|Nikita Adekar (Running for VP Student Life):||Safwan and Valencia Das (Running for VP Student Life):|
What is your vision for your department and what specific goals have you set for your agenda for the upcoming year?
Nikita Adekar: My broad vision is to engage more with students and make ISA’s events more inclusive. My main goals are: a) making events more engaging b) promoting mental health, and c) working on addressing student concerns
Safwan: In the one year I’ve been at ISA, I’ve been seeing many important things that we need to improve — mental health being one of them. When we advocate for anything, sometimes ISA forgets to focus on mental health and how realistic the timelines are for those goals; I want to work on this. Also, the events-side of things have been lacking and I want to focus more on that this year. I want to keep doing what I’ve been doing, make the student life experience better for international students, and create a home away from home.
Whether in ISA or elsewhere, briefly describe one weakness and one strength that you’ve identified in your leadership style?
Nikita Adekar: I’m too loud sometimes, which can be good or bad depending on the circumstances.
Weakness: My leadership style is lenient and people tell me that sometimes I’m too forgiving of delays and mistakes that my team members make. I’m learning to deal with that and I use a strike system now. This is to ensure that the work that has to be done gets done.
Strength: It is very easy to talk to me as a leader. You can bring any ideas, criticism, and suggestions and I will listen. I will take them in and adjust my approach accordingly.
How will you ensure that you work on tasks that are important to international students and what mechanism will you use to ensure regular feedback from the people you represent?
Nikita Adekar: International students' issues are close to me. I will monitor social media and use whatever tools I have (such as newsletters) for engaging the most I can.
Safwan: Currently we’re working on a platform where students can come in and post whatever issues they’re facing and as many issues as they want so we can keep track of what’s going on with students and work on those issues. There are still details and adjustments that need to be made in this project and I plan to complete it as soon as possible.
How can you ensure that your approach to action is inclusive enough given the high diversity of international students taking into account we come from different countries, have had different experiences, and have different needs?
Nikita Adekar: That’s what excites me about ISA; it’s so diverse and I want to be part of it. I will partner with specific regional associations when creating events for certain cultures and ensure everyone feels their background is respected and taken into account
Safwan and Valencia Das (Running for VP Student Life)
I am very proud that within my department, I try to have students from as many different backgrounds as possible. It helps us know what we can and can’t do because of cultural differences. I will continue this. We also have a student affairs team and they focus on trying to talk more and more with as many students as possible to know how we can do the best for the most people and not harm or poorly affect any group.
We really appreciate you wanting to represent international students and working for them. Is there anything else you would like to say today that didn’t get mentioned?
Nikita: Nothing else
Safwan: I would like to add that the individual running as the co-VP with me is a first-year student and I think that is very important. I’ve noticed that most undergraduates in ISA are in their 3rd or 4th year but I want to make sure that we also have diversity in terms of which year/stage someone is at in their university experience. Students from earlier years being involved in ISA will give us a peek into the advocacy and events they need because for us later-year students, it’s been a while since we moved to a new country and many details have become murky in our mind.
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