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HomeNewsDalhousie Student Union’s vice president of student life is a first-year student

Dalhousie Student Union’s vice president of student life is a first-year student

Lia Gurevich Kogan tells the Dal Gazette how she got the position

A first-year student became the vice president of student life two weeks before her first class at Dalhousie University. 

Lia Gurevich Kogan started in her executive position at the DSU on Aug. 15 and became one of the head coordinators for O-Week, an event that she would also be attending as a new Dal student. 

While the scheduling and initial planning was done, when Kogan joined the team she became in charge of all the logistical aspects including budgets and problem solving.  

“I don’t think people quite understand how much work goes into it. It’s insane. The energy is amazing,” said Kogan.

Kogan was hired as vice president of student life due to a unique set of circumstances. 

Kogan arrived in Canada from Israel four years ago and didn’t know any English. She searched for a community of similar-aged people who speak Hebrew, but finding friends during the pandemic proved difficult. She found youth groups for younger children and groups for families, but nothing for teenagers. 

Helping the local community

Kogan decided to take matters into her own hands. She reached out to the local community and after explaining her situation, they offered her the funding to start creating teenager-focused events in the Hebrew community. 

“They gave me the opportunity I needed and I started planning events for them,” said Kogan.

The events included bowling, holiday events and even a beach day. Kogan said that these events allowed teenagers to meet and have a strong sense of community, then also continue to be friends outside of the events. 

The event planning and community-building skills are what pushed Kogan to become involved in the Dalhousie community. As a grade 12 student, she began following every committee, society and Dalhousie-associated Instagram account she could find, to stay updated on ways to get involved. 

There was a vacant position on the DSU council for the Faculty of Management, the same faculty that Kogan was joining in September. She interviewed for the position, expecting nothing to come from it, but instead became the only first-year on the council. 

Getting the job

“I started attending council meetings and, at one point, they mentioned that there’s this position available: vice president of student life,” said Kogan.

The position needed to be filled immediately, as one of the main roles of the vice president of student life is to run O-Week. Unfortunately, the voting periods are only set in late October and February, so there needed to be an interim vice president until the proper election. 

The interim vice president was elected from the current council. Kogan said her enthusiasm and drive to do more in her community earned her the position.

It is rare for a first-year to have this responsibility and be required to juggle council, various committees, initiatives and a full course load. In fact, Kogan is the only executive who’s taking a five-course load, although her academic advisor warned her against it. 

“At the end of the day, although it is hard to juggle, it keeps me busy. And I love that,” said Kogan.

Kogan will remain interim vice president of student life until the end of October when she can decide to run in the fall election.

As vice president, Kogan’s goals involve creating a university environment where everyone feels included and safe. 

“I want to focus a lot on building communities on campus and making sure that people feel a sense of belonging,” she said. 

She runs the Student Life Committee, which is dedicated to representing different types of students and creating new events to benefit students. 

A few of Kogan’s ideas for an inclusive campus include hosting a multicultural market, funding a breakfast program for students who struggle to afford meals and creating a positive space for women at the university gym. 

Kogan recommends that Dalhousie students follow the DSU Instagram to stay updated on all opportunities to get further involved.

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