It is that time of year again — Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) elections are upon us, and The Peak is here to break down candidate platforms, debates, and unexpected turns of events so you can make an informed decision come voting period.
To kick off our election coverage, we reached out to each of the 35 candidates with questions about their stances on the positions they’re running for, and the current issues that have been affecting them. Below are descriptions of the positions and the candidate responses.
For more coverage of SFSS elections, keep your eye out for our News section for debate coverage and the results released on March 23.
Note: Candidate responses are unedited and do not reflect the perspectives of The Peak Publications Society.
Note: Candidates were given a limit of 100 words for each response. Any responses that ran longer than the limit were cut short.
What is the SFSS?
The SFSS is SFU’s student-led society, representing the entire undergraduate population of the university. The SFSS is headed by 16 Board of Directors members, which are elected every spring by the student body to hold a one-year term during which they manage day-to-day society work, manage large-scale finances, execute university-wide campaigns and projects, and advocate for student interests regarding issues such as the U-Pass, student-centric spaces, and food and beverage services.
The president leads the Board of Directors. In this position, they are responsible for convening the Board, Board Executive Committee, and Council, meeting with university representatives, communicating on behalf of the Board of Directors, and liaising between Board and Board employees amid other duties.
- What would be your three main areas of focus for the year as president of the SFSS?
- What is one thing you would change, respond differently to, or act differently on had you been SFSS president this previous year?
- Why do you think you’d make an excellent candidate for this role?
Amar Singh (Shift SFU)
- SFSS Brand Awareness: Implement initiatives that build a dynamic relationship between SFSS and the students we serve.
- SFU Connective Community Development: Create an infrastructure that will make it easier for different groups on campus to collaborate, with the goal of breaking down different silos.
- SFU ChangeMaker Campus Implementation: Continue the work I did on the change team to ensure the SFU Change Maker campus vison is implemented.
- The one thing I would do differently is be more accessible to students so that our team can continue to understand how to create more value for students. One of the common themes that came up during conversations with students is the importance of being accessible in order to build authentic relationships with the student body.
- I have served as a member of SFU Senate where I was able to understand how to create realistic change within SFU; SFU Change Team where I spoke to students, staff, faculty, and community partners about how SFU can improve the student education experience and research to have the most impact on students and the community; and most importantly because I am a student who genuinely cares about students. I am not another career Politian who will not acknowledge my mistakes but I will own up to it and be transparent.
Jas Randhawa (Inspire SFU)
- My three main areas of focus are improved Support for Student Unions and Clubs, Continuity and Team Culture, and enhancing community among all three campuses. Expanding support, funding, and communication between clubs and student unions is key to fostering campus social life. Second, board transitions usually cause complications. Often, newly elected board members will look to restructure the SFSS and abandon long-term projects. Finally, enhancing tri-campus community by continuing Surrey Space Expansion, ensuring a strong transition into the new SUB, advocating for the development of new projects (ex. SFU Gondola), and through expanding mental health services on all campuses.
- I want to begin this response by acknowledging the incredible job that Hangue did in his role this year. Hangue was an exceptional leader and did a great job keeping our team unified and collaborative. Moving forward, I would like to work more to empower groups of student leaders on campus. I’d like to see greater collaboration between groups like student senate and the SFSS board of directors, as well as SFSS council. There are great opportunities to build on the academic and social pillars of the SFSS through increased coordination between these bodies of student leaders to inspire change.
- I believe that I’d make an excellent SFSS president because of three things – my ability to lead a team, my ability to communicate effectively, and my experience within the SFSS. This past year on board taught a valuable lesson in team solidarity, and I hope to replicate that this coming year. I also believe that communication is a critical element of the presidency, and I am confident in my ability to communicate effectively with students, the university administration, and external groups. Finally, experience within the SFSS is critical – I’m the only presidential candidate who has sat at the board table.
VP external relations
The vice-president external relations is involved in the university’s relations with other post-secondary institutions. The position is responsible for representing SFU at conferences held by external organizations, as well as keeping the Board informed on relevant actions of these organizations. The VP external also leads the Advocacy Committee, which is involved in advocacy initiatives on behalf of students.
- What is one advocacy initiative you’d like to see the SFSS address this upcoming year — how would you address it?
- How do you feel about SFU’s current relationship with other student unions, and how would you approach the “liaison” position?
- What do you feel is the most important aspect of the role of vice-president external relations?
Jasdeep Gill (Shift SFU)
- Increasing affordable student housing will be my top priority as VP of External Relations. Recently, the provincial government approved $450 million for student housing in the 2018 provincial budget, but this investment only adds 5,000 new student beds. The province needs to develop a strategic plan with universities in BC to increase investments incrementally in the following years to create affordable housing for students. This initiative will also help take pressure off of the current housing market in the greater Vancouver area.
- SFU’s current relationship with other student unions is lagging. The voice and influence of the student body in British Columbia needs to be strengthened with stronger ties with other student unions. I plan to actively approach this problem by advocating that SFSS should consider joining the British Columbia Federation of Students. We need to raise our concerns as a collective so that we can make an impact that goes beyond just the walls of SFU.
- The Vice President of External Relations is responsible for understanding the concerns and needs of SFU students and actively seeking external resources to find a solution for them. This role is critical because many of the issues that SFU students face are directly linked to external stakeholders such as the provincial government and TransLink. The work student leaders do within the university can and needs to make a greater impact on the student experience of all students in British Colombia. The Vice President of External Relations role is to be the bridge between SFU student and these external stakeholders.
Livleen Sidhu (Inspire SFU)
- The prevention of sexual violence is something I have been advocating for years. I was able to provide input on creating the recent SFU policies on sexual violence because of my involvement with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. But sexual violence prevention workshops are only mandatory for SFU athletes and students in Residence. I would like to replicate this initiative for the rest of our student body by making mandatory workshops. Workshops are proven to be effective and are well-received. Additionally, this is feasible to enforce to students because it can be done during the first week of classes.
- As an executive member for our business faculty student union, I can say it is quite strained. Part of the reason I decided to run is because I understand the tenuous relationship between the SFSS and student unions. If I want change, I should be the one to change it. Presently, it is difficult to interact with the SFSS because of the lack of clarity and absence of listening. Personally, I think to be a successful liaison, there needs to be more effective communication. By having frequent feedback surveys and valuing honesty and transparency, this solves miscommunication.
- I believe the most important thing to be a successful VP External Relations is to be passionate and persuasive. As the key liaison between SFU and other external bodies, such as the government and other educational institutions, it is pertinent that the individual that is representing our students is convincing. This is because when it comes to advocating for student needs, the most effective people are the ones that demonstrate their passion for the initiative itself. As well, in order to garner support for the cause, the VP External Relations must be persuasive enough to build partnerships to collaborate with.
The vice-president finance is responsible for the budget of the Board of Directors, which includes all money received or disbursed by the Society. Under this role fall the responsibilities of performing day-to-day work such as payroll approval and bi-weekly reports, as well as annual audits, working with the Finance and Audit Committee, and being a signing officer amid other tasks.
- What is one change you would make to how the SFSS currently allocates its spending?
- What would be your biggest priority in this position?
- What is your position on the current accessibility of SFSS budget information for students? What, if anything, would you change about how this information is presented to the general public?
Vikramaditya Chandhok (Shift SFU)
- The SFSS is a non-profit organization, so the goal and purpose of budget allocation should be to allocate money efficiently in the best interest of the student society. Without going into the technicalities in this answer how I would generalize this change would be to formulate the budget allocation plan based on the student feedback and input over time.
- Even though I am running for the position of VP Finance, my main goal would be towards high degree of student engagement. I plan on doing this by supporting new clubs and working alongside the SFSS Board. It’s the student’s money that runs this society and we need to spend that towards active student engagement projects.
- The budget information is highly accessible through the SFSS website. I believe that the current Vice President Finance- Baljinder Singh Bains has done a really great job in the presentation of the budget but I would still like to make it more presentable and understandable through the use of infographics and would work towards making it simpler for the members of the student society.
Matthew Chow (Inspire SFU)
- I would reform the granting process behind fund disbursement to student-led initiatives from student unions and clubs. These groups are who really establish community at SFU, and thus, the SFSS should enable and equip student organizations to run initiatives that develop the livelihood of SFU. In terms of how specifically, I would like to broaden the scope of what grants can be used towards, such as capital investments or long-term projects, and make sure that decisions regarding grants are transparent and made objectively.
- My biggest priority is to bring transparency into SFSS’s financial policies and procedures. I want to focus on ensuring that student resources are being used responsibly and practically according to student need. My main strategy is to support the organization with information technology so that we are making decisions backed with data sourced directly from the SFU community. Hearing student opinion needs to come first, and I believe infrastructure is necessary to support that.
- While an overview of the SFSS budget and financial statements are available online, I believe explanations on how budget allocations affect the student body should be accessible. Although it is true that financial information is available online, most of the documents are full of accounting jargon which creates a barrier for students to understand how the SFSS operates. To remedy this, I would like to hold training workshops for budgeting and grants, with a focus on student organizations and clubs, so that students can better hold the SFSS accountable and stay informed on the impact of decisions made.
VP student life
The vice-president student life is the SFSS’s main position to deal with student engagement and social events. The position leads the Fall Kickoff Concert, works with the Events Committee, and generally works towards student social events and SFSS branding and these events.
- What has been your response to the ongoing tensions between the SFSS and the independent student unions (SFPIRG, CJSF, and Embark) in regards to leasing space in the Student Union Building?
- What is one thing you would have done differently if you had been Vice-President Student Life this past year?
- What are new projects you would propose as VP Student Life?
No response provided.
Reza Mardan-Dezfouli (Inspire SFU)
- The SFSS should aim to operate as open and collaborative matter with these external groups in order to help them find spaces on campus, wherever that may be; because SFSS and the independent student unions are all student based. As groups, they are all set on their ways to work for students. Space on campus is a pressing matter for all and with the help my team, I am confident that we could bring about a solution that would in the best interest of the students.
- Having worked alongside the last Vice-President Student Life, I got to see the job being done in a unique way. However, I would have done more academic and faculty-oriented events. Student life on campus needs a social academic atmosphere where students could have fun and at the same time find out about real life aspects of their areas of studies. By fostering faculty and student bond we can blend work towards further social and career development
- Firstly, I am putting forward the idea of faculty nights, where students and esteemed faculty members could come out for an informative social event. This will be a chance for a keynote speaker to share about opportunities in the field. Secondly, I am looking to increase volunteer opportunities for students specially within SFSS Events Committee. As there are a lot of good ideas that SFU students have regarding events and projects that should be done around all campuses
Tawanda Masawi (Shift SFU)
- The SFSS is an organization that has a mandate to make decisions that would be in the best interest of the general student population and to improve the experience of its members. That being said my view is one that supports an the outcome that puts the students population first and the individual interest of both parties second. This is an ongoing process, and I believe that clear and rational communication is the best way that any tension can be relieved.
- Alam did well as the project lead for the Fall Kickoff Concert and as chair of the events committee. His approach to this role was mostly event based. That being said I believe that there was a challenge gap in the form of being an effective liaison between Board, Council and other student groups within SFU. I intend to be an effective liaison between student groups, Council and Board. Through regular attendance of council meetings and adopting a social media platform presence that allows student groups to connect with me directly.
- Surrey Space Expansion – Utilization of the Space Expansion Fund to secure space for Students at the Surrey Campus.
- Board Social Media profiles – Adoption of personal profiles on Facebook to allow for interactions between board members and students on a ongoing basis.
- More than an Athlete Initiative – Work directly with athletes to help bridge the gap between Student-athletes and Students. Work on Make A Wish Campaign and work on 4 Silo strategy with Student – Athletic Advisory Committee.
- Fall KickOFF – Work with students to host performers that they want to see at the Fall 2018 KickOff.
VP student services
The vice-president student services works on behalf of the Board on services that affect SFU students. Duties that fall under this position include acting as lead on SFSS services such as the U-Pass, overseeing the SFSS Health and Dental Plan, and supporting and communicating the departments which provide these services. This position also assumes responsibilities of the President in case of absence.
- What is one thing you would have done differently as VP student services this past year?
- The SFSS has hired an external contractor to find a new provider its health and dental plan. How do you plan on making sure your decision truly reflects the student body’s needs?
- How do you propose SFSS connect better with the student body — what is one specific action you would take to ensure better connection?
Samer Rihani (Shift SFU)
- I would have been more vocal about what the position of Student Services has to offer! The role has gone through turbulence in the past few years and was nearly removed. Continuing this role, this means engaging with students and sharing more about what myself as an individual can bring to the table. By reaching out to other universities across Canada, I was able to take away what SFU is lacking and will better take on responsibility in this role to push for more simple and implementable initiatives to improve the student experience.
- Simply by being vocal with the students. This is a question that has a simple answer because of the fact that clarity is essential. When a decision that affects the student body’s funds and access to resources is being targeted, we NEED to take time to ask the student body their opinions, being one of the speakers this year for the SFSS Surrey Campus Expansion Petition, it taught me the importance of simply taking time to sit down with the student body being affected and truly see what advice they can offer.
- In order to better merge SFSS with the students, we need to be present at general club events! Whether that be Humanitarian clubs, DSUs/FSUs, or sporting clubs. By making our faces known and showing students that we aim to break any form of hierarchy, we not only build a sense of comfort but urge students to WANT to approach us and have our opinions and assistance with what they feel are valid concerns. Simply showing our assistance in varying clubs and areas allows the students to bridge the gap between student government and the general body.
Simran Sanghera (Inspire SFU)
- Having started my SFU journey at the Surrey campus, I began to be aware how Burnaby-centric most services are. In the past year, promises were made on the action of bringing more services to the Vancouver and Surrey campuses. I would have personally worked harder to promote and advocate for this change and have brought workshops at these campuses for the services we do provide. Knowing space is an issue, I want to advocate for making sure more services are available in the new surrey campus expansion and to create regular workshops at these campuses.
- The SFSS has currently hired a consultant to assist with hiring a new provider, who supports to negotiate the best possible plan in terms of both cost and benefits for its membership. The decision will be made by the board in the current term and will be implemented in the Fall of 2018. During the summer term, if elected, I will confirm that the best possible decision was made by generating a survey and implement informing booths to receive direct student feedback and I will act to ensure that there is smooth transition of the new plan.
- The SFSS provides services to make student life better and is also the voice that advocates for the interests of undergraduate students. To better connect with students, SFSS needs to continue to host events that attains student engagement and information/awareness booths that provides beneficial information about the SFSS to the student body, including first year students. As we are a three-campus community, I want to host engaging booths at all campuses about the SFSS and work towards providing students with information to aid with financial and academic conditions for one’s success, improve health and wellbeing, and enhance their social experience.
VP university relations
The vice-president university relations works between the Society and university representatives to maintain the connection between the two groups and keep the Board informed on relevant University plans or actions.
- What will be your main areas of focus as VP university relations?
- What is one thing you would have done differently if you had been VP university relations this past year?
- What do you feel is the most important aspect of the VP university relations position?
Colin Fowler (Shift SFU)
- I expect to work with SFU on four key points. Firstly, SFU’s maintenance and construction projects are often late, delayed, or not done. I want to ensure buildings are safe and cared for. Secondly, we need to build the gondola. It has numerous benefits, including performing better in the snow. Thirdly, mental health needs vast improvement, as claims have increased tenfold over five years and waitlists are unacceptably long. Finally, I want strengthen ties with athletes and athletics. Athletes and sports are vital parts of campus life, and we need to do better promoting them.
- To me, Mr. Kwok had an ambitious and lengthy policy plan. In my experience, having that many policies is a great election day strategy, but often a very poor re-election strategy – that is, it’s going to be hard to fulfill them all, and people will remember that. My platform is shorter, and it ensures I won’t be spreading myself too thin to achieve it. It will also ensure I’ll be to able to effectively aid my fellow executives in their platforms, and allows me some room for projects to work on should the need or desire from students arise.
- The most important aspect of this position is maintaining trust and respect between the SFSS and the University. As Membership Officer for the Economics Student Society, I respectfully came to the Department’s table to represent the best interest of the economics students. This respect aided me in understanding the department’s position, and their trust gave the executive more leeway. As a result, we earned more support for our initiatives, including the Economics Student Society Career Night, one of the largest on campus, by partnering with the department for the most successful career night we’ve ever had.
Jackson Freedman (Inspire SFU)
- If elected, my main areas of focus will be campus safety, mental health, and working collaboratively with the university on a number of major initiatives. I think that SFU has a lot to improve with respect to campus safety – we lack important infrastructure like adequate lighting and CCTV cameras and a safe way down the mountain. I want to advocate for improvements to existing infrastructure, investments in projects like the gondola, and greater visibility of SFU’s policy on sexual violence. I will also work to develop greater mental health support services for SFU students.
- I should begin by saying I had the pleasure of working with Erwin, the current VP University all year, and he did a fantastic job. One thing I would have done differently, however, is engage on a more regular basis with SFU administration. If elected, I would like to hold monthly meetings with senior administration to discuss important initiatives being undertaken by both the SFSS and SFU, find more areas for collaboration, and develop and maintain the trust between the two organizations.
- I believe the most important aspect of the University Relations position is maintaining a professional and collaborative relationship with SFU and their administration. The university has a great deal of influence over what the student society is able to accomplish. Maintaining a positive relationship with SFU allows the SFSS to flourish. If that relationship is adversarial, it can be very difficult for the SFSS to fulfill our mandate and do our best for the student body. I think managing that relationship is critical for the VP University role.
At-large representatives (2)
The at-large representative position-holders have flexibility in determining which of the Society’s projects they are interested in and would like to join. They support executive directors, hold events, and launch campaigns. Two students are elected to these positions each year.
- What initiatives are you most looking forward to becoming involved in, or bringing to the Society yourself, in this next year?
- What do you feel is the most important part of the at-large representative position?
- What does the SFSS mean to you and how do you plan on making the SFSS better if you were successfully elected to this role?
Mohammad Ali (Shift SFU)
- Create a more connected campus community between SFU students, residence, the clan family and Fraser International College. I intend to work on current advocacy initiates like raising awareness about the Kinder Morgan tank farm expansion project, and needs-based-grants that I have been currently actively involved in engaging the students while collecting petition signatures of supporting students. Support and empower student unions and constituency groups by voicing their concerns and involving them in finding solutions and work groups to accomplish the initiatives.
- I would definitely say outreach and the ability to be flexible. As this will give me the ability to fully involve council reps in different capacities with the committees that I will sit on and learn a lot personally from the different exposures.
- I have been a council rep for the last 3 years, the Society to me is a place were student voices are heard their ideas become reality. If elected I will help in foster open communication between the society and the student body.
Wareez Ola (Inspire SFU)
- My top priority for next year is to advocate for introduction of interactive classroom and facilities directory. The main purpose of this is to reduce hassle of locating classroom buildings and other facilities on campus. In addition, benefit of this initiative is to smoothen transition into university life for first year students and all students in general.
- The most important part of the At-Large Representative position is literally bridging the game between faculty representatives and the executive members. It involves carefully addressing student concerns at the micro faculty level and also dealing with macro student life issues. At Large Reps are required to delegate and escalating issues when necessary so as to maintain the right balance in the kind of student issues they address.
- SFSS is one of the major keys to a successful university experience for all students. I plan on providing all round growth by working with the four main pillars of SFSS(academic, financial, social and health and well-being) through the initiatives I plan on introducing. So be sure to check out my platform.
Alexander Krivoi (Inspire SFU)
- As the At-Large representative, I am most looking forward to having the ability to push the social aspects of this university to the next level. I intend on doing this in multiple ways. An example of something I would like to bring forward is an increased diversity of events on campus. Addressing one aspect, SFU has been (mostly) locked to “Pub Nights”. I want us to break free of this mold by introducing a new series of events to take place on a consistent basis. The new building will be imperative in this diversification of opportunity.
- I feel the most important part of the At-Large Representative position is managing the versatility of the position. The At-Large position is the most “make it your own” on the whole board of directors, and it’s important to have a clear plan in place. A concise platform, as well as an open mind, and a willingness to work effectively in a team environment are all necessary qualities for all At-Large representatives to have. In a few words, it is most important to know exactly what you want to accomplish with the board.
- The SFSS is the organization that represents the student body. SFU students are the primary driving force for any changes that occur within the SFSS. If elected, I will stay true to my promise of making sure that the SFSS exists to better serve the needs and wants of SFU students. This will be achieved by maintaining full transparency and looking to our SFU community for feedback.
Arman Mohseni (Shift SFU)
- There are five initiatives that are particularly important to me. The initiatives that I hope to bring to the Society myself, served as the bedrock of my platform during the SFU Senate elections. The first is to list percentages on official academic transcripts, so that SFU students aren’t down-graded when their letter grades are converted to percentages during application to professional schools such as UBC School of Dental Medicine, Peter A. Allard School of Law, and UBC Medical School. The second is to advocate for more time between Last Day of Classes and first day of Final Exams Period.
- The At-Large Representatives, above all else, should be impartial, and try to ensure that the Board of Directors makes decisions that benefit all students equally. As Faculty representatives vie to shift decision-making in favour of their own faculties, the At-large Representatives should act as an equalizer.
- To me, the SFSS isn’t about hosting hokey events to manufacture a sense of social life or making pizza cheaper on campus. To me, the SFSS allows students to exert serious political pressure on university administration, so that SFU students have the academic prospects and opportunities that they deserve. It’s about using the resources and voices at our disposal to make SFU the best university in Canada. Whether or not I’m elected to represent the student body, I hope that future Board members give the college try in helping SFU students get the most out of their education and university experience.
- During my time at SFU, I have heard many complaints that wait times for mental health resources are long to the point of deterring people from pursuing them, which I feel is an important issue that needs urgent addressing. I’m also a supporter of the fall reading break proposal that the current board of directors has considered looking into recently, and would love to continue working on that alongside the rest of the board over the coming year.
- As At-Large representative, I feel as though the most significant portion of my responsibilities is to provide a means through which the main student body can communicate with the board of directors, as well as provide feedback on how the board is performing its duties. In essence, the role of the At-Large Representative is working to ensure that the board is working to address the needs and desires of the entire student community, and to communicate the efforts and initiatives of the board back to the student base at large.
- To me, the SFSS means community. The SFSS is a conglomerate of every student attending SFU, representing the interests of every student, and ensuring through cooperation and unity that these students all receive the best, most fulfilling university experience available to them. If I were elected At-Large Representative, I would work my hardest to ensure that the SFSS lives up to this promise of a better university experience by listening to the needs and concerns of all students, and ensuring that the actions of the board are always moving towards this goal of improving their time at SFU.
Faculty representatives are the link between the Board and their faculties, including the Departmental Student Unions (DSUs). The specific duties a representatives taken on depends on their interests.
- How do you plan to build and strengthen ties between your faculty and the SFSS in this next year?
- What is one project you want to take on as faculty representative this year?
- What is one thing you would’ve done differently if you had been a faculty representative for your faculty this previous year?
Applied sciences representatives
Fuyu Li (Inspire SFU)
- I will establish Applied Science Students Union to encourage students to take leadership role.The union will hold bi-monthly meeting to report events and current issues FAS students have to ,I will delegate clear roles to Students Union as it will serve as a platform and connection point for SFSS and FAS studentsAt same time,I will promote SFSS events within the faculty and encourage students to get involved
- I am planning to build residence Applied Science Community in order to make FAS residents connected with each others as well as to the faculty.
- For FAS annual Formal,I will have it more organised as directors of events and finance in newly FAS Student Union will be in charge , making this event work more smooth by making better communication and connecting with current FAS studentd Unions
Kia Mirsalehi (Independent)
- Having been an executive of the Computing Science Student Society for over a year and Council chair this past semester puts me in a unique position where I have connections with all the departmental student unions, faculty staff, women in engineering and computing science as well as the experience of working with SFSS staff. I plan on using my experiences and connections to try and create a trusting and transparent relationship between SFSS and FAS, something that I would say is currently lacking, by advocating for a lot of the problems and hurdles that FAS departments and student groups face.
- There’s a lot of change that I want to push for, but one of the more major ones is pushing for more work and study space for mechatronic and software system students in Surrey. It’s insane to think students pursuing robotics must resort to soldering in their basement because they don’t have any space provided to them. I also want to work with senators and faculty staff to try and fix many of the issues regarding courses. This includes bottleneck courses that delay graduation dates and the issues rising from increased acceptance into FAS programs without increased course offerings.
- Our current FAS rep, Jeffrey Leung, has done an amazing job this past year bringing the faculty together. He’ll be dearly missed and I’m not sure anyone could truly replace him. However, one thing I would have done differently is focusing more on trying to rebuild a bond of trust between the FAS student groups and SFSS, specifically regarding transparency. I would have created an easy to access database of SFSS documents, money expenditures, and initiatives being actively worked on. Not only would this restore trust, but would also inform and motivate more students to get involved and volunteer.
No response provided.
Arts and social sciences representatives
- There currently is a wide gap between students and the SFSS. One of the concerns I have repeatedly heard is that there is a lack of understanding on the functioning of the SFSS. To bridge that wide gap, I intend to attend as many department student union meetings as I possibly can in order to provide more support for events and listen to the concerns of the students. Furthermore, I intend to organize classroom presentations where we will share information about the SFSS and encourage people from an early time to get involved in clubs and student unions.
- As faculty representative, I would like to fight the stigma around mental health by engaging with students through various methods such as group therapy, meditation, physical activities and more frequent pet therapies with a more variety of pets. With this in practice, I hope to reduce the long waiting times for students who need health counselling services.
- I would have encouraged interdepartmental collaboration between student unions to organize events. This would have allowed students to explore other studies at SFU and discover new interests. Such collaborative events would be a great platform for students to remain active on campus and allow for exchange of ideas that could inspire novel integrative ideas of engagement.
Kailyn Ng (Inspire SFU)
- If elected, I would strengthen ties between my faculty and the SFSS through encouraging student engagement, and by assisting student groups such as clubs, department student unions, and faculty student unions. I would also encourage all students to voice their interests and concerns to me, so that I could work alongside the board of directors in advocating for their needs and wants.
- I would like to work on advocating for increased co-op opportunities for the Arts and Social Sciences.
- I would have communicated with departments within the faculty to advocate for extended study spaces/ open study hours in faculty conference rooms for Arts and Social Science students.
Mehak Kalra (Shift SFU)
- Building and strengthening ties between the faculty of FASS and SFSS would be one of my key goals for the upcoming year. This involves working with clubs and other student groups within the faculty. Serving as a student liaison between the SFSS and the Faculty, I would encourage the Departmental Student Unions to have active representation on the Faculty Student Union which is the SASS and through that I would be able to strongly advocate and represent my faculty. I also firmly believe that stronger student engagement would be beneficial towards strengthening the relationship between the faculty and the SFSS.
- One of the committees at the SFSS that I plan to get involved with is the Events committee and through that I would like to contribute towards the Fall kickoff concert which is a legacy event for the SFSS. I would be working closely with the events committee and VP Student Life for one of the largest event of our society. With this I intend to serve my faculty as well as the whole SFU community. I would strive hard together with the SFSS team to work towards a bigger and better Fall Kickoff 2018.
- In my opinion the current Faculty Representative Jackson Freedman has done a fantastic job over the year but as I closely review this past year, one thing that I would have done as a faculty representative would have been to work more closely with the SASS in assisting them plan events for the faculty as a whole. This would encourage large-scale programming and activities throughout the faculty. An example of that would be the “FASS on a boat” event that the SASS put together, I would have closely worked to have more large-scale events like it.
Jessica Nguyen (Inspire SFU)
No response provided.
Raunaq Singh (Shift SFU)
- Over recent years, there has been a lack of formal communication between the SFSS and different faculties, specifically Business. Existing channels focus on the informal route, depending on whether ‘someone happens to know someone on the board’. This hierarchical structure needs to be reassessed. My foremost priority will be to establish a strong link by inviting Business club and BASS representatives to sit on SFSS committees. As their Business Representative, I assure my fellow Beedie students that actively seeking feedback from the student body and addressing their concerns will always be my top priority.
- A recurring problem when it comes to connections between the SFSS and Beedie student clubs is that they are often non-existent. I will make sure that I am physically present at the monthly club president’s meeting within my faculty. Past Business Representatives have been infamous for being absent from these crucial meetings where vital groundwork and communication takes place. Further specific problems can easily be resolved once an active channel for communication exists. I will start hosting special information sessions to ensure club execs and students are aware of the processes around issues ranging from room-booking to funding.
- First and foremost, I would like to congratulate Gini Kuo on her term as the outgoing Business Representative. With that being said, there is still a dramatic room for improvement. However, now is not the time to dwell on our past but rather we should be exploring the future. There has to be a dire shift in our perspective. Instead of the SFSS creating hurdles and increasing bureaucracy, it should be asking how it can better serve and help clubs and students.
Communication, arts, and technology representatives
- How I plan to build and strengthen my ties between my faculty and the SFSS next year is easy, through our amazing unions. Having worked in the Communication Student Union before, I know the platform that it has to change the student culture. With having myself as FCAT rep, I plan to work with these unions closely to establish their goals and see if we can execute them. During my campaign right now, I plan on meeting all of these unions to establish a strong relationship.
- One project that I want to take on as Faculty Rep is working on supporting the health and well being of all students but specifically, students with disabilities. Doing my own research, it really touched me on a personal level on how there isn’t more that is being done. I want to talk to these students and work alongside them to better their student experience at SFU.
- One thing I would have done differently if I was faculty rep last year, is having a stronger presence in the FCAT Department. I know for a fact, that many first years and the years above, don’t know this position and what it can do for them! By having an open door policy, working with the innovative people in this department, and having a stronger platform, I believe that this position can have a stronger impact.
Cameron Nakatsu (Inspire SFU)
- As the current President of the Education Student Association, I have noticed the staggering changes in Education students’ motivation to join clubs after the peer mentorship program was implemented. I believe that it is the ties between younger and older students that allow the Education community to continue to grow. I plan on building on this motivation and community by working alongside the Education Student Association, to recruit and build leaders within the Faculty of Education in hopes that these student leaders will go beyond the Faculty of Education, and become involved in groups and committees within the SFSS
- Knowing how important in school volunteering is for potential teachers, I believe that the opportunities for Education students to volunteer are present, but they are not sure of the steps how to approach these opportunities. I want to bridge this gap between SFU and the various school boards surrounding our University. What I propose to do, is create a program within the Faculty of Education students to ensure that each student has an equal opportunity to volunteer in a classroom.
- I personally believe that our current faculty representative has done an amazing job with her work this year. The only thing I could think of changing would be the connections with other faculties. as there are students wanting to be teachers from all different faculties at SFU, what I would do, is create more ties with students from other faculties. As the Faculty of Education is so small, creating these ties among faculties, will hope to connect students, create relationships among potential teachers, and provide many other opportunities for Education students that would not have been accessible elsewhere.
- I plan to build and strengthen ties with the Faculty of Education and SFSS by working alongside the students in the Education Student Association (ESA) and continue the progress that we have made towards increasing our engagement. To me, education fosters an inclusive community that encourages collaboration in order to achieve our goals. Moreover, I strive to effectively communicate with students that are in the faculty, which includes asking for feedback and listening to what the students would like in order to improve their university experience, and voicing the needs of the undergraduates within my faculty.
- A project I plan to take on is organizing events that enable the diverse range of students from the faculty to participate in, which would create opportunities to find support from others. Therefore, if elected I intend to contact various programs like STEPS Forward in order to include students that have diverse needs and abilities, because I believe that we should promote what we would in the classroom, which is a place where all students find a sense of belonging and acceptance.
- The main aspect that I think truly is lacking is our engagement across all three campuses. Therefore, I think that there needs to be better communication between the SFSS and the Faculty of Education. If I had been the faculty representative, I would have made an initiative to ask students in the ESA what they would like SFSS to do during our bi-weekly meetings and provide more information regarding my role.
Russell Dunsford (Inspire SFU)
- feel as though a lot of the complaints that faculty of environment students have regarding SFSS stems from a lack of trust. This lack of trust, in turn, has resulted from a lack of transparency. To this end, I plan to be one hundred percent clear and open regarding all activities I will conduct within SFSS. While I will be an SFSS executive, I will not forget the faculty which I came from and continue to represent.
- If I had to have a singular project this year, it would be Faculty Solidarity. While two of the DSUs in the faculty work closely together, there is little interaction otherwise. I wish to change this. I believe this is the second smallest faculty on campus, but it does not need to feel small. A strong sense of community and being open to cooperation can make this faculty feel bigger and better than ever! Through joint events and increased communication, this can be one of, if not the most, influential faculties at SFU.
- While I do not intend to talk down on the previous Faculty Representative as he has done an outstanding job, I hope to set the bar even higher. I wish to shift focus from the environment to environmental students. Once I have graduated I can make plenty of difference in the natural world, but until then I will focus on empowering the people who will collectively make a much greater difference than I alone could dream of. In this way I will indirectly make a much greater difference than I could have otherwise hoped to.
Health sciences representatives
Christina Loutsik (Inspire SFU)
- I plan to work closely with HSUSU, as well as clubs and organizations which have connections with the faculty, such as the Variety for Tomorrow Club. My goal would be to make myself available to these clubs and organizations in order to collaborate with them on new projects, and to help them maintain ones that are already in progress.
- Some initiatives I really want to focus on is student engagement and mental health. More specifically I would like to work on involvement programs for first-year students coming into the faculty. I plan to collaborate with HSUSU to provide more activities and programs for students, provide them with a platform to connect with other first years, and an opportunity to benefit from collaboration with more experienced students. These social engagement initiatives could not only improve student mental health and well-being, but academic experience as well.
- If I had been a faculty representative this previous year, I would have connected more with other clubs and organizations related to the health sciences faculty. With this approach, I would hope that students could not only get more involved through HSUSU, but through clubs that may closely align with their interests and goals. Working closely with these organizations could help them expand and reach more students, so that students are more aware of the different opportunities they can take advantage of.
Yasmin Khalili (Shift SFU)
- I plan on working closely with the HSUSU, Health Science Undergraduate Student Union, by attending their meetings and building close ties with the executives and bringing their ideas to the table at SFSS. Still, I understand that many HSCI undergrads are not a part of HSUSU and thus working solely with them would not suffice. I plan on doing my best to advocate for the students whose voices may not be heard, and by building further connections with professors who have been a part of the faculty’s growth.
- Health Science is a Faculty that is experiencing incredible growth in terms of number of students and classes offered. With this in mind, it is important that connection between student unions, clubs, and university professors continue to increase so that accessibility in regard to opportunities available for students in maximized. This can be done through arranging meetings with professors to discuss what new opportunities can be made for students, increasing marketing for HSCI events, and creating deeper connections between HSCI and other Faculties.
- As a volunteer for the HSCI 2017 Frosh, I noticed that the event had a low turnout despite the number of new HSCI students admitted. As the faculty representative I would have taken a larger role in planning prior to the event and executing the event on day of. These do not need to be done in solidarity. Faculties such as Science and Business had large turnouts for their Frosh with better execution, something we can learn from. I plan on collaborating with my peers in those faculties to ensure that HSCI Froshes are just as great!
Gurprince Cheema (Inspire SFU)
- Strengthening ties between SFSS and the faculties is very important in order to understand what concerns need to be addressed. If elected to the SFSS as Science Representative, I would like to attend all the different DSU meetings within the faculty of sciences weekly. Here I would like to receive feedback directly from the students and work along side them to solve any problems that may exist. I would like to act as a voice and advocate all issues that arise within the faculty of science and discuss them with other board members of the SFSS.
- If elected as the Science Representative, I would like too work with fellow DSU’s too perhaps create a peer-mentorship program. I would like to engage newer students and introduce them to second, third, and fourth year students within their respected faculty. Here students would be able to get advice from students who have also gone through the same obstacle. I would like to start this peer-mentorship program too allow students to get more comfortable at university, and also allow older students too pass on guidance and knowledge. Engaging students is one of my main goals if elected.
- If I were the Science Representative in the previous year I would have communicated with the various DSU’s to have more co-departmental events. Co-departmental events allow all students within the faculty of sciences to meet and engage with each other. As a fellow science undergraduate, I understand how much more enjoyable the university experience is when you build more relationships. Joining different DSU’s together will allow students, who may have never met, to come together and bond. These events can include small trivia nights, pub nights, or simply open houses within undergraduate common rooms.
Natasha Birdi (Shift SFU)
- I plan on implementing avenues to increase direct communication between the SFSS and DSU Executives. Having a mailing list to convey notable events in BOD meetings to the executives will improve trust and transparency, and avoid issues that the abrupt change to food grant rules caused for many. DSU’s had little to no warning they would be taking effect between the time the suggested changes were presented, and when they were implemented. As an active DSU member, I saw first hand the decrease in meeting attendance due to food-less meetings.
- I want to advertise DSU events in every channel possible. First, by revamping the existing SFSS online event calendar to include every event with filters to separate social, academic, career preparation, pub nights, faculty, etc. to allow students to find exactly what they’d like to attend and show off just how social our campus actually is. Next, bringing this calendar out from the website and into phones through SFU’s app suite. And the AQ? There’s TVs throughout the AQ, and departmental TVs in the extending hallways. DSU’s have been working hard this year.
- Behind-the-scenes work is undeniably valuable from a committee’s perspective. Nothing would get done without it. However, direct interaction is equally important. I would have held more of a physical presence within the DSU’s and with SUS. Science has consistently been expanding, and the DSUs have made massive strides in this past year with increased attendance in their common room’s and at their events.