Vice President Campus Life is a popular position in this year’s SUO (Students’ Union Okanagan) elections, with four candidates vying for the key position: Taha Ilyas, Moez Khan, Partesh Ramana, and Jakson Pashelka. This position includes many responsibilities that revolve around enriching student life outside of regular courses. As chair of both the Campus Life Committee and the Media Fund Committee, the elected executive will organize and implement regular programming and events such as social gatherings, concerts and performances, lectures or workshops, mental health awareness events, among many others. Additionally, they will oversee the coordination of the Students’ Union Volunteer Program, which helps to get students involved in these projects on campus. On average, this position requires roughly 25 hours per week of dedicated working time. With the ongoing pandemic, this position will be vital in order to create a tight-knit community amongst UBCO’s diverse and potentially scattered student body.

In order to get to know the candidates a bit better, The Phoenix put each of them on the hotseat by asking them three important questions.

Taha Ilyas: 3rd year Computer Science Major

The Phoenix: What did you accomplish in your previous position of Director at Large?

Taha: In the 4 months that I have been director, I have been a member of the finance committee. I was part of the committee in charge of marking revenue and expense predictions in the SUO budget and also a part of deciding where excess money should be invested with regards to safe and acceptable returns. I have actively observed the inner workings of the SUO and obtained a deeper insight into how it functions on a day-to-day basis.

TP: If classes remain online, how will you create a greater feeling of community at UBCO?

Taha: I have been actively working on two plans—one of which specifically caters to the possibility of classes remaining online. I would take the successful events that previous VP Campus Life executives have worked on and try to introduce an online version of them. Also, I would introduce many new events that cover the range of interests and hobbies of all the students at our university.

TP: What qualities make you fit for this position?

Taha: I feel I would be a perfect fit for this position as I have experience organizing events in my high school, as well as the experience I have obtained from working as Director at Large. I can hit the ground running and will be able to deliver results efficiently.

Find out more about Taha’s platform at  

Moez Khan: 4th year Biology Major

TP: What qualities make you fit for this position?

Moez: I am very well organized and can work on multiple objectives at once, I have previous experience volunteering with SUP (Students’ Union Production) events in my first and second year, and additionally, I am a student that has been working extremely hard to get into med school—that passion for helping people and making the world a better place is what drives me to want to start here at UBCO, by making this community better for students to thrive and flourish in.

TP: If classes remain online, how will you create a greater feeling of community online at UBCO?

Moez: Looking at my campaign points, I believe collaboration with the clubs here at UBCO will form greater and more inclusive events for students. As we enter next term online, this allows us to have a wider reach, and work together with other schools as well, making it easier to include many students and program large events. Another way I am planning on incentivizing students is to hold contests that will make it fun for students to express their creativity in order to win prizes. Lastly, if I am elected, I want to make sure students at UBCO are healthy and well. For that, I am planning on launching the SUO Health and Fitness platform. I’ve been deeply involved in health and fitness for as long as I can remember, being part of the rugby team here at UBCO and in conjunction with my plans to become a healthcare practitioner. Throughout the years, I have done countless hours of research as well as taking part in powerlifting since I was fifteen years old. I want to share my fitness knowledge with the students of UBCO and help them cope with the countless stressors of online school. Fitness helped me keep myself stable and I believe with this platform I will be able to aid others.

TP: What are the 2 biggest tangible changes you will make if elected as VP Campus Life?

Moez: What I mentioned previously can be applied here, I want to push for an SUO health and fitness page to help everyone on campus in online times. Secondly, I want to implement a collaborative effort to work with UBC on speaker events to make them large-scale. This will be used for spreading awareness of issues on campus, like sexual abuse, racial abuse, etc. This will also be used for recreational events that will include a multitude of students as mentioned in my campaign points.

Find out more about Moez’s platform at

Partesh Ramana: 2nd year Management Student

TP: What are the 2 biggest tangible changes you will make if elected as VP Campus Life?

Partesh: The two biggest tangible changes that I’d make would be to increase involvement and awareness as I feel that campus life exists because of the students and if the students aren’t as involved as they should be due to lack of effort on the SUO’s part, then it defeats this position’s purpose. Making the students more aware doesn’t stop at making them aware of campus events and activities. It includes increasing awareness of crucial topics like sexual violence, racial discrimination, and sustainable preservation of the environment, among others.

TP: If classes remain online, how will you create a greater feeling of community online at UBCO?

Partesh: I believe connecting people through various resources is important. Frequently sending them information about the clubs available on campus is important because very few students will actually make an effort to go to the SUO page and sign up for the particular club. At the same time, I would aim to ask the presidents of various clubs to do more marketing of their events in order to increase turnout. Although these activities would take place online, attention could be given to rewarding participants with incentives such as prizes.

TP: Tell us in 3 sentences why we should vote for you.

Partesh: I've always believed in giving my best effort and a ‘never give up’ attitude to excel at every opportunity. As an elected VP Campus Life, I'll strive to enrich every student’s experience at the UBCO campus and aim to rebuild the experiences lost due to the pandemic. I aim to be a voice for the students at UBC Okanagan with my receptive attitude and welcoming personality.

Find out more about Partesh’s platform at

Jakson Pashelka: 3rd year Psychology Major

TP: What are your proudest achievements in your previous position as Director at Large?

Jakson: I’d say being able to go to my first ever BCFS general meeting and taking part in the services branch as a designated voter for UBCO (local 12)! I learned about so many great initiatives spread across BC that involved students collaborating across campuses. It was an honour to be there and to take part in advocating for students here at UBCO. Also, working with an executive and Naomi to create the SUO’s brand new Resource Centre Committee! I’m excited to be working with them for the last few weeks of my term!

TP: What made you want to run for VP Campus Life?

Jakson: Since coming here back in 2018, I’ve always loved the richness of our campus. From its size to its sense of community, I always felt that I contributed to a whole. I wanted to contribute even further by joining the SUO and running for positions that would contribute to the already amazing campus culture. I chose campus life for that reason and my 3 years of being on that committee prove it.

TP: If classes remain online, how will you create a greater feeling of community online at UBCO?

Jakson: Building school spirit! I always felt that our school spirit was lacking when it came to sporting events and overall turnout for programs and activities around campus. I thought about this back in 2019 when I first became fully involved with the Union. Now with zoom being our main platform, I wanted to create real engagement from students in the online world. We’ve had enough of sitting and listening to profs—by actually having meaningful conversations with speakers and events, we can allow for more engagement from the audience. We need to listen to what students want. Thus, I want them to contribute to the 21/22 event agenda as much as possible.

Find out more about Jakson’s platform at