Carla Triana and Hashim Pashtun (second and third from right) are seen with Mayor Steve Patterson, Interim President David Descutner, ISFS Director Krista McCallum Beatty and Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies Lorna Jean Edmonds.

Carla Triana and Hashim Pashtun (second and third from right) are seen with Mayor Steve Patterson, Interim President David Descutner, ISFS Director Krista McCallum Beatty and Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies Lorna Jean Edmonds.

Photographer: Kaitlin Owens

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International Student Union welcomes new president following Pashtun’s successful leadership

After more than two years of serving as president of Ohio University’s International Student Union, Hashim Pashtun has turned the organization’s reins over to a new student leader.

The International Student Union (ISU) functions at Ohio University as an umbrella organization for 23 international organizations. ISU members come from all corners of the world, representing the collective educational, cultural and developmental interests of more than 100 countries. A large number of domestic students also take part in ISU, while also serving with the individual organizations.

“It was a great experience working with diverse populations,” said Pashtun, a doctoral student studying civil engineering who has served as the ISU president since February 2015. “There are students from over 100 countries here, so working with them and learning about other cultures and traditions, and then representing them was awesome.”

During his tenure as ISU president, Pashtun has been involved in numerous campus initiatives and has spearheaded many events and programs, leaving a legacy at OHIO that is already well established.

In 2016, the ISU, under Pashtun’s leadership, held the first-ever Unity Walk on the Athens Campus as a way to celebrate diversity, give different groups of people a chance to get to know each other and foster support between Bobcats. The second annual Unity Walk was held this past February.

“The Unity Walk was an idea I had, but I wouldn’t have been able to execute it without the help of my executive teams the past three years,” said Pashtun. “I’ve always had great teams, so they deserve credit as well.”

Pashtun was also the visionary behind the first-of-its-kind meditation room on the Athens Campus. The United Meditation Room opened on the fifth floor of Alden Library earlier this spring.

“While the Unity Walk is an annual event for celebrating diversity, the meditation room is a permanent place that celebrates diversity,” said Pashtun. “It’s a safe space for people to reflect, meditate and pray, and it joins people of different faiths or no faith at all.”

Pashtun has been very involved on campus, from serving as Chief Justice of OHIO’s Student Senate to being a Multicultural Leadership Ambassador in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. He has won several awards from the University, including last year’s Charles J. Ping International Leadership Award and this year’s Outstanding Graduate Student Leader Award.

“One of the things I am most proud of from my time as president is the sustainability campaign that we executed. Almost all our events were zero-waste, we tried to cut down on paper usage, and we used compostable materials whenever possible,” said Pashtun. “After I complete my doctoral degree here, I want to return to Afghanistan and serve my country in a similar way through environmental engineering.”

“Working with Hashim was great,” said Krista McCallum Beatty, director of OHIO’s International Student and Faculty Services and the advisor for ISU. “He’s an outstanding person and student. Because of him, there is a greater awareness on campus of ISU and its programming.”

While he will remain a part of ISU and continue to support the organization, Pashtun felt it was time for a new leader with new ideas.

“I think it’s time to give space to new ideas and new people who will benefit the future of ISU,” said Pashtun. “And since I’m still a student here, there will be a transition period where I can offer support and help.”

“Through Hashim, ISU has coined the phrase ‘many nations – one family’ as an OHIO emblem representative of our campus and the Athens community,” said Ohio University Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies Lorna Jean Edmonds. “Collectively his efforts with his colleagues and network have been impactful in unifying our community. His legacy will march forward for years to come through the United Meditation Room and the annual Unity Walk.”

Earlier this semester, Carla Triana was elected ISU’s new president after showing the leadership skills necessary through her involvement with the Latino Student Union.

“LSU is one of the ISU member organizations. As president of LSU, I had to attend ISU general body meetings, so I have a clear understanding of how ISU functions and the vital role it plays at this University,” said Triana. “I have also been transitioning into this position for the past two months. During this transition period, I have gained lots of knowledge by attending all the exec meetings, asking many questions and by interacting with the member organizations, whether it’s by attending their events or taking the time to meet with them individually.”

Triana is a senior studying international business in OHIO’s College of Business. She has been involved with ISU for two years through her LSU presidency. In her time as president of ISU, she hopes to create a stronger ISU foundation by strengthening its relationships on campus.

“My biggest priority is the member organizations because ISU would not be the organization it is today without them. I plan to work with the smaller individual organizations to make sure they are healthy and functioning correctly,” said Triana. “As president, I also hope to establish stronger relationships with University departments/centers and find ways to collaborate with them to create more diverse events. I would like for ISU to be more than just a programming organization and for it to take on the role of being an advocate organization for international students as well.”

“I am very confident that Carla will do a great job,” said McCallum Beatty. “She was very involved in the Latino Student Union, so she has the experience and has always been awesome to work with.”

“My advice to any student leader is to be patient, be a good listener. Earn your team’s trust and trust them as well. Communication is very important. Discussion and negotiation will get you much further than negativity,” said Pashtun.

To see a video featuring both Pashtun and Triana during this year’s International Week, click here