The Humber Students’ Federation elections have taken place, and the 2015-16 executive is poised to take office.
Ahmed Tahir was elected as HSF President for the 2015-2016 school year. The name may sound familiar because he’s currently finishing his term as the VP Student Life for North campus.
Also elected to HSF’s executive team are Ammar Abdul Raheem, a third-year student in the Business program at Guelph-Humber, as VP Student Life for North,and Andron McKoy, a third-year International Development student, as his counterpart-elect for Lakeshore.
Mikki Decker, a third-year student in the Family and Community Social Services program at University of Guelph-Humber, is the VP-elect of Student Affairs at North campus, while Anna Bilan, an international student specializing in Accounting, is her counterpart for Lakeshore.
The election results were announced on Friday, but for some of the newly-elected executive, the good news still hasn’t taken hold.
“It’s still settling in, but I’ve been walking around with this massive smile and glow, so it must be real,” said Decker.
Even though their elections were made official only few days ago, it already seems as if they are all in sync.
“I had a moment of, ‘This was meant to be,’” Decker said.
“Based on what we want to accomplish, we seem to be on the same page and we haven’t even sat down and talked yet. So it’s neat to know that already going into this position, there’s going to be so much support and change based on everyone’s needs and your own personal goals going to this,” said Decker.
While their paths to the executive office have differed, all of them espouse a passion for student leadership and engagement.
“In first year, I used to go to class and go home, didn’t really get involved,” said McKoy.” But there was this one girl on the HSF promotions team and she always made my day.
“She engaged with me and she made me feel like, ‘Hey, be a part of this, we want you to be a part of this,’ and honestly, I just said ‘Sure.’ I thought, ‘you know what, I want to do that, I want to make someone’s day better,’” said McKoy.
Mental health and wellness seems to be a key goal for this newly-elected executives.
Decker, who is a transfer student from Durham College, made the issue a central point to her campaign. She takes the issue to heart, having revealed during her acceptance speech that she has struggled with mental wellness herself.
She has specific ideas on how to address the topic, from running awareness campaigns to implementing peer support groups on campus.
“It would just be another way of having a form of connection on campus and a form of reassurance that you’re not the only one. It would be amazing to have support groups on-campus for students led by students,” said Decker.
President-elect Tahir also addressed mental health and wellness through his platform points of creating sleeping lounges and advocating for a fall semester reading week. He has also worked on the issue through his current position of VP Student Life for North campus.
“As an organization this year, we really decided that we’re going to focus on mental health in a much bigger way next year,” said Tahir.
“This year, we took the month of February to focus on mental health and pushed it so that people knew that mental health is important,” he said. “Next year, we’re going to have things going on all year long because mental health issues don’t just happen in February.
“They (mental health problems) may be more prevalent in the winter time, but they happen all the time,” Tahir said.
The issue ties into Bilan’s platform of promoting a healthier campus.
For Bilan, a gymnast who works for on-campus Athletics, active living is a way of life.
“I follow a healthy lifestyle and I thought that it can be great if we can implement that at the college,” she said.
“I see people buy pizza and unhealthy stuff and it doesn’t benefit us,” Bilan said.
VP-elect of Student Life for North Abdul Raheem is on board as well.
“I think it’s great that MIkki and Ahmed both said that mental health is one of their biggest issues,” he said.
“With student affairs and student life, there has to be that cooperation and well, how do I run events that will highlight some of the things that student affairs feels strongly about?” Abdul Raheem asked. “For me, it’s my responsibility to really coordinate with student affairs and say, ‘How do we highlight these issues?’”
It’s evident this executive is ready and raring to go, although they still have more than a month until their term officially starts.
That time, though, is short and, as Tahir will tell them, all the more important.
He has some advice for newly elected executive: “I’d tell them that a year is super, super short and being an executive is about executing and getting things done.
“Really be focused on what your end goal is, because sometimes you want to get like 10 things accomplished, but it’s better to get two things accomplished beginning to end and have them ready to go rather than having 10 things half-accomplished,” Tahir said.
“Because after you leave, you never know what’s going to happen,” he said.