By Fatima Imran ‘23 and Aleena Sarfraz ‘24
1) General Non-SSE
Sardar Muhammad Ahmad
Hailing from a humble background, Sardar Muhammad Ahmad ‘23, is passionate about “investing in ideas and unleashing the youth’s potential at LUMS”. In his manifesto, he explains how the “divisive” LUMS community has motivated him to become a voice for his peers struggling with financial independence by campaigning for the General Seat.
Focusing on student employability issues, he argues for Youth Mentorship programs with Alumni. In his time at LUMS as a member of the National Outreach Program (NOP) Advisory Board, Ahmad has worked hard to raise the issue of NOP Scholar stipends, successfully implemented, along with on-campus opportunities for financial aid students. He further supports open town halls for students, a student council web platform for direct communication with students and reduced academic workload on weekends for students. Addressing the sophomore student body, he campaigns for them to use their vote wisely. “Consider merit this time and help me create a LUMS community where we acknowledge and honor everyone’s background & culture regardless of financial status.”
“Being a people’s person, I want to stand by my batchmates through thick and thin,” says Bilal Ahmad ‘23 running for General Seat.
In his manifesto, Bilal prioritizes the formation of a student council portal for lodging complaints and queries as well as keeping the student body updated on the workings of the Student Council.
Identifying victims of harassment as the most vulnerable group at LUMS, Bilal believes in increasing batch representatives in the existing harassment committees, holding mandatory awareness sessions for incoming batches alongside an easier reporting process to facilitate more victims to come forward. He points towards creating new on-campus student job opportunities at sports complex as well as a TA/instructor evaluation system in the middle of the semester to allow for changing the course accordingly.
He recognizes that the one thing that sets him apart from fellow candidates is his commitment to working on females’ menstruation issues and getting them the support they deserve. Sharing his experience at LUMS, he recalls: “I put my efforts during protests against the admin to reopen LUMS, join the day scholars to support them and show our friends that we are with them.” Addressing his batchmates, Bilal wants the student body to know: “My intention is not just to get a title of authority. I will make sure that I fulfil all my promises after becoming the part of Student Council.”
Muhammad Hassan Azhar
Running for the General seat, Hassan ‘23 has the rallying cry of “Naara Nahi Iraada Hai.”
Moving beyond “false” promises, Hassan claims he will make realistic promises that he can try his best to fulfil.
Engaging with students on LDF over mental health issues and the #MeToo movement, as well as being an active participant of what has come to be known among the student body as the Fee Hike at LUMS last summer, and campus reopening protests, Hassan believes the unique point of his manifesto is working as one unit, as well as focusing on reducing workload considering no hope of a pass-fail policy. For this, he proposes floating forms to ask instructors and relevant department heads to know course dynamics and collectively reduce workload.
Hassan further proposes a Student Council Portal for better implementation of Sexual Harassment policies as well as improving hostel facilities. He points out how TA/instructor evaluations after the semester ends gives no incentive for students to be honest or TA’s to be more accountable and how that must be changed. Addressing his batchmates, Hassan states, “I won’t make promises that I won’t fulfil.”
“I am always ready for taking up new challenges and never shy away from competition,” says Usman Mahmud ‘23, running for General Seat. He believes the constant pressure of the position will inspire him to deliver better. Coupled with his past experience as part of his college’s student government body and his dedication to hold office hours to address individual concerns in future, Hasan believes he has what it takes to be elected.
Identifying NOP students as the most vulnerable group at LUMS, he explains how the pandemic, fee hike and regular price hikes in PDC and Superstore have severely disadvantaged them. Subsidizing vaccines for such groups is a priority in his manifesto. Speaking on his past efforts, he narrated how he stayed behind at the end of his first semester in an isolated campus to work tirelessly for his society for a week and successfully executed a hosting event on the spot.
It is this resourcefulness and work ethic Hasan wishes to bring to his post in the Student Council. What sets him apart from other candidates, Hasan says, is his focus on green policies. He proposes color-coded and more accessible recyclable bins on campus. Addressing the flaws in existing sexual harassment committees, Hasan advocates trauma counselling, sensitivity training for all Committee members and instructors as well as ensuring perpetrators are not allowed to hold positions of TA-ship, Student Council seats or student society councils. Hasan also suggests increasing non-academic jobs for students to force them to think “out-of-the-box,” such as hostel wing managers with proper wages and contracts. Regardless of who they vote for, Hasan wants his batchmates to know that he is someone they can rely on.
Muhammad Ali Mahboob Majoka
“I want all of you to know that my decision to stand up as a candidate only came after I saw the multiple difficulties and obstacles that our student body had to face,” says Ali Mahboob Majoka ‘23, whose manifesto targets the minorities and subjugated members of the community, to create a space that welcomes every student member.
He points out that the most important point is to tackle the issue of harassment at LUMS. “The first step is to make the process of justice easier and more efficient for the victims,” he says. He believes this can be done through a committee that is more sensitive to the plight of those who have suffered harassment, working with due sensitivity and concern. “We need to give the victim the maximum flexibility we can and guide them through the process while ensuring that no part of it becomes insensitive.”
His efforts for people are not constrained to LUMS only as he consistently finds other facets to create betterment and ease for people. “I am a part of a student run NGO of Jasr, through which we conduct clothing drives, hold iftaars and run a summer school volunteer program.” He has also pointed to the significance of raising TA pay and to collaborate with instructors in a way that reduces workloads to a more doable range for the student body. Ali promises his voters that his concern is for their service and to fight for the benefits of the student body at LUMS.
For Musa Saeed ‘24, his manifesto targets a large field of problems that he believes require immediacy in being handled. “The point I would prioritize is for the vulnerable groups primarily because I think that is the root of most of the issues in LUMS right now. It covers the staff and workers, victims of sexual harassment, and NOP and financial aid students.”
He has always been on the forefront of social issues at LUMS, be it the movement for MBM workers, or the #MeToo movement; Musa has been constant in his efforts for the student body and the general population LUMS encompasses. “I want to work for these people and get a proper policy passed by LUMS that thinks of the students first before making any important decisions…the one I am most passionate about was the Labor Movement for the MBM workers.”
Regarding the course evaluations and course workload, he believes they should work in a way where there are repercussions, in some form of improvement towards the course and the instructors so that students may actually be able to benefit from them and receive better experience with the courses they are opting for. To the student body, his message of activism stands strong: “I want them to know that you don’t have to be in the council to bring change, and that I’m still going to advocate for answers from the administration, and will still continue to raise my voice on these matters.”
With set priorities for improving academic opportunities and propelling women in STEM, candidate Zoha Khan ‘23 is looking forward to propel students academically. While actively serving as the Assistant Director (AD) in SPADES and Assistant Committee Director (ACD) in LUMUN, she does not shy away from taking initiative and cites her efforts for the #MeToo movement as one of her most important contributions for the LUMS student body. Regarding the harassment policies, she says, “I am to work with faculty to draft a mandatory 1-CH course for the student body in hope to inculcate basic human decency.”
The idea is to be able to create a committee that is able to facilitate not only the victims but also bring a change from the very roots and create awareness for the students. Her manifesto takes into account the vulnerability of the minorities in LUMS and hence stresses on the importance of representation and working towards creating a council that is inclusive and accommodating for everyone. “I am not here for the seat [but] the change for which I am really passionate about. I am here to serve you all with the best of my abilities and I vow to live up to my promises.”
“Accountability, transparency, and approachability are the things I want to focus on,” says Ahmad Faraz ‘23, candidate of the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) General Seat.
Ahmad argues that NOP scholars and FA students face “complex cultural shocks” after coming to LUMS which he wishes to guide them through. Through mandatory regular town hall meetings, he wishes to set up a more effective communicating link between the Student Council and the student body.
Despite spending most of his time at LUMS behind a screen, Ahmad has managed to open a non-profit educational center for the unprivileged people of his area in Faisalabad. He believes that though the Covid-19 situation limited him, he was able to utilize the situation, which speaks of his commitment to the post.
When asked what sets him apart from other candidates, he explains his vast social circle allows him to be in close contact with all SSE students and relay their voices to the Student Council. At the same time, Ahmad believes changing course syllabi is not the answer to SSE workload, but instead wants to focus on improving the grading structure and practical component of labs. He further argues for mid-semester TA evaluations, more transparent harassment committees and a system that connects students with their seniors to share experiences of “harassment, bad grades, loneliness and home-sickness” to help them navigate their way in a stressful semester.
Mahnoor Mansoor Jawaid
Sophomore candidate Mahnoor Mansoor ‘23, as a student of SSE, aims for the provision of better academic guidance. “There is insufficient academic guidance in SSE…we are constantly in a state of uncertainty when it comes to our academics as well as our extracurriculars and that needs to change.”
She makes sure that her manifesto is true to the student body and thus she proudly refers to it as “OUR manifesto.”
She finalized it with the help of the student body and claims having personally reached out to many students to hear their concerns and discuss possible solutions, so that it may be as inclusive and representative of the students as possible. She understands the significance of minorities and points out that the necessity for equal women representation across the board. “Despite representing nearly 40 percent of the student body in SSE, this ratio is not reflected in the number of TAs hired. Neither are there enough reserved positions for girls for research opportunities.”
To her voters, Mahnoor promises transparency and integrity, to be the voice of the student body and create an atmosphere inclusive to all requests and ideas for betterment.
“I believe that I can act as a bridge in communicating important matters of SSE’s student body to the administrative staff,” says Zain Nadeem ‘23, who is running for the SSE General Seat, “And I would prioritise bringing about more internship and recruitment opportunities for students of ALL majors at SSE.”
Speaking on the existing harassment policies, Zain argues for peer-to-peer support groups, unofficial help in the reporting process and wider distribution of the complaint forms to revive the reputation of LUMS as a “safe space” for students.
While advocating for on-campus student employment, he also believes there should be checks to ensure no misuse of authority by employed students. Focusing on SSE workload, Zain suggests meetings with instructors and HOD of respective departments for course planning so students do not face agonizing deadlines. In his time at LUMS, Zain has coordinated with seniors in organizing and live streaming protests for campus reopening, and believes what sets him apart from other candidates is his strong motivation to bring change for the betterment of the LUMS community. His closing remarks to the student voting body: “I am always open to suggestions and criticism. Feel free to get in-touch whenever you need me!”
3) Female Reserved Non-SSE
Mehrab Kamil Jan
As an active volunteer for Ujrat, an NGO that stands for the rights of transgenders, Mehrab Kamil ‘23 knows how to take a stand and that is exactly what she hopes to do as a part of the Student Council.
“I stand for things I aim to improve. I stand for a strong body ready to tackle and adapt to difficult situations. And lastly, I stand for people and for the rights and safety of people.” Her manifesto focuses on the importance of adding the element of approachability in harassment committees, so that people may be able to find the courage to place their reports and experience a feeling of safety in that space. “Moreover, a separate feature on Zambeel consisting of all the procedures and policies for each type of case must also be introduced to educate people regarding all the procedures.” For vulnerable groups such as women, NOP students etc. The aim is to make sure there is inclusivity and everyone feels that they are comfortable in the collective space of LUMS.
Concerning student job opportunities, Mehrab points out that they would serve as a better way to gain job experience and thus be of great value for the students. To her, being a part of the student council means being able to actively serve the community and use that as an opportunity for collective betterment.
Candidate Faqiha Amjad’s ‘23 plan of action stresses on taking immediate steps for a harassment free campus and a safe space for all students.
“Action against on-campus harassment is my top priority. In the past year, more than 100 students opened up about their #MeToo cases” and there is much awareness to be raised and work to be done in that department as she says: “There is an explicit lack of awareness regarding existing rules against harassment and a communication gap between the victims and the harassment committee too.”
Faqiha points out the need for inclusion of SAHSOL students in the LUMS academic environment and claims that students are facing negligence with the lack of courses and counseling from faculty members. Her manifesto stands to create more paid working opportunities for students on campus as she says: “There is a clear lack of on-campus internships and job opportunities. Involving students could not only help financially but also provide essential experience in entrepreneurship.”
She promises to be a voice of the student body, vowing to listen to their concerns and convey them to the related administrative authority.
“I want to devise a system where justice is served to every student while they live in the place they call their home, LUMS,” says Malaike Wajid ‘23 for whom the main concerns of her manifesto entail the harassment issues and reforms.
And the group of vulnerable people does not just entail the harassed but the NOP/FSc students for whom accommodation has been an issue – not only for financial reasons but also due to abusive households and unsafe spaces. She takes it as her duty to provide for these groups and ensure that the university is a safe space for every person. She stresses on the importance of having a structured workload, designed to cater to the students rather than being a cause of disintegrating mental health: “Set workload should be decided before the start of semester, and not altered as the semester goes on (should only be changed by approval of the dean of the relevant school). Quizzes/assignments on weekends should be banned and enforced by the admin so that it is strictly followed.”
At the end of the day, her main focus is to be a source of help and comfort for the student body at LUMS: “I’m very passionate about the causes I’m bringing forward because they give me eternal happiness, something that keeps me at peace from within.”