Meet the Candidates in the Upcoming KSA Election

Find out who deserves your vote when the polls open on Feb. 12 and 13

(Kristen Frier)

It’s February, which means that KPU students are putting their names forward to run in the Kwantlen Student Association’s upcoming by-election. Right now there are 35 names on the list of potential future politicians hoping to win their say in KPU’s student-funded, student-driven governmental body.

You, as paying members of the KSA (check your tuition fees to find out exactly how much you pay), are the only demographic on campus with the power to decide who will get elected. To get a better idea of whose name you want to write down on the ballot, you can read more about the candidates below.

All statements have been edited for length and clarity.

 

Surrey Campus Representative (1 Position Available)

Manthan Kaushal

MAJOR: Business Management

Why are you running for this position?

I’m running to help both international and domestic students. I want to take on some issues with the U-Pass, some food issues. I also want to discuss some library issues. I want to study on Saturdays and Sundays but [those days] are not so good. And the gymnasium is only open from Monday to Friday, so that’s one of the issues I want to bring up.

Why should students vote for you?

I have my own charity organization. My charity’s name is “Unselfish True” and I run that organization with one of my friends. We do charity on East Hastings for homeless people. We bring clothes, food, and water, and sanitary pads for the women. So I want to build up the students [at KPU] by focusing on moral values. The main thing [I want to do] is help the students.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

I want a little bit of extra promotion about the plans, like there are dental plans, cleaning plans, [but] most of the students don’t know about them. So I want to increase that promotion. I want to bring on extra volunteers, so that every student gets the benefit [of these plans].

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

By being honest and responsible. It’s a simple thing. Honest and responsible by doing my best with all my duties. If [the students] need something they can just ask me. I’m very open, at this university everyone knows me, so they can just come directly to me and tell me their problems.

 

Tech Campus Representative (1 Position Available)

Jeremy Law

MAJOR: Computer Aided Drafting and Design

Why are you running for this position?

Someone was like, “Would you like to run? Because KPU Tech is usually very underrepresented,” and I was like, “[That campus has] been big for me because I’ve been part of it since my district program in Grade 12 year.” I just wanted to give back in a way that was more proactive.

Why should students vote for you?

I have this eagerness and this passion to learn about the position but also learn about the ways that I can help KPU Tech feel not like just a school you’re going to, to feel like it’s part of who you are, that it’s a home. For me, I always felt like that, like KPU Tech was a home for me, and I want other people to feel the same way.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

For my campus, I would love more events because it’s usually bland. We have a nice cafeteria and KPU Richmond has their Farmers Market, KPU Surrey has the many events that they hold, and I think KPU Tech should be also given that opportunity to hold those events and to have students be engaged in them.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

I would make sure that there would be a direct line to me to make sure that if anyone had any issues … [they will be able] to be honest about that and their safety concerns. I would also like to be able to get to know my student body and make sure they know that I’m representing them.

 

Langley Campus Representative (1 Position Available)

Lincoln Saugstad

MAJOR: Policy Studies and Sustainability

Why are you running for this position?

I’m going to be in Langley this semester [and] I’m going to be there as long as I’m still at university. I was on the senate last year so through that I got to sit on the board of the KSA as a senate representative. I’ve been to two or three council meetings and I chair two committees. I’m chair of the external affairs committee and the sustainability committee, and I’ve been involved with the environmental sustainability committee since I started at Kwantlen.

Why should students vote for you?

I bring a lot of interest and engagement and passion to this role. I’ve developed a lot of experience and I already have an upper hand compared to some candidates that haven’t had that opportunity yet. I know what I’m getting into, what I’m able to do and what I’m not able to do.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

In terms of how I’d like to see the KSA develop, first it would be getting a better understanding of what the KSA is doing for students, and what areas it can improve on.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

First of all I would be accountable because of all the work I’m doing, and all the initiatives I would bring forward would be confronted by other members of council. Otherwise, I hope to be a good representative. I’m open to people contacting me, talking to me about issues. I’ll have presence on the Langley campus, so students can contact me directly.

 

Arts Representative (3 Positions Available)

Bilan Hassan

MAJOR: Anthropology

Why are you running for this position?

I’ve done a lot of volunteering for the orientation so I mentor first year students, not only with the arts but with what life’s like in general inside the university. I definitely want to be a voice for arts students, and a lot of it is because of our challenges, even getting into our courses, or courses unexpectedly getting dropped or cancelled.

Why should students vote for you?

I’ve been on council before and I’m currently Langley campus rep. I definitely know what the KSA does, what we can do, what we can’t do. In terms of being a representative, I feel like, as the current campus rep., I’m able to hold some events and it would be the same for arts. I’m hoping to do some events for arts students, hold some graduation events, and address concerns in the arts programs in general.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

Nothing much; just keeping more diversity and having different voices is what I would like to see.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

By attending all the meetings … [and] setting meetings in places where the arts program is attended. That’s one thing that would hold me accountable, and through written history from the council meetings.

 

David Piraquive

MAJOR: Political Science & History

Why are you running for this position?

I’m really passionate about advocating for students. It’s something that I’ve done in the past and I just want to inform students about the services we have, which is something I’ve been doing in the past by doing classroom announcements, talking to students during events, going to new student orientation. We provide a lot of essential services for students and I want them to get bang for their buck.

Why should students vote for you?

I believe that the platform that I have will benefit students. I want to advocate more for on-campus mental health resources, better transit, more core funding for post-secondary institutions. There’s also a federal election coming up, and I’ve been involved in previous Get Out the Vote campaigns, so I also want to head that if re-elected.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

One thing I’ve definitely done in the past has been more outreach to campuses. One thing that I failed to do was reach out to my other elected officials, so I want to work more with all of the other campuses reps to see how we can do outreach to other campuses. It was a little bit hard for me being an exec, because there’s a period of time where you basically have to get used to the role and to learn it, and other things come up, but I feel like I’m more prepared now to do that.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

I would say just trying to do the best I can to be transparent, writing reports of everything that I do and just being honest with students, letting them know where they can see those reports. They’re accessible online.

 

Business Representative (5 Positions Available)

Simranjit Dhaliwal

MAJOR: Business Management

Why are you running for this position?

I’m a business student, and basically I know everything about business, so if students face any problems I can help them solve their problems.

Why should students vote for you?

I’m so friendly to everyone, and everyone knows me. If they have any problems or queries about business then I will definitely try to solve it and tell [the problem] to my seniors so they can solve it. [That way] all students can get opportunities and we can get new courses for business.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

Most students don’t know about the Kwantlen Student Association. When I came to KPU last year I didn’t know. So I want each and every student to know [about the KSA] and [as a Business Representative] I would definitely go to them and talk to them. I would talk to them about [KSA] Council, and they could tell their problems to me and I would tell them to Council.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

I’m an international student, so I will try to guide them through the business courses, because when I came there was no one to guide me. So I would just try to guide all the students so that they could choose the right courses, and I would take care of them.

 

Mayur Gupta

MAJOR:  Business Management

Why are you running for this position?

Because I am from business, and I am [earning a] business diploma.

Why should students vote for you?

I will help them, so when they have a query, they can just meet me. And I will always be available, so they can just come tell me what the issue is.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

A major concern is, when [students] register for a course, [the university] changes the professor, it’s very difficult. Last semester I had a good teacher, but after that, it was too difficult for me to get from this teacher. So I want to change this.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

I will help everyone. When everyone comes [to me], I will help them.

 

Arshdeep Dharni

MAJOR: Accounting

Why are you running for this position?

To be honest, I have no idea what the duties and responsibilities are under the KSA business representative. I have volunteering experience and other business-related experience and it will help me in the future, so that’s why I choose it. To be honest, I’m such an introverted person, I just wanted to make contact with other [people].

Why should students vote for you?

I work hard. To be honest, they don’t know what kind of person I am, so I don’t know why. I just want to collect experience with different people and I will do my best to help them out.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

I would like to introduce more concepts about business for students who don’t know what the positions are. I would like to introduce something different so that everyone would like to get involved in business and business-related fields. Most people here are trying to finish their studies and complete a degree, so I would like to do some events so that people will take interest and show interest in business instead of their degrees.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

I would try my best to represent myself in every meeting and every situation and if I found any difficulty I would talk with my team members.

 

Amrinder Singh Sidhu

MAJOR: Accounting, wants to switch to Marketing

Why are you running for this position?

I feel that I have to run for this position, because in the past year, all business representative, they didn’t do anything. No one wanted to change anything important.

Why should students vote for you?

I’m already an orientation leader. I’m a junior orientation leader, so I have leadership ability. I also know more about KPU programs, like accounting and business management and peer tutoring. I also have good grades.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

I just want it to be simple, so new students can understand it easily. When I [first] came here, I had so many difficulties to find my course. I just came here with my accounting one, but I don’t know what KPU has in [the] marketing program, so that’s why I have to shift it now. If I knew that already, I would already take a marketing course.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

I just started to maintain all these things. Focus on my studying and get a good GPA, and help the students with their programs. Mainly the new students have more problems with faculty, so I want to try to help them.

 

Health Representative (1 Position Available)

Matthew Yorston

MAJOR: Going into Nursing

Why are you running for this position?

I hold the position right now, I got in with the by-election in October. I’ve loved it so far, and what I’ve been doing there. It’s only been four months, so I haven’t done a lot, but I’m excited at what I can do with the extra time.

Why should students vote for you?

In my high school I was on my grad council, and I was a firefighter, and I was on committees with the Fruvale Firefighter Society. I have experience and I’m excited about what I can do. I really love this idea of organizing and planning, so I think I can definitely be helpful, and with my experience, I have the qualities to succeed.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

I think the biggest thing for me is that no one really knows the health rep. exists. As far as I know, my spot was left unfilled for 5 years before I came into it. I think that’s the biggest thing, that we’re seeing a shift away from health, since there has been no representative. So we’re not seeing a lot of programs reaching out to nursing students, when actually we see the most complaints or. So that’s where I’d like to see the most change.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

The biggest thing is they keep track of what council meetings or committees you go to. So right now I’m on Universities Affairs committee, Social Equity and Justice committee, and the Internal committee as well as council. So I think a big thing is, when you see that I’m not attending these committees, which they keep track of, I think going to those meetings is the first biggest thing. The next thing is being accountable when people email me, and responding in an appropriate amount of time, so that they know I’m there and working for them.

 

Indigenous Students Representative (1 Position Available)

Sarah Strachan

The candidate answered questions over email after declining a phone interview

MAJOR: Anthropology

Why are you running for this position?
I am running for this position again because I love all the work that I have been able to do over the last year, and to see the growth in the Indigenous students on campus, and I want to continue doing what I can to see our Indigenous community get stronger.

Why should students vote for you?
I am committed to continuing my work to bring more events, opportunities, and awareness to the KPU students around Indigenous people and our cultures, languages, and reconciliation.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?
I have gotten to know a lot about the KSA over the last year, and there isn’t much I would change. I think the challenge of getting students more involved is always a thing, and it is something that we are all working towards and trying to figure out together.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?
I am usually always at the Gathering Place or near the KSA offices if someone needs to find me. I am also continuously near my phone or computer and answer fairly quickly when needed.

 

Students with Disabilities Representative (1 Position Available)

Jaya Dhillon

MAJOR: Anthropology

Why are you running for this position?

I’m a disability student myself, and I know that what the schools need to accommodate for me needs to be done, so I want to be hands-on in making sure that whatever needs to be accommodated gets done.

I’m hard of hearing, so I’m part of the hard of hearing and deaf community, and part of what they do is sign language classes. The language, the dialect, is hard for me, but also I know that sign language would be not only beneficial to me but people who are teaching programs, who are [working as a] educational assistants or a disability advisor.

Why should students vote for you?

Students know what I have in mind and I think they can rely on me to make sure that what they want, and the needs they bring to the table, I will fight for it in any way I can. I also want to bring a bigger picture onto the disability students. I feel like they’re kind of neglected in some ways. I want students to know, if you’re a disability student, there are so many things you can do here. They just don’t know it yet.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

Definitely more funding for disability students, more access for them, more resources for them, as well as having more activities and events solely for the disability students and also for other students so they both can interact.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

Getting feedback. I want to do a suggestion box for disability students who can give feedback through suggestions, and I really do want to reach out to them, and I want them to come to me if anything’s not going the way they think it should be doing. I want them to hold me accountable.

 

International Students Representative (1 Position Available)

Gurdial Dhindsa

MAJOR: Business Management

Why are you running for this position?

I am an international student, so I just want to represent my community, my [fellow] students. I can present their voice, whatever they want to say, I can make their voice reach the [Kwantlen Student] Association.

Why should students vote for you?

I’m just a normal student, like them. I just need a little courage to stand out, so I can make my voice heard to the [KSA]. So whatever the international students need, any help in their studies—I will organize events. I will help the students as a representative.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

The Kwantlen Student Association is pretty much all good, but I would try to make certain changes, like I would try to build a good relationship between students and the KSA. I will organize the association’s events, so that students can get good information about the KSA. The KSA has a lot of good things, but we don’t have much information regarding that.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?
As I mentioned, I’m an international student, so I will be in a good position already if I am [elected].

 

Mature Students Representative (1 Position Available)

Jaspal Rai

MAJOR: Accounting

Why are you running for this position?

I’m running to bring a change to Kwantlen on behalf of all the students, to make sure that they have a voice. Sometimes students don’t know who they can talk to. They usually don’t know where to go with some kinds of issues, so I’m trying to make an image for myself so that if students have problems or need guidance they can come to me.

Why should students vote for you?

Students should vote for me because I’m going to bring a change. Last year, some representatives weren’t willing to bring the changes that they said they were going to bring, so I was concerned about that and based on that I wanted to run this year.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

The main issue that we have is that there aren’t enough events happening. People aren’t socializing with each other. There weren’t enough events happening after classes or where everyone could come and socialize and make new friends, especially international students. They don’t have any guidance for where they should be going. They’re just coming to class and after class they don’t know what they do to make new friends.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

I’m going to be accountable. I’m going to be on campus four days a week, and I’ll have set times so everyone will know how to contact me, and I’ll be walking around campus so people can approach me whenever they want.

 

Women’s Representative (1 Position Available)

Amei-lee Laboucan

MAJOR: Journalism

Why are you running for this position?

I’m running because of the [Runner’s] pitch meetings. In every pitch list that I got over almost two years, there’s seemingly no representation for women on campus. I just thought that if the position is open and there’s zero representation, I can’t possibly do worse than what was being done before. Women’s advocacy is [also] something that I hopefully can do with my life and with my career beyond school.

Why should students vote for you?

I only want students to vote for me if they feel like I’m someone who can represent them in the way that they want to be represented, and hopefully, in that position, I’ll be able to represent women on campus in a positive way. I feel confident that I can do that.

What would you like to change about the Kwantlen Student Association?

One of the things I’m hoping to do if I do get elected is immediately try to start a women of colour representative or a collective because I think women’s issues are important, but I also think that women of colour need a separate space to sort of deal with some of the issues they deal with. They need a safe space to do so, just like how women need a safe space from men to be able to deal with a lot of their struggles that don’t necessarily relate to men.

If elected, how will you remain accountable to your constituency?

I really just want to be involved. I want to be open with the students, and I want students to know that the women’s representative has eyes, has ears, has a voice for them, and I would hope that also includes me being accountable to them, me listening to any concerns they have and putting them forward, and organizing meetings for them to attend as women’s rep.

 

Candidates who did not respond to interview requests by press time:

Academic and Career Advancement (1 Position Available)

Henry To

Arts Representative (3 Positions Available

Koushal Charan
Harkeerat Gill
Harjapleen (Japleen) Kaur
Katelyn Plamondon
Amandeep Singh

Business Representative (5 Positions Available

Vanshi Kapoor
Prabhdeep Lidhar
Bakhsdip Mann
Karan Saggu
Dhruv Shahi

Science and Horticulture Representative (2 Positions Available)

Ravjot Dadial
Victoria Kalitowski

Students of Colour Representative (1 Position Available)

Bhavkaran Aujla
Mohammed (Amir) Mukim

International Students Representative (1 Position Available)

Shivam Kataria

Langley Campus Representative (1 Position Available)

Paramjit Singh

Richmond Campus Representative (1 Position Available)

Gurjant Dhillon
Damanpreet Garcha

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