A Leader on Campus: Sarab Multani Aims to Make an Impact at San José State
Sarab Multani, ‘25 Public Health, is no stranger when it comes to leadership.
When he was a high school student living in Los Angeles, Multani spent countless hours helping his parents run their restaurant business.
His family emigrated to the United States from Punjab, India in the 90s. His parents met in Los Angeles, got married and soon after, had two children — Multani and his sister.
Multani remembers growing up in a small apartment full of 10 different family members. His dad and mom were working long hours in both a warehouse and restaurant. In 2001, the family of 10 pooled all of their money together and bought their own restaurant.
That restaurant was a smashing success. It expanded, which allowed the different family members to venture off into owning their own restaurants. They were also able to move out of their cramped apartment and into their own homes. Multani’s parents currently own three successful Indian restaurants in the LA area.
“My parents never went to college,” said Multani. “Both of my families were from villages in India. My work ethic and who I am as a person can be attributed to my parents.”
By helping his parents run multiple restaurants at such a young age, Multani developed confidence, became a more effective communicator and learned how to manage a staff of people who were all much older than he was.
Being a part of the family business also taught Multani about the art of strategy. He was always looking for ways to market and improve the restaurants.
“And every time a customer would come in, I would ask myself one thing,” said Multani. “How can I make this person have a better day so that they come back to this restaurant in the future?”
Coming to San José State
Being a first-generation college student has defined Multani in ways he could’ve never imagined.
Back in 2021, when he left Los Angeles to start college at San José State, he didn’t know a single soul. Multani understood early on that he had to be intentional about integrating into the community and finding that sense of belonging.
“My first year of college was about setting my foundation. You have to find out where you fit in,” said Multani. “Otherwise, you’ll be sitting in your dorm doing nothing.”
Living on campus during his freshman year allowed him the opportunity to connect with and build community with other students. During his second year, Multani made the decision to pledge for a fraternity.
“I had people on my floor who were urging me to get involved with Greek life,” said Multani.
“Being one of the first in my family to go to college has made me open to trying new things. So I said, ‘Let’s try it.’ What’s the harm in trying?”
So far, this attitude is one that Multani has carried with him throughout his journey at SJSU. In fact, it was this attitude that spurred Multani, who had no previous experience in student government, to run for president of Associated Students (A.S.) in January of this year. He ended up winning the race and officially stepped into his new role as president this past June.
“My main motivation for running was because I want to try to increase that sense of belonging for the general student body,” said Multani.
Ambition is Born
As a member of Delta Sigma Phi since January of last year, Multani has witnessed the kind of deep transformation that happens when one is steeped in community. Joining a fraternity has helped him to hone and evolve his leadership skills while making an impact.
“They made a name for themselves on campus as hard workers, as people who get involved,” said Multani. “There’s a culture here. Academic and professional development are high priorities at Delta Sigma Phi.”
Being a part of Greek life gave Multani the structure he craved. He began to take on various leadership positions within committees across the fraternity.
During his first semester in the fraternity, Multani was instrumental in creating a new mental health position in the organization, as he expressed there was a need for students to have that support. Last year, he took on the role himself, becoming the second mental health chairman for the fraternity.
“Being a part of the fraternity, that’s where my ambition for being involved on campus was born,” said Multani. “When I started making changes in my fraternity, I realized I could make a wider change on campus.”
Goals for the Future
With the ‘23 – ‘24 school year underway, one of Multani’s main goals as president of Associated Students is to really focus on working to improve the student experience in any way he can.
“All entities here on campus are working on improving the student experience,” said Multani. “I really want to integrate that and make sure we’re working together in this shared mission. As long as there’s less of a communication gap between us, and an understanding of what we’re working on, we can help each other. It’s about awareness, integration and community.”
Multani recently completed a certified nursing assistant (CNA) course and has plans to start working as a CNA during the weekends.
After Multani graduates from SJSU in 2025, he hopes to go into administration in the medical field. He’s also thinking of possibly pursuing a master’s degree.
“I realized I had a passion for helping people in my community,” said Multani. “Coming into adulthood, I’m in that part of my life where I’m setting the foundation for what I want to do in life. And what I want to do is support my community’s well being.”