Anagha Muralidharan came to PEI two years ago but has already found passion in serving UPEI students’ needs.
This fall, she has sights on a bigger role to continue just that.
Last week, the UPEI Student Union held its winter elections for executive and faculty representative positions.
Muralidharan was announced as the Vice President Academic and External (VPAX)-elect for the 2021/22 academic year.
“The amount of support I’ve received these past few weeks is just overwhelming, I wasn’t expecting it,” Muralidharan said.
“I am very excited and looking forward to the (school) year.”
The biology major is from Mumbai, India.
PEI is a stark contrast from her home, although she prefers it that way, Muralidharan said.
“I love PEI, I know it’s a small place but I’m from a massive city and I’ve never really been much of a city girl, which is why I do like how small and tight-knit the community is.”
The diversity in UPEI is what makes it stand out, she said.
“I adore the community of students we have here. I love how diverse we are. Our true strength is our diversity.”
This school year, Muralidharan became the UPEISU’s first academic coordinator. The role was created to give assistance to the VPAX office.
Her current role inspired her to run for the VPAX position, she said.
“I could really see what Malak (current VPAX) does and I was inspired by that.”
This fall, UPEI plans to transition into a blended delivery model- offering courses and activities in-person and online.
Despite this, students will still need as much COVID relief support, Muralidharan said.
“Even if PEI were mostly COVID free with close to no threat, students will still be feeling the effects of a pandemic for a really long time, especially financially,” Muralidharan told The Cadre.
“Being here I’ve been able to understand that there have been incidents of students not being able to pay rent, not being able to pay for food and the basic necessities all students should have.”
One of her mandate goals is continuing the COVID-19 student support, she said.
“Students do need help, you know, which is why I really want to work with the provincial government so they can start rolling out financial aid.”
Another goal in her mandate is taking more steps towards indigenous reconciliation, which is very important to her, she said.
“PEI is unceded land, and I didn’t know that until a few months ago,” Muralidharan said.
“As (a) student representative, I take responsibility very seriously. It’s something (Indigenous reconciliation) I’m so passionate about that I definitely want to be working on. It’s the least we can do.”
Muralidharan plans to incorporate Indigenous history and culture into mandatory university curriculum.
There are students who haven’t learned much about Indigenous culture through their time at UPEI, she said.
That doesn’t help towards reconciliation, she said.
“Unless there is education, there won’t be acknowledgement. And unless there is acknowledgement, there is not going to be any reconciliation.”
Muralidharan looks forward to assuming the VPAX office this fall and taking her passion to new heights.