Introducing your 2023-24 REC Team!

May is here, which means your incoming Representation Executive Council (REC) team members have officially begun their terms as your representatives! SAMRU’s REC is comprised of four MRU students who were elected by MRU’s student body and hired by SAMRU’s Student Governing Board to represent student issues to MRU and all levels of government. 

Keep reading to get to know your new and returning REC members. Make sure to tune in closer to the upcoming fall semester as we report on what their advocacy goals will be for the 2023-24 academic year!

Have a concern you’d like to share with your representatives? Get in touch with us at

You can click on their photos below to watch their individual profile videos!

JOSEPH NGUYEN (he/him), REC President: Hi there! My name is Joseph Nguyen, and I am the current SAMRU REC President. I am in my fourth year of the Bachelor of Education program.

TALA ABU HAYYANEH (she/her), REC VP Academic: Oki, Salam and Hello! My name is Tala Abu Hayyaneh, and I am the incoming REC Vice President Academic for SAMRU. I am in my final year of the Bachelor of Arts in Policy Studies. 

PRABHJIT GREWAL (they/them), REC VP External: Hello, my name is Prabhjit Singh Grewal, and I will be your REC Vice President External. I am an Honours History student going into my fifth year.

ANISA TILSTON (she/they), REC VP Student Affairs: My name is Anisa Tilston, and I am your REC VP of Student Affairs. I’ve been a student at Mount Royal University for five years. Previously I was in the Nursing program, but I am currently in my first year of Sociology.

Why did you decide to run for SAMRU’s REC team, and what led you to choose the position you ran for? 

JN: I decided to run for SAMRU’s REC team because I wanted to positively impact the student community. As a student myself, I have personally experienced some of the challenges that students face, and I wanted to be in a position to help address these issues. I chose the REC President role because I felt I had the leadership skills and experience necessary to lead the team and advocate for student needs effectively.

TAH: I am passionate about student academic success and providing a robust experience, and I believe the REC VP Academic position is the perfect place for me to continue advocating for students’ success. 

PG: I chose to run for SAMRU’s REC team because I have always had an interest in societal problems and how I can work to help solve them. It is a role where I can use my skill set to its best by bringing change to MRU students and to all Alberta students.

AT: I became interested in running for the Representation Executive Council when I successfully changed an academic policy by speaking to the (then) REC VP Academic. Through that experience, I saw that the REC team could make real changes. My decision to run for the REC VP Student Affairs position was largely influenced by my time working at the SAMRU Peer Support Centre. Through that role, I was made aware of the financial hardship some students face and the challenges faced by international students, mature students, and students with disabilities. I ran for this position because this role would best enable me to address these issues.

What skills do you possess that make you a good fit for the position?

JN: I possess strong communication skills, strategic thinking abilities, and a passion for advocating for student needs. Additionally, my experience in student government, boards, and charities has allowed me to develop the skills to work collaboratively with a diverse group of individuals toward a common goal.

TAH: I am outspoken and analytical in my decision-making; I want to bring these skills to be a strong voice in representing student concerns and best interests. 

PG: As a history student, I have developed the skill set to research and analyze information quite well. This is a vital skill to help understand provincial and federal legislation that affects students’ lives. I have learned patience, social skills, and kindness from volunteering, streaming, and working in retail.

AT: I excel at interpersonal communication, research literacy, and creative problem-solving. Many of these skills were developed during my time at MRU through experience in three unique volunteer roles and the breadth of courses I’ve taken. My volunteer history includes being a SAMRU Peer Support Volunteer, a Peer to Peer Mental Health Educator, and an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Leader. I have completed 2+ classes from the following programs: Psychology, Social Innovation, Health Sciences, Indigenous Studies, and Sociology. 

What skills are you hoping to build on or learn during your time with SAMRU?

JN: I plan to build upon my skills in project management (starting, executing, and debriefing), data analysis, and policy development. Developing these skills will enable me to be even more effective in my role as REC President.

TAH: I hope to develop strong relationships with students and stakeholders within the MRU community and within the REC team.

PG: My social skills in professional and political settings are skills I want to build upon. I want to learn to become a good representative of the people and help push for necessary change.

AT: I hope to learn about policy development, implementation and public engagement. 

Have you been involved with SAMRU before, and if so, in what capacity? 

JN: Yes, I have been involved with SAMRU before! I was the REC President last year and served as the REC VP Student Affairs in 2021-22.

TAH: Aside from holding numerous executive positions on the Policy Studies Students’ Society over the years, I have volunteered with the Representation Executive Advisory Committee as a Student Ambassador for the past four years, working with students, faculty, and staff on MRU’s General Faculties Council (GFC) and its sub-committees. I have been involved in implementing the Student Refugee Program since 2018. 

PG: Some of you may know me from working as the Pride Ambassador at the SAMRU Pride Centre. My role included general upkeep of the centre, supporting fellow students, coordinating volunteers, and working on the Sex Toy Bingo and Gender Bender events.

AT: I have worked in the SAMRU Peer Support Centre (PSC) for the past four years; two years as a volunteer and two years as a PSC Admin. I have attended several SAMRU events, including those in West Gate Social (WGS), the Cultural Inclusion Centre, and the Pride Centre. 

What’s one thing you would like SAMRU members to know about you? 

JN: One thing I would like SAMRU members to know about me is that I am committed to transparency and accountability. As REC President, I believe it is essential to keep students informed about what we are working on and to seek their input and feedback.

TAH: I love cooking and travelling; feel free to stop me to chat about a new recipe you’ve tried or a new destination that I should check out!

PG: I am a gender non-conforming person still exploring my gender identity. I am also a big Star Wars fan; my favourite Jedi is Anakin Skywalker, and my favourite Sith is Darth Nihilus. Outside of work, I like to play video games, try new restaurants in the city, and crochet.

AT: I plan to empower SAMRU members to achieve their goals and meaningfully address any barriers they face. I hope to identify the goals and needs of the MRU community through student engagement and encourage anyone who feels unheard to reach out to me. 

What are you most looking forward to this coming year? 

JN: I am most looking forward to collaborating with the rest of the REC team to implement initiatives that will benefit students. Discovering strengths, encouraging growth, and creating synergy within the team is very important to me.

TAH: I look forward to growing my skills and gaining more knowledge to serve students better!

PG: I am looking forward to learning more about the problems students are facing and helping to resolve them. Some of the main issues I would like to address are improving the transit system, especially during peak hours, to make transit an appealing option for students. Another issue I would like to address is increasing government funding so transitioning students have resources and people on campus to talk to. This can help create a welcoming, safe, and smooth start to a journey often packed with anxiety and fear. I am also very excited to travel across Canada to represent students at this great university and to collaborate with other university councils.

AT: Connecting with students! As part of my member engagement, I plan to attend several events focusing on those seeking to raise awareness about something relevant to students. I am excited to learn from the community and meet new people.

Anything else you’d like to add? 

JN: Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me and about SAMRU REC. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me or any REC member. We are here to represent and advocate for you!

TAH: Thank you for taking the time to learn about me. I hope to learn about you as well! I am committed to having meaningful conversations with as many students as possible in the upcoming year, so let’s get this conversation going!

PG: I hope to show you that I am the right choice for this position. If you have any concerns that you would like to be addressed, please feel free to contact me. Let’s collectively work to make MRU the best university it can be.

AT: Thank you for the opportunity to serve our community as REC VP Student Affairs. 

Are you interested in getting involved with advocacy and addressing student issues? Sign up for updates on how to get involved in the 2023-24 academic year!