Nikki (STP).png

Nikki Kirigin

VP University and Academic Affairs-Elect

An Authentic SFSS

Message Nikki!
 

PLATFORM

My name is Nikki Kirigin (she/her) and I am running to be your VP University and Academic Affairs of the SFSS under the SFU Stronger Together Party (STP).

I am passionate about promoting authenticity and critical thinking within the SFSS through my initiative and motivation. My intention is to work together with students via open-dialogue to best represent and care for all student needs.

I’m a 3rd year psychology and philosophy double major, and a newly cognitive science minor (I will be here forever!).

As your VP University and Academic Affairs, I will prioritize the needs of all students instead of agendas.

 

I HAVE A REPUTATION FOR WORKING HARD AT SFU:

I am the President of the Philosophy Student Union (PSU).

  • Prior to being elected as President, I’ve been the Vice President for three semesters, Department Representative, Events Coordinator, DSU Representative, and I’ve hosted multiple Phil Club events as Phil Club Coordinator! 

  • I’ve planned and executed several banger events within the PSU, attracting significant turnouts each and every time.

  • I single-handedly made the SFU Philosophy Discord server arguably the most active Discord server in the entire university. I recruited over 800 students across all faculties to join in one week. 

  • I initiated a project with the Philosophy Department to officialize all PHIL class group chats over the SFU Philosophy Discord Server, in order to improve the quality of student discussions and learning outcomes. The PSU is the first student union at SFU to work with their department to improve the quality of student group chats. 

  •  Fun fact: I actually became involved in the PSU before becoming a student at SFU, while I was a student at Douglas College! 


I am the Vice President of the Cognitive Science Student Society.

  • I have also been involved in the SFSS Council as the Council Representative with Cognitive Science, which has given me an insider-view of how the SFSS operates and how decisions have been made regarding their decision to close the SUB and their promotion of exclusively online-learning over the past few months. Accordingly, having an insider-view of the recent contentious decisions the SFSS has made, which helps me understand how I can improve university policy as the VP University and Academic Affairs, which entails prioritizing the needs of ALL students.

PHILOSOPHY & APPROACH

I intend to approach the position of VP University and Academic Affairs like a sponge.

Instead of projecting my own ideas onto the student body, I will adjust my aims according to student needs. If my personal perspectives conflict with the student body, I will prioritize the latter.

I will create a representative and transparent SFSS via a five-step plan:

1) Making myself available to students for low-barrier discussions via deliberate & personalized outreach—I will walk around campus & mingle in social areas (such as the fire pits) several times per week and encourage discussion.


2) Polling the student body to understand and represent student needs and perspectives BEFORE the SFSS makes major decisions.


3) Hosting weekly in-person and virtual office hours, both open and by appointment.


4) Regularly tabling in campus common areas.


5) Hosting regular Town Halls, where students can directly voice their perspectives on official SFSS matters in an encouraging, non-judgemental, and open manner.


TL;DR: Reforming the SFSS can only be achieved through an uncompromising prioritization of student voices, which is outlined in my five-step plan. I will prioritize open-dialogue, transparency, and student engagement—creating an SFSS that is representative of the needs of the student body.

AS VP UNIVERSITY AND ACADEMIC AFFAIRS, MY FOCUS WILL BE ON:


ADVOCATE FOR THE IMPORTANCE OF MANDATED MENTAL HEALTH ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE UNIVERSITY POLICY LEVEL.

  • Reduce the barriers to getting accommodations directly from professors by mandating a grace period where students will receive their accommodation first, then submit documentation afterwards when they have the capacity. 

  • Provide persuasive arguments based on lived experience.

PUSH FOR MANDATED LECTURE RECORDINGS AND HYBRID OPTIONS.

  • Articulate the importance of providing mandated lecture recordings and hybrid options from a mental and physical health standpoint, as well as empowering students through respecting their personal autonomy. 

  • Attend IT Student Advisory Committee meetings to inquire about IT’s capabilities from their own perspective to gather contextual evidence and understand the situation better, in order to efficiently work on solutions with SFU Administration.

  • Aim to instantiate mandated lecture recordings and hybrid options as permanent options at SFU, even post-pandemic, to bolster student autonomy and flexibility.

GATHER THE OPINIONS OF THE STUDENT BODY BEFORE MAJOR DECISIONS ARE MADE BY THE SFSS.

  • Pledge to regularly walk around campus with other executives to encourage open-dialogue by engaging in low-barrier, peer-to-peer discussions with students. 

  • Ensure that the results of the surveys are accessible to all students to promote transparency.

PROMOTE OPEN-DIALOGUE WITH THE STUDENT BODY BY PLEDGING TO HOLD WEEKLY OFFICE HOURS FOR STUDENTS TO DIRECTLY VOICE THEIR OPINIONS.

  • Both bookable and open office hours will be provided weekly. 

  • Regularly host a booth in high-traffic university areas to promote open-dialogue and low-barrier discussions.

PLEDGE TO ADVOCATE FOR THE NEEDS OF NEURODIVERSE STUDENTS AT THE UNIVERSITY POLICY LEVEL.

  • Focus will be on students with ADHD, learning disabilities, and other executive functioning differences, as I am a person with lived experience in these regards.

  • Work towards establishing more representation for neurodiverse students within SFSS and pledge to educate the SFU administration regarding neurodiversity. 

  • In terms of students with ADHD, I pledge to improve representation for their needs within SFSS and the university as a whole. The specific needs of students with ADHD in particular have not been prioritized in discussions regarding disability and neurodiversity within SFSS. Exclusively providing online learning options has generally been harmful toward students with ADHD, in their personal and educational needs, leading to negative mental health outcomes. 

  • The Center for Accessible Learning does not have jurisdiction surrounding the status of courses being offered online or in-person. I would advocate at the university policy level to articulate the barriers that online-only learning provides to students with specific neurodiversities, and advocate for mandated hybrid options so the needs of all students are met.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my platform. I am always open to discussions, so please reach out to me at nicole_kirigin@sfu.ca if you have any questions or inquiries!

Contact:

Email: nicole_kirigin@sfu.ca

LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/nicolekirigin

IG: @nikki4vpuaa / @nikkikirigin (post-campaign)

Discord: nikkipizza#0231