[Editor’s note: The Student Association Constitution requires a Student Senate election to be held in the event of a vacancy in the office of vice president. As of the publication of this story, there is no written record of a Student Senate vote appointing Wazeed as vice president. Editor-in-Chief of the The Knight News, Ameila Inderjeit, was a chair member of the Student Association; she has resigned.]
On April 28th, after a week of unremitting pitches for votes and heated allegations emanating from both parties, Students for Change won the 2017-2018 student body elections, securing their position in Student Association for the sixth consecutive year. And yet, the party’s celebrations came to a halt when Marco Sin, vice president-elect, resigned from office on May 11th. With just a few short weeks before work was set to begin, the remaining members of the SA e-board instantly set off to find a qualified replacement. Ultimately, Akila Wazeed felt prepared for the job.
A senior triple majoring in economics, accounting and sociology, Wazeed is no stranger to holding public office on campus. Originally a transfer student from LaGuardia Community College, Wazeed jumpstarted her QC experience by joining the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) as director of events, where she helped set up and greet attendees of the club’s frequent campus events. The following year, she joined ALPFA’s e-board as vice president and assumed responsibility for planning the organization’s events, holding meetings and working closely with faculty members.
While holding her seat as vice president of ALPFA, Wazeed joined Student Association as vice chair of the career development committee during the 2016-2017 school year, where she oversaw all six business clubs presiding on campus. As vice chair, Wazeed held business events for students looking to build connections with alumni, and collaborated with the Career Development and Internships office to help students secure internship opportunities.
Wazeed’s contributions eventually exceeded her committee chair responsibilities, and she found herself spending up to ten hours a day helping to plan various SA events, from fundraisers to the annual MidKnight Breakfast. When it came time for internal student elections, Wazeed felt ready to take on her biggest position yet—Student Association secretary.
While Wazeed secured her position as secretary, she soon found herself with an opportunity to receive more than she bargained for when Sin resigned from office. Whether it was directing events for ALPFA or helping students find jobs in the corporate world, she had already acquired enough leadership roles by the time it became necessary to fill the vacant VP position.
“The president, Japneet Singh, asked the treasurer, Ramneet Singh, if he would like to be vice president, but due to a hefty course load, he declined. After Ramneet declined, Japneet had asked me. This was a huge decision because I initially was just running for secretary. However, the whole team thought I’d be a great fit as VP, so in the best interest of the team, I accepted the offer,” Wazeed said.
When asked whether SA members agreed to Wazeed’s appointment as vice president, she revealed, “Yeah, it was voted on. It was voted on and the members didn’t seem to reject it in any type of way. They seemed happy about it.”
Though Wazeed now holds the second highest position in SA office, she is aware of the issues of trust that plagued SFC’s party during elections week, some of which continue to linger in students’ opinions of SA.
When asked about some of the allegations that were thrown against the party, many of which centered on the allocation of the student government budget, Wazeed stated, “I believe the only reason students were wary or concerned with SFC’s transparency was because of what [SEP] was giving out. One of the things they made was a pie chart [about our budget], which they put together on their own and did not get from any staff member on campus. So there was inaccurate information on it. If people want to see our budget, it’s open to everyone in the second-floor office.”
Nevertheless, despite what has been said about SA, Wazeed thinks it’s important to remind students that this e-board is not a reflection of all the years SFC has been in office, “Even though SFC has been in office for six years, we can only really speak to last year and the year that we are currently in. Although the party name remains the same, the leadership style, as well as the way things are done, have changed completely.”
Looking ahead at some goals SA has for the 2017-2018 year, Wazeed and her team hope to add club rooms to the Student Union basement, implement tutoring services and academic resources for students taking night and weekend classes, source all campus printers with colored ink, continue to expand food selections in the dining halls, and even begin to hold town hall meetings for students to publically discuss the additions or changes they would like to see take place. Beyond all the official academic and budgetary additions to the college, however, Wazeed has always found the personal connections with students a particularly rewarding benefit of her former public positions on campus, and hopes to use her newfound position as vice president to continue working on behalf of a student body she cares so deeply for.
“I want to give students the best year. This past week, I went to two or three events and the rooms were full, so we’re promoting events better and the freshman and sophomores seem to be taking more initiative on campus, and I’d like for that to continue throughout the year. I want students to get the actual college experience instead of just coming to class and going home, or sitting in the library and not really experiencing what this campus offers…We are here for the students and their best interest!”