the charity committee and had to collaborate with several groups and find ways to earn money for less fortunate schools in Kenya. This will help me, as my position requires a large amount of collaboration with several groups on campus to make important decisions about changes that will occur to the environment at Trent and to ensure these changes are in the best interest of students. I also went for an internship at Natura Limited. It is a landscaping company in Kenya where I worked closely with the CEO and gained experience on creating events and jobs related to the environment and have gained a few ideas which I would like to implement into the environment of Trent.

If I am successfully elected to this position, I intend to work with associations within Trent like the university’s food services to ensure the environment is being considered in the operations and to promote changes that can improve the way they operate or materials they use to better the environment. In the decision-making I will try to ensure the decisions made are done for students and affects them in a positive manner. I would also create events which educate students on what they can do to improve the environment just in their day-to-day businesses. I am very keen in the environment and if I am elected will explore new ways to improve it at Trent.

I am happy that I have landed into such a welcoming community, which seems to help and collaborate very well with each other. Since the day I arrived I felt welcomed into the community at Trent. I hope to cooperate with the environmental groups at Trent so we can continue to develop environmental preservation and to promote recycling within the Trent community.

Victoria Belbin – Environmental & Sustainability Candidate

 I am a third-year student here at Trent. To begin, I remember the moment that I fell in love with the natural world, and since this beacon of hope in my childhood, I have been propelled on a learning journey of what I can do to help protect and preserve the natural world. I have experience working within nature, as I have always held Mother Earth close to my heart. This can be seen though continued work, working with sea turtle rescue operations in southern Florida, as well as engaging in beach clean-ups, and mass awareness campaigns through social media. I have experience working here at Trent with First Peoples House of Learning (FPHL) as Fire Keeper, as well as being an active member of Sustainable Trent and working to organize for COP22, as well as previously holding the position of Sustainability Ambassador for Gzowski College Cabinet.

I am currently looking to branch out to the rest of the Trent community to facilitate meaningful and impactful conversations when it comes to environmental and sustainability issues on campus. My goals, if I am to be elected, are to collaborate heavily with FPHL and the Trent University Native Association (TUNA), as all of these issues that are occurring on campus are happening on Indigenous land. I believe this is important to acknowledge and remember, as we often get caught up in the terminology that the land that we reside, work on, and learn on, is Trent’s land. This fundamental misunderstanding perpetuates the colonial structures that continue to impact Indigenous communities. Without taking space, it is a goal of mine to facilitate these conversations, to build strong relationships with student groups, and to passionately represent student voices. This relationship will focus on listening, as well as collaborating and connecting with the Indigenous community at Trent. Furthermore, another goal is to reach out to International Students, as many of the environmental issues that are currently facing our planet do not all affect us universally, and it is important to acknowledge the similarities between local and international experiences, as well as connecting what we can do to address these issues. I also have the goal of working with Active Minds to facilitate conversation about mental health, and to consider how the natural world can relief much stress and anxiety. This is important to discuss as university students face many stressors in our academic and personal lives. Spending some time with the trees, or the water, or listening to the sounds of nature can help alleviate some of those concerns. Personally, my sense of self is very much connected to the natural world.

If elected, the Trent community can rest assured that I will funnel all of my energy into making changes on campus, to address environmental and sustainability issues, and to open the dialogue as to what we can all do in our own lives to be more sustainable.

Rhode Thomas – Indigenous Students Candidate

I am First Nation student currently studying Business Administration with a specialization in Niigaaniiwin, or The Art of Leading, also referred to as a specialization in Indigenous Studies. I was raised in the Six Nations of the Grand River territory. I have previously completed a college business diploma program in accounting, along with gaining approximately one year of work experience in a membership-focused Aboriginal professional association.

Through excellent mentorship and peer influence, I came to realize that it was time to take the next step in my education and pursue a university degree. At the same time, through my working experience, I soon began to take a more direct interest in Indigenous issues which is why my business degree has a specialization in Niigaaniiwin, The Art of Leading.

Through my work experience with an Aboriginal professional association, I was able to learn that according to Statistics Canada, of the 1.4 million Aboriginal people in Canada, only 9.8% of the Aboriginal population hold a university degree. As a result of what I have learned in both work and college, I am now more than ever eager to be a part of the expansion of a new social and political environment between Canada and its relationship with its original people. I am interested in furthering my education and skills so that I may one day be a part of the process of ensuring the Indigenous community has a voice and is a part of the broader economic building block for a great working relationship with Canada, while also hoping to become a role model for other Indigenous students.

During my first year at Trent University I immediately began to work with the Trent University Native Association (TUNA), and was soon elected Treasurer. This position has given me valuable insight into the Indigenous student population of Trent and a great working relationship with the First Peoples House of Learning, which is the home of Indigenous student services and Indigenous campus and community initiatives at Trent University.

Throughout my time here at Trent, I have identified two key issues within Indigenous spaces. First is the participation rate of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in events and programming geared towards cultural awareness of Indigeneity. Trent University statistics have reported approximately 500 self-identifying Indigenous students, while a vast majority of TUNA events only garner on average of approximately 20-40 self-identifying individuals who are consistent members of TUNA. While these events do see an attendance from the Indigenous community, most functions have little to no representation of non-Indigenous members. Second is the lack of inclusiveness of Indigenous individuals whose heritage is outside of Canada.

In facilitating relations between Indigenous students/community members and non-Indigenous students/community members, my goal is to both assist in identifying and addressing the key needs of participation rates and programs within the Trent community while also ensuring the Indigenous population is fairly represented and participants of the broader social, economic, and academic environment.

Brendan Campbell – Mature / Transfer Students Candidate

tānisi Brendan Campbell nitisiyhkāson ēkwa oskana kā-asastēki niki-nihta-wikin ēkwa niki-pē-ohpikin.

Hello, my name is Brendan Campbell and I was born and raised in Regina, SK.

For the TCSA’s 2017 Spring Elections, I am running for Mature & Transfer Students Commissioner. I transferred to Trent University in 2014 from the University of Regina. I was a Biology student at the UofR, but was attracted to Trent for the Indigenous Environmental Studies program.

A lot has changed for me these past three years. I have joined many different parts of the Trent community. I have been Head Fire Keeper for First Peoples House of Learning, a Cultural Assistant for Trent International’s Camp for two consecutive years, the Indigenous Students Commissioner and the Vice President Campaigns & Equity. I have learned to use my voice, to navigate the university’s administrative pathways, and organize and collaborate with different student and administrative groups in making space for new students.

In my work with the TCSA, I have come to recognize that there is a lack of resources for mature students. More often than not, mature students are also off-campus students and students with dependents. Therefore, it will be my goal to continue the work I have started with tenant rights and ensure that students know how navigate these issues as off-campus students. Additionally, I plan to audit the services provided to parents with dependents on and off-campus.

With respect to transfer students, who have to navigate new degree requirements and degree distinctions such as emphases and specializations that may not exist at other institutions, I plan to work with Academic Advisors, the Registrar’s Office, and Trent International to help make this information clear.

Lastly, in the spirit of welcoming new students to Trent, I would like to work with the colleges and cabinets about how we can connect off-campus students to their respective colleges.

Thank you reading my bio and platform! Remember to vote between March 20th and March 23rd!