SCOLAPS Chair Sayjon Ariyarathnam named 2015 President for a Day

Sayjon Ariyarathnam
Sayjon Ariyarathnam
Sayjon Ariyarathnam
Sayjon Ariyarathnam

After much discussion, deliberation and friendly debate, the judges have selected a winner for the 2015 President for a Day contest. This fall, Sayjon Ariyarathnam, a York U student entering the fourth year of a Criminology and Human Rights and Equity Studies double major, will become York University’s fourth President for a Day.

“I am looking forward to seeing Sayjon take on the role of President for a Day,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “His vision for the University reflects his wide-ranging involvement on campus as a Student Senator and President of the Student Council of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies. Given this leadership experience and his participation in numerous other student organizations, including the Tamil Students’ Association and the Criminology Society, I have no doubt that the University will be in excellent hands for the day.”

The exchange will take place after the start of the Fall semester in September, with the date to be announced. Ariyarathnam will exchange roles with Shoukri for the day, overseeing the management of the institution and attending the President’s meetings and engagements.

Meanwhile, Shoukri will shoulder a backpack – and all the roles and responsibilities of a student. He will attend Ariyarathnam’s classes, tutorials and extracurricular activities. “It appears that a day in the life of this particular student will be interesting and rewarding – and very busy,” said Shoukri. “As always, I am excited for the opportunity to return to the classroom and for another first-hand glimpse at the day-to-day experience and efforts of our hardworking students.”

To apply for the contest, students were asked to submit an application that addressed the question, “if you were appointed President of York University, what would be your top three priorities that would directly impact students?”

Ariyarathnam’s entry articulated the need to promote and develop experiential education opportunities for students, to ensure that students are aware of University policies and procedures that are in place to support them academically, and to increase communication between community members by improving access to Moodle and on mobile devices.

“Academic life and communication are both connected to the notion of community and belonging,” writes Ariyarathnam of the need to keep students informed and involved. “Community plays an integral role in the success of a university.”

This is the fourth consecutive year that the President for a Day contest will take place at York University. “I appreciate the time that our students take to submit such thoughtful applications,” Shoukri said. “One of most enriching aspects of this contest is reading through the applications and learning of the many innovative and enthusiastic ideas our students have to improve their experience at York. This contest is one of the ways that we are able to receive feedback from our students directly so we can continue to enhance the student experience here at York.”

For more information, visit York University’s President for a Day website. York U community members can also follow Shoukri and Ariyarathnam on Twitter for updates when the exchange takes place: @YorkUPresOffice and @SayjonA.

Both the President and Student for a Day will tweet using #YUPres4aDay.