By: Hussein El Moataz
The Student Union (SU) in the past year has navigated negotiations between the administration and the student body in response to the spike in tuition fees, the court ruling and mass demonstrations.
In the midst of these events, computer engineering senior Mohamed Gadalla was confirmed as the new SU President on April 4.
Gadalla sat down with The Caravan to discuss his vision for the year in light of these changing times.
How do you plan on tackling the issue of tuition fees?
First, we will try to enforce the judicial statement in coordination with the lawyers who filed the case. In parallel, we are planning to work on three alternatives: corporate scholarships, external grants and financial aid schemes.
It is said that the relationship between the SU and the student body has worsened over the past few years due to a persisting lack of communication. How are you going to approach that problem?
Usually, the Union works on a lot of projects which the students are not aware of.
In order to solve the problem, we should enhance the communication through different channels, like a mobile application and on-ground continuous communication with students.
This is so that we can reach the students ourselves and not wait for them to voice their problems.
In your view, what were the main problems previous Unions faced and how do you plan on addressing them?
There are two problems, the first is that the plan with which they were convincing people is oftentimes not executed.
I think cabinet members must be fully aware of the plan and place a top priority on its execution.
The other problem is that the cabinet members or Union members are not diversified.
I think we should work hard on solving this, especially given that our slogan is “unifying differences.”
What will be your top priority when you take office?
Our top priority is the idea of “unifying differences” and to reach and maximize the potential of each student.
We also plan to let each and every person explore themselves through their special and unique skills.
What will be the main qualifications you seek when recruiting your team?
We strive for diversity in the cabinet, followed by experience.
How you are going to maximize efficiency inside the Union?
It is going to be more of a Human Resources system in the Union. Sometimes a lot of people in the Union don’t work and are not being followed up on.
In order to solve the problem, each and every member in the Union has to know their exact role and the distribution of members must be well allocated, so that the higher boards know the exact role of every member and follow up with them.
How will you communicate with university offices?
On a personal level, my work this year as a political representation chair will help me a lot as I have a lot of connections with different people in the university offices and have good working relationships with them.
But mainly, any communication with the higher administration will be through the Dean of Students and anything we need from other offices is coordinated through him.
How will your team communicate with the student government?
Concerning the Senate, in my point of view, there must be one representation hub.
Regarding the associations, we have to communicate through a hub in order to supply the services needed to the students.
Every year, the SU finds a problem in passing the budget from the Student Senate, which usually disables some of the Union’s projects. How are you going to solve this issue?
The main problem that occurs when the Union proposes the budget is that it usually sends it directly to the Senate awaiting their approval without previous discussion.
To solve the problem, we have to make the Senate aware of our projects from the planning phase, so that we have their recommendations and concerns from the beginning.
How are you going to communicate with camps next year?
Although I was not supported by any camp during the elections, I have a good relationship with all of them.
Even still, we have to communicate and work together as the Union is a hub for all sectors in the university.