Mostafa Elhaggar walked into Quinnipiac with little experience under his belt and half the confidence and knowledge he now holds. He knew he wanted to be involved somehow at Quinnipiac, and decided his freshman year that the Student Government Association would be the perfect place to start.
That’s why Elhaggar ran against nine others for the freshman class president position in the fall of 2011. He knew being class president would mean he was not only involved, but in a position he could help his class and community.
After door-to-door campaigning and a long day of waiting for the votes to come in, he won the election that year and the following three years to come. But Elhaggar says he would never have guessed he would be the student body president his senior year.
“I can say that I have grown in these three years through SGA more than I have probably in the 18 years before,” Elhaggar said. “I am really confident that I kind of know how the school works, the administration and what the students really want. I am always open to learn and to be modest and to accept being wrong or defeat.”
Elhaggar and his cabinet brought the grocery and convenience store products to both the Mount Carmel and York Hill dining hall over the past three years. In addition, his team worked to renovate the basketball courts in Village and ran QU Idol for the past two years.
Elhaggar admits he experienced failures over the past three years, but used his failures as a learning experience.
“I think it’s not the outcome that is important; it is the outcome that is learned in doing these things and our cabinet and myself have learned a lot,” Elhaggar said. “Myself especially has learned a lot, and so I am looking to bring all these experiences that I have had and to carry them out my senior year and to do the best I can.”
As student body president, Elhaggar hopes to strengthen the relationship between the students and administration. He also plans on working to bring a coffee shop to the Mount Carmel campus, bring back a revamped university recognized May Weekend, as well as put a pub on the York Hill campus.
His cabinet also worked on bringing larger vending machines with a greater selection to campus. This is something Elhaggar said students can expect to see when coming to campus in the fall.
“The basis of the initiative is to have more student influence on what is going on with the school,” Elhaggar said. “I think it is really important and it is going to do big things.”
Elhaggar said he understands he may not be able to accomplish all of this in the next year, but it is important he starts these initiatives and the presidents that follow can continue them.
[media-credit id=2028 align=”alignleft” width=”268″][/media-credit]Besides bringing in additions to campus, Elhaggar wants to give every student a voice.
“I want to showcase the power we have that is undervalued,” he said. “I want to make sure that every student knows the amount of influence that they could possess on campus.”
Elhaggar’s cabinet members say they have confidence in him and the job he will do next year.
“There is a reason he ran unopposed and that is because every single person in the organization knew he was the person to be the face of the organization,” said current sophomore class president Jonathan Atkin, who was elected vice president. “The first thing he always does is question and he always brings in every possible perspective and weighs every option. He is a very analytical thinker when it comes down to it.”
Current vice president of SGA Evangelos Milas feels confident Elhaggar is ready to accept the responsibilities of student body president.
“In the past few years he has been someone in the organization that everyone kind of looked toward,” Milas said. “He is challenging the status quo and things that have been in place. He is always able to take a step back and look at the kind of overview of things, which I think is really important for a president.”
Heading into the past few months, Elhaggar knew he may be the one for the position and he said he feels the past three years prepared him for this point.
“Knowing that I could possibly be in that position, filling in the shoes of these amazing leaders is something that was a little nerve racking,” he said. “However, to me the student body president is nothing more than just an avenue to advocate on behalf of the students.”