Deijanelle Simon recalls with pride representing the Algonquin College Students’ Association when it challenged the college administration’s smoking ban in 2018.
“It’s easy to have a discussion with people who agree with you,” explained Simon, who completed a 21-month tenure as SA president on Jan. 31. “And it’s a whole other concept to have a discussion with people you don’t agree with. I’m not a smoker, so I was like ‘this policy literally doesn’t affect me in the slightest,’ but being able to hear the students and their reasoning behind it just re-emphasized why we’re here.”
Leaving her work with the SA behind, Simon is now off to work at a field placement in Toronto as she finishes up the advertising and marketing communications management program.
Shanti Cosentino has been elected to replace Simon as SA president. Cosentino will assume presidential duties after Simon’s departure.
“I loved working with the SA and being here at Algonquin,” said Simon. “Loving the environment here was the whole reason I decided to run in the first place.”
Simon says the decision to leave early was not “cut and dry” but will bring her closer to her hometown and family. Although she will no longer act as the SA’s leader and spokesperson, Simon hopes her legacy as SA president will speak for itself.
“I hope that students will recognize me as someone who truly advocated on their behalf,” Simon said. “As someone who is a student, I very much take pride in my school, my institution, my education. And so I want to apply that same passion to other student careers. If there’s anything I want other students to know, it’s that I truly did care and I will continue to care.”
Although she’s excited to move on to the next stage in her life – after all, each student comes to school will the ultimate goal of graduation in mind – Simon says she will miss the connections she has made here at Algonquin.
Karen Kavanagh, program coordinator and professor in the advertising and marketing communications management program, said that she’s glad Simon will soon be taking her professional talents into the industry.
“In our program we have an unwritten rule based on our industry to ‘work hard and be nice,'” she said. “Deijanelle lives this day in and day out.”
May Ghadban, vice president of the Students’ Association, has worked in tandem with Simon as her colleague and classmate. Ghadban has high hopes for her friend as she moves on to the world beyond college.
“We’re all very happy for her,” Ghadban said during a visit to a journalism class with Simon. “When she leaves we’re all gonna work together and make it happen.”
According to Simon, the student body can rest easy as we’re being left in capable hands.
“Shanti and I have worked super closely on a number of priorities,” Simon said. “I’m very excited to see what she does. I have nothing but faith.”