Director, coordinator running for FSU president

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: ANGELA MCINNES
It's been a challenging year, but students are forging ahead by taking part in the 2021 Fanshawe Student Union elections.

The 2021 Fanshawe Student Union (FSU) election has two presidential candidates looking to move up in their current roles within the organization.

Naznin Akter has been involved with the FSU as a director since May 2020. Her opponent, Ricardo De Souza, is presently serving as the FSU’s communications and student advocacy coordinator. Both told Interrobang in separate interviews that they now want to facilitate change using what they’ve learned about leadership during a challenging academic year.

De Souza is completing his last term in human resources at Fanshawe. As an international student, he has previously studied social communications and linguistics. He said becoming FSU president is about raising students’ voices.

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“We have many ways to make a difference and promote change, and this is the path I’ve chosen to give back to the College that embraced my potential and gave me so many wonderful opportunities,” De Souza said.

Akter, also an international student, said she wants to transition from director to president so she can ensure students are seen and heard by their union.

“If I were to get the position, my first main priority would be serving the students,” Akter said. “We cannot make everybody happy but I would want to try as much as possible to sort their issues and listen to their voices.”

During the Zoom interviews, posted for students to view on Interrobang’s website and social media channels, both candidates highlighted the issues they felt were important.

De Souza noted endorsing FSU programs such as bus passes, sexual awareness, and initiatives reducing the cost of academic expenses for students like the used book shop, the Sharing Shop and the bike-sharing program. He also emphasized working closely with career services to assist students in job hunting.

Akter described her own platform as focusing on creating a sense of inclusivity to students across Fanshawe’s many campuses, as well as promoting the FSU’s online activities.

Aside from the presidential role, six students are running for directorial positions: Sana Abidi, Dany Joshua Bilapati, Bradley Gerard Okelly, Siddarth Patel, Franck Albert Sigah and Vatsal Prakashbhai Tripathi.

Three are running for the Board of Governors: Tom Hutchison-Hounsell, Vaishvik H. Desai and Gurram Lakshmi Sai.

Campaigning for the election begins March 8. Directors will give speeches via Zoom on March 9 at 7 p.m., and presidential speeches, with a question and answer period, will take place on March 11 at 7 p.m.

Campaigning ends on March 17 at 2 p.m.

Voting takes place March 15 to March 17, 2 p.m. The winner will be announced on March 17 at 3 p.m.

Students can submit their questions to the presidential candidates via To learn more about the FSU elections, go to

Interviews with the candidates