A Passion for Student Life: My Time as SSU President
by: Sylvia Ibhrahim
As my term as the SSU President approaches its end, I wanted to reflect on my experience in hopes that it helps you understand the role and encourages you to get involved.
The word “President” is often scary, intimidating and confusing, especially in the world of student unions. While the job does require commitment & a passion for student life, you are surrounded by amazing resources that help you achieve your goals.
Being the SSU President for the past 2 years has given me so much confidence and I’ve gained amazing skills that I never thought I could have. From public speaking to pitching ideas to the college, it has been an amazing ride!
Though I worked on so many projects over the last 2 years, I want to share my top 5 projects with you; five projects that really summarize how diverse the job is and how many things you can do to make a difference in your fellow students’ lives.
- HMC2A: This year, I worked with my Board on a new student Union building for HMC. Out of all our campuses, HMC is the campus that lacks student space and where students really want the out of classroom experience like we currently offer at TRC & Davis. From holding a leadership symposium to gather student feedback to working on floor plans, we worked really close with the college’s executive team and the architects to make sure it’s everything our students hoped for.
- Friendship Bench: Mental health is so important, and while resources are made available to students, sometimes all you need is someone to listen to you without judgment. That is why I was so excited to collaborate with the friendship bench organization & our Health & Counseling department to install a bench at every campus as a visual reminder for students to openly talk about mental health & tear down the stigma that surrounds it.
- Student Refugee Program: This year, Sheridan College sponsored its first student from the World University Service of Canada. We worked very closely with the college to setup a committee planning for the student’s arrival and have continued to meet to support him post arrival as well. We’re hoping to get students involved in the committee next year.
- Student Loan Program: There’s no doubt that being a student can be financially stressful. As the SSU, our aim is to make the student’s life a bit easier every day, and that is why I’ve been working on a student loan program that will soon be ready to implement with the help of our incredible SSU staff!
- Personal Development for student leaders: As President, you are also responsible for your executive team. You have to support your team and make sure they’ve got the right resources to achieve their goals. That is why with the Board’s approval last year, I created a budget that would support our student leaders in attending leadership conferences and workshops to meet with other student unions across Canada, get inspired and give back to our Sheridan Community!
Don’t ever be intimidated by a title! If you have a passion for student life and really want to make a change on campus, go for it! If I did, so can you!
- Sylvia Ibrahim , SSU President