Run by students, for students.

You know about the sleep lounge, the tax clinic and the Dispute Resolution Clinic. Initiatives like these are the part of IGNITE that you see. But behind the scenes, a skilled group of individuals work tirelessly to manage the organization’s assets and organize the programs you love.

That group is our Board of Directors. Members of the board are elected students who are in charge of everything we make happen. They advocate for the best interests of the entire Humber and UofGH student population by using their uppermost authority to develop the programs you need the most.

How do they know what’s important? Easy — because they’re students, just like you.

This week, we spoke with Asiya Bashir Awan and Stephanie Fallico — your Lakeshore campus Board members — to learn more about their goals, responsibilities, and who they are.

Side by side images of IGNITE Board of Directors members Stephanie Fallico and Asiya Bashir Awan
From left to right: Stephanie Fallico, Asiya Bashir Awan.

Introduce yourself! Tell us what program you’re in and what made you want to join the Board of Directors.

Asiya: I’m in my fourth (and final) year of my undergrad – Paralegal Studies, Bachelor of Applied Arts degree program. I’m from the Lakeshore campus and absolutely love it here. I’m definitely biased but Lakeshore is by far the most beautiful campus year-round, particularly during Fall.

I loved that IGNITE had (and continues to have) such an amazing and positive presence on campus. As a first-year student, it really made a big difference. It made me want to be a part of this organization and be able to give back to current and new students in the same way previous IGNITE members had done for me.

Stephanie: I’m currently in the community development degree program — bachelor’s degree. It started off as three years, so this is a brand-new degree. We’re gonna be the first set of students that will be graduating with this degree. I’m currently in my third year, sixth semester, got one more year left. I decided to be on the Board of Directors because I wanted to get more involved with Humber College.

How would you distinguish the role of the Board of Directors from the role of IGNITE executives? What’s your working relationship like with them?

Asiya: I would say that both roles have a public aspect in the sense that they interact with the public, however, with different authority. As a board director, you’re interacting with students more in informing them of any changes and/or updates happening with IGNITE. Similarly, an executive would also provide updates on changes occurring within IGNITE.

Stephanie: I would say, for the Board of Directors, we’re basically the people who make the decisions. The executive team, they go out, they get the ideas. They hear about what students want, what they want to see change or happen, new things on campus, new services, programs, recreation — anything that they would like to see. They bring that to the Board of Directors, and we make that decision.

What do you like best about being on the board?

Asiya: Behind the scenes, you really see all of the hard work and time that goes into making these things possible. Personally, this is such a rewarding experience and makes it the best part of being on the board.

Stephanie: I like that I can be a leader for my college. I feel like I have the power to make decisions based on the student body and what the students want.

What specific issues is IGNITE currently focusing on? What steps is the organization taking in order to achieve them?

Asiya: Currently, IGNITE is developing ‘new structures’ that seek to address the needs of Humber and UofGH students in a way that complies with certain standards and budgets.  We are all familiar with the recent cuts and the effects it has had on student unions across the province. Being behind the scenes, you really get to see how things are unfolding and the steps IGNITE is taking to ensure that students aren’t negatively impacted by this.

Stephanie: We’re trying to focus a lot more on our budget. Especially with the OSAP cuts and the Ford government, it’s really taken a toll on a lot of Humber and UofGH students, and students in general who have OSAP needs — me being one of them! So, it’s definitely a very challenging time.

IGNITE Board of Directors member Stephanie Fallico smiles with her thumbs up
Stephanie Fallico, IGNITE Board of Directors

What do you consider your most significant accomplishment in your role as a board member?

Asiya: Definitely meeting new students every day. I’m mostly surrounded by paralegal students or students from the business school. In my role as a board member, I get to meet students from different schools and various educational backgrounds that I probably would not have met otherwise.

Stephanie: Well, first of all, the fact that I managed to even get on the board! I feel like that’s a big accomplishment. At first, I felt like it was a really big challenge. And, I think just by knowing the students who are around you and knowing what people want from you, will make people want to be like, “Hey, we want this person, and we want them because we know that they will make these changes happen.”

On a similar note, what would you say is IGNITE’s biggest accomplishment to date?

Asiya: I would say that IGNITE’s biggest accomplishments to date are the free emergency menstrual products offered on campus and the tax clinic. I can’t even count the number of times I needed a pad or tampon, but I didn’t have cash on me.

There are extremely high expectations pushed onto students today in simply “knowing everything” the minute they leave high school and enter post-secondary. This includes them automatically knowing how to file their taxes. The fact that IGNITE offers something like the tax clinic is absolutely amazing. Having someone guide you through the process of filing your taxes and understanding the process can really take a huge burden off your shoulders.

Stephanie: How I see it is the student body. We always try to strive for what the students want and their success. At the end of the day, we’re making the decisions based on their behalf. It’s their voices, and then it’s our actions implementing that. At the end of the day, if students are satisfied, then we know we did a good job.

Who is your role model and what makes you look up to them?

Asiya: Amal Amaluddin, or more famously known as Amal Clooney. What most people actually don’t know is that she’s a very well-known human rights lawyer and activist. She studied at Oxford University in England and NYU School of Law in the States before completely establishing her legal career.

As a paralegal student, my goal is to eventually go to law school. Her legal journey is incredibly inspiring and motivates me to progress further in my own legal journey. Trying to establish yourself in any industry is quite difficult. As a woman, and a person of colour, maneuvering through the legal industry is a challenge in itself. I’ve had situations where I am faced with obstacles and I don’t know how to overcome them because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Accomplished women like Amal who are also minorities are such a great role model for individuals like myself. It motivates me to push myself and know that I am just as capable of accomplishing great things.

Stephanie: My role model is my father. He’s been a hard worker for a very long time, for all of his life. And because he’s always been that type of leader, and I’ve always been more shy — I don’t really want to get up and go for interviews or, you know, speak on a microphone, or give my own opinion — because most of the time, people already have their own opinion and they want to hear the majority of what they have to say. But, I feel like he’s my role model because that made me kinda step out of my bubble, step out of my box and see what I can do with myself.

What do you hope to see IGNITE accomplish in the long term?

Asiya: While IGNITE takes a lot of initiatives in being inclusive and targets the interests of all age groups, I hope to see IGNITE develop a solid plan geared toward mature students and parents with children. These initiatives would provide long term benefits for said individuals. It could be something as simple as IGNITE potentially having an onsite daycare where students who are parents could drop off kids for a few hours while they’re in class.

Stephanie: Years from now, I hope that we can accomplish different programs. One thing we are talking about is a mental health facility for students on campus. That has been something that’s been rapidly growing over the years, and mental health just keeps growing and growing as the years go by. So, we hope that in the future there will be some type of mental health program, free of charge, that students can go in to.

How often do you hear feedback from students? Is it more or less than you’d like?

Asiya: To be honest, it really depends on the student and/or what it is they’re providing feedback on. Some students genuinely enjoy providing feedback. I welcome feedback because it paves the way for improvement. No one is perfect. We’re all constantly working on ourselves and ways to do the best work. If not from students who know you so well, then from who?

Stephanie: I’ve heard a lot more feedback this year, more than I planned to, but that’s always on good terms because I want to hear people say, “We need this,” or, “Can we see this?” or, “Can this come back?” Whatever services and programs they want to see, we try our best to make sure that happens for them.

Headshot of IGNITE Board of Directors member Asiya Bashir Awan.
Asiya Bashir Awan, IGNITE Board of Directors

Tell us something that makes you feel confident.

Asiya: First, my car. I have a black Scion FR-S and it’s a stick shift. I kid you not, it looks like Batman’s Batmobile and every time I drive it I feel like a NASCAR driver.

Second, a pair of heels. It can be black office pumps or a cute pair of booties. If I have the right pair of heels on, I know I can take on anything. It’s a really nice feeling. 

Stephanie: Something that makes me feel confident is something I’ve actually tried to accomplish, which is public speaking. I’ve done a couple of readings now, just looking at communities and everything. Having my voice on a microphone is a very, very big difference. It’s a very big step, but it’s a very big accomplishment.

What message would you like to share with your fellow students?

Asiya: I would encourage my fellow students to come out to IGNITE events. If you see an IGNITE booth or IGNITE reps, simply stop to say hi. It’s really just a simple, “Hi,” or, “Hello” that can bloom into an amazing friendship.

Additionally, utilize the services that IGNITE offers because they really are just for you. Reach out to your IGNITE executives and/or board directors if you want any assistance or just want to get to know us. We want to get to know you and chat with you as well.

Stephanie: My message is one line: Don’t give up, don’t overthink, keep pushing forward.

What parting wisdom would you give to a student looking to get involved with the IGNITE Board of Directors?

Asiya: I would recommend that students reach out to current Board Directors and/or even Executives. Or perhaps both so they can get a better understanding of the role and see whether it interests them or not. Additionally, I would recommend watching previous IGNITE videos to see how elections are going, watch previous Annual General Meeting videos (they’re usually available online), and/or just stay informed. Most importantly, ASK QUESTIONS! We are there to help you take steps forward in getting involved.

Stephanie: I would tell them to get yourself out there as much as possible. Get involved with IGNITE. There are members of the IGNITE team, they’re always out in L Building. They’re either promoting or trying to find people for certain activities or programs. Just start talking with people, especially IGNITE.

Join the conversation! Students are encouraged to reach out to the Board of Directors, or pick up a 2020 IGNITE Election nomination package.

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