Meet the USC Candidates: Team Jan/Mohammad

Anooshae Janmohammad—USC President, 4th year Huron College Business/Psych double major

Mohammad Hussain—Vice President, 4th year French studies

 

M: We’re pretty much your average students. We were just as involved as the average student in the USC, and when we got to fourth year we realized that 850 of our dollars go to the USC—why don’t more students know what they do? Why don’t students have more of a say in what they do? The idea that we’re running on is get students involved, and do that in unconventional ways. We want to break down council meetings so students can get educated. So many students have said, “I don’t want to give you advice, because I don’t know what the USC does.” And we’re like, “We’re here for you! Tell us what you want!” We want to get students educated so they feel comfortable to have a say. That’s the main goal; we’re working on it. We understand that we’re not perfect—us two especially.  We want to be criticized; we’re very open to criticism now and even after the election, if we do get elected. With Western especially, we feel like executives have to be without faults. It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you’re having conversations about those mistakes. As long as you’re working with other people on the campus to come up with solutions.

 

If you could achieve one thing during your presidency, what would that one thing be?

M: Something we really want to achieve—and this is ambiguous—is club reform. You hear about it often, and some people have solutions and some people don’t. We have a vision for clubs. A lot of clubs are angry. You need to sit them down at the table and talk about the issues and solutions—what are your frustrations? Tell us and we’ll work on those. Let’s change the atmosphere; let’s change the climate. A longer term goal—and this would be the ultimate dream—is if we could get voter turnout to around 35%.  Last year, it was wavering around 20%. And just student apathy in general. A lot of the time students are told, “you guys don’t care,” when you actually have to make them care. Especially with a place like Western, a lot of the time you come to the UCC and you see franchise, franchise, franchise, and you don’t see enough students or student experiences.

 

How did you guys meet, and why did you decide to run?

A: We met first year in residence, and we had a similar friend group so we just clicked immediately then, but it was actually second year when we became really good friends. He actually became my campaign manager when I decided to run for Vice President Student Events at Huron. He said, “I believe in you; I want to make this happen for you. I want to run this campaign.” And it was a successful campaign. He knew my strengths and weaknesses and held me accountable, and vice versa. When I said that I wanted to do this, I told him that we work really well together, we know each other well and we hold each other accountable, and that’s how we did it.

M: We are really good friends. If one of us messes up, we will say, “what can I do to help you fix this? What can I do to make things better?” We hold each other accountable. Accountability is something that gets mentioned often, but it is so important. I may be reaching, but I feel like people will help each other cover each other’s tracks. Anooshae’s going to have to answer to me before she answers to anyone else, and I’ll have to answer to her too. I’ve seen her angry, and that’s not something I would want to experience again!

 

Do you have USC experience?

M: I don’t. I was a Huron Soph, [Anooshae] is a Huron Soph this year; she was also VP Student Life at Huron in her third year. She has a lot of experience with London outreach; she works with a lot of charities. I volunteered for The Western Gazette in my second year—that was an awesome experience—but I’m one of the students. Sometimes we need to bring back the student in student government.

 

What distinguishes you from the other candidates? What makes you stand out?

M: I think it’s the fact that we’re not perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes! Sometimes you are going to get forced into hard decisions. Students shouldn’t be finding out about hard decisions through their emails, like the Wave catering. All clubs have to be catered by the Wave. It’s so expensive, and cultural clubs—just think! Even if someone was empathetic to that, and says, “this really sucks. What can we do to make this easier?” There’s only so much that the USC can control, but that’s not a good enough excuse for lack of communication. One thing I’m running on is the fact that if there’s a problem, and I know the office of the person who caused it or has a solution, you can bet that I will be marching towards that office with Anooshae by my side. We’re imperfect; we know it, but we’re willing to work with it. We don’t have all the answers, or the perfect platform, because a lot of the platform is going to come from the students.

 

Any final words?

M: One thing that I would add is that I know we’re going to get criticized. Criticism is a huge part of our platform. People are going to criticize us, but the thing is—we’re open to it already. We’re already sitting here saying, “tell us what we can do better.” We know it’s an uphill battle. We want transparency, like the Trudeaumeter. We want something like that for the USC.