VOICE CANDIDATE INTERVIEWS – Zil-E-Huma Lodhi

AUSU COUNCIL CANDIDATE – Zil-E-Huma Lodhi
See http://www.ausu.org/election/candidates.php for a list of all of the candidates.

How did you first become aware of AUSU Council, and why do you want to be a part of council in 2004?

I have been taking courses with AU since March 2002 but didn’t realize that AUSU exists.

I became aware of AUSU when I received a flyer mentioning the study buddy program provided by AUSU in Feb 2003. I was feeling isolated as there was an absence of peer support so I decided to work as a volunteer for a couple of AUSU committees. Since then I am actively participating in discussion forums to minimize the feeling of isolation.

I ran for councilor position in Sep 2003 and didn’t make it but I am glad the people who got elected were proved to be worthy of it. Now I am trying again for 2004-2005 candidacy, If elected my goals are to listen to student’s academic concerns, provide the information needed to solve their problem and advocate on students behalf.

Tell me a little about your experience with distance education: How many AU or distance ed courses have you completed, and what have you found hardest, or most rewarding, about distance study.

I have completed my B.Sc. degree with a conventional university and went to college for a two year business diploma, but this is the first time I am attending distance University. I am taking Bachelor’s of Health Administration (post diploma) and I have two more years — after that I will be looking forward to my Masters from AU as well.

I admit distance education provides flexibility but there is also a dilemma of isolation to it. Its very easy to procrastinate in the absence of real life class schedules and peer support. But I take it as an opportunity to use self-leadership and practice self -direction and self- motivation to achieve my goals. In the end it is also very important for me to recognize my achievements through rewards 🙂

What role, if any, has AUSU played in your AU experience so far? If AUSU has not played a role, what could it have done to facilitate your learning?

AUSU is more than a virtual union. For me it helped in the past by providing an excellent community of students in the form of discussion forums. As a new distance education student I had no idea how to manage my time and resources thanks to AUSU study skills package I was able to do so.

Study buddy helped me find fellow students taking the same course. I was even able to talk with an AUSU councillor about my future academic program and the prospects of finding a job in that area. Last but not least I am very thankful to The Voice for providing me inspiration and encouragement to contribute as a writer.

What work or life experience(s) have you had that you feel will be particularly valuable to you in working with council?

In the past I was involved with Canadian Red Cross and implemented a successful campaign for blood donation in my college. I was fortunate enough during conventional university to participate in Rotary Club science exhibitions. I was also a Class Representative in my college and this gave me an opportunity to be very open to students problems and work as a bridge between students and the college. Currently, working with the Academic and External committees as a volunteer also gives me an insight of students problems and concerns and how to address them.

If someone were to ask you why they should choose to attend AU, over other universities, what would you tell them?

My answer will be accessibility and flexibility. I been to conventional university I can do the comparison of time and resources lost during travel (not to mention time wasted during putting on make-up:) . Foremost, AU works with me, not the other way around. For example, with family responsibilities if I am not able to study during the day I can manage my time at night and I don’t have to worry about getting a doctor’s note to my teacher :).

Speaking generally, what do you feel is the primary role of a students’ union (i.e., student advocacy, services, financial support, etc)?

I believe that the role of the AUSU should be based on these principles: advocacy, accountability, supportive and viability:

Advocacy: AUSU should work on behalf of students and help voice student concerns and questions to the university.

Accountability: The AUSU should be accountable to the students. To address this, AUSU should publish meeting minutes, so that students can be better informed of the AUSU’s progress on important issues.

Supportive: AUSU need to be inclusive and ensure a student’s AUSU. One that supports clubs, committees and a student body who want to be involved.

Viability: The AUSU is responsible for a lot of money that comes from students. It has an obligation to use that money wisely and efficiently. As a student I want to see a tuition freeze. I want to see student debt reduced. AUSU can work with students, the administration, and governments to have our voice heard.

Is there one, most important thing that you want to do for AU students as a member of council?

I would like to see more student involvement and this can be done by promoting groups, clubs and societies. I also like to work with other Canadian institutions so our students at AU will be able to reap the benefits of both Conventional and Virtual student life and services.

Working with AUSU council means working with a group. What do you see as the benefits and/or disadvantages of working as a part of a large group or board, rather than as an individual.

Due to globalization and information technology sooner or later we all have to work with teams. I am a team player and believe working with a team results in better decision quality and decision commitment.

Of course, during our interaction with people of diverse personalities we are bound to have conflict. Instead of concentrating on our differences we should be able to manage our differences. One should not be afraid of being different as it can open the door for debate, dialogue and creativity.

See the February 25th (v12 i08) and the March 3rd (v12 i09) editions of The Voice for interviews with candidates Lonita Fraser, Melanie Gray, Stacey Steele, Cindy Stobbe, Joy Krys, Teresa Neuman, and Shannon Maguire.

The pdf versions of these issues are available at: http://www.ausu.org/voice/pdf/pdflist.php

The interviews are also available online at:
Lonita Fraser: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2597
Melanie Gray: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2598
Stacey Steele: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2599
Cindy Stobbe: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2626
Joy Krys: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2627
Teresa Neuman: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2628
Shannon Maguire: http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/articledisplay.php?ART=2629

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