Friday, May 29, 2015

Ahmed Tahir revels in future role as HSF President

Ahmed Tahir will serve as HSF President for 2015-16 (Photo via Craig Bagol)
Ahmed Tahir sat among his fellow Humber Student Federation executive nominees, waiting to hear if he won the presidency. 

He was sweating. Three months of campaigning, shaking hands and posting posters around the school. The polls were closed. Matters were out of his hands. 

“I was so nervous,” said Tahir, a 23-year-old who served as vice-president of student life at North campus for the past year. “I remember the room was quiet, everyone was smiling and telling each other they ran a great campaign, but you could definitely feel the tension. My stomach was churning.” 

Then the results were in. And with 34.6 per cent of the vote, Tahir won. In his first act as president-elect, he called his mother.

“Immediately after that, I turned my phone off,” Tahir said. “I knew everyone would call or text me once the news broke, and I just wanted to unwind.”

That night, he went for a steak dinner with friends to celebrate the results. 

“It was the juiciest steak I ever had. I think I asked for medium.”

Tahir was born in Birmingham, England, then moved to Mississauga with his family in 1998 when he was only seven. He quickly adapted to his new surroundings while his British accent faded. When it was time to choose a school, Guelph-Humber’s ability to offer both a degree and diploma from their business program piqued his interest. 

“After a few years, I needed a change,” he said. “I transferred into general studies on main campus. It’s improved my communication skills and taught me how to approach things with an open mind.”

Tahir used those skills and applied to HSF, where he started as a promotions assistant. In December 2013, after he was bumped to lead promotions assistant, he met Dylan Rudder, who at the time was an event planner for HSF. 

“We were setting up for a Christmas party and sort of clicked off the bat,” Rudder said. “We both liked helping people.” 

Rudder was elected as vice-president of student life at Lakeshore campus later that semester, and spent the past year working with Tahir, his North campus equivalent. The duo became Humber celebrities, hosting dozens of events and meeting students from different campuses. Rudder said his relationship with Tahir strengthened on account of their similarities. 

“We liked the same music, movies, share the same aspirations. We meshed really easily,” said the 21-year-old Rudder. “Ahmed worked at Lakeshore a lot for HSF, so we collaborated on a ton of stuff. We reached a point where we could finish each other’s sentences, know exactly what the other was thinking, there was a real synergy with us.”

When second semester began last January, Tahir wanted to run for HSF president, saying once he knew incumbent president Thomas Walton wouldn’t run for re-election, he would campaign. Walton thought Tahir was a key member of his political team. 

“I wasn’t his president, I was his friend,” said Walton, referring to him and Tahir. “We worked well together and I knew he would do a terrific job if elected. He ran a great campaign and reached out to students throughout the process.”

Now that Tahir is president-elect, Walton thinks he’ll have his plate full. 

“Students have power, you need to get out and talk to them, hear what they want,” Walton said. “I think my term was spent clearing the mud and fixing some of the mess that was HSF. Ahmed will have to clean what’s left.” 

Tahir now holds the most powerful position among Humber students, but it’s the students who he’ll serve. Many were comfortable with Tahir’s abilities when asked how he’ll do as president.

“I thought Ahmed made a terrific VP of student life,” said Sheldon Cumming, 20, in his second year studying fitness health and promotion. “He’s been with HSF since I enrolled and has improved my Humber experience. He’ll be a great president.”

“He’s an interesting man,” said Noah Jackson, 19, a first-year media studies student. “I remember him at frosh week, him and (Rudder) hosted every event and introduced themselves to everyone. I voted for him in the election.” 

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