An introduction into each new board member for the upcoming school year.
On Thursday, March 15 the UBC Student Union Election results were announced. New students have been chosen to lead the Executive Board next year in the roles of President, VP External, VP Finance, VP Internal, and the new position, VP Campus Life.
Romil Jain will be the new Student Union President, effective in May. At 17 years old, Jain moved 11,081 km from Yangon to Kelowna. Jain states that it was always his dream to study in a foreign country, and even though the move was daunting and at times uncomfortable, he refers to it as “the best decision of [his] life.” Jain speaks positively of his experience at UBCO, filled with friendship, love and success. Jain states that he initially decided to run for SUO President “the morning after a late-night clubbing [at] Sapphire,” as he was walking down to campus, and reflecting on his previous three years at UBCO, “and [he] remembered that the goal of [his] life has always been to make a difference and inspire people around him.” With this thought in mind, Jain realized that he “would not be able to graduate in peace without knowing [that he] did not give back to the university experience [he] was lucky enough to be a part of.” After this realization, Jain “called up [his] mother to break that news that [he] would be staying an extra year to run and become the President of the UBCSUO.”
As President, Jain plans to focus his efforts on “sustainable environmental growth, and provision of more job opportunities for students.” Jain wants to introduce a ban on single-use plastic next year as well as introduce the Student Entrepreneur Pathway, which Jain describes as “an event to help student leaders develop connections and learn from the experiences of established local business leaders.” Jain also wants to bring more awareness to food banks for students who face food insecurity and he wants to raise awareness regarding how many students face food insecurity. For students who have any questions, or would like to speak to Jain, he encourages students to reach out to him on Facebook or Instagram to set up a time to meet in person.
Taylor Dotto will be the new VP External for the upcoming school year. Dotto is a fourth-year psychology major, who has just spent the last year as the VP Services, which she says she enjoyed immensely. Dotto states that she was inspired to run for VP External when the SUO “received the fantastic news of the elimination of interest on BC student loans.” Dotto was inspired by the hard work of the students, the work of current VP External Paula Tran, and other student unions across the province in making a positive impact on many BC students. Dotto says that she ran because she “wants to be part of the next change, the next impact, and continue the momentum of the student movement.
In her upcoming time as VP External, Dotto states that she plans “to work diligently on various provincial campaigns that are already underway with the BCFS, such as Open Educational Resources and Fairness for International Students.” To support these campaigns, Dotto says that she will be tabling around campus to get more students engaged and aware to lobby the provincial government over the next year. Dotto is also particularly interested in a campaign to lobby the federal government to eliminate interest on student loans across all of Canada. Speaking within the campus community, Dotto says that she plans to work with BC Transit “ensure adequate transit coverage for students,” as well as run smaller campaigns on campus to increase awareness about mental health. Dotto says that she is “grateful for the opportunity to advocate for the students and [is] extremely excited for this upcoming year” as the new VP External.
Nimrah Pannu was elected to be the new VP Finance. Pannu is currently a fourth-year medical biochemistry student and is also the current Faculty of Science Representative on the Board of Directors. Pannu states that she had “never in a million years thought that [she] would run for an Executive position but being on the Board [this year] made [her] realize how passionate [she] is about getting involved on campus.” Pannu states that she will only be taking 2 courses in the upcoming year to ensure that she is giving the position her all and can be available for anyone who may need her.
In the upcoming year, Pannu wants to continue the work that the current VP Finance (An-Noura Compaoré) has been doing. Pannu states that she “want[s] to ensure that [she] is as transparent and accountable as possible.” Pannu says that getting involved at UBCO was the best decision that she has made, and encourages students to reach out to her on Facebook or Instagram, or to stop her in person if you have any questions.
Holly Denby will be the new VP Internal in the upcoming year. Denby is currently a fourth-year electrical engineering student, and is currently the President of the Engineering Society and Applied Science Representative on the Board of Directors. Denby has been involved in student politics since 2015, when she was the First Year Representative for the Engineering Society. Denby states that since first year, student politics has become a passion for her. Denby states that she is “excited to continue [her] involvement on campus in an executive position with the Students’ Union.”
In her tenure as VP Internal, Denby says that she wants “to continue improving the UBCSUO’s governing documents with the help of the policy committee.” Denby also wants to increase communication with clubs and course unions by creating a Slack Channel, and she also wants to improve collaboration by hosting monthly club and course union council meetings. Denby wants to “create a structure for hosting an all clubs and course unions networking night and put policy in place to ensure it happens annually. Denby also plans to expand on the services that the SUO offers “by bringing back the handbooks and raising awareness for student discounts.” Denby wants to be a resource for the students, she wants to “be available to listen to student concerns and help student leaders with initiatives and advocacy.”
Ali Poostizadeh was elected to the new position of VP Campus Life (formerly VP Services). Poostizadeh was born in Virginia and was raised in Vancouver. Poostizadeh’s time living in Vancouver illustrated to him the lack of school spirit at UBCO, especially in comparison with UBC Vancouver. Poostizadeh is close friends with former VP Services, Taylor Dotto, and was impressed by her commitment and the results she obtained through revitalizing the Well and keeping the SUO under budget for their events. Poostizadeh states that he “was lucky enough to be able to work closely with her this year and had the opportunity to plan several events.” Poostizadeh states that it was this experience which prompted him to run for VP Campus Life, as it will allow him to “focus purely on students’ experience on campus.”
Poostizadeh has many plans for the upcoming year. Poostizadeh wants to implement a FROSH week, a safe space at events, monthly all ages events, restructuring SUP, have more non-party events, on-campus movie nights, and wants to revamp RECESS and expand on student representation more generally. Poostizadeh states that his “seat on the board also allows [him] to propose much needed changes to aspects of the student experience that don’t directly relate to campus Life in collaboration with other board members.” Poostizadeh states that he feels honored to be taking on this role and is excited to bring change to campus. Poostizadeh encourages students to reach out to him or stop him on campus if there are any suggestions, criticisms, or concerns.