A whole new world

Enoch Weng enjoys a beautiful sunny day on Burnaby Campus. - Phoebe Lim
Enoch Weng enjoys a beautiful sunny day on Burnaby Campus. - Phoebe Lim
Enoch Weng enjoys a beautiful sunny day on Burnaby Campus. – Phoebe Lim

Newly elected President of the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) Enoch Weng stepped into The Peak’s offices to talk about his impending term, a cheerful yellow balloon trailing behind him.

Weng spoke about some of his hopes and plans for the year to come, including increasing transparency and opening lines of communication between the society and its members. His people-focused approach to student politics, eagerness to take in feedback, and fondness for the magic of Disney bodes well for the new SFSS board of directors.

What do you think the best part about being president will be?

Oh wow, trickiest question! The best part of being the president [will be] having my own office! *laughs* [Actually,] the biggest part of being the president is the responsibilities associated with it, things like represent[ing the students], [and being] the spokesperson of the SFSS.

I want to be that guy who does his job, can be seen in his office, but at the same time can be [a] visible person who you can interact with. I guess what most excites me is [. . .] I’m just honored by the students [and] their choice to elect me to really represent them.    

As the only Presidential candidate without a slate, how do you feel your individual candidacy affected your campaign?

There were times where being the only independent candidate you [didn’t] have that sense of connectedness to a team. I didn’t run [on a slate even though] I really do believe in the idea of a slate; the problem is that often times there are members who don’t have the same ideals but are there by association, or were just placed there. I didn’t feel comfortable being on a team where I wasn’t able to have worked with [the members] before to have a good understanding of how they work.

What do you see as the biggest challenge you will face?

I have a quote for that! “Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one,” [said] Grandmother Willow [in] Pocahontas. What I mean by that [is] when you’re in the role where you have to represent all of your constituency groups, in this case the entire [student] membership, you’re bound to face big decisions, differing points of views and creative tension with different groups.

I think the biggest thing I [realized] is you can’t please everybody, and that’s something that kept me up at night because I want to make sure everyone is happy. I want to make sure it’s ohana, [where] everybody gets a voice.

How do you plan on managing and ensuring cooperation among board members?

When you’re working in a team that was elected democratically, people are going to have different ideologies and different feelings.

It’s about recognizing that we’re all from different walks of life and skill sets. It’s about how we celebrate and recognize that each person is different, and at the same time standing strong as a board together. I’m really excited to be working with this board, because even though everyone [has] different thoughts [and] points of view, I feel that we can really work well together.

At the end of the day we’[ll] still [be] able to just hit the pub, have a beer, watch some Disney movies, and we’ll get along fine. 

In your platform you indicated communications regarding Build SFU is one of your priorities. How do you plan to improve outreach and engage students in the conversation?

Right now, a fact of the matter is there’s a lot of information out there, but how are you able to tell what’s true and what’s not? Where are the sources coming from and what are the major points of contention? There was a survey that was sent out recently, so we’ll be following up on that, just to kinda see, what’s the general flow of the students.

It’s about listening to people’s opinions, but also responding. “Sometimes the quietest voice has the most reason,” and there are a lot of students that are very quiet. That doesn’t mean that they’re not involved. We’re looking towards how we [can] engage with them, but also how we can let them voice their opinions.

You also indicated a desire to change the structure of the board. What steps do you plan to take to implement such structural transitions?

A lot of the [SFSS’s] policies and governance in general is quite outdated. It was written at a time where SFU and the student society was much [smaller] and very politically active, so the structure was set for that time period.

When I mentioned governance reform, it’s things like our committee structure, our executive roles, and our FARM reps. How do we [ensure] role clarity? And also, how can we really look into steps and say if there are really any bases that are not covered? [We should look] at the organization as a whole and [identify] the inefficiencies. Where are the redundancies, the overlaps and how [can we] really work together?

What are your plans for after you complete your undergraduate degree?

Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t have an end goal. I mean, it would be nice if I did something with music, maybe even pursue business, and for me it’s how do I pursue all these different aspects of my life?

As long as I’ll be around people, I’m happy. My years at SFU have been so amazing. My direction in life [will be] where God takes me, as long as I’ll be surrounded by people, and to be able to learn, but also to be able to give back — that’s my happy place.

Which Disney song do you hope will be the anthem of your presidency?

My heart is so torn — its like trying to decide which child to pass on your legacy. I think I’m going to go with “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan! Close contenders [are] “You’ll be in my Heart” from Tarzan and “Your Heart Will Lead You Home” from The Tigger Movie.

Can you sing it for me now?

“Be a man / We must be swift as a coursing river / Be a man / With all the force of a great typhoon!”