Sunday, January 21, 2024


This past weekend was the BC Federation of Students’ AGM. I spent it campaigning for a year-long position as a Director-at-Large. There were four Director-at-Large positions, with eight candidates vying for them.

On Saturday evening, we each made our speech contesting our case, then spent an hour in the room for the other Locals’ delegates to approach any of us and ask questions about whatever they wanted, pertaining to our candidacy. 

We were scattered all over the room, and I was asked questions like (list not exhaustive — I literally did not stop talking for one hour): how my being in the position could help the Federation’s relations with Indigenous communities; how I could improve the BCFS’ position on environmental or sustainability issues; (because I’d been the only candidate to bring up Gaza in my speech) how I’d deal with potentially an Israeli student feeling offended by my Palestine-geared advocacy; what kind of initiatives I’d push for if I received a position. 

I fielded these questions, one after another, as best and as authentically as I could. It was exhausting, I’d never felt like I had to talk about all the values I believed in and cared for, for all of an hour. I don’t even do that at therapy, during which I’m either laughing because I get to relax and let my guard down when I’m with my therapist, or I’m crying, for similar reasons. 

Nonetheless, I felt encouraged by all the questions, I knew the room was filled with 150 or so people who only wanted to make sure that the positions were filled by someone competent and up to the job, and I knew they, like me, were doing it because they cared. It might have been only an election of university students across BC, but I honestly think it was a positive situation because we’re all mostly mature enough to know of real-world issues, but not jaded enough to engage in mudslinging like in real-world politics. My seven candidates who ran for the position and I, we’re friends, and I knew we all wanted to do our best in the interest of students. 

Today, we received the results and I had won one of the four positions. Cole and Leah cheered the loudest and gave me cheek kisses when we found out. I could finally breathe deeply and fully. I was elated but what really filled my heart was when the other Local delegates congratulated me. 

They said things like they felt a good vibe coming from me when they talked to me, that they could trust me, that they never questioned that they would vote for me, that they were proud of me — and these were people who’d just met me for the first time! It warms my heart because doing activism is obviously a kind of work that can be draining. It requires that you focus on the problems and issues that exist in society, so that you can create awareness of and hopefully help to fix them. 

Most of the time, out in public, I’d have to explain what certain -isms mean, why some things aren’t cool nor acceptable, or why we should be doing more when we have the capacity to do more. When you care about one thing, you usually care about more and more, and burnout can be so real. 

In this room, though, I didn’t have to explain myself. They knew what issues exist in the world, they only wanted to know that I cared the way they did. I didn’t have to convince them of anything, except that I will eventually do the things I said I would. My favorite times are whenever I spend time with the BCFS because these people get me, they don’t make me feel like I’m too much or I care too much. So it meant a lot to me that they believe and had such faith in me.

I know it might not be the biggest deal but I’m truly grateful to be doing such work. I’m afforded an opportunity to be representing 170,000 post-secondary students across British Columbia, to do what I love and fulfills me. It gives me hope. Thank you all for creating an environment that’s allowed me to grow so much. I’m definitely gonna do my best for you.


Cait said...

Love you Sarah Mei!!! Your going to do incredible things with the federation. Proud and honoured to get to work with you at Local 13❤️❤️

Sarah said...

Thank you Cait! I look forward to us doing more important work together in the coming year <3