UMSU community representative candidates

(Top left to bottom right): Heaven Kaur, Krupa Mashru, Michaela de Hoop, Ekamjit Singh, Clifford Emelumba, Dhruvi Shah, Christabel Attoni-Oteari, Damilola Ojo


Clifford Emelumba

Emelumba is a first-year student, planning to major in theatre. He enjoys reading, watching films and meeting or helping people. He also volunteers at the gift shop in St. Boniface Hospital.

He chose to run for the position Black students’ representative because of his “passion” for Black students being “heard and valued” on campus. Emelumba said he feels it is important to have an advocate “who understands and addresses the unique needs of Black students.” 

He said as Black students’ representative, he will act “as a vocal advocate for the needs and concerns of Black students.” 

Emelumba said he will work to improve access to supports and resources for Black students to secure “equal opportunities for success.” He said he is running to help Black students and acknowledged that he “can’t just do it on [his] own,” but that he will need support from the community. 

Emelumba held leadership roles during high school. Combined with his “passion to be outspoken,” and his desire to work collaboratively, he feels this makes him a good candidate for the position. 

Emelumba said that “cultural competence training for faculty and staff,” is important in order to establish an inclusive learning environment. He also said that mental health resources specific to Black students’ needs are important. Lastly, he said he wants to create “spaces for black students to connect, share experiences, and build a sense of community.”

Emelumba believes that financial assistance such as scholarships and grants specifically for Black students “will play a crucial role in promoting equitable access to education” for the community. He said funding initiatives can grow “a sense of belonging, empowerment and representation,” which contributes to the successes of Black U of M students. 

Damilola Ojo

Ojo is a third-year economics major and the current Black students’ representative on UMSU. She said she enjoys learning about “how the world works” and has always been interested in Black advocacy. She believes being a resource for fellow Black students is part of her purpose in life.

Ojo said that being elected for this upcoming year would mean that she could accomplish the goals, events and initiatives she begun this term. 

“I hope to serve my community by being a point of contact,” said Ojo. As the “middleman” for students and the university, she hopes to be able to bring issues and find solutions at the bi-weekly board of directors’ meetings.  

If elected, Ojo said her experience in advocacy would be “a nice way to merge” her “talents and experiences” to “further extend the lengths at which Black students evolve and excel” at the University of Manitoba.  

She hopes to connect Black students with Black student clubs so they can all understand and access the resources that they have between then. She also wants to “amplify representation [of] Black students on campus and [in] UMSU positions.” 

Ojo believes that right now Black students require accessible aid for mental and physical health, which she describes as “the foundation of a healthy and prosperous” student body. She emphasized this in the context of the Black community where she said, “it is easy to feel segregated or marginalized.” 


Michaela de Hoop

De Hoop is a third-year science student. She is Cree from Opaskwayak Cree Nation and The Pas. De Hoop is running for the position unopposed.

She chose to run for Indigenous students’ representative in order “to bring a voice to the Indigenous community.” She said she enjoys being “hands-on, planning events, being part of the action and advocating” for issues that matter to her. 

De Hoop plans to host fundraisers for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-spirited people. She also wants to host workshops for all students to learn about Indigenous cultures. “I’m a strong believer that hate is bred from ignorance,” she said. “I want to make sure that there’s opportunities for people to learn about Indigenous teachings so that they’ll understand the cultures more.” 

De Hoop is currently a member of the Indigenous Circle of Empowerment, the Blankstein Momentum program and was previously Indigenous affairs reporter for the Manitoban. She has also worked with the Northern Manitoba Food, Culture and Community Collaborative and helped prepare an Indigenous cookbook as part of a community garden project. 

De Hoop wants to create opportunities to learn about traditional Indigenous knowledge.
“The university is really good at what they do have, but I think you can never have too many workshops or classes where you can learn things,” de Hoop said. She also hopes to transform the Indigenous Leaders Gala into an annual event. 

De Hoop said Indigenous students are lacking mental health resources at the U of M, and that waitlists to see Elders-in-Residence are quite long. While resources are available, she said there needs to be more options for students to access “supportive professionals who are knowledgeable in Indigenous culture and trauma” in a timely matter, especially for those in crisis who need immediate assistance. 


Heaven Kaur 

Kaur is a second-year science student and the only candidate for women’s representative.

“I’m running for women’s rep to make a difference in the community,” she said, mentioning that, while she could have run for other positions, she said “as a woman, it felt right” to run for women’s representative. Kaur is passionate about women’s needs.  

One way Kaur said she hopes to serve her community is to ensure that personal hygiene products are available where they are needed, especially as not every restroom on campus has menstrual products. 

“Not many people know that the Women’s Centre is a place where you can go for support,” as well as a variety of resources, she said. Kaur wants to ensure communication between the Women’s Centre and students. Lastly, she wants to host “panel discussions with women-identifying professionals who can come” and share their expertise. 

Kaur said that women students at the U of M “deserve opportunities to unite.” If elected, Kaur promised to work toward her goals of reducing period poverty and allowing students to connect with professionals to “gain tips, advice and knowledge.”


Dhruvi Shah

Shah is an international student from Kenya, in her third year studying political studies. One focus for Shah is seeing the international student community thrive. She believes she can achieve that by bridging the gaps that exist between international students and the resources that are available to them. 

As international students’ representative, she hopes to grow a network of international student alumni who would give current international students information about their fields and provide mentorship as people who were once in their position as students. 

She said there is a gap between the services being offered and services being used. 

Shah said an important issue for her is the reimplementation of Manitoba health care for international students, and with the recent change in the provincial government, she believes “we have a better chance now to gain back that health care,” she said. 

Shah said that right now, international students “need a sense of belonging.” One way she suggests that belonging can be found is through “bringing communities together through the celebrations of their most important and culturally significant festivals.” 

Krupa Mashru

Mashru is a fifth-year athletic therapy major and likes to dance, which has helped her make connections with people both on and off campus. She is a Kenyan-Indian international student.

Mashru said that international students have lots to worry about in addition to their studies. She is running for international student representative so that other international students have someone to rely on. She hopes to be the voice and connection between the international student population and the university. 

One goal she has is to conduct regular student support workshops where students can learn more about the resources available to them, especially health care.   

Since 2019, Mashru has been involved in many organizations, such as Let’s Talk Science, and student councils. She has served as vice president membership experience for UM International Students’ Organization, the vice president internal affairs and vice president of social media and marketing for Laksh. The two main issues Mashru wants to focus on are health care and cultural integration. She hopes that she can work to get health care that is “more affordable and more accessible” for international students so that that money is not a barrier to seeking medical attention. 

Mashru feels that there events that promote cross-cultural collaboration can help “create a more friendly and inclusive campus community.” She feels that more exchange programs could help promote diversity on campus. 

Right now, Mashru feels that international students need access to support in many areas. She said that financial barriers prevent international students from having “an equal chance to thrive intellectually and professionally.” She said creating a “friendly, inclusive campus community where diversity is valued and cherished” is critical. 


Christabel Attoni-Oteari

Attoni-Oteari is a third-year criminology student, running unopposed for the position of racialized representative. She likes to volunteer in her community both inside and outside of school, to “help [people] in any way possible.”  

This year, Attoni-Oteari spent time working with the current racialized representative. Through this work, she said she has gained opportunities to see what has been completed, and built valuable skills and experiences. She hopes that everything she has learned will allow her “to make some waves” if elected. 

Attoni-Oteari wants to help close the gaps between racialized communities. She says that these making connections between racialized communities is necessary for making change.  

“If there’s going to be a continuous gap, that change can’t be fully made,” she said. 

She plans to provide workshops for racialized students who do not yet have a student group to learn how to complete their goals in a “safe space.” 

Attoni-Oteari emphasized her desire to advocate for the racialized community, saying she “want[s] to be the person in the room” that racialized students can trust to advocate for them. 

“I’m somebody who’s always been proud of my racialized identity, and to have the opportunity to be in this role, I want to help other people find pride in their racialized identity,” said Attoni-Oteari.  

Attoni-Oteari aims to build connections with racialized students in other community groups, including racialized 2SLGBTQIA+ students, women and international students, in order to serve the diverse range of students in racialized communities. 


Ekamjit Singh

Singh is an international Punjabi student in his second semester. He likes playing basketball and chess. He is running unopposed for the position of accessibility representative.

Singh chose to run because of issues he has spoke with other students about regarding accessibility on campus, which he worries the administration may not know about. He said that even if the administration is aware, it is “not willing to address” these issues. 

Singh doubts that accessibility services can “actively fulfill” students’ needs. He experienced issues going through the process of enrolment in accessibility services, and wants to help other students navigate the process. Singh wants to focus on making the accessibility services process more accessible to students.

As accessibility representative, Singh wants to be “the anchor between students and the administration.”

Singh plans to focus on several policies. He said he will develop a feedback system to hear from students about issues they are facing and figure out solutions to the problems. 

The concept of chardi kala, meaning optimism and mental resilience, is important to Singh. He says it is “something that can help get [students] through their accessibility needs.” 

Singh aspires to fulfill the concept of sarbat da bhala, or “the benefit of the whole world.” 

Ultimately, Singh said the accessibility community needs a room that meets  students’ needs.