Rashmi Samant, a Masters student pursuing studies at Linacre College, became the first Indian woman to win the Student Union Presidency at Oxford University. An alumna of Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT), Rashmi got more than the combined votes of three other candidates who competed for the post. Rashmi is a student of energy systems in the university, consequently, her manifesto revolved around tackling climate change among other things.
Rashmi had four main objectives in her mind when she ran for the post – decolonisation and inclusion at the university, COVID-19 interventions for all, making mental health a priority, and reducing carbon emissions in and around the campus.
Rashmi had also planned how she would be crossing goals off her checklist if elected President.
She intended to push for the removal of all statues that portray imperialism, including Christopher Codrington, a colonial governor. Taking heed of the stressful times everyone is living in due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she said she would work towards getting residency requirements waived off until the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the pandemic.
Rashmi planned to address the elephant in the room by increasing the funds for mental health strategy. She would also convince the Conference of Colleges to shift from fossil fuels to other environmentally-friendly energy sources.
Born to Vathsala Samant and Dinesh Samant, Rashmi hails from Manipal. She was always known for her leadership skills, assuming roles like Technical Secretary of the Student Council at MIT.
She was the brainchild of Manipal Hackathon, an event that focused on digital solutions to combat societal problems.