Greetings, citizens of the University of Toronto.
I AM Aloysius Wong.
Here's a bit about myself.
I'm a third-year undergraduate student here at U of T currently pursuing a specialist in Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies and a minor in Computer Science.
Throughout my time at UofT, I've become involved in a number of communities. For mental health, I've worked with the Mental Health Policy Council, How Many Lives, U of Thrive, and currently am beginning to start and lead the U of T chapter of Unload. For climate justice, I've supported organizations such Fridays for Future, Climate Justice Toronto, and Development and Peace through various initiatives.
In terms of elected office, I served for two terms each as the Co-President of VicXposure and the Communications Director at the Peace, Conflict and Justice Society. I'm also currently a student representative to the Victoria College Council and the Victoria University Senate, and am one of two Victoria College Directors at the UTSU.
Please feel free to look around my website and social media to learn more about me, and reach out with any questions you may have.
The topic of mental health on campus is deeply important to me. It's affected both myself personally, and many of those I deeply care for at this university and beyond.
As both a Peace, Conflict and Justice student and a Computer Science student, I have experienced firsthand through both of my programs how much is at stake when it comes to our mental health. I have witnessed numerous times how a lack of sufficient, accessible, and expedient mental health services alongside a campus culture that tends towards normalizing a baseline of stress and anxiety (and often much more) endangers our wellbeing as students and as people.
I can't promise to end the mental health crisis in the year that I would be in office. I can't promise that the university will choose to listen, nor can I promise that the individuals that comprise it will change and act to improve student mental health.
But I can promise you this:
I will speak. I will fight. I will use whatever privileges accompany the position to foster an understanding within every member of the Governing Council of the gravity and scope of the issue, regardless of their respective positions and backgrounds. And, I hope that through this work I can inspire and create the avenues for others to also share their stories and work to heal and improve the mental health of our community.
Divestment from Fossil Fuels
Divesting from fossil fuels, as I've come to learn, is a complex bureaucratic mission at this university, and one that seems to be shrouded in mystery. Once again, but with help from Climate Justice Toronto, Leap U of T, and many other climate justice advocates and organizations, I hope to continue to keep up the pressure on the university to make decisive action on this critical and time-sensitive issue.
But in order to do so, a key in this is mapping out what conditions and systems are in place that both hinder and enable U of T's process towards divestment from fossil fuels. With others' help and guidance, something I will commit to doing is investigating, consolidating, and sharing the process(es) through which the university can divest from fossil fuels, and the key players and steps necessary for doing so.
Most importantly, these student roles exist to represent the student voice. The constituency in which I'm running (Full-Time Undergraduate, Constituency I) has about 50,000 students across the Faculty of Arts and Science and both the Mississauga and Scarborough campuses with two student representatives to the Governing Council.
If elected, I am aware that it will be a difficult and arduous endeavour to represent student voices, opinions, and concerns across diversity of experiences across all three campuses and Arts and Science. So, I will commit to working closely with UTMSU, SCSU, ASSU, APUS, and the UTSU among other groups to work to develop a deep, thorough, and holistic understanding of the myriad mosiac that is the U of T student experience that is beyond my current sphere of influence. Furthermore, I believe it is important that the issues for which my fellow candidates are running (and for which some of us will be voting) are also addressed, and promise to meet each of them to round out my understanding of what matters to our community when it comes to representation and voice at the Governing Council. Finally, I commit becoming reasonably available and accountable to my fellow students by creating a regular means for people to contact me, be it digitally via email and social media or in person via presence at campus events or regular hours in common spaces.
After two and a half years of standing by and being forced to feel helpless as my peers and I struggle to study, work, play—and sometimes even just survive—at U of T, I've decided to take action. I refuse to choose silence and inaction any longer. I must act, as must we all if we are to realize the U of T that is as truly boundless as we envision it to be.
Join me, and let us continue to reimagine and revolutionize ourselves, our university, and our future.
More content to come as the campaign progresses.
Voting for the 2020 Governing Council begins on U-elecT (voting.utoronto.ca) at 9:00 AM on Monday, February 3rd, 2020 and ends at 5:00 PM on Friday, February 14th, 2020.