Get to know your 2020 SFSS candidates – VP Student Life

The Peak sent out a questionnaire to SFSS candidates to help you decide who to vote for

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Compiled by: Kelly Chia, Features Editor

It’s election season for the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS)! The Peak has reached out to candidates to ask three questions based on their positions and compiled the results to help you navigate this election period. Voting this year will take place March 17–19 through SFU Mail.

The SFSS is SFU’s student-led society, representing the entire undergraduate population of the university. Headed by 16 Board of Directors, SFSS members are elected every spring by the student body to hold a one-year term. During this term 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.

Please note that these answers have not been edited for spelling, grammar, or clarity, nor do they reflect the positions of The Peak Publications Society. Candidates were given a limit of 50 words per answer; responses that went over 50 words have been cut short.

This article has been divided by candidate positions. This is for the VP Student Life candidates. Click here to read the questionnaires for the President, VP External Relations, VP Finance, VP Student Services, VP University Relations, At-Large Representatives, Faculty Representatives.

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.


1. Given that SFU is often seen as a “commuter campus,” how do you plan to enrich the student experience at all of SFU’s campuses?
2.  What will be your top priority in this position?
3.  What will you do that your predecessor specifically did not do?


Photo: Chris Ho / The Peak

Jennifer Chou

1. I will host more accessible low-barrier events by incorporating longer drop-in times, inclusivity for dietary restrictions, and mindfulness for students’ circumstances. I recognize students often cannot attend events because of part-time jobs, which is why I will advocate for increased SFSS bursary contributions and a tuition freeze.

2. I want to ensure student groups feel supported in their activities (room-booking, grant requests, marketing). While I love hosting cool events like Brushes & Boba @ SFU Surrey and Care Packages @ Dog Therapy, the main role of VP Student Life is to oversee and be the liaison for student groups.

3. Having talked to my predecessor about ways to improve the Events Committee, I will restructure it to be more effective. I will also collaborate with diverse groups on campus by liaising between them and SFU for large-scale events such as the Holi festival, which unfortunately was cancelled last year.

Photo: Chris Ho / The Peak

Rachel Dee

1. To enrich student experience at all campuses, I will diversify the locations of student experience events and resources. I plan increase partnerships so we are able to host more club nights at alternative spots opposed to The Study, and have more free food resources available at all campuses.

  1. My top priority is to ensure all events are feasible. To plan for events right now with the same scope as Fall-Kickoff is infeasible without running a further deficit.  With securing sponsorships beforehand, I will bring in external talent and F&B handouts at a lower associated cost for intended [over word count.]
  2. In comparison to Jessica, I plan to increase resources invested into long-term self care. This includes workshop/ seminars on self care/love, life-coaching sessions, and yoga. It is more beneficial to invest funds into more resources for more students, opposed to expensive short-term resources for a small number of membership.
Photo: Chris Ho / The Peak

Saqib Madhany

1. I have a two-pronged strategy to target this problem. Extend the duration that students are on campus through evening events. Themed pub nights on Burnaby, Surrey campuses and club nights near Vancouver campus. Encourage more club involvement by funding SFU clubs/unions to be able to take on even more [over word count.]

2. My priority is to garner the student’s needs and expectations for the Fall Kickoff which is meant to be a pillar event of the year. I will turn students’ needs and expectations into a reality that will play a massive part in the overall success of the event.

3. The unsuccess of Fall Kickoff was due to poor financial planning and time management on the part of my predecessor. I will investigate why the location was changed from a place of proven success and satisfaction. I will begin this initial analysis and take it on as my due diligence.


Photo: Chris Ho / The Peak

Jonathan Peral Gort

1. I specifically have an event in mind where I will encourage all clubs at SFU to gather at one place in the Burnaby campus on a monthly basis. The event will give students a chance to socialize and network with students that might not have much in common with them.

2. My top priority as VP of Student Life will be to unite and build a strong community at SFU by delivering events such as the one mentioned in my previous question. Furthermore, I will also prioritize artistic events in where students will get together and paint parts of the school.

3. I’m extremely confident that as VP of Student Life, I will be able to create unity amongst all students (whether they relate in the programs they’re in, or not) across all SFU campuses.


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