Who is URSU? Mohammad Talha Akbar (he/him) URSU General Manager

IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Outdoors Mohammad Talha Akbar crouches on a tree-lined path while looking at the camera.

Outdoors Mohammad Talha Akbar crouches on a tree-lined path while looking at the camera.

As a Detroit sports fan via Windsor, aside from proximity, why?

The first hockey game I watched was at the age of 5 with my brother. He was a big fan. We watched the 96-97 games together and  I really got connected into the fanbase and with the stories of the players. My top guy was Chris Osgoode. In Windsor there was a significant rivalry between Red Wings fans and Maple Leafs fans, and being the counter-culture type I was, I sided with the minority contingent. 

What is your educational background? (I believe I heard political science)

I am a Political Science graduate from the University of Windsor.

What is your occupational background? (I heard non-profit corporations, can you kindly elaborate.)

I have experience with nonprofits, including student unions and arts organizations. 

What attracted you to this type of work?

Initially I was attracted to the idea of making change on as large of a scale as I could, and I saw a deep potential in student unions to do this work. I’m also very passionate about student and human rights, and I see student rights as being infringed upon significantly. I would like to work to build support for students and build supports that students can use to succeed and become engaged citizens in the future. I think student unions can be a significant force for building student and human rights, and I want to work to build those rights.

What made you want to work at URSU?

I think my experiences examining the history and structures of Student Unions will benefit URSU in growing and meeting the changing and diverse needs of the student and campus communities we serve. Plus everyone enjoyed my pro-wrestling analogies (I hope Regina is WCW Country!!)

How much have you been involved in activism and advocacy? What issues matter to you the most?

I’ve had many experiences with activism and advocacy, and supporting movements for collective freedom. I’m passionate about creating a barrier free society, one that allows us all to grow and strive to achieve our dreams. 

My advocacy interests are focused on healing intergenerational trauma, gender based violence, disability justice, and public interest efforts. I’m a believer in the PIRG movement and an ardent supporter of Ralph Nader. I am also an advocate for student rights and firmly believe that students and youth are leading the way to the society I described above.

Have you been involved with volunteering in the past?

 I am very active in volunteer efforts. I serve on the board of METRAC, the Douglas Coldwell Foundation, and formerly on the board of the AIDS Committee of Windsor. I’ve also participated at the bottom level of dozens of volunteer efforts!

What do you like the most about your new job

The passion everyone brings to their roles!

What do you like most about working at URSU?

Working to help the team’s goals come true and encouraging them to chart their own paths to serving students is very personally rewarding.

What do you see as the biggest challenges or obstacles?
One is bridging the gap between different student interests. The other is building an understanding of changing student needs and building our organization to support them.
How will your work benefit the students of the University of Regina and its Federated Colleges? How will it benefit the community?

I have worked in student unions, non profits, and Public Interest Research Groups. Working in all these spaces required a great deal of listening skills, passion, and fresh ideas. Like many universities with a federated structure, there are a lot of silos that naturally form. I’d like to do my best to empower the various student communities at UofR while also building solidarity and allyship

What have you learned during your short time working at URSU?

I’ve been here for about two months and I’ve learned a lot. There are aspects of URSU’s work that are really great, and URSU excels in the areas it has built expertise on organizationally, but we need to better identify the needs of our students and work to excel in all of those areas.

To find career opportunities from your Students’ Union, please visit ursu.ca/job

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