New executive elected for 2019-20
The Arts and Science Federation of Associations’ annual general elections are over and there’s a new team who will be taking over the office this year. Meet the members of ASFA’s new executive:
Evan Lee – General Coordinator
Lee co-ran Model UN and participated in civic engagement clubs at his high school in New Jersey. “That’s where I found my passion for politics, my interest for international relations,” he said.
Lee said that, oftentimes, students find themselves with no mentor to guide them, but he is always eager to help students find the perfect balance between academic and social life. When asked what is his proudest achievement, he said it would be setting a good example in a family with two younger siblings, the youngest being six. “Being a good role model for them is one of the biggest things for me,” Lee said.
During his first year at Concordia, Evan Lee became an ambassador for the university’s Political Science Student Association (PSSA) to help other first-year poli-sci students learn about the events and workshops happening at the university. He later became an independent councillor at the Arts and Science Federation of Associations (ASFA) and is now ASFA’s incoming general coordinator.
As general coordinator, Lee hopes to change students’ apathy towards university politics and encourage them to get involved in student life, as well as to use ASFA’s resources.
Michelle Lam – Communications Coordinator
Originally from Toronto, Michelle Lam is a communications and economics student at Concordia, and the incoming communications coordinator at ASFA. Previously, Lam was an independent councillor at ASFA along with fellow Momentum for ASFA members Evan Lee and Tori Smith-Ayotte.
She presently works as the marketing director for the student-run magazine John Molson Business Review and the ASFA Journal Editorial Board. Lam is also involved in the events and leadership committee at Grey Nuns.
Before studying at Concordia, Lam was the communications officer for the Toronto District School Board Student Senate and chief marketing officer at Toronto International Affairs. Her impressive efforts in the community were recognized by TMX when she was named one of Canada’s Next 150 Leaders.
Ever since she was young, Lam found joy in cooking. “My father owns a restaurant and cooking is something that brings us together,” she said. She plans on pursuing a culinary certificate in her hometown.
Richard Mayer – Internal Coordinator
Third-year philosophy student Richard Mayer is ASFA’s incoming internal coordinator. He began his political involvement at Concordia as the communications director for SoPhiA, a student association representing the university’s philosophy undergraduates. Mayer then became SoPhiA’s member association’s (MA) representative in ASFA’s council. He later transitioned to the executive level where he became the first person appointed as the federation’s consul last winter.
“There is currently a large sprawling movement sanctioned by ASFA to reform a lot of the communications practices and internal methodology,” Mayer said. “I saw first-hand the internal procedures of ASFA, and while I’ve always enjoyed student politics, it’s very frustrating that its elite mentality is bogging that change,” he added.
As internal coordinator, he plans on breaking ASFA’s current corporatist attitude by giving the student body more room for representation.
Maryam El Hebri – Mobilization Coordinator
Maryam El Hebri is a fourth-year history student and ASFA’s incoming mobilization coordinator. Running independently, she defeated Momentum’s candidate, Ryan Simonyik 235 votes to 116.
This is El Hebri’s first experience with ASFA. In her spare time, she has volunteered at community organizations such as West Island Palliative Care, YMCA, and Miriam Home and Services, a centre for people with intellectual disabilities. “I decided to run because I deeply care about the issues regarding sexual harassment, mental health and discrimination,” she said.
Although she is new to the incoming executive team, El Hebri is looking forward to working with and getting to know them. “The best thing to do is to be open, compromise, and adjust to gain the best outcome,” she said.
Tori Smith-Ayotte – Student Life Coordinator
Sociology student Tori Smith-Ayotte is ASFA’s incoming student life coordinator. Appointed thrice as a Frosh leader, Smith-Ayotte spent six hours a day from June to August preparing ASFA’s 2018 multi-day event Froshifornia Dreamin.
Sitting on multiple committees at ASFA, Smith-Ayotte is engaged in the duties of an independent councillor and consul for the federation as well. As consul, she chairs the meetings of the executive team. As student life coordinator, she wants to promote a sense of community for students by helping MAs plan their orientation events.
“We study one thing, but we have so many interests,” Smith-Ayotte said. She enjoys attending a variety of social events held by different student associations, from camping trips with the geography department to wine and cheese parties. “And you can actually do all those little things if you knew what MAs have to offer you,” she said.
“There’s very low involvement from the students to come to our events,” Smith-Ayotte said. “People don’t have a sense of school spirit when it comes to ASFA.” She hopes to change this by fulfilling the student body’s requests on academic and social events and she welcomes suggestions for next year’s Frosh and Halloween parties.
Janet Yang – Finance Coordinator
Janet Yang is an actuarial mathematics student and soon-to-be ASFA’s finance coordinator. For the past year, she has been heavily involved in Concordia’s Mathematics and Statistics Member Association (MSSA). She started as VP of Internal Affairs before her appointment as MSSA’s president from the last by-elections.
With her interest in programming, Yang recently co-hosted a VBA Workshop with MASSA’s VP Social Louis-Landry Mwizero for beginners that was a success with JMSB students. VBA is a programming language of Excel that stands for Virtual Basic for Applications, a practical asset for any business student to have.
As a member of Concordia’s Co-operative Education program, Yang has hands-on financial experience from multiple internship positions as an accounting assistant and data analyst. “There’s no standard procedure for MAs when they’re making a budget,” Yang said. As finance coordinator, she plans on using her skills to train all MAs’ finance executives with basic knowledge on finance.
George Manolakis – Academic coordinator
Following the completion of his first degree in human relations, George Manolakis is currently in his first year of political science at Concordia. Manolakis’s experience as a student is what motivated him to run for ASFA. “Having been a student in the Arts and Sciences for many years, I have seen first-hand the academic issues facing students, including myself, and this is what inspired me to go after this opportunity,” he said.
Although Manolakis wasn’t previously involved in student associations, he said “I have always enjoyed and have often had the occasion to help others.”
“As a new executive who is not a member of Momentum, I plan on working with them in a collaborative effort to make the voices and issues of the students heard,” Manolakis added.
With files from Ian Down and Mia Anhoury.