Third-year psychology and biology student Awais Quadre is running for a seat on Senate on the platform of making the “student learning experience” its top priority.
Quadre, who’s also seeking a seat on the UBC Board of Governors, plans to push for a fall reading break implemented by the end of next school year and increase access to classroom spaces and open educational resources (OERs).
On issues such at the fall reading break, he expressed frustration at the Senate’s sluggish pace.
“Everything seems to be drawn out,” he said. “There's no hard deadlines, there's no getting things done. It's a lot of consultation after consultation without taking any action.”
He wants to create a hard deadline for the implementation of a fall reading break in the 2020/2021 school year to ensure its creation.
“Without a deadline, it will just continue to be talk and no action,” he said. “We've already had years of discussion on this topic — it just comes down to people sitting down, going into a discussion and coming out with a decision.”
The Student Senate Caucus’s “Senate 2020” document already lists implementing a fall reading break by 2020 as a goal, but it isn’t a strict deadline.
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To find a way to implement the fall reading break, Quadre hopes to reach out to concerned parties such as the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) to find a solution.
“The EUS has a problem, but the engineering students overall want a reading break. What we need to do is go back to the table… and reach an agreement there to accommodate everybody,” he said.
Quadre also wants to join the Senate Building Committee to help create new classrooms to address the current shortage of them on campus.
“A lot of construction that is being done doesn't prioritize students. It leaves a space for students in the building, but we need spaces that address students — learning spaces, larger lecture rooms, stuff like that.”
Additionally, he wants to expand the use of OERs, citing his own experiences purchasing expensive textbooks.
“I bought [my textbook] for $100, just to do the homework, which is 10 per cent of my grade. So open educational resources are necessary to ensure that, as tuition increases, students can at least attempt to keep up with the price increases,” he said.
Quadre has no experience in student government, and it sometimes shows in his grasp on Senate matters. In an interview with The Ubyssey, he said he “was not sure” what Policy 73 was (it is UBC’s policy for accommodating students with disabilities).
Nonetheless, he believes students should vote for him because of his passionate voice on student issues.
“With new people and new ideas coming in, it's necessary that we promote these these new ideas and we push for people to be included into the Senate,” he said. “And I’m very passionate about the work that I'm going to be able to get done.”
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