Junior political science major, Shaheer Khan, has been a leader since elementary school. Growing up in Elmont, New York, he was class president in the 6th grade, senior class president in high school and now he’s set to be the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) president for the 2019-2020 school year.
Running with the SB United Party, Khan’s campaign consisted of 13 initiatives to better the university. Some of these include improving attendance at USG events, increasing transparency within USG and pushing the university to hire more multilingual employees within Counseling and Psychological Services.
“When you’re president, you work closely with a faculty, staff and administration,” Khan said. “You’re talking to the higher-ups to make sure the quality of student life is better. That’s an important aspect of USG. It would give me satisfaction to be the voice for those who don’t have it.”
Khan came into college as a biomedical engineering major, but changed to political science in his sophomore year. He realized that he enjoys interacting with people and learning about policy so he can improve people’s quality of life.
Because of the role’s time commitment, he must step back from his involvement with the Center of Civic Justice, where last summer he registered 2,500 students to vote. Khan is also a Forever Fellow for Roosevelt Quad, where he lived for his first two years on campus.
The future president first got involved in USG in the Fall 2018 semester, as a College of Arts and Science senator. During his campaign for senator, he ran with no party.
“Being able to run with a party and full cabinet, they’re realizing what issues are in each college,” Khan said.
The incoming Executive Vice President, Mohamed Heiba, spoke highly of Khan.
“Shaheer is a man that never stops working; he always fights for what’s right,” he said.
The two have been friends since their freshman year, and even live off campus together. Heiba said he is fully confident that Khan will achieve his goals over the next year.
“One thing I want to see him do is accomplish all 13 of his points,” he said. “I know he can do it and with the right help, I’ll be there for him and the rest of the Executive Council and Senate.”
To make his vision possible, Khan has a concrete plan of making office hours more useful.
“It’s important to have set office hours so you can make it routine,” Khan said. “I plan on having my availability the Sunday before school starts every week, so students would have full access to my Google Calendar and whenever they need to come and speak they can just check that.”
Khan plans to give full disclosure to students and media relations about what goes on within USG each week. He said he also wants the process of picking artists for Brookfest and Back to the Brook to be more transparent.
“Our main method of getting students engaged is through polls and emails,” Khan said. “We need to take that one step forward and introduce a form where people can meet one on one to run down the process of bringing artists to campus.”
Current USG President, Justas Klimavicius, said one of the most challenging parts of being president is continuing with the work that USG has already started and preserving university traditions. He is also vouching for Khan to increase participation in events and USG elections.
“I hope to see a change in how the USG team approaches our own elections,” Klimavicius said. “Getting more student participation and buy-in is important in becoming a better and more effective organization.”
Despite the challenges that come with the role, Klimavicius expressed confidence in Khan’s ability to lead.
“Shaheer is a really good people person and I think he knows how to motivate a room of fellow students,” he said. “I am excited to see how things go for Shaheer and the rest of the team.”
When asked what challenges he may face in the future, Khan said he’d rather not speak for what will happen in the future.
“I’m not in the role yet and I don’t want to have the preconceived notion,” he said. “I rather speak into existence that it’ll go well and I have the support that I need.”