Opportunity and success is ahead for local Paterson native, Yousef Al-Khudairi who transferred to Montclair State University as an Educational Opportunity Fund student in the fall of 2015. He became the elected Student Government Association (SGA)Student Government Association (SGA) president during his senior year in the fall of 2017.
As president, Al-Khudairi wants everyone to feel like they belong.
“I want to stage events that’ll make you step out of your comfort zone for a minute and you’ll realize we are like a big warm family and that we all are brother and sisters on this campus,” Al-Khudairi said.
His childhood friend Abdelkader Tarakji, a biology major going into his senior year in the fall of 2017, has gone to school with Al-Khudairi since elementary school.
“I’ve always known Yousef as the fun, outgoing guy who isn’t afraid to make new friends, seek their opinions and be himself,” said Tarakji.
“Yousef isn’t the type to hide out backstage, he’s the one to show everyone what he’s doing so the MSU students know he will be doing what they want.”
Al-Khudairi is the kind of friend who helps people conquer their fears and live outside their comfort zones. As SGA president, he wants to be that friend to all Montclair State students.
“I understand that Montclair is a commuter school and most of us would prefer to go to school and then go home and that’s it, end of story. I’m obviously not gonna force anyone to join and get involved if they don’t want to,” said Al-Khudairi.
“What I want is to host events in which commuters can walk by and participate in a little bit and feel like they’ve become more involved because my biggest thing is [that] I want to make this a second home for students. I’ve made it my second home and you know I’m here from eight in the morning and I leave sometimes at midnight so Montclair is my second home it’s almost my own home.”
From the moment he set foot as a transfer student at Montclair State, Al-Khudairi immediately got involved in things he was interested in.
“I got involved with orgs the second I got in [to Monclair State]. I was a big member of Japan Club because I loved anime and video games and I met like-minded people there,” said Al-Khudairi.
As he became involved on campus as an E-board for the Japan Club, a legislator and currently the class I director of organizations of the SGA, he wanted to be as empathetic as his personality allowed him to be.
“The more I got involved, the more I wanted to be that voice for students. [I wanted to] be the advocate and try to stand up for my fellow people as much as I could.” said Al-Khudairi.” I saw no other way of doing it than to toss my head into it and see if I could run for president, and I did woohoo.”
His friend Matthew McGowan, a junior majoring in business administration with a concentration in management of Information Technology, met Al-Khudairi at the Montclair University Gamers Club and Japan Club. They got to know each other working at the IT Service Desk on campus. He believes that Al-Khudairi is fit for this job.
“I think next semester we should see an improvement in how organizations are taken care of, and a lot more transparency in how things are being handled by the Association,” said McGowan. “If you had met Yousef while he was campaigning you would have seen that while he can take his time to poke fun, he also has the drive to want to make the SGA better as a whole.”
Al-Khudairi’s job will entitle him to be the voice for students and try to help what McGowan would like for the students at Montclair State.
“I’ll be the bridge between the student body and faculty, kind of like the Avatar [The Last Airbender] between the real world and spirit world, but advocating for the students is like the number one job,” said Al-Khudairi.
Al-Khudairi will ensure that the money the SGA receives from every student, which is $48.90 a semester, will be used responsibly to better Montclair State. When running for president, his platform stated how he wanted to give back to the Montclair State community.
“Besides my voluptuous hips, I just hope that when people think of my name, they think of my administration because it’s not just me it’s my whole team,” said Al-Khudairi.
After his tenure is over, he hopes the students appreciate the work done by him and his administration.
“I just hope that they think of us and they smile because we did try to do our best for everyone here,” Al-Khudairi said.