Nour el Huda is running unopposed for the position of operations commissioner
This interview is part of our series of articles profiling the executive candidates in the upcoming general elections for the University of Ottawa Students’ Union (UOSU) that will be held from March 25-27. Nour el Huda is running unopposed for operations commissioner. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
The Fulcrum: Tell us a bit about yourself, including your year and program at the U of O.
Nour el Huda: I’m originally from Algeria and I am a fourth-year student in the Telfer School of Management. Some things that a lot of people don’t know about me is that I am passionate about philanthropy and social changes. I’ve volunteered for 101 Week and I also volunteered for the Black History Month gala.
The Fulcrum: What previous experience makes you well-suited to be the UOSU’s next operations commissioner?
NEH: I’ve been a comptroller general with the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa and I’ve dealt with audits. I’ve also dealt with recognized student governments, including working with the VP finances of each recognized student government (RSG). I have conducted many roundtables, meeting with the VP finance of each body. Going over and approving our bids, I was able to make suggestions and clarification before submitting their report to the accounting office.
The Fulcrum: Why are you running to be operations commissioner?
NEH: Why I chose to run for the position is because of my dedication for my studies in finance, and the love I have for working with numbers and budgets. With everything I’ve learned in my studies, I have excelled greatly in budgeting and making conscious financial decisions when it comes to planning and executing tasks.
The Fulcrum:What projects or goals do you hope to accomplish if elected to be the UOSU’s next operations commissioner?
NEH: The major projects that I want to work on are reopening student-run businesses such as Pivik and Agora. Also, when I worked with the VP finances of the RSGs, something that they all shared with me was the process of reimbursement. For next year, how I want to improve the submission of audit approval is by interacting with the marketing team of the UOSU to create a platform, website or app allowing the RSGs to submit their audits online, rather than as a paper form. Not only is this beneficial for the environment, but it also allows them to constantly track comments and the approval of their audits.
How I want to put the priority of mental health first is by giving a scholarship to a student that has demonstrated exceptional work toward mental health and livelihood on campus: A student leader who advocates for mental health awareness and our ongoing conversations surrounding mental health and wellness.
The Fulcrum: What areas of weakness do you see in the UOSU that you would like to improve on next year?
NEH: The communication with the students. Maybe just giving more chances for the students to give their opinion and to just be more open to suggestions and communicate with them if there are any problems with a club or with a government, and just to be more authentic with them and fix these problems.
The Fulcrum: While the Student Choice Initiative has been struck down by the Divisional Court of Ontario, the province is in the process of overturning the decision. How will you approach budgeting and planning for the year ahead with this in mind?
NEH: I would approach budgeting by working with the executives, with the president with the other commissioners, to make sure that the budget is well-structured and without mistakes. Also, by promoting the UOSU services. Each service is something that we need on campus.
The Fulcrum: The three UOSU businesses — Cafe Alt, 1848, and Pivik — still aren’t open. How do you plan to approach opening these businesses and staffing them?
NEH: I will work with the executives and I will be working with the accounting team to manage our budget to re-open businesses.
The Fulcrum: Why should students vote for you?
NEH: As a student myself, my goal this year will be to help the students all across campus. It is time that our voices be heard and that students are recognized for their needs. Mental health on campus is something that needs to be addressed. When students complain that their food security and livelihood on campus are being affected, that is something that needs to be addressed. When students talk about how campus resources, such as textbooks and school supplies, are too expensive and they cannot afford tools for their education, I think this is also something that needs to be addressed. As students, we often notice that it’s not taken seriously to talk about our struggles, so I want to start engaging with conversations and making it easier on students to open up about what they feel the U of O’s campus is lacking. Without each other, we will never get this work done. But when we work as a community, we are stronger and together.