Candidate for the position of LGBT+ Officer

Image for Arish Mudra Rakshasa

Arish Mudra Rakshasa

Hi everyone! My name is Arish (he/him), and I am running to be your LGBT+ Liberation Officer. I am currently a PhD student in the Wellcome Trust PhD in Translational Neuroscience. I was born and raised in India, and have since lived in many different parts of the world on six continents. Currently, I call Cape Town home.

Why am I standing for this role?

I was motivated to stand in this election because the call to action really resonated with me. At my core, I am a helper and an advocate in all my personal spheres of influence, and I am deeply passionate about representing and uplifting students like myself from marginalised communities.

What would I bring to this role?

Student leadership and advocacy have been deeply important to me throughout my life. I have been actively involved in representing students fairly and fiercely at all levels of administration. As President of the Student Government at my undergrad, my proudest achievement was the introduction of gender-neutral housing on our campus to better support our trans and non-binary students.

In my role as LGBT+ Liberation Officer, I will bring these years of experience in student advocacy and a sincere desire to effect long-lasting, sustainable change in our student experience as LGBT+ individuals.

What are my ideas for this role?

My first priority will be to listen and consult with LGBT+ students, staff, and faculty. Listening is often just as powerful as doing – so I will work to consult students about what is and isn’t working for them at the University.

My specific ideas for my work as LGBT+ Liberation Officer include:

  1. to build partnerships with BAME organisations at the University in order to improve outreach to LGBT+ students of colour and LGBT+ international students like myself;
  2. to organise more social events for LGBT+ students that are not centred around alcohol;
  3. to keep advocating for mental health support systems that better support LGBT+ students (especially those in isolation or unsafe/unwelcoming homes).

Thank you for taking the time to read my vision for this role. I realise that I am standing against the incumbent, but this is not a competition to me – instead, it is an opportunity to use my energy and passion to represent you and bring in a new perspective to the role. At the end of the day, I am simply committed to advocating for students like myself and speaking truth to power. I hope I am given the chance to represent you!

P.S. This is a photo from one of the windiest beaches in Cape Town – I had lots of fun trying to take it with my phone almost flying out of my hand!