Kislay Parashar is always there for his friends — and they say he will also be there for students if he’s elected the next SGA president this week.
“He’s willing to drop anything and do anything for his friends if we need him,” said Preethi Chandran, a junior public health science major.
Parashar, a junior computer engineering major, is running unopposed for student body president for the Activate Maryland party after three years in the Student Government Association. The party is focused on creating an easy transition to having more students on campus, improving the academic experience and creating a more inclusive and diverse campus.
Voting for this year’s election starts Tuesday at 8 a.m. and ends Thursday at 4 p.m.
Parashar currently serves as the speaker of the legislature, following stints as the international student representative and speaker pro tempore of the legislature
An international student from India, Parashar joined the SGA his freshman year to help the international student community. In this position, he worked on the “Study Break” initiative, where he brought domestic and international students together at the International Student and Scholar Services office in H.J. Patterson Hall.
“At that point we started the conversation between the international and domestic students, which was frankly one of my most meaningful and the first initiative that I did on this campus,” he said.
To make campus more inclusive, Parashar plans to work with the administration to create cultural spaces for students so they can feel more welcomed. He also wants to see cultural student groups meet together to discuss important issues to communicate with the student government, he said.
“[Members of these groups] have lost a lot of members this year with COVID, so it is kind of the duty of SGA to make sure that these groups are functioning well again,” he said.
As an international student, Parashar said he has “experienced a lot of things on this campus,” noting the Black Lives Matter movement last summer and the recent call to end anti-Asian racism.
Many of the candidates on the ticket hold their own personal goals as well.
For Jessica Levenson, the South Campus Commons representative candidate, housing affordability and providing students with the right resources to improve leasing relationships is a main goal. Ayelette Halbfinger, a representative for the business school, wants to expand pilot programs in dining halls to include kosher foods.
Parashar’s friends and fellow student legislators agree that he is hardworking and dedicated to his role in the SGA.
“I’ve never seen somebody dedicate so much of their time to one thing and Kislay is so involved in SGA and just genuinely wants to see the organization, as well as the campus just prosper, and get better over time,” Chandran said. “He’s going to work harder than anybody else.”
Levenson, a junior psychology major and committee member, said Parashar always supports fellow representatives and committee members. Parashar attended committee meetings to help out with projects, even if he wasn’t obligated to, she said.
Levenson added that she’s excited for an international student to be running for SGA president.
“I’m really, really proud of him,” she said.
But long with his SGA involvement, he’s also dedicated to his peers and his friends.
Parashar serves as a mentor and leader to Atara Kahn, the campaign manager and current speaker pro tempore. When Kahn was struggling with statistics, Parashar helped her understand the material.
“He didn’t even need to look at my assignments or watch the lectures. He would sit with me for hours, tutoring me and I wasn’t paying him,” Kahn said. “And he does that for everybody.”
Staff writers Clara Niel and Khushboo Rathore contributed to this report.