Aysha Seedat reflects on time as Student Association president
Jingyu Wan | Staff Photographer
Editor’s Note: Several important Syracuse University officials are leaving their positions at the end of the academic year. Take a look at their stories in this four-part series.
The job that Student Association President Aysha Seedat will hold after graduation is not the job she wants the most.
Seedat, who is graduating on May 15, will soon work in regulatory compliance at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and create policy within the company that will ensure ethical business practices, she said in an email.
But her biggest ambition, she added, is to one day become chancellor of Syracuse University, the place she said has been real with her from the start.
And a big part of her time at SU has been spent as a member of SA, the university’s student governing body.
Seedat took office as president of SA’s 59th Session in the fall 2015 semester after serving as chair of SA’s Student Life Committee for three semesters.
As president, Seedat helped to create the position of a student director of diversity affairs, worked with the New York State Senate and Uber in an effort to get the ride-hailing service to operate in upstate New York, transported about 200 students to the Final Four basketball games in Houston and Indianapolis and served with SU administrators on several working groups.
“I’ve witnessed three different sessions of Student Association — granted, all from different perspectives — but the 59th Session, by far, has made the biggest impact on our university,” SA Vice President Jane Hong said.
Both Hong and Seedat said they believe that the reason they were able to accomplish as much as they did was because they were passionate about what they were doing, believed that there could be improvements within the university and formed connections with people that could help them accomplish their goals.
“One piece of advice Aysha and I received coming into our respective roles was to be critical — of our organization, of administration and of the university,” Hong said. “When you really love something as much as you love Syracuse University, you have to be critical to think about what we can be doing to become even better than we already are.”
Student Life Committee Vice Chair Paulina Colon agreed that a main reason that the 59th session of SA was able to accomplish as much as it did was because of the ties it was able to foster with the administration.
“(Seedat) is a go-getter and will not take no for an answer,” Colon said.
Seedat’s knowledge of the university and its administration made her a helpful resource when Colon had a question or needed help from someone in a certain office, Colon added.
Assembly Representative Janine Bogris also spoke highly of the networking with administration Seedat was able to accomplish. Bogris said Seedat’s work with administrators has done a lot to “pave the way for future (students) working with upper administration.”
Bogris added that Seedat has established strong relationships both within SA and between SA’s cabinet and assembly.
During the final SA meeting of the semester on April 25, Seedat talked about how grateful she is for the strong communication and friendship that existed between her, Hong and SA Comptroller Phil Kramer.
“It’s a relationship, between the three of us, that I don’t think is fostered frequently among administrations,” Seedat said at the meeting.
The relationship between herself, Hong and Kramer is also different in SA, Seedat said, because the position of comptroller and SA’s Finance Board can sometimes seem like separate entities from SA. Seedat added that having strong connections within the organization enabled it to be more successful.
One example of that success is SA’s initiative to bus students to the Final Four men’s and women’s basketball games in Houston and Indianapolis, respectively. That initiative, Seedat said, was successful with the help of several SU departments and facilities.
“In 48 hours, we did it with little hiccups and a lot of it is attributed to the relationships (Hong) and I have been able to foster with folks in those units,” Seedat said. “All hands were on deck those (two to three days) and because of the relationships we had with individuals here, we didn’t even have to ask for help. They just did it.”
Seedat had not envisioned that close involvement in SA during the second semester of her freshman year, when she applied to transfer out of SU. She had been unhappy with the lack of programming within the university that was available for students who didn’t go greek, but an SA member convinced her to remain at the university and join SA.
Now, three years later, Seedat said she believes that being a member of SA has helped put her on course for her future ambitions.
“Universities are constantly shaping the world we live in today and I want to be there, helping reform our education system to accommodate the needs the next generation will need to succeed,” she said. “SA has taught me how to foster the relationships necessary to do that. It has allowed me to be critical of a structure that I know can be better.”
There is a lot of work that needs to be done, Seedat said, and while she’s done “some of it,” she’s sad to leave because she’d love to continue doing that work. But she said she trusts the people who will carry out SA’s projects into the future, and added that she’s excited for the future of SU.
“It’s the place I fell in love with different people, cultures, subjects. It’s the place where I felt rich and poor, it’s where I grew up into the adult I am today that will be joining the real world,” Seedat said. “SU is about growth and learning.”
Published on May 2, 2016 at 10:50 pm
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