Of: Jaymee Salisi, promotions coordinator
Hoping to ease the students’ hardships, Helen Sofia Pahou is ready to begin her tenure as President of the Student Union Simon Fraser (SFSS). Pahou spoke along The peak about their action plans for the year 2022/23.
As President, Pahou wants to ensure clearer communication and collaboration within the SFSS. She hopes this will benefit students by increasing their access to opportunities and resources.
Pahou plans to start her semester by “bringing events back to campus for SFU students to enjoy.” She said this would look like organizing town halls, educating students about student services coverage and encouraging clubs and faculty student associations to do so to use the facilities in Student union building (SUB).
Regarding these new events, Pahou has not established any COVID-19 guidelines. However, Pahou discussed her plans to address concerns on campus related to COVID.19. “The SFSS tends to follow the protocols and best practices recommended by the BC provincial government and their current provincial restrictions.”
The SFSS plans to continue to circulate recommendations in the SUB on wearing masks in public spaces, washing hands and wiping high-contact surfaces.
Pahou noted that they will continue to make rooms with clean air circulation available to students while the pandemic continues. She mentioned that the rooms in the 1000 level of the SUB are equipped with HEPA filters.
In addition, she hopes to work alongside him SFSS Women’s Center to increase and expand safe spaces for women and the LGBTQIA2S+ community on campus. She explained that being a woman in a leadership role tends to empower women and educate the SFU community about sexual violence and prevention.
“Expanding sexual violence prevention training for student leaders and creating more dialogue about the realities of sexual violence on campus will be a key project this year,” said Pahou.
She plans to work with SFU’s Active Bystander Network and SFU Sexual Violence Support and Prevention Office. Both groups provide SFU students and staff with opportunities to learn about sexual violence and receive support.
Pahou said she was “inclined to keep up the work, initiativeit and ppolicies already in place to support students who are part of marginalized communities.” She added, “Consultation with these communities and our responsibility for service to these communities will also be an important part of our role as we forward initiatives and surveys focused on expanding their needs.”
Close Because her leadership services are more accessible to students, Pahou said her plan is to “offer in-person and online consultation hours for students a few times a week to say hello, create new connection points, and talk to them.” [her] over any misgivings they may have.”
She aims to improve accessibility and engagement by making frequent SFSS Board members available for student membership at the Convocation Mall on the Burnaby campus. Pahou believes this will allow her and her team to better connect with students and answer their questions.
Pahou said she is experienced in student policy and leadership roles due to her previous roles as SFSS Council Vice President, SFSS Political Science Council Member and SFU Undergraduate Senator for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. During her time in the Senate, she served on subcommittees including the Senate Committee on Higher Education Focus and the Senate Committee on International Affairs.
Since the SUB’s soft start in August 2021 the building was not yet fully operational. Pahou said that as the SFSS reintroduces more in-person activities, she expects there will be a “learning curve” in terms of engagement and event planning when the building opens.
However, she said she feels “extremely fortunate to be working with an amazing team and an eager team of vice presidents who are ready to help us through all of these new challenges.”
Students interested in getting in touch with Pahou can email her at [email protected].