Perry Safari eager to start academic year as new CSU president
Carlo Javier // EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Less than a year ago, Perry Safari was president of a brand new student club. Today, he’s the president of the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU).
After helping create Learn and Connect in 2016, a business club intended to build relationships between industry professionals and Capilano University students, Safari quickly made his presence known at the CSU.
This spring, he won the inaugural seat as vice president of nance and services and defeated Nesrin Bantan in the only contested executive role in the general election. The win was soon followed by an even bigger position. On Jun. 9, the CSU announced that Safari would also be serving as president for the 2017-2018 academic calendar.
Safari’s selection bucks a growing trend with CapU student politics. The last four presidents – Brittany Barnes, Zach Renwick, Jullian Kolstee and Sacha Fabry – all served during the later legs of their education. Safari, 21, will take on presidency as a second-year business student.
“It’s not a small deal at all,” Safari said about the magnitude of his roles.
Even though Safari is young and relatively inexperienced in student politics, his af nity for nance and community service could help smoothen his transition from the preparatory summer to the busy fall semester.
“I believe it’s quite complementary,” he said about the relationship of his two titles. As a VP, Safari will review all contracts that go through the CSU and will be responsible for ensuring their financial stability and sustainability. As president, he will work in strategic planning and board development and orientation. “The financial aspects of it do tie in with the strategic aspect,” he said. “Also, both of them are quite administrative-heavy.”
The CSU conducts an internal election to select a president from among its executives every year, with the chosen student assuming presidential role on top of executive responsibilities. This summer, Safari won the internal vote against Yats Palat, vice president student life. “Yats and I were at a consensus that we would be happy regardless of who got picked,” Safari said.
This fall semester marks new beginnings for Safari, the CSU and the entire CapU community. Not only will this year be the first where five executive members as opposed to the usual four represent the CSU, but all five executives also happen to be new to their respective positions. Joining Safari and Palat are Andrew Willis, vice president academic, Noah Berson, vice president external and Owen Sigurdsson, vice president equity and sustainability.
As for CapU, the announcement of off-campus housing marks a monumental development for the University. “It’s completely new for Capilano University and we have a lot of respect for the direction they’re heading towards and making the University more accessible,” said Safari. Part of the CSU’s involvement with off-campus residence is through a residence relations committee set up by Willis, that is in place to provide care packages and other benefits to students using the residence facilities. The CSU is also in communication with Translink about improving the bus schedule from the residence to CapU.
For Safari, his personal priorities and expectations are focused on building a stronger sense of accountability and transparency with the CSU. He expects every executive, liaison and staff member to be as accountable and as open to one another as possible. Moreover, he fully expects every member to be communicative with everyone. “We have to be able to function together and know when each other is struggling,” he said.
Most importantly, Safari intends to be approachable and accessible to every member of the CapU community. “I personally don’t see it [the presidency] as a position of sitting up here, while other students are down there,” he said. “I’m just another student as well.”
The CSU will be kicking off the 2017- 2018 school year with CAPtivate, a back-to- school celebration that Safari promises to be historic for CapU. In concurrence, they will spend the early parts of the year focusing on a sexual violence and misconduct campaign, continuing an annual trend of major initiatives orchestrated by the CSU during the height of back-to-school excitement.
Safari may be a stark change from previous presidents, but time and the notion of a clean slate could very well foreshadow exciting things to come during his term.