BUSU President discusses the school year ahead

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Faisal Hejazi is the current President of the Brock University Students’ Union. Prior to his role as head executive, Hejazi served as Vice-President of Finance and Administration for BUSU and worked for Brock’s Information Technology Services. Hejazi recently spoke with The Brock Press about his role at BUSU, his approaches to tackling various issues on campus, and some big plans BUSU has in store for the Brock community in the 2017-18 academic year. The transcript of the interview is below:

Interviewer: You served as VP of Finance and Administration before running for BUSU President. How do you find your prior service in student government has informed your current role?

Faisal Hejazi: Being involved in student government prior to serving as President has helped me out tremendously thus far. Having the opportunity to serve as VP Finance & Administration allowed me to understand the operation of the organization, thus enabling me to have a smooth transition as President. As VPFA, I served on the Board of Directors, Senate, BUSAC, helped compose the budget, oversaw the health and dental plan, transit and more. Additionally, I am grateful for the guidance and support  I received from the previous president Patrick Foster as he mentored me from the day I was elected until the end of his term. I also worked with him daily as VPFA and saw what the job entailed, providing me with the confidence I needed when I began my term. All of these factors combined allowed me to optimize my time effectively, and assisted me in getting the ball rolling right away.

Interviewer: You had a number of notable achievements as VP of Finance & Administration. What are your big goals to accomplish in the upcoming academic year?

Faisal Hejazi: Last year I was able to complete all of my platform points thanks to the incredible support I received from my team at BUSU and Brock Administration. I am fortunate to have a fantastic team this year as well and collectively we have some big goals that we are hoping to bring to fruition. Revamping the health and dental plan is a platform point that my team and I already accomplished over the summer. Some of these goals include running a referendum to increase the capacity of our fitness facility, bringing in an alternative food establishment to campus, advocate for a new student union building, and bringing in sleeping pods.

Interviewer: Discuss BUSU’s work in preparing for O-Week 2017?

Faisal Hejazi: O-Week wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the amazing team at BUSU, from full time staff to our on-and-off campus partners and student volunteers. The team worked diligently over the summer in planning all the events for the week, which have allowed us to execute them with ease thus far. We have had an amazing turn out, selling out of our all access passes for Brockchella. Our main goal of O-Week is to give incoming students the best experience possible their first week back. We want to get them excited for classes and help them get enthusiastic for the year ahead. The Brock experience is like no other and we want to continue the amazing culture we’ve taken pride in establishing as a university.

Interviewer: What events does BUSU have planned for community outreach in St. Catharines and the Niagara region this year?

Some of our planned events include the Celebration of Nations, support for the Aboriginal Student Services exhibition lacrosse game, athletic events at the Meridian Centre, being involved in Municipal Lobby Week, etc. We also have a student representative from Brock on both the St. Catharine’s and Thorold Town & Gown committees.

Interviewer: We recently saw Brock alumni organize a community vigil for the terrible events in Charlottesville. How does BUSU plan to tackle discrimination on campus?

Faisal Hejazi: The Student Justice Centre supervisor Zanab Jafry organized this event. We provide services like the Centre where we run a variety of different social justice campaigns, workshops, and events along with providing a safe space on campus to meet and collaborate. The Centre also provides a Drop-In service that offers confidential and non-judgmental support, advocacy, and referrals for students experiencing discrimination along with prejudice, harassment, or sexual violence.

Interviewer: What are BUSU’s plans to improve sustainability on the Brock campus?

Faisal Hejazi: Last year BUSU partnered up with the Niagara Sustainability Initiative, a not-for-profit organization that engages and connects businesses in Niagara in an effort to advance economic and environmental sustainability. Through this we were able to identify, understand and hopefully reduce our carbon footprint in the years to come in order to become more sustainable both environmentally and economically. We will also be running a sustainability week that will highlight the importance of keeping our campus sustainable while teaching our students effective methods to be environmentally friendly.

-Quinton Ascah, Assistant News Editor 

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