Darwin Binesh

ACE 2014

Accountability, Community, Excellence.

We are a group of motivated individuals who have a shared vision to collectively strive:

  1. To hold ourselves to the highest level of accountability in all of our dealings as elected representatives of SFU’s undergraduate student body.
  2. To continue to build a strong sense of community on campus by hosting the highest calibre events possible for our students and supporting student-led initiatives that align with the vision of building
  3. To set the example for student societies across North America, by exceeding the standard and providing excellence in all aspects of the Simon Fraser Student Society’s mandate as listed in the Constitution.

humza khan president
My name is Darwin Binesh and I am currently the President of the Society of Arts and Social Sciences (SASS). I am a third year student majoring in history with a minor in business, and I am running to become the VP External Relations of your Simon Fraser Student Society!

My work with SASS and the SFSS includes, but is not limited to:

  • Making history by leading the first Faculty Student Union of the University to becoming officially recognized.
  • Wrote and compiled a constitution and by-laws with the SASS VP Internal, to govern the practices and policies of the Society’s largest Faculty Student Union.
  • Sitting on all six SASS committees and regularly attending SFSS committees including those outside the two I actively sit on. I am not only involved with my faculty student union but the student society as a whole.
  • Organized more than 10 sold out events. These include pub nights, all age’s events, a lecture series, and various fundraisers. These events and initiatives were done while keeping costs at the absolute minimum for students and without losing student money to host them (including a $2 pub night).
  • Worked with DSU’s and encouraged them to be more active and create a network to support one and benefit the student body by developing community and opportunity.
  • Spear-headed, academic journals being published by multiple DSU’s so students have more opportunities to publish their work.
  • Directed 2 froshes for first year students to introduce them to SFU and university life.
  • Establishing a scholarship for students in financial need who have demonstrated community involvement and academic achievement.

In a more general sense; over my last three years at SFU, I have:

  • Been responsible for Charity drives (Breakfast Club for Kids, Give Kids a Fighting Chance, BC Children’s Hospital, SPCA) within our community.
  • Served as Orientation Leader for the Burnaby Campus Orientation Program
  • Had the pleasure of being invited to speak at Orientation to students regarding my student experience, where I encouraged them to get involved.
  • Served as Forum Representative for SASS and History Student Union.

My platform is based on six (6) key points. These points focus on Public Relations, and Outreach. As VP External Relations I would:

  • Focus on the Public Relations (PR) of our Student Society to determine: how tobest let students know of the services provided by the SFSS. The best ways of increasing participation in workshops to help students learn things they may not necessarily learn in class (financial literacy for example). Including more efficient or new methods of stream-lining communications from the Society to students. This can all be done with a new outreach plan, with a focus on using social media campaigns to increase our presence to students across multiple campuses as most are on social media anyway. At the same time, by focusing on online campaigns, the society can cut down on the number of printed posters used to advertise, and instead can focus on printing more materials for advocacy and other initiatives. These methods will not down-size copying costs, but will make them more efficient, and make our advertising and outreach more environmentally sustainable.
  • Reaching out to various local and international business organizations in orderto acquire sponsorship funding and investments for the Build SFU project to save students money. This can be done by seeking sponsorship from organizations based in countries affiliated with SFU. This would be in addition with local sponsorship to ensure that the Build SFU project continues to run smoothly, without having an even larger impact on students’ wallets.
  • Lobby Translink to improve frequency of busses sent to SFU, and if Translink refuses I will fight to give students greater access to school, at all three campuses, so that the hardest part of their day is not dealing with public transportation.
  • Focus on the inter-society public relations as part of a team with a focus on engagement so students can more easily become aware of what other students are doing in regards to; academics, student life, and athletics.
  • Strengthen relationships with on campus groups such as Sustainable SFU, SFPIRG, Womens Center, Out on Campus, FNSA etc. I would seek out organizing campaigns with these groups and many others to promote an Advocacy presence within the Society.
  • Continue to lobby our Government for deferred maintenance funding. Presenting information on the issues, why we are not getting the funding and how collaborating with other Universities for a provincial campaign can help us acquire the funding we need. These campaigns will not only include the issues, but possible solutions, compromises, and consultations with as many students as possible to come to the most realistic conclusions. This would include continuing to lobby the government for solutions to the sudden increase in tuition rates, which are a very large burden, especially on International Students.

I appreciate the support from all of my constituents very much. Please, do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you have regarding my platform or any improvements you think can be made at SFU. You may reach me at: dbinesh@sfu.ca at any time.

Thank you for taking the time to read my platform.

With my best regards,
Darwin Binesh

Kathleen Yang

humza khan president
My name is Kathleen Yang and I would like to work for you. I am in my third year of study as a political science major and sociology minor, a student at large on the SFSS Constitution Policy and Review committee and play an active role working with the SFSS Advocacy committee. These past few months I have worked closely with the current External Relations Officer, Chardaye Bueckert who has taught me much about the position, its responsibilities and most importantly what it means to truly serve and represent a community.

My passion for social justice and advocacy based work has always been the driving force behind everything I do. Despite what some may say SFU is bursting with active, dedicated, and vibrant students and student groups. However, the level of disconnect between student groups, and with the larger student body was something that I was not anticipating. The difficulties in obtaining information regarding how I could be involved, coupled with trying to figure out how I could get involved without compromising other commitments particularly academic ones, left me feeling disconnected and discouraged. Needless to say, being an involved student on campus should not this difficult of a process.

I am running for VP External Relations because I believe that if given access to the right resources and support, students on all 3 campuses can be empowered to take action and be involved in whatever it is they choose to pursue. If elected, my job will be to serve, support, and objectively represent you.

Prior to election nominations I conducted a short survey around the Burnaby Campus by asking students what exactly was keeping them from being involved on campus. Your reasons echoed each other and my own. Based on the survey I propose 3 solutions to mitigate the stress and challenges of being involved on campus outside of academics:

Facilitate Inclusion

  • Many cited feelings of intimidation as the primary reason for not getting involved; something also felt when I first started at SFU. If elected I will maintain a safe and open environment, encourage questions and ensure information and resources are easily accessible and understandable for all.
  • I would also like to work with the Board to create an SFSS Ambassador/Volunteer program to facilitate collective undergraduate action and overcome the disconnect between students and the SFSS.

Have open dialogue with all students

  • As VP External Relations I am committed to going to you regardless of your primary campus to ensure your voice is heard when I represent you to the Board of Directors and external organizations.
  • In order to provide open and objective representation I need to know your ideas, opinions and ultimately what you care about. Thus, I will be committed to maintaining consistent consultation and direct communication with all students.

Promote advocacy based solutions to external organizations

  • If elected I will work with local non-profits, community organizations, and student groups both within the university and across the nation to
    • Advocate for affordable education by lobbying the provincial government to decrease student loan interest rates and increase funding for needs based grants.
    • Reduce stigma, raise awareness and address food accessibility issues faced by students by strengthening the current “Emergency Food Certificate Program” and working with food vendors to create long term solutions.
    • Fight for better transit by lobbying Translink for direct buses to SFU. I willalso lobby municipal and provincial governments to move forward with the “Transit Referendum,” and address the need for additional long term Translink funding to ultimately increase accessibility to and between SFU campuses.

Regardless of the outcome for this election, I hope to continue working with the SFSS advocacy committee to address student concerns and do whatever I can to serve and support SFU students.

If you would like more information regarding how you can be involved on any of the campuses, have questions, concerns or would like to complete the survey I mentioned, please feel free to send me an email, facebook message, tweet or text and I would be happy to provide you with answers and support. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Email: kay4@sfu.ca
Twitter: kathleen__yang
Facebook Event: Kathleen Yang for VP External Relations
Instagram: k__yang2

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