Presidential Profiles



Put on your democracy hats, Phins. It’s that time of year again.

Students will have a chance to vote in the annual Associated Student Government (ASG) presidential election from April 25 to May 9.

Students, as the only body of SCC able to vote in this election, are encouraged to vote for one of the three candidates based on who they believe should be the next ASG president.

Not only does the ASG president have an obligation to speak on behalf of SCC’s student body, he or she must also “serve as liaison between the Associated Students (AS-SCC), College President, College Administration and the Board of Trustees,” according to the SCC bylaws.

This year, after a month-long promotion, there are three final candidates running in the presidential election.

Denish Oleke

Oleke, an third-quarter international student from Uganda studying computer science, worked as a student representative for Student Life and said he is passionate about working with students to ensure they can achieve their goals in whichever direction they are pursuing.

“I don’t like to give empty promises,” Oleke said. “I do what I (say) I am going to do because I know my potential.”

One of the biggest problems he said he wants to work on is to look at existing resources that are not fully functioning, or not being utilized, and fix them.

“Like those,” he said, pointing at a study room power outlet, “some of them work, some of them don’t.”

He said he would like to expand the capacity of the parking lot near Sears so that more students can park there and take advantage of the shuttle bus service.

Even more so, he said he wants to work on installing more bike racks at certain popular spaces, such as outside the library and PUB. He said even though there are a lot of bicycle racks around the campus, they are spread out to where students don’t really access them often.

Looking at the difference in food prices in the bookstore and cafeteria, he said he believes Lancer should set a fair equilibrium price for food in the cafeteria.

“This is not something I can guarantee … right away,” he said, “but it’s one thing that can be discussed with Lancer.”

Oleke said he learned leadership skills from his father, who was a chief of their clan, as well as from different activities in high school.

In his second-to-last year in secondary school, students voted for him as the president of Heritage, a club comprised of about 160 students from different cultures.

He believes that student voices are the priority and key factor of running for president.

“I would not be running for president if the students didn’t have things to say,” he said.

In order to meet students’ demand, he said he intends to make the ASG members more accessible for students with or without appointment.

“(SCC) wants student to engage and achieve but no student can engage if their voices aren’t being heard and (if) actions aren’t taken on what they (say),” he said. “I hear them and I will act upon their voices.”

Oleke said he is confident with the election because he trusts his potential in leadership and is willing to serve and sacrifice as a leader.

“I want every student to feel at home when they are at (SCC), socially, academically and politically, with domestic students and international students,” he said.

Brian Dean Tansil

Brian Tansil also started serving as a student representative in Student Life during his first year at SCC. Tansil said he gets a lot of chances to learn first-hand from the current ASG members and he wants to put those skills to work to help the students.

He said he noticed the increase in price of some food items in the cafeteria and he also heard that students would prefer more options in the cafeteria because it is the same for each quarter. He said he wants to investigate the reason for the price increases and go in-depth to see if the school can provide more options for students. He would also try to understand more about Lancer’s contract with the school to see if these actions are possible.

If elected, he said he would promote more leadership and engagement opportunities.

Growing up in Indonesia, he was part of Soka Gakkai International, the world’s largest Buddhist organization, where he helped teenagers engage in the community by hosting events. He said he learned team-bonding and leadership skills from that experience.

Tansil said he is always around the campus to interact with students and to see if there is any problem on campus that he can improve.

“They can talk to me if they have any concerns that need to be heard,” he said. “I can help them bring the situation to the members of (the ASG) and work as a team to address the issue.”

Tansil said the current ASG president and vice president are his mentors who taught him how to address student issues on campus.

He described himself as someone easy to talk to because he opens himself up to everybody.

Tansil feels confident about the election because of his experiences as a student representative and active member on campus, both of which have made him more aware of student issues.

Tansil said he believes students should vote for him because he wants to do everything in his power to help students at SCC.

If students have any concerns they are facing alone, Tansil encourages them to try finding him at the Student Life office, promising that he will do everything he can to help.

“I want to help more students in SCC by listening (to) their concerns and needs, providing more learning and leadership opportunities … and advocating for them,” he said.

Long Thanh “Harry” Phan

Harry Phan, whose intended major is astronomical engineering, said he wants to help students experience more happiness at SCC by using his creativity.

“When I look into the Main Dining Room, it’s very lame and quiet,” he said.

He wants to fix this by making the PUB more interesting, such as with more decorations.

If elected, Phan said he will work on creating a dorm on campus for students. (Plans are already in motion to establish a campus dorm.)

He also said he notices students working very hard at noon on campus, which inspired his idea of offering a space on campus for exhausted students to take naps at noon.

Coming from Vietnam, he said he was an honor student at his secondary school, with a lot of teachers inviting him to join the honor team to compete in city-wide science competitions.

In his first quarter at SCC, he created a new club called Enigma Club for students interested in logic, riddles and games.

He described himself as an innovative person who can work on any project until it is perfect if it is important to students.

“If someone needs crazy ideas, they come to ask me because my thinking is very different (from) others,” he said.

Phan said he has a lot of plans and ideas to achieve if he is elected. He said he feels unsatisfied with the school and plans to improve it.

For example, he said sometimes he feels like he is in a maze when walking through campus.

“I want to make directions clearer,” he said

As a person who works best in an open nature area, he said he wants to use rainwater to create some stream and lake elements on the campus. He also wants to add more windows to the buildings to bring nature into study areas and to motivate studying students.

Looking to the ASG itself, he aims to make it more professional in working on projects.

“Most of the time I visited the ASG office but officers are always not (there),” he said.

He said he will push the office to be more efficient with some rules that he feels are necessary to maintain the level of ASG.

“It’s not a club, it’s ASG,” he said.

Yet he also wants to have more events and activities for the ASG itself.

“When we work, we work. When we play, then we play,” he said. “I can be both a very hard worker and hard player but not at the same time.”

Phan would like to set up a reward system for people who have ideas: “Submit it and we will review it, and we can pay you for the idea,” he said.

He also said it is possible that they will call the person up to be a temporary officer for that project.

When asked to clarify about the payment for new ideas, he said he will probably give out coupons or cash, if possible, in return.

“I am the leader of students but not (the) leader of the ASG,” he said. “I am the monitor of our school.”

Phan said he believes his open-minded and unorthodox personality is his strength to stand out in this election.

“I don’t expect you to vote for me, but I expect you to vote for equality and value,” he said. “I cannot do it alone in an efficient way. That’s why I need a team.”

An open forum event will be held at 12:30 p.m. on April 25 in the Main Dining Room. Candidates will each deliver a five-minute speech about their prospects, and students will be able to ask candidates questions afterward. Voting will start right after the open forum. Students can vote on a laptop, smartphone or any computer at the polling stations around campus with their student ID and PIN number. The polls will close on May 9.

By Frances Hui,
Political Editor