Jas Randhawa is heading into his fourth year as a business major. He prefers Cardi B to Offset, Jay-Z to Beyoncé, Starbucks’ Vanilla Bean Frappuccinos above every other drink, and he will be leading the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) Board of Directors as President for the next year.
In an interview with The Peak, Randhawa explained how his time at SFU as a student can be split into two different experiences. “When I came to SFU I had a different experience and now I have a different experience,” he said. “When I first came, I felt like I was just here for school and there was not much I could accomplish outside of academics.”
It was when he joined the Surrey Campus Committee (admittedly only for the volunteer experience at first) that Randhawa began getting involved in the campus community and making connections. The Surrey Campus Committee was where he first met previous SFSS president Hangue Kim and learned about the SFSS Board of Directors.
As SFSS President, Randhawa hopes to create an SFU community that will allow other students to be able to engage on campus as he did. “I really want to ensure that this campus continues becoming more engaged. That students are provided more opportunities to be involved,” he said.
Projects he’s looking forward to in the coming year involve the Surrey Space expansion project, transitioning into the Student Union Building, and the new keepme.SAFE mental health program being launched in August.
This previous year, Randhawa sat on the Board as at-large representative. Within the role, he participated in the Events Committee, the Build SFU Committee, and the Finance and Audit Committee. It was his participation on Board, being able to see and take part in the initiatives carried out during Hangue’s term, that inspired Randhawa to run for the leadership position this year. “I wanted to ensure this continuity continued and that the entire SFSS organization was not restructured in a way that there would be no time left to execute initiatives throughout the year,“ said Randhawa.
Thus far, he is finding that his experience is already proving valuable as, according to Randhawa, “the transition into the new Board has been much smoother than years in the past.”
“We have already booked orientation dates early on and we’ve kept communications strong between outgoing and incoming Board members so everyone has a strong grasp on knowledge early on,” he said.
One of Randhawa’s goals for this upcoming year is to continue setting his fellow Board members up for success throughout the term. “My biggest priority this year is to inspire my team members and make sure that they are actually out there accomplishing some of the goals and initiatives they put forward,” he said.
“I believe as president your job is to be a leader and inspire your team above also setting your own priorities. Those 15 members are going to be the ones out there engaging with students and clubs.” – Jas Randhawa, SFSS President
For Randhawa, who has run in a total of four student elections at SFU, this year’s election was “the most intense and competitive.” Another one of the projects he is looking to tackle moving forward involves possible electoral reform. “I believe one thing that was really different about this election was the increased use of social media as a campaign tool,” said Randhawa. “And that has rendered the [infractions] policy somewhat out of date and, as a result, I feel like we need to look into updating these policies.”
However, regardless of the “alleged misconduct,” as Randhawa put it, during the elections regarding individuals and slates, Randhawa is looking forward to the elected team working together to fulfill their initiatives.
The legacy that Randhawa hopes to leave behind is a better experience for students on campus. “[I want to create] a better, stronger culture for students to come here and want to get involved,” he said. “I want to have more opportunities outside of academics.”