The Baron is publishing a series highlighting this year’s Student Representative Council (SRC) Executives; this time, we sat down with Ridhima Dixit, Vice President External (VP-E), to find out a little more about her position within the SRC.
Ridhima Dixit was born in India and raised in Dubai during her formative years. She is passionate about activism and loves interacting with the student body. If she’s not in the SRC office or working with students, she enjoys cooking, learning more about politics, and researching other ways to help students.
What does your position consist of? What does a typical day look like for you?
Dixit is responsible for all advocacy initiatives and communications on behalf of the SRC. She is also the primary delegate on the New Brunswick Student Alliance and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations.
When asked about a typical day, she explained, “I wake up and like to do some yoga; I drink tea. I always start my day with tea. Then I will bother my cat (laughs). I pick her up and twirl her around. Then I check my emails for the day, and I have a little checklist of things I want to get done as soon as I get into the office.”
Dixit said that she frequently works outside of her office hours because she likes to be prompt with her emails, too, “so you will see me checking emails and replying all the time. When I am on top of my emails, it helps my anxiety. Nothing is worse than missing a time-sensitive email; I once missed one and still regret it.”
Why did you decide to run in the SRC election?
Dixit immediately responded, emphasizing the importance of diversity within university governance,
“Representation matters. Not only that but representation that goes beyond a diversity quota. A representation that actually allows BIPOC people to make a meaningful change within an institution that was created without keeping us in mind. As an international student, I wanted to see more people like me within student governance because there aren’t enough people like me in positions of influence. I want people to see me and know that if I can do it, they can do it, and we can do it together. I wanted to have a voice; I wanted to be someone who had their opinions surrounding student awareness heard and considered. I tried to get as involved as I could within this community.”
What makes your position within the SRC unique?
Dixit expressed a particular appreciation for meeting new people: “I love getting to know people and discovering what they are passionate about. We all bring something to the table, but just getting to sit here and listening to people talk about things they are passionate about, things they want to do because while some of this position is challenging, as any job is, I am able to do it and able to continue to do it well because I am passionate about it.”
Dixit said that as the years go on, she gets to meet more people and learn what they’re passionate about, and that is precisely why she wanted to be involved. She smiled and said,
“I think I have met some of the greatest people I could have ever asked for through this job, and not just limited to New Brunswick! That is the best part, all around Canada, I meet people, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. When you get together with a group of people who are passionate about student governance, I don’t know, and just the air is different. You can tell these are a bunch of people who want to change something.”
When asked what an unexpected aspect of this position was, Dixit said, “I think for me, one of the things that I realized — well, I already knew this, but just taking this position within student governance kind of solidified the fact — that it takes inherent privilege to get involved in an institution. I’ve learned how important privilege is and how it impacts those that don’t have that inherent privilege.”
She explained that the reason she can do what she does is due to her inherent privilege as well, “working on the SRC is an inherent privilege because many people have to work elsewhere. This job has forced me to do the hard stuff, like making myself heard in a crowd of people that aren’t like me. That is hard to do, and that is something this job tells you; how to do that, exactly.”
What is something you struggle with as VP-E?
“Well, you know, I would normally consider myself pretty confident, but I still have the hardest time getting my views across the table, especially when I am intimidated by something or someone. But that being said, it’s amazing simultaneously because it’s just a lot of growth. I’ve grown a lot since taking this position.”
Ridhima explained that there are still days when she struggles and doesn’t always feel like she deserves to be on the SRC. She said that part of being VP-E is learning to overcome those feelings; sometimes, it is just about the privilege you carry.
“I remember the struggle as I heard more and more students being impacted by NB-EI Connect because I felt horrible for these people. There are also times when students will come with complaints, and you can’t do anything to help because it is out of your hands, out of your jurisdiction.”
What have you learned while working in the SRC that you will take with you in the future?
Dixit said that for her, it would have to be the realization of how important it is to stay true to yourself and what you stand for.
She said, “There are lots of times when I think sometimes we as humans just argue for the sake of arguing; we don’t always really mean it, and with that comes standing your ground,” explaining that this is something she has had to do a lot and that it is probably one of the most important things she has learned.
What do you wish students knew about the SRC and your position within the SRC?
“I know my position is VP-E but a lot of the work I do is internal. I write a journal after every office hour because every office hour is different. I remember writing one after our welcome party got cancelled; that was hard.”
She said something interesting about her position is that she sits on the senate, and part of her job is to act as a liaison between the administration every so often.
What have you done so far?
“I have come up with two policies, the first one was the menstrual equity, where I put out a survey, and we got 100 plus responses. With those responses, we drafted a policy with recommendations for UNB to implement menstrual equity on campus.”
These policies include the fact that there are menstrual product dispensers on campus. However, they aren’t stocked regularly. Apart from that, Dixit has also presented a food distribution policy, the details of which are still getting figured out.
Dixit said, “I have also been working on a lot of smaller things, like the More Than Tuition Campaign and working with the WUSC constitution, which needs to be approved by counsel.”
What do you hope the future holds for the SRC?
She explained that the SRC is an institution that is protected, which is why she thinks adequate transparency should always be at the forefront of the SRC’s initiatives in the future because students know they exist, but they don’t know what the SRC is doing.