COD Student Leadership Elections Offer Chance to Improve Student Experience

Are you voting at the upcoming Student Leadership Council Election?


Yusra Jaleel, Staff Writer

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include additional candidates and clarify the student trustee’s voting authority on the Board of Trustees. 

As March rolls in within the new academic year, so does the Student Leadership Council Election. This year the student body has the opportunity to vote for a new student trustee and up to six new Student Leadership Council officers amongst a pool of experienced candidates. 

COD’s Student Leadership Council is composed of student representatives serving campus and departmental needs by working with the college community. SLC officers and representatives participate in several committees for a variety of college-wide departments. The SLC has already initiated community projects such as the Open Educational Resources, which is intended “to provide free and openly licensed educational material,” as said by Student Leadership Council Officer Candidate Hajira Fathima.   

For the 2022-2023 term, the student body has the ability to vote for a student trustee and new SLC officers. The former position presents a student voice, however not a binding student vote, for COD’s Board of Trustees, who are “responsible for the development and adoption of COD’s policies, oversight of the activities of the college and exercises jurisdiction in all matters of the college and its mission,” according to the college’s website. 

Conversely, the SLC Officers are representative of the entire student body. These students represent COD at major college functions, and they are responsible for accomplishing SLC goals through consistent civic engagement with the community. Both positions regularly collaborate on issues important to students.

Ayesha Shafiuddin

This year, the student trustee candidate is business major Ayesha Shafiuddin, and she is also simultaneously running for an SLC Officer position. She describes her background as “the daughter of hard-working immigrants” to be her drive for exceling within her own education as well as seeking out actions to enhance the educational experience for other COD students. Her primary goal is to rectify the disconnection between students on COD’s campus in the post-virtual learning world. Shafiuddin is currently a student representative on the SLC, a public officer of the Computer Science Club, and a former speech captain in her high school speech team. 

“As a Business student from Carol Stream, I humbly ask for your vote. If you have any comments or want to reach out, please feel free to email me at [email protected], or via my social media – Instagram: _lady_ayesha_,” Shafiuddin said in an interview.

Hajira Fathima

The second student officer listed on the ballot is Computer Science student Hajira Fathima. Fathima describes herself as a first-generation college student in the United States; she has worked with the Student Leadership Council for two years. 

“I have seen the power student voices hold and the changes they’ve already brought,” Fathima said. “With all the wonderful opportunities COD has provided me, I believe that supporting the students by voicing their opinions is a great way to give back.”

She plans to center her slate’s first project on making the transition of first-generation students a smoother process. Fathima is a part of a slate of candidates including Naila Sabahat, Mohammed Usman Naeem and Karla Jimenez, who all share this background with her and drive a cohesive mission. They also plan to expand on the ongoing Open Educational Resources project.

Nauman Rizwan Mohammed

The next candidate for SLC student officer is Computer Science student Nauman Rizwan Mohammed, a third-year international student.  He also won the position for student officer during his freshman and sophomore years at the college. Mohammad describes his unique experience in seeing the SLC grow during his many years there as an advantage. As an international student, he has firsthand experience that could assist other students new to the country.

“I learned the importance of being a student’s voice and how it can bring change,” Mohammed said.

 Additionally, he is running for the officer position for the experience and the opportunity to grow as a student leader. His plans in office include the same initiatives emphasized by his slate member, Fathima, that highlight easing the transition for first-generation college students, continuing the OER project, and specifically for Mohammed, directly assisting international students at COD. 

“I would love to give back to the college for the amazing experiences I received,” Mohammed said.

Naila Sabahat

CIS Software Development major Naila Sabahat is the next Officer candidate. Sabahat is currently the student trustee of the 2021-2022 term, and she said this leadership experience will be applicable to the officer role. She has also been involved with the New Student Orientation as an orientation leader for two semesters with a team lead nomination for the coming semester. Sabahat is experienced with the Living Leadership Program that has helped her learn about leadership styles in order to collaborate strengths to work as an efficient team. She is also a regular volunteer at College of DuPage’s Austismerica. 

Sabahat is running for the SLC officer position to provide a voice for student opinions and enhance her leadership skills. She plans “to stand for first-generation students and work with administration for more resources.” She also prepares to assist students of diverse backgrounds and lingering academic and mental health-related problems from the pandemic with their unique issues. 

“College of DuPage is a dream college for me. It has great students, programs, faculty, staff, administration, committees, boards of trustees and resources,” Sabahat said. “Every single day I witness COD go above and beyond to meet the needs of the student body and the community.”

Karla Jimenez

Karla Jimenez, a second-year International Business student, is the next SLC officer candidate. She is running for her second term in office for the Student Leadership Council. Being a second-year student, she notes that she now brings even more experience with her to the role. Jimenez has worked with “the food pantry, the [school] garden, the Learning Commons, New Student Orientation and many more [clubs and activities.” She notes that these new experiences have helped her improve her leadership skills to become “more patient, a good listener and communicator, a better team player, and overall a braver person.” 

“I am running for a position not only because I want to provide a voice, a safe space for every student here at COD, but to help our college become a better place for the students to come,” Jimenez said. 

Similarly to the other four members of her slate, Jimenez stands for increasing and improving resources for first-generation American college students. 

Sofia Espinosa and Muhammad Usman Naeem are also student candidates running for SLC officer in the election. They did not provide images or any statement on the SLC page.

All candidates’ full official statements can be found on the Student Leadership Council Election Candidates webpage under the Student Life section of the college’s website. All candidates for both positions are hosting a virtual forum on ChapLife on Zoom Thursday, March 10 at 2 p.m.; they will have the opportunity to run through their statements and hold a Q&A segment.

The Student Leadership Council Election will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, March 16 and 17, on All students and eligible faculty members who are registered in a credit course can log onto the website with their Blackboard username and password to cast their votes. The same candidate can hold more than one position simultaneously. The final results of the election will be posted online on Friday, March 18. 

According to the poll results from the March 2021 election, 93 ballots were cast from a campus of nearly 20,000 students.