Get to know your SFSS 2020 candidates – Faculty Representatives

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

Image courtesy of sfss.ca

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 Faculty Representative candidates. Click here to read the questionnaires for the President, VP External Relations, VP Finance, VP Student Life, VP Student Services, VP University Relations, At-Large Representatives.


Faculty Representatives

Faculty representatives are the link between the Board and their faculties, including the Departmental Student Unions (DSUs). The specific duties representatives takes on depends on their faculty.

Questions:

1. Why do you want to be a part of the SFSS?
2. 
What is the biggest issue that your faculty needs addressed?
3. What kind of relationship do you have with the DSUs in your department, and how do you plan to develop that relationship?

 



Applied Sciences Representatives

Photo: Chris Ho / The Peak


Kia Mirsalehi

1. I want to empower student groups on SFU. A giant issue is the lack of written policy regarding clubs and student unions. It’s hard for student groups to run events and promote themselves when their funding dramatically decreases or they’re suddenly given a whole new slew of rules without warning.

2. There are three big issues in Applied Sciences that need to be addressed right now. The first, helping new SEE students transition into their program and build a DSU. The second is getting lab space for Surrey students. Lastly, making sure Burnaby DSUs are protected during the upcoming ASB renovation.

3. As previous Applied Sciences Representative and current Computing Science President, I’ve worked alongside execs from all  the DSUs and have attended many of their events. I plan on using my close relationship with the DSUs to help build infrastructure that ensures they remain active even as their executive teams change.

 

Photo: Chris Ho / The Peak


Harry Preet Singh

1. As a third-year student in Computing Science, I was unaware about the policies and the working of the SFSS. After talking to several students at SFU, I have realised that SFSS hasn’t been transparent and has swayed away from its original motive which is to protect student rights and interests.

2. Applied Science needs to develop relevant technical experience among its students. I personally have understood that independent projects have a huge impact on a resume when looking for jobs and co-op. Hence, the faculty in general must expand its impact apart from its academic relationship with its students. 

3. I plan to develop the relationship with transparent communication and by actively listening to their problems. I want to focus on the Surrey DSUs, as they have continuously lacked resources from SFSS. I plan to support in all forms for the development of the DSU of Sustainable Engineering. 


Arts and Social Sciences Representatives

Inderpreet Gakhal

1. As a fourth-year Criminology student I have developed dynamic skills throughout my experience as a research assistant, working for a crown corporation, and being on the dean’s honor roll. I want to be a part of SFSS to ensure all students are provided equal opportunities to become engaged undergraduate students.

2. As a candidate, I am proud to say I am representing the largest and most diverse faculty. I want to ensure students are engaged to become lifetime learners and advocates for human rights. These skills will enable them to adapt to various workplace environments, which they will encounter.

3. I am working on developing a relationship with the DSU’s in my department by attending meetings. To ensure they are provided resources to enhance participation in the department. Most importantly I will collaborate with students in the faculty to represent their voices, concerns, and any challenges they are facing.

Photo: Chris Ho / The Peak

Sude Guvendik

1. SFU has a very diverse community and yet not all students have their own space on campus where they can belong. My ultimate goal is to cultivate SFU’s school spirit starting with FASS through celebrating diversity and strengthening peer mentorship.

2. Getting SASS engagement at Surrey campus. Making sure that the SASS team is more involved. Making sure first year students are well supported.

3. I attend the weekly meetings for both my own DSU but others as well so that we can all know what each other is doing. I want to bring together more FASS student unions and clubs to collaborate on both larger and more diverse events.


Simran Jir

1. As a board member on the SFSS, it would assist me in creating an improved sense of community among students as well as addressing student concerns. I want to increase core funding for clubs and DSU’s, advocate for more study spaces, and focus on improving mental health resources for students.

2. There is a lack of engagement in FASS because students are unaware of what opportunities there are. Students deserve more information sessions that keep them updated on things that interest them. By doing that, there will be an increase in inclusivity and community in my faculty.

3. There’s always room for improvement in everything. I am increasing and improving my relationship with the DSUs in my faculty, FASS. I’d like to have bi-weekly meetings with the DSUs to make sure I form a connection and stay updated on matters that need assistance and student concerns and interests.



Business Representatives

Sanaa Cassum

1. I find that very few students are aware about the role of the SFSS and the services they have access to. I hope to encourage student involvement within the office, through events and one-on-one discussions, thus educating them about the SFSS, understanding their concerns and enriching their university experience.

2. A pressing concern is the lack of academic resource support outside of TA and Professor’s office hours. Students can benefit from workshops for development of skills or tutoring sessions for additional help in their fields. Furthermore, an academic portal that gives access to past examinations and assignments can encourage learning.

3. I began my Beedie journey as a froshee in BASS Frosh and hold immense pride and appreciation for BASS. I hope to strengthen our bond and increase communication through regular meetings which will help identify the resources they need, address students’ concerns and evaluate the progress towards our collective goals. 


Mehtaab Gill

1. I have served as an Executive Director on the Events Committee this past year, and I want to continue serving the SFSS membership in a formal capacity. The Board, and specifically the VP External role, offers a unique opportunity to play an active role in student advocacy and representation.

2. There is a disconnect between Beedie clubs and the SFSS which causes a lot of delays and interruptions for student leaders trying to organize programming in the faculty. Beedie clubs are very ambitious by nature, and are currently not able to maximize their potential due to this disconnect.

3. Through my involvement with BASS and Beedie clubs, I have fostered a great working relationship with many of the students I want to represent. I plan to focus on relationship building and become an active SFSS presence at Beedie events/meetings where I can be a visible source of information.


Pariya Zabihi

1. Ultimately, I see a huge need for student advocacy both on campus and in the boardroom. I want to be part of a board that amplifies marginalized voices and prioritizes the needs of those who are seldom accounted for. I want students to know what they are buying into.

2. One of the most pressing issues in our faculty is the lack of Beedie student involvement. After talking to my peers, I found that many students feel intimidated by the elitist nature of some Beedie clubs, and I plan on working with our student unions to change that.

3. I’ve reached out to our SUs and DSUs to see how their needs are currently being met. If elected, I will meet with club and DSU execs monthly to ensure I am using all of the resources available to me in order to support them as much as possible.



Communication, Art & Technology Representatives

Photo: Chris Ho / The Peak

Aman Ahmad

1. I wanted to make lasting changes that enhance the student experience in the faculty and the best way to do that is through the SFSS.

2. The most common theme brought up by FCAT students is the lack of engaging events and opportunities to develop careers outside of co-op. Currently the only way to build your career in the faculty is through co-op. While the program is extremely beneficial, I want FCAT students to be able [over word count.]

3. A strong relationship with Student Unions is critical for any change. I plan on working closely with the FCAT student unions to strengthen the relationship between Student Unions and the SFSS. I’m currently in the process of meeting with student unions in my faculty to get to know them better.

 

Photo: Chris Ho / The Peak

Haider Masood

1. I want to advocate for marginalized communities at SFU and support international students (including FIC students). I am passionate for working towards putting cap on international tuition increase. As FIC students also pay SFSS fees, I want to ensure they have full membership, voting rights, and access to the U-Pass.

2. FCAT needs permanent structural support. Grants for FCAT based DSUs can take several weeks to be approved. This majorly contributes to a lack of connection between the Student Society and DSUs, which leads to apathy and frustration within our faculty.

3. I plan to attend monthly FCAT President’s Meetings, like current FCAT Rep Fiona Li. However, the meetings are often missed by DSUs Presidents due to time and schedule constraints. Therefore, I will personally be meeting at least once a semester with DSUs execs.


Education Representatives

Tagwa Ali

1. I want to be a part of the SFSS so I can increase engagement and opportunities for Education students and bring progressive change to students at SFU. I will use my position in the Board of Directors to advocate and fight for marginalized groups and communities on campus.

2. The biggest issue in the Faculty of Education is lack of engagement between students. Education students are scattered throughout different Faculties and Departments, so it is hard to connect with each other. There need to be more initiatives in place to help connect and engage students.

3. I hope to develop a stronger relationship with my DSU through open dialogue and collaboration. We are all working towards the same cause; connecting students and I will support my DSU and help spread awareness of their events and initiatives, as well as help organize more community building events.


Emerly Liu

1. As the Education Representative for the 2019/2020 SFSS Board term, I want to continue to partner with SFSS Board members, SFSS staff, Faculty, and student groups on campus to pursue initiatives that will support and benefit the undergraduate community.

2. Through the “SFU Faculty of Education Undergraduates and Prospective Teachers” Facebook group that I launched in September, students have voiced that they encounter difficulty when looking for opportunities to work with children. I am currently researching solutions that connect students to schools and child-related programs to present to the Faculty.

3. As the previous President and current executive of the Education Student Association, I have a strong relationship with my DSU. During these past 3 years, I have played an active role in cultivating a positive community by spearheading events and boosting team morale, and I will continue to do so.


Environment Representatives


Anuki Karunajeewa

1. My main motivation was the SUB space issue (so happy for the victory, although I would love to push for more adequate space). I want to support marginalized groups, educate and engage students in climate justice, Indigenous solidarity, and activism through an intersectional lens.

  1. I think there needs to be better communication within the faculty. The faculty needs to push for more climate justice education and solutions because climate change is a human rights and political issue, rather than a purely environmental or science-based issue. 

3. I’ve been working with BESU since it’s the union of my program (I’m in REM), but I’ve been starting to work with EVSC and GSU. I plan to connect with more DSUs by attending meetings, helping plan events and building personal connections.



Health Sciences Representatives

Daria Elrick

1. In short, I would like to be a member of the board because I feel like my experience will allow me to be an effective and fair representative for students. We have a responsibility to successfully and transparently govern our student society. For more information on this please visit: bit.ly/Daria-HSCI-Rep

2. Many students will agree that our biggest issue is the lack of course offerings. While I agree that it is an important issue, the board’s ability to influence this is likely small. I think the issue that our board can affect is the engagement and student life of HSCI students.

3. While I have not worked with HSUSU directly in the past, I look forward to building a productive and positive working relationship with them. I would like to work with them to support their work with career nights, and additional programing that will aid HSCI students.

Roopan Garcha

1. Being a board member on the SFSS board of directors would allow me to advocate for student concerns. As a Health Sciences Representative, I would be inspired to enhance student experience, promote health and well-being, advocate for student affordability and resources, and provide reassuring support to all students.

2. Throughout my term in HSUSU, I’ve noticed the lack of engagement of FHS students as they are unaware of opportunities present within their faculty. I have worked alongside members of HSUSU to promote career panels, study sessions, and Q&A panels and I intend on expanding connectivity in the upcoming [over word count.]

3. Over the past year, I have had the honour to be an executive director on HSUSU, which is the FSU of the Health Sciences Faculty. This role has allowed me to engage with not only students within the faculty, but with staff members as well, to advocate for student concerns.

Nafoni Modi

1. Being a Black woman, it is rare to see people who look like me and represent my needs in places of power. I hope that I can help bring a new voice to the table, and hopefully encourage more black women to run in the future.

2. Course offerings are an issue that I often discuss amongst my peers within HSCI. We need to have required courses offered throughout the entire year, with multiple sections per semester. Courses often fill up quickly, which is frustrating, and adds more time to our degree.

3. I have been a peer mentor and attended events held by the DSUs over the past few years, and I’ve started developing relationships within the faculty. However, I hope to develop a deeper relationship through dialogue and collaboration, especially in the form of HSCI career-based events and student engagement.



Science Representatives

Pooria Arab

1. The SFSS is the student union of my university which over 26,000 students are a member of. Being an active member of this community and having the potential to cause an effective change and add value to students’ lives is a meaningful goal of mine.

2. Lack of communication – there are gazillion opportunities to engage and actively be a part of the Faculty of Science in terms of research, resources, and lots of other valuable options that are not being communicated clearly to students.

3. Having attended the DSU meeting of my faculty and engaging with the wonderful team there, I’d say that a nurturing relationship is in place and more news will come about the different propositions I have and the future collaborations that could take place.

Photo: Chris Ho / The Pea

WeiChun Kua

  1. I see the lack of advocacy, support and engagement with the students from the SFSS. Giovanni and Osob have been great mentors to me and notably, their work as board members in fighting for marginalized communities among other things has inspired me to run and continue on fighting for students.
  2.  Lack of long term common room spaces for DSUs and SUS. Providing them with long term spaces can ensure they can be there to serve future members for years to come. Also working with them to renovate and upgrade those spaces so it is more usable.
  3. I reached out to SUS and DSUs and am making sure their concerns are heard. I plan to attend meetings whenever I can and make sure to establish a clear line of communication if I do get elected so that we can work together to better serve Science students.

Boris Perija

1. I have decided to run as a science representative this year because I love how actively the various DSU’s in the faculty promote the social and academic wellbeing of students. I plan to further support them with their goals and help implement strategies to improve engagement within the faculty.

2. I believe that students (first years especially) have a difficult time figuring out how they can be involved in their faculty and that’s something that I actively want to work on. There are so many opportunities here at our university though many people simply do not know they exist.

3. By being involved with the Science Undergraduate Society, I have a general base of understanding when it comes to working with DSU’s in our faculty. In the future, I plan on communicating more closely and attend more meetings with all science DSU’s at SFU to better support them.

 

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