In an interview with Outlook, University Student Faculty Committee (USFC) representative from the Olayan School of Business, Rami Zeineddine – who ran under the Campus Choice electoral campaign – discussed the reasons behind joining the AUB Secular Club and running for office, the challenges the USFC has faced so far, among other matters.
Enrolled as a nursing student in the Spring of 2016, Zeineddine felt himself confined between classes off campus, and became an OSB student shortly after.
Prior to his election to the 2017-2018 USFC, Zeineddine was involved in a number of student activities including AUB Outdoors, TedxAUB, the Business Student Society, and many more. He currently works with Redbull as a student brand manager.
Zeineddine serves on the Information and Public Relations Committee within the USFC as well as the Senate’s Disciplinary Committee.
Do you feel like it is important for you to stay active? Why are you involved in multiple things at once?
Before the decision to switch majors, I realized I was not comfortable not interacting with people, merely going from shift to shift, class to class. I liked being around people and helping out with things. Being active allows me to meet more people so I am constantly looking for new opportunities which I take on.
What made you run for USFC? Is there a story behind that?
I felt as if I was fulfilling the same job description without a title in the past year and a half. I have been present for any student at any time. I would go with anyone that needed to, to the dean’s office and always aided people with their issues. Bit by bit and from whatsapp groups, with all humility, I became a sort of advisor for everyone.
It happened that I had met a friend from school, Ali Zeineddine, in my summer semester of my first year at university. I had noticed he was running as a candidate from one of his social media accounts. I started asking Ali questions and he told me to attend one of the Campus Choice meetings. I finally attended a meeting that summer, where members discussed a variety of things from elections to activities they were working towards. I started helping out with their campaign the next Fall which got me really excited. Eventually, my experiences motivated me to run.
What has this year’s USFC established so far? Do you find that it was different than the previous years?
We had the entire GA situation that I personally had to work a lot on in order to be able to negotiate in our second meeting as a USFC. That entire meeting was dedicated to discussing and resolving the matter with the President. In the following meeting, we started working towards funding for a couple of clubs; AIESEC and MUN. A proposal came afterward about HIP, and we are going to follow up with that. The agenda for our fourth meeting entails a funding request for PhD students.
What are some of challenges that you have faced since being elected to the USFC?
For an entire month we had neither a cabinet nor subcommittees, and so we could not even assign meeting timings or anything. We needed to conduct elections first. Once that was out of the way, we assigned cabinet positions. By the third meeting, we assigned committees. The main challenge so far has been meeting timings.
How would you assess the team dynamic now that positions are assigned?
It is a given that everyone comes from different backgrounds, but after having to conduct four to five informal meetings at times of crisis, between one another, we have more chemistry.
Can I enquire about your family’s background? Do you feel like you grew up in a political or apolitical environment?
My parents come from different religions, and so, politics was not something that was often discussed within our home – neither was it in the school I attended. Up until I was sixteen or seventeen, I did not know anything about the political scene in Lebanon.
So do you feel like that affected your choice to join the AUB Secular Club and the Campus Choice campaign in specific?
Definitely, but it is surely not the only reason – as I have explained before.
How involved is the Secular Club with the work of its representatives within the USFC? Do you think that you will be able to achieve the goals you set forward in the Campus Choice platform?
The Secular Club always follows up with us. We have regular meetings with the cabinet members, and the syndic committee is dedicated to help the USFC with research, proposals, drafting, and so on. The syndic committee is one that is formed straight after the elections and constitutes of students who have experience in campaigning or have previously ran for elections. As for our platform, we are working with the Career Services Office at OSB, and hopefully students from other faculties, in order for students to be able to receive certificates upon completion of workshops. Another thing that we have been following up on is the parking project initiated by last year’s USFC Campus Choice representative Ali Amhaz.
Has the Secular Club been up to anything lately?
We are actually working on a fundraising event.
You’re on two committees. Do you feel like this makes things easier for you or do you feel like it adds to the pressure of your position?
I personally enjoy working within the Public Relations committee; social media management does not really feel like work. As for the disciplinary committee, which mostly tackles issues like Dean’s Warnings, not many meetings are involved.
What keeps you going? How do you manage to stay on top of things?
I need seven alarms to wake up in the morning; I keep an agenda; and five hours of sleep is usually a luxury.