The VP Finance portfolio includes ensuring the long-term financial stability of SSMU in cooperation with the General Manager, overseeing funding and operations management committees, providing the Executive Committee and Board of Directors with regular reports on the financial status of SSMU, and developing the annual budget of SSMU, among other tasks.
Khan currently serves as SSMU’s Funding Commissioner in the VP Finance office, and the SSMU representative on the McGill Innovation Steering Committee. Prior to that, she worked as a Finance and Operations Assistant in the same office.
Aside from her work in the VP Finance office, Khan worked as SSMU’s Researcher on Students from Foster Care, wherein she published a report of targeted support programs available across North America with concrete policy changes and recommendations for McGill, in the aim of increasing the number of students who come from foster care. Khan, herself a student from foster care, presented the report to the SSMU Legislative Council last November.
As Funding Commissioner, Khan was responsible for the allocation of funds from nine SSMU-collected student fees, in her estimation totalling approximately $350,000. She has additionally been heavily involved in advocacy work for students from foster care, both in the nonprofit and public sector.
Past VPs Finance have often campaigned on a platform of political neutrality, but Khan disagrees with this stance: “Finance, or money, in of itself is a very political issue, and people think it’s not,” she said in an interview with The Daily. “Where you choose to buy your groceries to where you choose to invest, it’s always a political position.”
Khan wants to promote social responsibility within SSMU, and has advocated for better resource allocation and combating ancillary fees from the administration. When it comes to corporate engagements, she wants to ensure that SSMU only engages with companies that “reflect our mission,” all the while ensuring that students do not bear the burden of additional costs. She aims to do this by creating a working group to oversee the development of Socially Responsible Sponsorship guidelines, while promising to prioritize consultation with the SSMU student body.
Overall, Khan’s platform prioritizes making SSMU’s finances more efficient and more readily accessible to the McGill community. Khan wants to increase accessibility of SSMU’s financial information by providing “bi-annual graphic snapshots” of SSMU’s financial operations to show students where exactly their money is going, most likely at SSMU General Assemblies (GA).
Khan’s experience in the VP Finance office, and her understanding of the responsibilities of working with large amounts of money, make her well suited to the role of VP Finance. Additionally, her willingness to acknowledge the political nature of finance, and her commitment to directing student’s money towards worthy investments and causes, both in the corporate and social spheres, is a reassurance that students will not have to expect the burden of additional fees or unethical corporate involvement in the coming year. For these reasons, alongside her continued commitment to her advocacy work with students from foster care, The Daily endorses Arisha Khan for the position of VP Finance.