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By Russ Cooper
“Always busy,” says outgoing CSU president Amine Dabchy as he leaves the CSU conference room following a planning meeting to transfer the CSU administration. Moments later, President-elect Prince Ralph Osei emerges, saying essentially the same thing.
And they’ll probably stay that way for a while. After Osei’s Fusion party swept the general election polls in late March, they have a lot to do before the leadership changes hands on May 31.
Their past year (Osei as VP Services for Loyola in their Vision party’s 2009-10 term) has only solidified a healthy working relationship. They met at Frosh 2007 and worked together at ASFA before their respective terms as CSU executive, their relationship is more than just bureaucratic. “We’ve grown to be brothers,” says Dabchy.
Inheriting a student union entangled in turmoil last spring, they had big ideas of how to make things better.
“People had very high expectations of us. We ran a campaign on transparency and changing the CSU, and people expected us to be the best,” says Dabchy.
In their opinion, the year was a success – if only for establishing an environment of openness (financial records available online, coupled with an open-door policy). “It’s something that’s been lacking in the CSU,” says Osei.
But, in addition, they count the CSU’s 30th anniversary reunion (see Journal, Feb. 11, 2010) among their key accomplishments. For Osei, he points to the renovation of the CC Building’s Guadagni lounge and the Loyola CSU office, as well as free vegetarian food for students five days a week in the Hive.
One significant negative, in their view, was failing to convince students to vote for a fee increase to fund the student centre (see Journal, June 4, 2009). However, they don’t see the project dying on the vine. Osei has pledged to carry on the campaign as president. “We’re going to go back to the drawing board, do our homework and come back to the students,” says Osei.
“We need it,” says Dabchy. “The centre is inevitable; the question is when.”
The student centre shortfall was in great part due to the time-swallowing complications with the CSU’s push for a referendum for Concordia to leave the Canadian Federation of Students. (“It took literally 50% of my time,” says Dabchy.) In late March, Concordia students voted 71.6% in favour of leaving the CFS; a decision both feel was a good one on the part of students.
Dabchy, who will graduate this spring with a double major in economics and political science, will take one or two classes and continue to sit on the Board of Governors. He hopes to start his master’s in public policy and public administration in January. Osei is continuing with his degree in psychology with a minor in political science, and will also sit on the Board.
“He was more than a simple vice president, he was my right-hand person,” says Dabchy of Osei, imparting a bit of outgoing advice. “He needs to have someone by his side, someone he trusts. Someone like he was to me.”
With the handover in May, they feel their partnership will just move into a new phase, as it has many times since they first met more than three years ago. And, even after their student days are behind them, they anticipate their connection will be a strong one.
“We worked so well together this year, we think we should be in business and be partners,” says Osei.