By: Tyler Follett
When Eli El-Chantiry left his home country of Lebanon and his family three years ago, he couldn’t have imagined having the time he’s had as a student here.
Since serving as president of the International Student Club in his first year, El-Chantiry has kept the momentum rolling, increasing his involvement with the school whenever possible.
This past year, El-Chantiry, nephew to the Kanata councilman he shares a name with, also served on the Board of Directors.
His time working for the board this year gave him the necessary experience and leadership to take the next step, as El-Chantiry has been acclaimed president of the SA for next year.
He will officially take office in May, taking over from current president David Corson, along with Sherline Pieris who was acclaimed vice-president.
Citing his time with the International Student Club as one of the factors that led to his board involvement, El-Chantiry has continued to be one of the strongest supporters of student clubs.
“My intention at the International Student Club was to create communication between students from various countries, to make it easier for them to make friends and adjust,” said El-Chantiry. “I realized I was serving a good group of students, but I wanted to serve more which led to my interest in the Board of Directors.”
His experience on the board this year was a positive one, leading him to want to further his involvement.
“It was an amazing year, amazing term, with so many experiences,” said El-Chantiry excitedly. “I learned a lot from co-workers, students, faculty, staff, we all worked together.”
All this has been juggled by El-Chantiry successfully along with being a student, a job serving, staying in contact with his family, as well as acquainting himself to a new country filled with unfamiliar faces three years ago.
“I Skype with my family at least once every week or two,” said El-Chantiry. “Let’s just say there was some sleepless nights with assignments.”
The results speak for themselves.
When it comes to the upcoming year, El-Chantiry has made it clear he has every intention of furthering the work and progress he and his fellow Board Directors had accomplished this year.
Three key areas highlighted as priorities by El-Chantiry are to continue to fight for fairer bus fares, to increase the pride and respect in the Thunder name, as well as to increase Algonquin’s engagement in the community with events similar to the hugely successful Spread the Net campaign.
He has made a concentrated effort to make himself available to all, students at any time. He happily answers emails, promptly at that. He’d love nothing more than for students to stop him in the halls and make their issues and voices heard, as he is eager to listen.
“I want the students to know that we have directors here available 24/7,” said El-Chantiry. “Anytime a student has an issue, any issue they are facing, I want students to know we are here for you.”
Bringing the Algonquin community closer together is a large part of El-Chantiry’s vision for the school, with the spread the net campaign only the beginning.
When it comes to getting involved in school, El-Chantiry recommends students do just that, with such a variety of ways to accomplish this.
“Everyone is equal, if you fit the requirements apply, everybody has a chance,” explained El-Chantiry.
The story of how he got involved with the SA might surprise some.
“I walked by the SA office one day and it was just a thought, I asked if I couple apply for the Board,” recalled El-Chantiry. “And here we are, 11 months later.”
The next 12 months will be even more exciting for him and the school with the strengthening relationship between students and the SA.
“We have an amazing team, an amazing Board of Directors, and I’m really excited to work with them, they have such great personalities and energy,” said El-Chantiry.