The annual University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) general spring election is an opportunity for members to run for positions and elect the Board of Directors to serve for one-year terms. The UTMSU currently has five (5) executive positions and fourteen (14) board positions eligible for the upcoming election. All UTM students are eligible to vote in UTMSU elections. Found on this page will be the candidates running in the UTMSU Spring Elections. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the UTMSU Spring 2021 Elections are completely virtual.

Get to know your Candidates at the All Candidates Forum! The All Candidates Forum brings together candidates running in the election. It's a great opportunity to compare candidates side by side in a fair and balanced forum. The forum will be held on Wednesday, March 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. and hosted on Zoom.

Questions for the candidates are required to be submitted to the CRO by Wednesday, March 10, at 12:00 p.m. to be considered for the debate. All questions submitted must be addressed to all candidates. Questions must be submitted to the CRO at

Students need to register beforehand for this event. Registration can be found here:

Executive Candidates

Presidential Candidate

Mitra Yakubi (She/her) (Team Build Back Better UTM)
Hello everyone! My name is Mitra and I am re-running to be your President. I am in my final year completing a Biology specialist and Sociology minor. Though this past year was one like never before, I am confident that with my experience and passion for improving student life, we can expand on our victories, create a new normal and BUILD BACK BETTER! We have a comprehensive plan to get the job done so to find out more check out our website at On March 16, 17, and 18 remember to VOTE for #BuildBackBetterUTM.

Vice-President Internal Candidate

Lai Wei (She/her) (Team Build Back Better UTM)
Hello everyone! I’m Lai Wei and I am running to be your VP internal. I’m completing a Finance specialist and Economics major. As a UTMSU Board of Director, I realized the importance of addressing students’ needs and protecting students’ rights. As co-organizer of the volunteer team, I organized many events for domestic and international students; provided academic and non-academic guidance; and made students feel at home. My finance background will also help me budget and allocate resources according to students’ priorities. I love UTMSU, UTM and want to #BuildBackBetter so I hope you’ll vote for our team from March 16-18.

Vice-President University Affairs Candidate

Merica Joy Carlos (She/her) (Team Build Back Better UTM)
Hi everyone! My name is Merica Joy and I am running to be your VP University Affairs. I’m a fourth-year student majoring in CCIT and double minoring in VCC and Cinema Studies. My experience at UTM branches out from being ICCIT Council's co-president, a senior mentor for the ICCIT Mentorship Program, an orientation leader and an intern at the Academic Integrity Unit! Through these experiences, I’ve developed the skills to advocate for and improve the UTM student experience. My goal is to create a sense of community that is inspired and motivated to #BuildBackBetter! So this election, VOTE #BUILDBACKBETTER!

Vice-President External Candidate

Maëlis Barre (She/Her) (Team Build Back Better UTM)
Hi everyone! I’m Maëlis and I’m running to be your next UTMSU Vice President External. I am a second-year international student studying astrophysics and math. I have been involved on campus in various capacities- on residence, as this year’s UTMSU Volunteer Coordinator, and as the President of the UTM Physics Club - which helped me better understand what students need in order to have the highest quality university experience possible. I want to continue this work for YOU. That’s why on March 16, 17, and 18 use your voice and VOTE for #BuildBackBetterUTM. Check out our website:

Vice-President Equity Candidates

Ryan Tomlinson (he/him) (Team Build Back Better UTM)
Hey UTM! My name’s Ryan and I’m a 3rd-year Sociology and Political Science student. I am running to be your next VP Equity because I am passionate about improving student life. As an executive member of the Black Students’ Association and Caribbean Connections, and member of the UTM Campus Affairs Committee, I have created inclusive and entertaining events and advocated for students’ best interests. I’m running because I see a disconnect between marginalized students and the administration and intend on bridging those gaps to create a better university experience for all students. From March 16-18 vote for #BuildBackBetterUTM!

Laiba Khan (Independent)
Hey folks!! My name is Laiba and I am running to be YOUR VP Equity for this upcoming year. I am currently in my second year studying criminology, sociology and political science. I believe that no one should be held back on their education due to their financial restrictions and therefore that will be my main focus. I will be working on making bursaries and financial support more accessible so that YOU as a student can flourish without any financial barrier in your education!

Maryam Yousefipournigjeh (Independent)
I have been at UTM for three years as an undergraduate student. By now, I have a very good understanding of many of the student concerns on campus. I am a passionate, hard-working, and detail-oriented student. Being the VP Equity for the UTMSU, I would play an important role in matters affecting bursaries, u-pass, food centre, LGBTQ2S+ and BIPOC communities, etc. I would be glad to use my time and experience working within different clubs, projects, and UTMSU events to contribute to making a difference for the campus community by providing an open space for students to voice their concerns.

Division II Candidates

Gursimran Sodhi
My name is Gursimran and my pronouns are she/her. I am in my first year, hoping to pursue a specialist in Forensic Anthropology. I decided to run for the position as a Division ll Director at Large because I believe there is room for improvement when looking at academic policies as well as student life on campus in general. I will advocate for leniency on assignment due dates, implementing a safe place, online and in-person, where students can go if they feel overwhelmed, and creating more peer mentor programs.
Sameer Naderi
Hey guys, my name is Sameer and I am a 2nd year student running to get reelected as a Division II Board of Director! The school year has been exhausting for the most part and in times of uncertainty, I still want to represent the voices of full-time and part-time students.
Swara Patel
Hello, my name is Swara Patel and I am running for Board of Directors for the spring 2021 elections. I am currently in my second year and doing a double major in Biology and Environmental Science. I decided to run for this position so that I can fight for common student issues, such as options to redo the poorest assignment in all classes, advocate for free parking, make more ATM’s available around campus, and make more de-stress activities available before exams/midterms. I hope to resolve many of the mentioned issues in the future. Thank you for your time!
Qutian Yan (Gracie)
Hello, everyone! My name is Qutian Yan, Gracie. I am very glad and honoured to be a nominee in this year’s Division Campaign. I am currently studying CCIT at our university. As a second-year student at UTM, I would like to participate more and do something for our campus to help build a more comfortable university environment for us students. I hope I can deliver every student’s voice and ideas as much as I could and strive for benefits for everyone in our university!
Christopher Chavez
Hey UTM! My name is Christopher (some know me as Chavez), and I am running to join your UTMSU Division II Board of Directors! As someone heavily involved in the ICCIT community, I want to make a greater impact on ALL students. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone. As VP Marketing for the ICCIT Council, I spearheaded the campaign for our Virtual TownHall. This event brought students and faculty together to address concerns with online learning. I was also a Frosh Leader in Kingdom ’19. Shout out to my Banjis! Thank you for your consideration!
Mingyu Li
Hi, everyone! I am Mingyu Li, running for Board of Director Division II. I am a third-year eco student. I actively participate in UTM SU activities and events in my first two years in university as a volunteer. These activities gave me strong decision-making skills and organizational leadership skills. If I successfully run for this position, I will try to get the largest benefit for us students, as well as making the right decisions on behalf of all the university students. For example, reducing the tuition fee and master tuition fee, etc.
Mirza Aneeq Ahmad
Hey all, my name is Mirza Aneeq Ahmad, and I love pizza. What else do I adore as much? A respectful and safe space for students. I have decided to run as a division director because I realize how important the campus can be for students. I want to make that experience better, regardless of a physical location. I loved how we, the student body came together multiple times throughout the year, signed petitions, and achieved significant initiatives. I want to work with you to advance mental health issues, reduce our carbon footprint, and bring economic ease while maintaining transparency.
Crystal Cheng
Hi, my name is Crystal Cheng, and I am a first-year student here at UTM. I’m running for the Division 2 Director at Large position. I understand that many students are studying from home and it is unfitting for us to pay the same fees as we would in person for services that are closed/unusable. I will continue to push for changes and reductions on our tuition and incidental fees like I did last term. Your support would further prove that we need changes on the education we receive. Follow my Instagram, @crixy02 for more information about me, thanks!
John Bayar Liang
Hello! My name is John Bayar Liang, I am a second-year international student majoring in Environmental Management and Sociology. I want to run for a seat on the Board of Directors because I see many potential improvements that could be made on campus to better the student experience. I have always believed that it is important to effortlessly have the voice of students heard to create a more student-oriented environment. Though we have made changes, we still need to keep it up! At the same time, I want to get more involved in the university and I am so excited!
Lemisha Mclean
Hi Everyone! My name is Lemisha McLean; you can call me Lem! I am a 3 rd year Forensic Psychology student running for Division II Director in the UTMSU Spring elections. As a FROSH 2020 Leader- TEAM SCORPIOS! and member of the Event Planning Team for Caribbean Connections, I have been part of planning and executing various inclusive events at UTM. I would like to continue this in the role of Division II Director by voting on events that are Fun and Inclusive for students to enjoy. Vote for me March 16th - 18th, so I can vote for you!
Xinyu Tian
Hi everyone, my name is Xinyu Tian. Currently, I am a third-year student in UTM. Since I entered university, I have been a volunteer in the student union, especially for the WeChat team. Through two years of campus life, I took part in some activities that were held by the WeChat team, for example, the Chinese cultural week, Hot pot Spring festival and orientation. Those are the valuable experiences for me that make me have a deeper understanding of why we need student unions, also, it makes me more motivated to take action for students’ benefit.
Michelle Melvin
Hi UTM! My name is Michelle Melvin, I am a second-year studying forensic psychology. By experiencing frosh and becoming the social coordinator for one of our clubs, Caribbean Connections, I created diverse events for the students of the UTM community. I am running for UTMSU Division II Directors At Large to help promote diversity and inclusivity for events, more accessible mental health services, and to create more sustainability and career-seeking initiatives. Voting dates are Tuesday, March 16, 9:00 a.m. to Thursday, March 18, 6:00 p.m. EST. I hope to receive your vote this 2021 spring election!
Aahalya Vijayakumaran
I’m Aahalya Vijayakumaran and I will be running for board of directors. I’m in my second year doing environmental science. I was an orientation leader, I’m a VolunTEAM member and I’m also a peer support volunteer. I decided to run for this role because I want to see changes happening now! Changes in the way mental health help is approached, changes in the food options, changes that will make UTM eco-friendlier, changes in the way fees are taken for resources not being used and more. I would like to make sure everyone feels welcomed and their voices feel heard.
Blake Douglas
Hey everyone, I’m Blake Douglas, a first-year student here at UTM. I love it here and I’ve really enjoyed my time here. That being said, I see a lot that can be improved, and I’d love to be behind that change with your help! I am running to become a part of the Board of Directors, but I need your vote. If you put your trust in me and vote for me in the upcoming election I will make sure your voice is heard. You can contact me at and @Blake_Douglas_ on Instagram. Thank you!
Arianna Foo
I am running for the position of the board of directors to make the changes that you want to see in the UTM community. Being a UTM student, I know that we need more. Whether it's more resources, more support, or just more people to hear your voices. I will listen, and I will strive so that you are surrounded by a community where you feel included every step of the way.
Renata Kopiec
As a candidate running for the position of directors at large, I hope that in fulfilling this role I may bring more emphasis on mental health on campus and support a student experience that connects all students to one another and supports them both socially and academically. As university students currently online, it has been harder than ever to connect to one another. I hope to bridge this gap and create a community feel along with support our transitioning students, in hopes that one day we might all connect with one another in person again.
Tamara El-Aydi
Hello, my name is Tamara El-Aydi. I am a first-year psychology student very dedicated to creating positive change at UTM. Being a first-year, I have not been at the university too long; I have been a part of some amazing working groups like Education for All Townhall and Mental Health Townhall and would love to continue working on issues like those and more. I am very passionate about helping students to speak up on what matters to them. This is why I hope you would elect me as your representative for Board of Directors Division II for our Students’ Union!