Anuj Khasgiwala is a busy graduate student by day and a computer genius by night. As an international student at Utah State University, Khasgiwala is currently serving as the graduate studies senator on the Utah State University Student Association Academic Senate.
Currently in his second year of his master’s program, the posting of the graduate studies senator position caught Khasgiwala’s eye. After meeting with Rob Llewellyn from the Office of Global Involvement, he decided it was of interest to him.
“I didn’t know, and I don’t think a lot of other graduate and international students know, that there is a grad student position for them in USU and in administration,” Khasgiwala said.
Before he was elected, Llewellyn mentioned to Khasgiwala that no other international student had served on the Executive Council or in the Academic Senate. Khasgiwala was the first.
Llewellyn was Khasgiwala’s main motivation for running for this position, as well as Luis Armenta and other friends from the Indian Student Association.
“Llewellyn saw something in me, and felt that I could run and also win this position,” Khasgiwala said. “He helped me and guided me.”
Khasgiwala expresses that although he is far away from his family and home country, he’s found a family with grad students and international students here at Utah State.
“I’ve made a lot of friends and connections here, but because of that I’ve also found that not enough international students are connected with local and American students,” Khasgiwala said.
Khasgiwala is in the process of implementing a communication platform that he feels will help encourage better cohesion between grad students, international students, and the rest of the student body.
“Right now, most grad students are really busy in their research and family lives,” Khasgiwala said. They don’t get to get out and attend a lot of events at the university, or if they do, they come but feel disconnected from the rest of the student body. My goal is to bring them together and help them feel like they belong at USU.”
Khasgiwala doesn’t just have big dreams for his position, but also for his life. His goals after getting his masters include working a research-oriented software job in a technology company somewhere in the United States, and to make “millions of dollars.”
“The United States has always been a hub of software development and information technology,” he said. “Most of the trending technologies have been made or constructed here. If I can get into one of the big companies in the future, I will say that my coming to the U.S. has been a success.”
Arpita Nehra is involved in the Indian Student Association and is a friend of Khasgiwala’s. She appreciates him for his work ethic and the support he has provided her with since she came to USU.
“When we hang out together in and around campus, you always find someone that he knows. He is always talking to someone,” Nehra said.
Nehra’s transition to USU was made a little bit easier because of Khasgiwala, whom Nehra describes as helpful.
“Our lives have been a little more difficult since we arrived here,” she said. “He really helped us know what to do in the first month here. He tries to get people together to do different activities and get to know each other.”
Bhagyashree Mandora is a friend of Khasgiwala’s who coincidentally shared 3 of the same classes in her first semester here at USU. Mandora and Khasgiwala were also partners for class projects, and worked quite frequently together.
“I second that. He’s very helpful. If you ask him for help, he’s always there. Willing and ready,” Mandora said.
Blake Harms, USU Executive Vice President, first met Anuj through USUSA and found a fast friend in him.
“Anuj and I were both trying to find our place within the social dynamic, and were kind of just drawn to each other,” Harms said. “He’s such a nice person and was so warm and receptive of me. From there we’ve built a friendship. We talk a lot about our dating lives, school, and really big plans.
Khasgiwala is the definition of a busy college student, but Mandora mentions that he manages things well.
“He’s involved in ISA, USUSA, research and (is willing to socialize) anytime with anyone,” Mandora said. “He finds time for everything, and gives justice to each.”
Harms added that Khasgiwala is task-oriented and sits on many boards within the university.
“In what can seem like intimidating situations with the dean or other university representatives, Anuj is really open and honest in how he defends what he believes the students desires are,” Harms said.
Much of the time Harms and Khasgiwala spend together is conversing about the goals and passions Anuj has for his life and for the prospective future.
“Not a lot of people know this about Anuj, but he has some incredibly big visions for himself,” Harms said. “We spend a lot of time dissecting how he’s going to do the things he wants to do. He really loves to have detailed discussions and just talk about things in broad terms.”
Harms expressed his appreciation for Anuj and the friendship the two Executive Council members share.
“Anuj, first and foremost, is a sweetheart and the type of person you trust,” he said. “He’s a really open person. He is receptive to anyone he meets. When you talk to Anuj, he makes you feel like he understands you.”
Khasgiwala’s advice for students is to try to make friends and connections during their time at Utah State.
“Connection is the most important thing to grow, regardless of what country you come from,” Khasgiwala said. “It is how to be successful in life.”
While Khasgiwala spends most of his day devoted to improving the lives of grad students and working on initiatives, he is also a friendly, genuinely approachable human being.
“Anuj is just one of the gems of Utah State,” Harms said. “He just is the kind of person that I would recommend to anyone to be a friend with, or to take on dates. He’s just the perfect person.”