Rector candidate Alexandra da Silva hopes to augment student voices on campus

Da Silva mentions diversity and mental health as top priorities

Rector candidate Alex da Silva, ConEd '19.

In pursuing the role of Rector, Alexandra da Silva wants to further represent student voices on campus.

Da Silva, ConEd ’19, began to act as a student advocate for mental health resources while in high school. Most recently, she has held a diverse range of roles throughout Queen’s. 

She’s spent two years as a Concurrent Education Students’ Association representative and was also involved in Orientation Week for her faculty at the time. Da Silva has also been a Peer Support Centre volunteer and most recently acted as the 2017 ReUnion Street Festival Coordinator. 

Her platform consists of three categories: “The Person, The Place and The Thing.” 

According to da Silva’s website, “The Person” pillar refers to upholding the health and wellness of students on campus. “The Place” refers to creating a positive and welcoming campus that allows students to gain valuable experiences. Finally, “The Thing” relates to students’ university degrees and the elements surrounding their academic journey. 

Da Silva believes these three intersecting pillars influence the overall student experience, which she hopes to make both “competitive and interactive.” In terms of how she’d address various student issues, da Silva told The Journal she will aim to be an ally and further diversity and inclusion work on campus.

“I can’t speak for the experience of every student on campus, especially as somebody who’s not a person of colour, acknowledging the incredibly valid experiences of other students, I think that’s the first step – acknowledging that those voices are very important,” da Silva said.

Da Silva also recognized the unique experiences of Indigenous students on campus. 

“We should be doing more than just tipping our hats to what’s happened in the past, and really having that conversation actively about what we can do now,” da Silva said. “When it comes to conversations like financial accessibility, which is incredibly important to me and affects me personally, but acknowledging that for Indigenous students it affects them so much more intensely.”  

“The statistics tell us that that is an issue that is very specific to Indigenous populations, and figuring out how we can increase funding there and increase resources is important,” she added.

Da Silva also expressed her desire to continue her work in mental health and advocate better resources across the university. 

“[Making sure] there are enough cross-cultural counsellors on campus, so that students who fit into a specific niche aren’t talking to someone generic, they’re talking to someone who can really empathize with exactly what they’re going through,” Da Silva said. “I think education coupled with resources on campus is the strongest way we can support the largest number of students on campus, not forgetting to leave out SGPS students and their specific needs.”

“The big thing about mental health is that it looks different for everyone on campus,” she continued. “So it’s important to remember that there’s not one cookie cutter way of supporting students’ mental health.”  

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