Meet the CUSA candidates for vice president (internal) – The Charlatan


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The 2021 Carleton University Students’ Association election will take place online on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4. Students will elect six executives and 26 councillors, including one vice president (internal).

The Charlatan profiled all four candidates running in this year’s election for the vice president (internal) position.

Ahmad Hashimi, Ravens United

[No photo provided.]

Ahmad Hashimi, a third-year sustainable and renewable energy engineering student, is running for vice president (internal) as part of the Ravens United slate.

Previous experience

Hashimi has been involved with multiple clubs at Carleton, including as vice president of the Yemeni Student Association.

Hashimi is also the vice president (internal) for CU Smile, vice president (social) for the Student Energy organization, and a member of Carleton’s Muslim Student Association and Palestinian Student Association.

Reasons for running

Hashimi said his main goal for running is to create transparency and accountability within CUSA by live streaming council meetings and prohibiting secret council votes.

“The students should know how their councillors are voting,” Hashimi said. “Right now, no one knows. That’s not democracy.”

Slate or independent?

According to Hashimi, being a part of the Ravens United slate means campaigning for a student union that works as hard as possible for all students.

“Most CUSA executives treat this position like a social media influencer,” said Hashimi. “That’s not me. I value hard work. I value honesty. I’m going to work to fulfill all my promises.”

Campaign goals

Hashimi said he wants changes with “huge impacts,” like holding all future elections virtually.

“I think that sustainability is important on campus,” Hashimi said. “This year is a big year. It’s CUSA’s first virtual election … With the Ravens United team, it essentially won’t be the last.”

Hashimi also wants to create larger prayer spaces for Muslim students.

“For years, Student First has always promised to give [the Muslim Student Association] a larger space in return for votes for the slate,” Hashimi said. “I want to be the one to actually follow through with this promise.”

Final thoughts

Hashimi’s advice for students is to think about their future.

“It’s important that we have a VP internal who recognizes the issues we have that have affected CUSA over the last decade,” Hashimi said, “[and] more importantly, someone who knows how to fix those [issues]. I’m that candidate. I’ll get the job done.”

Hiwan Bayru, independent

Photo provided.

Hiwan Bayru, a first-year global and international studies student specializing in global law and social justice, is running for vice president (internal) as an independent.

Previous experience

“Back in high school, I was obsessed with student council,” Bayru said. “I started in Grade 5 and did it all the way to Grade 11.”

During her six years on the student council at her elementary and high school, Bayru served as grade representative and head of external affairs. She also represented her school at the school board in Grade 10.

Bayru is the president and co-founder of Ethiopian youth group NextGeneration in Ottawa. Her parents’ experiences as Ethiopian migrants encouraged her to be “a huge promoter of diversity.”

She is also a supervisor at a Starbucks and has previously worked as a stage manager for theatre productions for four years. She enjoys being active and was a member of many high school sports teams.

Reasons for running

“I felt like I was missing something when I first started at Carleton,” Bayru said, explaining that she wanted to get more involved on campus and “see how we as a [Carleton] community can grow.”

Bayru said that her experience in administration and student organizations has prepared her for the role of vice president (internal), even as a first-year student.

Slate or independent?

Bayru is running independently to prove her potential as a leader at Carleton.

“In order to make my own impact, it would be great for me to run independently and see what I can do as an independent candidate,” Bayru said.

Campaign goals

If elected, Bayru plans to promote diversity at Carleton and create a sense of community for all students. She said that during the pandemic, feeling like you belong and have support is a necessity.

She said she will also advocate for more transparency within CUSA.

“At a school that is this big, it is so important to stay honest and know that the students can trust in you,” Bayru said. “I want to be open and trustworthy.”

Final thoughts

“I have an extensive background in collaborative leadership roles. I hope to bring these past experiences as well as my passion for student involvement to this position,” Bayru said.

Liam Lowe, independent

Photo by Spencer Colby.

Liam Lowe, a third-year economics student, is running for vice president (internal) as an independent.

Previous experience

Lowe is currently a CUSA councillor for the faculty of public affairs. He said he understands “what it’s like to be in CUSA and how to get things done.”

In his role as a councillor, Lowe said he helped organize the Hardship Fund and supported many other CUSA initiatives.

Lowe has also served as president of the Carleton Sri Lankan Student Alliance and the Carleton Ananda Marga Yoga Club. He said he has diverse management experience, such as running a window cleaning service and working in sales.

Reasons for running

Lowe said he wants to see people’s clubs prosper across campus. He hopes to support the wider student body by drawing on his own personal experiences organizing and running Carleton clubs.

“I have done everything from [working] on campus to running clubs,” Lowe said. “I understand the student body and the diversity and walks of life that many students come from.”

As a third-year student who has been an active leader on campus, he said that now seemed like “the time to go for it.”

Slate or independent?

Lowe said that running as an independent will give him an “unbiased stance” and allow him to govern with transparency and integrity. He added he is “comfortable running alone” and is willing to work with anyone.

Campaign goals

If elected, Lowe plans to ensure the smooth functioning of clubs and societies next year. He promised to continue to be transparent and “help clubs with their needs through CUSA.”

If classes are online next year, Lowe plans to “hold court” and use his enthusiasm to ensure clubs prosper. He is also prepared to work virtually.

Final thoughts

“I am transparent, have integrity, am willing to work with anyone, [and] understand what it takes to run a club and have a do-it-now mentality,” Lowe said, noting his many leadership roles in clubs and within the faculty of public affairs at Carleton.

“I’m the type of guy you can rely on to make sure I am transparent and looking out for the best interests of the students,” he said.

Rawan Abdou, Students First

Photo provided.

Rawan Abdou, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student, is running for vice president (internal) as part of the Students First slate.

Previous experience

Abdou has been involved with various clubs at Carleton. She was the first ever hijabi president of the Egyptian Student Association, which she has been a part of since her first year at Carleton.

Abdou has also been a member of CU Smile, a volunteer with CUSA’s Wellness Centre, and a collaborator with other clubs including the Arab Student League and Relay for Life.

“I feel like my experience with clubs and societies, whether it’s as a member, volunteer or exec, gives me the right mindset when thinking of what the clubs need,” Abdou said.

Reasons for running

Abdou said she loves serving the community, which she will be able to do on a larger scale through CUSA.

“I’ll be doing something I really love,” Abdou said. “If someone goes into the position loving what they do and is very passionate about what they do, then the students definitely get much better results.”

Abdou also wants to ensure that every voice is heard in the Carleton community.

Slate or independent?

After working with CUSA through her various clubs, Abdou said she benefited from the services they were providing and had some of her own feedback she wanted to share.

“I thought, ‘You know what, I’ll join,’” Abdou said.

“[Students First] represents so many different minority groups, which is something very, very close to me and we have various experiences in the virtual world, which I think is very important,” Abdou said.

Campaign goals

Abdou said the first thing she wants to do if elected vice president (internal) is create an “assignment notification system” to remind students of upcoming work. “I have the memory of a fish,” Abdou said.

Abdou said adding this feature to cuLearn will help all students and ensure assignments are submitted on time.

Final thoughts

“Students should vote for me because I believe in inclusivity, I empathize with everyone as much as I can, I’m a genuine person and I’m honest in everything I do,” Abdou said.

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