Karine Kanj Elected 2019-2020 SGA President
Karine Kanj was elected president of the 2019-2020 Student Government Association (SGA) on Wednesday evening. As a current sophomore studying Government with a concentration in Law and Public Policy, Kanj is a devoted daughter and a member of Suffolk’s Model United Nations (MUN) as well as a former member of the Tip Tap Toe dance group.
Previously involved in the Housing and Facilities Committee, Finance Committee, and currently acting as the Student Affairs Committee Chair as well as a member of the Constitutional Review Committee, Student Judicial Review Board (SJRB) and SGA Awards Committee, Kanj is no stranger to the ins and outs of SGA.
“I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into this organization. I’ve been dedicating numerous hours, day in and day out. I’m always running from meeting to meeting. Doing that for the past two years, especially this year, made me more confident in my knowledge regarding the committees, the processes, where my heart and head are, and how to most benefit the students. I know I’m ready to take on more responsibilities with voicing my concerns and student’s concerns louder,” said Kanj in a recent interview with The Suffolk Voice.
When prompted to explain what set Kanj apart from other presidential candidates, she says, “I’m stepping away from promising different changes I could be making on campus and promising some crazy ideas I would be pushing for. I’m looking into a different perspective with things.”
In her 2018 campaign for treasurer, she was elected by popular vote but was ultimately disqualified due to her association with the GRIT campaign group including Logan Trupiano, Hope Burnside, and Connor Peterson. Although the disqualification stirred emotions throughout campus, Kanj remains confident in her abilities to put forth a respectable and historic presidency in the coming years.
Traveling has inspired one of her greater objectives for her presidency: creating a scholarship to attend the university for an international student in need. Kanj’s opportunity to work with the United Nations High Committee for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon as an observatory intern granted her the ability to spend some time with two young women- ages 19 and 28- in Syrian resettlements.
Kanj’s fellow women sitting beside her shared so much with her, and yet faced so many obstacles that would ultimately prevent them from achieving their goals. The 28-year old woman’s dream was to learn how to read. Kanj was heartbroken, leaving her with a thirst to help women like these in any way she can.
With a 22% international student rate within the Suffolk University community “because they give so much to our community – the culture, the diversity, different perspectives- it’s time for Suffolk University to step out of its comfort zone and give back to the community that has given us so much” says Kanj.
Students of the university voted in support of Kanj’s unique campaign with 525 recorded votes (50.14%) resulting in her victory against Yasir Batalvi, who received 432 (41.26%) votes during the three-day election held from Monday, March 4, 2019 to Wednesday, March 6, 2019.
A rising junior, Kanj is hopeful that she will be returning as president of SGA for her senior year at Suffolk University, giving her ample time to perfect her new ideas and plans. The prospect for a two-term presidency is unusual of an SGA presidency as most elected presidents are in their senior year, but Kanj’s enthusiasm about her potential future in the organization is discernible.
In her closing statement, Kanj shares her hope for female empowerment at Suffolk stating, “Our current president was the first female president in the last six or seven years that the Student Government Association has had so I intend to keep that going for two more years.”