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Interview with Ali Shaltout, SU VP candidate

Posted on 23. Apr, 2015 by in General

Interview with Ali Shaltout, SU VP candidate


1- Please tell the student body more about you? (age, major, etc)

Ali Shaltout, double major mechanical engineering and accounting, senior. I worked as a Chairperson of the CCC committee in the senate this semester and as an accounting teacher; and I worked as an executive producer for a TV show in 2012.

Assem is a mechanical engineering senior, worked as a general manager of the talent show then chair of the activities committee in SU, then chair of developmental committee in the SU and as a part time engineer in Nestle.

2- What made you run for this particular position and in what ways do you believe you are qualified for it?

When Assem offered me to be his VP, I thought about what I could do in the senate and what I could do for the SU. What I could do in the senate was in a way or another saturated. We did a certain software that would enhance the work of the triple C committee and I thought working as a VP has more things to do and is not yet saturated.

When it comes to working and operations, I worked as an executive producer and in a way or another I know how to work. When it comes to no experience in the SU, I think that this is an edge because we need someone outside of the SU,  to serve more people. And what I see now is that SU isn’t serving all student sectors, not even most of them. A student who didn’t work in the SU will have another perspective.

As for Assem, he is very loyal to the SU first of all. He worked in the SU for about 3 years and he thinks he can do much for it as a president.

3- In your opinion, is the SU flawed? And if yes how will your presidency fix it?

Besides representation, the SU’s main aim should be to operate and serve the student body.  For you to represent someone you have to have lines of connection between you and them; and these lines will not come by you telling them “I represent you;” they will come by you serving them.

When you serve them, you will have these lines of connections through operations and services;  and then, you can represent them in front of an audience.

 4- Can you provide us with a rough plan as to how you will meet your campaign promises by next year?

Our campaign promises are not that hard or large; we just need to provide very fine services for every student sector, without complicating anything; like  opening the gym for 24 hours, providing meals for the dorms at night other than The Caf, funding for the sports complex, PR-ing for PVA events, providing fasting food in the market and the cafe during fasting time.

Academically, we need to find funds for special thesis groups, we need to support people going to conferences and support organisations and collaborate with them instead of competing with them, like sending union  members to AIESEC programs, collaborating with “Developers” club to develop our members of the clubs and organisations, coordinating with “Musicana” club to make the talent show, and with all community services organisations in Ramadan to expand the project …  so that we can collect all the powers.

These are very minor things but they are very useful and I think they are the main operations of the SU, to serve as many sectors as it can.

5- Why do you think this is the kind of plan that the SU needs right now?

Right now, the SU needs to represent students in front of the administration as we have too many problems with it. And before we represent them we have to have lines of connection with them.

People need to feel that you are serving them; then you can represent them and they will be standing by your side. But if I go to the administration right now with no people, without serving people, I will be talking alone.

6- What do you see in the university that requires immediate change?

Creating a sense of community … and the SU is the only organisation that can create this. It is the only organisation than can widen the circle of the activities through involving different student sectors and all organisations in this circle. We have people winning championships in the sports complex and no one knows anything about them. We have some plays and galleries that are performed in the PVA and no one knows about them …

 7- What is the biggest challenge that you are expecting to face if you win?

Recruitment … I think this is the hardest. And if the recruitment process went fine and we got good calibers, the rest is a piece of cake because then you can delegate anything else.

We have calibers in the university but many people don’t like to work with SU, so we will have a hard a time convincing people to apply in the SU. Many people think that the SU is black, and  many people don’t apply because they know they won’t be accepted. So I think this is the biggest challenge we have.

8- Are you for or against the existence of different “camps” on campus? Are you a member in any of these camps? If yes, which one?

I’m not a member of any camp. I don’t mind their existence and I see it as a a healthy thing one way or another, but sometimes it has its disadvantages.

It’s healthy in terms of competition; you need to grow calibers in the  black camp, in the blue or the red camp to be able to take over the senate, clubs, SU. However, sometimes, when they all align together, it may be harmful to the student body.

9- What do you think of the “We Are Stakeholders” campaign initiated by the SU this semester? Would you have handled the situation differently? 

No one in this university can negotiate the cause.  All of us are with the cause. The thing is that you need the student body to stand by your side. You can’t stand alone.

Right now, we all know the cause and we are with the cause. But who’s standing ? You need people to stand by your side and they will, if you are serving them; when they feel your existence, through very small operations.

In their position, at this point in time, I don’t think we would have had any other option.  However, they could still have waited to connect with the people before they start.

I think if we had thought about it earlier on, we could have operated and served the people more,  to reach different sectors before doing such a thing.

10-  What is your opinion on your opposition? And what is it that should make a student vote for you rather than them?

I believe in the combination that Assem and I make. He worked for the SU for the past 4 years and he knows the operations of the SU, he knows how to execute things … I have never worked for the SU so I have the perspective of the normal student who needs to be served, a student who doesn’t want representation or complicated words, a student who wants to feel served and to sense the existence of the SU .. The operation needs to be directed to serve more student sectors that are not involved in the circle of the SU and their friends.

We believe that our plans should be based on students’ requirements and their needs, not the vision and mission of the high board.

The theme we went out with was a student based plan not a union based plan; the high board cannot impose its mission and vision on 5000 students and expect them to be satisfied. You should satisfy the students’ needs and requirements specifically and then you can measure the satisfaction; and they will feel your existence.

11 – What message would you like to send to the student body?

I want to tell them to not  just stand still; if they want something they should speak out  and not just say that the SU doesn’t do their job.  If you want something, ask for it.

No one will nominate himself for this position unless he wants to serve the people. No one will want to work for a year for such an organisation unless they want to do something. People sometimes get taken by problems and they don’t have time to think of what students need … So if you need something go tell the union “We need 1-2-3.”



10 Ways To Spend Valentine’s Day if You’re Single

Posted on 14. Feb, 2015 by in General, Opinion

10 Ways To Spend Valentine’s Day if You’re Single

Yet another year of spending Valentine’s Day without a partner, but this time spice up your day and make the best of it for yourself without needing any special someone. Also, never forget you’re one of those who don’t have to buy gifts, or expect ones that turn out to be horrendous, so cheers for having some spare cash in your pocket. Anyway, fear not, this list might be just what you need.

 1. Movies

Whatever happened to going to the movies with your single besties? Gather up your friends and go have a movie marathon and stuff your face with popcorn! If cinemas don’t sound appealing, you can always download a few on your laptop, connect it to your TV, order takeout and have it at your place.

 2.Get something done

 Remember that assignment you procrastinated last week? Or that chore your mom asked you to do but never did? When was the last time you cleared out your wardrobe and drawers? Whether it’s doing volunteer work, planting a tree somewhere as a thanks to the environment, helping around the house, practicing a hobby or doing things you ought to be doing. Well, get moving and do all the things you’ve wanted to do!

 3. Go paint-balling

This is by far one of the best and most fun things you can ever do. Grab some friends, and try it out. It’s okay if you’ve never tried it before or don’t know how it goes, you will probably be told everything you need to know there, and it’s an experience worth your while.

4.Go/Try somewhere/something new

This includes eating at a new restaurant, going on a Nile cruise, or just going to places you haven’t been to before. Did you try the GMAX reverse Bungee in Mall of Arabia? No? You probably should. Also, there are many cafes in old Cairo, and a lot to see in museums and such places. You can always attempt going there by different transportation methods if you don’t own a car.

 5.Buy yourself something

It doesn’t have to be something super expensive, but treat yourself nevertheless. It could be a new pair of beats or even something as small and nice as candy. Be creative!


 Hit the gym and try out some aerobics, or do some cardio warming up at home, or even take a dancing or yoga class. Any sport activity will make you feel better about yourself, and who knows, you might even like it enough to do it again on other days!

 7.Have a BBQ party

Whether it’s outdoors or at your place, with your family or with friends, BBQs are BBQs. Blast some music, fill that icebox with drinks, prepare cocoa and marshmallows, light a fire and get grillin’!

8.Video Games

 Video games are a lot of fun. If you’re not a fan of COD, Fifa or even a gamer at all, try letting a pro friend teach you how to play and see if you’ll enjoy it!

 9. Surprise someone

Go through your circle of friends, and you’ll find that at least one of them is facing a problem of some sort, make their day and surprise them with something that would put a smile to their face, or try to help them out with anything that they’re facing. If you don’t have such a friend, surprise your parents with a dinner for the two of them, or do anything that would cheer them up.

 10. Make a list

 Lastly, sit with yourself or with a group of friends and write down all the beautiful things about being single. You can write a list each, and compare your them when you’re done. Trust me, you’ll find a lot.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


The Silent Happiness

Posted on 27. Sep, 2014 by in Opinion

The Silent Happiness

ayahEver since I came here, people have been grilling me about how I feel returning back to Egypt. The look on their face immediately shifts to surprise and shock when I smile and say that I have never been happier.

Yes, I have never been happier. It is not that I am unaware of the crisis the country is going through, or indifferent to the people’s sufferings. It is that I have never had the tiniest bit of remorse or unease since the day I have stepped in here.

Some have said, how would you even know discomfort? You go to a very reputable university in Egypt, and you must have pretty much no problems whatsoever. But that is not the way I see things. We all go through difficulties of our own; all have misfortunes and experience emotional and mental breakdowns.

We all have things to worry about, and that is what people cannot -unfortunately -grasp. I have learned to see a new side of myself here, and to love every part of me.

And under the sun that shines over Cairo every morning, I knew how to see things in a new light, that each new experience I face or person I meet can have several shades of the same colour, or even different colours.

Every part of me is grateful in its own way, including my senses. My nose inhales, when I walk on side walks and pavements, and I know that this particular air does not exist anywhere else.

It is not about pollution. It is about that scent that brings with it a warm feeling in my chest, making me feel so complete. It is about the Nile water, with its distinct taste and dulcet sensation as it tingles my taste buds. It is the sound of people, mosques, church bells and trams that embrace each day with a new spirit.  It is about the ocean’s feel on the Alexandrian coast, a beautiful sight for mankind.

I cannot begin to describe how much I owe this country. How I am whole-heartedly thankful, that by coming here I learned to appreciate my life, empathize with people and become the person I have always wanted to be: a passionate patriot inspired by the love of their country to make a positive change around them. That is why I have found my joy here.