Meet Your KSA Candidates: Faculty, Business Representatives
Features / January 30, 2017
Rawan Ramini Running for Re-election Currently VP Finance & Operations
You’re running again, do you want your exec position again?
Yes, that is the plan.
What have you been doing in your past year as a councilor and as a member of the executive team?
It has been a great experience, first of all. I have enjoyed every single second of it. I’ve been working on a couple of projects that haven’t been finalized yet, but there are projects that have been finalized. First of all, we started the immigration consultation service for the international students, which is a drop-in session for all international students that can talk to a professional person, ask them any legal questions that they have.
I also started the Kwantlen Improv workshops, which happen every week, which give students a chance to express themselves and get out of their shell, and just express themselves through art.
The renovations on the Birch building happened during my term, and some of the footwork for the SUB building also happened. I worked on creating the budget, just like any VP Finance would, but this year’s turnout for student consultations were way higher than last year’s.
The way I approached doing the budget was different than the previous years too. I got more personal with students and I gave them more space to actually come out and ask questions, whatever they were. And I made sure that the budget was as accessible, and as understandable for students as possible.
What do you want to do, or keep doing, in your second term?
I definitely want to keep working on the SUB, and make sure that we have it up and running some time soon. And I want to work on more student engagement. The KSA has a good turnout of students every year, but we’re always hoping for more, and it’s something that I’m very passionate about, to let students know about the KSA and what we do, and create new opportunities for students to get involved, and get experience.
How do you get people involved in the KSA?
My personal way of doing it is just one-on-one conversations with students, or a group of students. I reach out to students and try to [mention] the parts they’re interested in. If I meet a student that’s interested in art I might point them towards Improv, and I would tell them about all the artistic things the KSA has. Kind of tell the students what they would appreciate most about the KSA, so they would get involved and get experience. Being part of a society on campus is part of the college or university experience. Students should get the opportunity, and I hope they do.
What do business students want?
One of the biggest issues for business students is that waiting lists on classes are humongous. Not a lot of classes are offered more often. So, as a business student, this is an issue I face the most. Business students are always seeking work experience while they’re studying. They want more opportunities, and closer campus opportunities for students are better for juggling school and work.
What could the KSA do about that?
The KSA could always advocate for student needs, such as waiting lists on classes, or classes offered. We can always advocate, it’s not always up to us to work on that. But we can always advocate for students, and the KSA is always looking for ways to create work opportunities on campus.
Arshdeep Singh Battu First Time Running Major: Computer Information Systems
What do you hope to accomplish in running for Business Representative?
If I get the position, the first thing I would try to do would be to engage more and more students with any functions or events at the university. I am an international student, and I found that most of the international students don’t know what events are going on in the university campuses, and they don’t bother to participate in them because they think they are just here to complete their education. I wouldn’t only try to engage the international students, but also the other students so that they can enjoy their lives and their campus life to the fullest.
Any ideas about how you go about doing that?
I’m a peer-tutor at the learning centre in the library, and if I got the position I would do some creative things like making posters out of stuff and creating awareness of the events, so that people would know that these events and activities are going on in the university and what the benefits are of doing that. These things could help students, like developing their resumes and cover letters so that in the future they can prepare themselves for their industry while studying here. And if they engage with campus activities they will get a larger experience, and what employers are looking for are those kinds of people, who have volunteer experience and exceptional skills. So these things could help prepare them for the industry.
What do you think the Business student constituents want from their representatives?
I found that in my class, most of the people are international students from different countries, and when I came last year, I didn’t know anything about how the system works here in the university because it was completely new for me. And international students are still coming to the university, and I want to help them and provide guidance to show them how to fit into the new system and the new culture.
Did you consider running for the International Student Representative position?
I was thinking about running for International Students Rep, and I also submitted the nomination package for it. I actually submitted two nomination packages, but I thought my friend would be running for International Students Rep, so I changed my mind, and now I’m running for Business Rep rather than International Students Rep.
I don’t think we have anybody running for International Students Rep.
Yeah, yeah, no. When the nomination things finished and they sent us the nomination results list I found out that no one is running for the International Students Rep, and that my friend wouldn’t be running for it.
If you were given the opportunity, would you want to switch over to being the International Students Rep?
Yeah, sure. Definitely. Given the chance, I would definitely switch over to being the International Students Rep.
What aspects of the KSA do you think could be improved?
The one thing I think that the KSA lacks is in making students aware of the events. You see posters up on the boards, but no students actually bother to look at the notice boards because they have such hectic schedules. They have so much work: studying, assignments, midterms, these kinds of things. I think they should ask people on their Facebook page and create awareness among the students about the events and activities that they are organizing. They should promote more. They should do the promotion thing, so that students know that these things are there in the university.
Do you have any ideas of how people could do that?
Yeah, everybody goes to the Grassroots café to eat, and also to the Tim Hortons in the Cedar building, and they should put up some holdings and poster boards so that everybody who comes to Tim Hortons or Grassroots can see those posters and give those things attention.
Why should students vote for you?
They should vote for me, not because I’m an international student, but [because] they should see that when I write my candidate statement, they will know the things I want to change in the university; what things I can do, what my capabilities are and what can I do for them, because I will be serving them. They could talk to me with ease and they could share their views so that I could understand them and work according to that.
Jay Reedy Running for Re-election Major: Human Resource Management
You’ve been a Business representative since the mid-term election in fall. What have you learned in that time that you’d want to bring to your first full term?
Going into it, I really wanted to change the way that [the KSA] interacts with student members. Now I’m realizing perhaps that the focus should be more on the councilors, and council engagement. A lot of councilors don’t really own the role, and they should definitely be proud of what they are accomplishing, and should own that more.
What does owning the role look like?
Personally I’ve only been with Council for two months, but I’ve been volunteering for numerous things. I’ve been a staple for any number of campaigns that have popped up in my short term. I have definitely been out there talking to students, finding out what they’re expecting of us.
What are some of the hurdles you expect to face in a second term?
I think that communication has always been one of the things that’s been left by the wayside. That’s something I’d like to improve with the KSA. I think the way we can improve that is to have more engaged councilors.
What would those more engaged councilors do to reach out to their constituents? Specifically Business students for yourself.
One of the issues I see with Business students is that we are almost too professional in our student life and culture. We are here specifically to study and then leave. I personally have not seen a lot of my classmates around campus. Something I’d like to do is breach that barrier between professional work and pleasure, and have something that empowers the business-focused clubs to have a great presence on campus.
Are there any councilors in particular you’d want to work closely with in the next term?
Tanvir Singh has a lot of good ideas. I’ve known him for a while and I think he brings a lot to the table. Rawan Ramini, the current VP Finance—I sit on the Finance Committee, so I know her thought process very well, and I think she’s a very good asset to the KSA as well.
You mentioned two of the executives. Do you have plans of running for the exec team yourself?
I would like to apply for VP Student Life.
Have you worked work Natasha Lopes, the current VP Student Life?
I worked with her on the consent campaign, which is currently being run through WOOW.
What would you plan to accomplish with the position?
What I wanted to do in my first term was get involved with the KSA, learn more about it and help improve student culture on campus, which is what I try to do with the rest of the student life committee. Trying to help out with promoting Grassroots and getting more engaged with events on campus, and in the next upcoming term, if I get re-elected, I want to move in depth with that a little bit further, help out with not just student culture on campus but club engagement. Over the past year, with the lack of club space, a lot of clubs have been less active on campus.
I also want to address another issue that has become more relevant to me and a couple of my friends, which is youth homelessness. There are a number of students that attend Kwantlen that are essentially homeless, and homelessness goes beyond just living on the streets. It involves couch surfing at friends’ places and relatives’ places, and the cost for students in terms of how much they have to spend on campus just to attend classes is significant.
How could you go about helping with that?
Right now I’m doing more research just to learn more about it, to know what’s affected and what’s not affected rather than just saying “this is what I’m going to do and my plan not working at all.
What do you believe your potential constituents at KPU want from their representatives? How do you plan to deliver?
I think that my constituents want transparency, but [also] more notice of what’s happening. There is a lack of empathy among KPU students, where it’s go to school, go to work, go home, and that’s it. You don’t have a reason to stay on campus. When I was involved with clubs I went to class and when I wasn’t in class I’d go to hang out with friends that I made through clubs. And it gave me more reason to stay on campus and get more engaged, which is why I’m running now.
Do you have ambitions of running for the executive team?
There is potential. I’m just waiting to see the actual results before I can confirm anything.
What have you accomplished so far?
Over the past year I’ve worked on budget analysis of the KSA’s financials over four years. I’ve helped out promoting events at Grassroots, updating the committee descriptions as well helping out to revise some of the regulations in the newly proposed bylaws, as well as putting together a committee member handbook for all the student members.
What do you think your potential constituency—Business students—are looking for from their student representative?
I’ve been [at KPU] for a bit, and I believe they would be looking for somebody that would provide more opportunities—career opportunities, potentially meet-ups with other people in the Business program that can further their interests in their fields, and gaining relationships with students who have had similar experiences to them at Kwantlen.
Are there any hurdles you think Business students face, either in their academic lives or in their dealings with the KSA, that you think you could address as a councillor?
Because I’m on the outside of our specific student government, I haven’t had much of an opportunity to be a part of the relationships [Business students] have with the KSA. That being said, I think there are hurdles in terms of what can be provided to the students. Finding a way to provide events to all three campuses where Business classes are held could be a potential hurdle.
I’d like to see more things involving the campus. I’d like for you to be able to come to campus and there’s something that you can go and do, or that you know is a reoccurring thing. For example, in the fall I ended up going to Toastmasters for the first time, and I went to the Kwantlen Improv, which I can’t recommend enough. They’re great ways to learn how to speak in front of people, to get out there and meet fresh new faces and make friends.
Are there any aspects of the KSA that you see as problematic or lacking that you’d want to improve upon in your time on Council?
I’ve been mulling this over, actually. I’m involved in a city government job, and in that aspect I do see that there is a lot of red tape in politics. But I need to understand the way that the game is played at the student council first before I can really make an assessment of that.
Do you have any ambitions of running for the executive team?
Same answer as last. I would need to be able to gage what I’d need to provide in terms of Student Council, and then if I see there’s a direction I need to take, that would be the direction I would go. But currently my concern is how I can serve the population of Kwantlen as a Business Representative.
First Time Running
Interview conducted via email
Is this your first time running for KSA Council?
Yes. I am deeply honoured to be nominated by my fellow students to run for the position of Business Rep. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank them for their outpouring support during the nomination period. Although this is my first time running for a KSA Council position, I have previously run for the University Senate elections in 2015 and 2016.
What sort of experience do you think you’d be able to bring to the position of Business Representative?
I believe KSA can take full advantage of my background and skillset as a student majoring in Accounting. I have also been building professional relationships with many faculty members and university officials. If elected, not only will I ensure the financial sustainability of KSA while constantly improving on its quality services, but I will also establish a medium to facilitate communications between students and the University.
What is it you believe your constituents—Business students—are looking for from their student rep?
I am actively listening to students’ comments on various issues. Many business students share with me their concerns on public transit and campus parking. It is not surprising that students are unsatisfied in their commutes when KPU has four campuses. More importantly, it is a strong indication to me that the KSA and the University is not taking adequate initiatives to address the situation.
Are there any hurdles business students currently face, in dealing with the KSA or the university at large?
Unfortunately, KPU students see a lot of challenges in their daily interactions with university administrators. These matters range from the slow and unreliable Wi-Fi connections to underfunded student supporting services. I don’t believe this issue is limited only to business students; instead, every student is affected to a certain degree. If elected, I will work closely with different parties to eliminate these inconveniences.
Is there anything about the KSA that you would like to change, or that you feel needs improvement?
There is certainly room for improvement for many aspects of KSA’s operations. To name a few: KSA Council can be more reflective of the student body, students’ involvement can be increased, members experience can be enhanced, more services can be offered, etc. That said, these changes cannot be made overnight or with my sole effort. If elected, I will work with each stakeholder to implement these changes.
Do you have ambitions for achieving a spot on the executive team?
I haven’t thought about this yet. If I am nominated and appointed by the Council, I will be humbled in serving the KSA and our students as a vice-president.
How do you plan on making yourself accountable to your electorate once in office?
Thanks to my predecessors in the Council, KSA has a comprehensive set of bylaws and regulations to ensure that elected members are held to the highest standards and accountability. Building on that legacy, I will, to the best of my ability, communicate with students that I represent and with other elected council members to ensure arising matters are dealt with in a professional and timely manner.