Written by: Michelle Gomez, News Editor
As the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) Board switches over for the upcoming school year, it is time to say goodbye to the 2019/2020 Board. Outgoing President Giovanni HoSang shared his parting thoughts with The Peak on his time with the SFSS.
Can you list some highlights of your time with the SFSS?
HoSang’s main goal coming into the year was to improve the relationship between the SFSS and the students, the Rotunda community, and the independent student societies. A highlight for him is seeing more of a bond between all of the groups now.
One of the Board’s key accomplishments in bringing these groups together was the decision to grant the Rotunda groups space in the new Student Union Building (SUB). “I think that is something that shows how the Board can start listening to students,” said HoSang.
HoSang is also proud of the student activism that occurred over the past year, stating that, “I really think the whole activism profile of the SFSS, or of the student body at large, has really been lifted due to a lot of advocacy on my part.”
HoSang added that he is happy with how the Board has handled COVID-19. He noted that in addition to launching $150,000 in emergency funds for students, the SFSS also successfully lobbied the university regarding alternative grading options for the Spring 2020 semester.
What were some of your biggest challenges in your time with the SFSS?
One of HoSang’s biggest challenges was leading a Board that had opposing views on a number of issues, and him being on the minority side of those views, making it difficult to pass certain motions.
“Looking back on all of that I recognize that they were just challenges, and the fact that we overcame those challenges is very positive [ . . . ] I’m thankful for the ability to do some pushing and pulling to get stuff done.”
What was your main accomplishment as president and what was the Board’s main accomplishment as a whole?
As president, HoSang’s key accomplishment was “being able to inspire a lot of students to get involved within the student society.” He noted that the SFSS had a record amount of candidates in the 2020 elections.
According to HoSang, the Board’s biggest accomplishment was “being able to push through a lot of motions and have a lot of impact on the whole of the society.” He added that the Board was able to accomplish many of the big goals that they laid out for themselves at the start of the year.
“Even though people have different views on stuff, we were able to actually come to agreement on a lot of issues. Things that you would never have thought that we would have got through, we did.”
Any advice that you would give to a student considering running for a position in the future?
“Never ever be afraid to speak up for what you believe in.” .
What would you like to see the incoming Board accomplish next year?
“We brought back activism this year, and next year I think is the opportunity to build student power as a whole across the province.”
He added that the next Board will be crucial in important topics such as climate action, solidarity, better support for international students, and lowering student fees.
“We should definitely use this as an opportunity to make sure that students are centred across the province and across Canada. This Board will be very vital in doing that type of relationship building and movement building.”
In discussing the incoming president Osob Mohamed, HoSang said, “I am really excited to see what the society will be under her leadership. Just as I look back on presidents such as Chardaye Bueckert, I look forward to a president such as Osob Mohamed.”
Was it all worth it?
HoSang concluded that running for president was worth it and he would definitely do it again.
“A lot of tears sometimes, a lot of passion, but a lot of joy and laughter [ . . . ] I have grown immensely.”