Campaigning for the SU elections 2012 starts today, and last week Impact sat down with the candidates to discuss their aims.
Amina Vora, 3rd year History
Amina Vora was inspired to run by this famous Ghandi quote, “Be the change you want to see.” She has undertaken a lot of work with the Islamic society in her first year and through a trip to the United States, was involved with the ASSU (Stanford University’s student body) in the Executive board, becoming the campaign manager for the President there. She is currently the Black and Ethnic Minorities Officer at Nottingham.
Vora pledges to be a more accountable President, holding an open surgery one day a week outside of the Portland Building to reach out to less central areas on campus, where she will listen to student’s views on the SU. She seeks to improve the monitoring of education, creating real-time anonymous feedback immediately after lectures/seminars so lecturers can make improvements by the time the next session comes around.
The involvement and accessibility (the how and where) associated with joining societies and being involved in the student body is another change she seeks to make. Financially, she wishes to work with nominal pricing, for example, making printing cheaper on campus as fees rise from next year, because she realises students will be looking to save money wherever possible.
Finally, improving the accessibility of resources is on Vora’s agenda, as is creating more space and comfort in the library. She seeks to increase the number and copies of course books, so reading lists are more readily available for students. Another pledge is to create schedules on all computers in Hallward library, so that everyone will have fair and equal access to long-stay computers.
By Aatish Thakerar
Amos Teshuva, Second year Economics
Teshuva’s qualifications include being the current Week One Coordinator, an NUS delegate and the Chair of Presidents Committee. He was also a JCR president himself and as exemplified by his sporty appearance at the media day, is an involved member of the university’s first football team and the AU. Through these roles, he has “got a kick out of feeling that he has made a difference to people’s life at uni”.
His focus is on empowering students and “ways of quickly and effectively finding out what students want”. His policies include using the JCR presidents to channel the fresher’s needs effectively and creating an e-petition system for older students that may not be based on campus. This system will enable students to present issues they feel strongly about and show how much support they have gained, so it can be brought to council.
Teshuva is looking to decrease the bureaucracy of the SU and build on its success. He thinks the Exec can spend “less time at computers” and more time finding out what people want, and wants the roles to be more representational but not necessarily cut the number of offices. Teshuva also thinks that “a lot more can be done with the AU” with regards to inclusion and is against the cutting of lower sports teams; although he realises that a hopper bus to Lenton is unrealistic, he seems determined for compromise with a Triumph Road stop.
By Charlotte Crawford
Dexter Morgan, Third year Medicine
Running under the guise of the celebrated television serial killer Dexter Morgan, to bring attention to the issues raised by SU elections, ‘Morgan’ says communication plays a part in why he’s running for the Presidential role: “You look at the failed referendum and you just wonder how much the message is actually getting through to the people; coming up with new ways to get the message across is part of the role.” Morgan wants to provide a voice to students against things like cuts in funding and the raise in fees. “We seem to be tread upon; we seem to basically be walked over”. He wants to make sure that despite the increased cost of courses, students are still able to enjoy the university experience.
His main aim is to introduce a fraternity/sorority system into university life. Whilst halls do provide an amazing experience, those who do not get a place in them miss out and so Morgan wants to bring in halls off campus. The structure would be easiest to implement in the Freshers years but once established it could exist throughout all years. Groups would include a diverse mix from various halls and would all have their own rituals. This would encourage cross-over between halls as well as giving those from outside of halls a base.
Another plan is the “Code-of-Harry”, inspired by the code by which Dexter chooses his victims in the show, which is being colorfully interpreted as a set of principles that would encourage sensible living within the community. This would be promoted through email as well as visual presences, such as acting things out in videos and in public to gain attention.
By Ellis Schindler
ACCOMMODATION AND COMMUNITY
Nick Redfern (candidate has withdrawn)
Since holding the position of JCR president last year, second year Philosophy student Green feels she has gained insight into where there is room for change in the SU and says she is the candidate to implement it. Green has a wide range of experience including being on the Elections committee last year, current Ladies Cricket Vice Captain and recently being elected an NUS Delegate.
If elected, she hopes to push for an expiry date on university cards, as without one it can be difficult for students to get discounts they may be entitled to. Another one of Green’s key policies is the idea of a “housing week” for students as she believes the current accommodation fayre is not long enough. During the week, there would be more chances to get advice about rent and location, to speak to landlords, the accommodation and community officer and UNIPOL. She states that “how and where you live is a big part of your university experience”. In addition, Green hopes to “put pressure on the council to get rid of the parking permits” and “strive for NUS support” in this area.
Green describes herself as “friendly, approachable and enjoys a challenge” and feels that she could be a “positive catalyst for change”.
By Caroline Lowman
Sam Dodgin, Fourth year German language student
Sam Dodgin is currently running for activities officer with the aim of giving better guidance to the University’s student run services (SRS). Dodgin has already had a wide variety of experience in the running of such services over his academic career, ranging from his current position on the committee for URN, to having been a JCR representative in 2007/08.
As his manifesto states, he is not “dodgin the issues”, with his campaign manifesto containing aims that choose to better allocate existing resources and help societies become more self-sufficient. If elected, Dodgin wants to better coordinate the running of individual societies by improving advertisement, supporting them when securing sponsorship, and encouraging cooperation between them. In addition, he wants to expand upon existing assets, such as the University’s CD and Record Library, highlighting how “Student’s love music” and this is one such service that is in need of better advertisement and support.
By Malcolm Remedios
Daniel Elia, Third year Management Studies
Daniel ‘The Manual’ Elia is running with an eye to “connecting people”. His key manifesto pledges include “improving communication” between societies, increasing the publicity of various events on campus and helping treasurers deal with their money better.
He has experience as Social Secretary of Cavendish and has run events for 20-30 different societies throughout campus. On improving communication between societies, Elia says, “I really want to have a section on the SU website where all the different society members can all log onto to share event ideas and post up dates of events so people can join up to that and so societies can overlap their expenses with that society.” Elia feels that with two hundred societies in the university, “you really don’t hear enough about them.” He aims to get “the word out there as much as possible.” Having spoken to a number of society presidents and social secretaries, Elia feels it is essential to offer better financial advice but hasn’t yet decided on the best method for implementing this.
Finally, Elia talks about Summer Party and the two different routes it could take, “I definitely think you should either bring in much better acts with much better things to do there, possibly even some kind of circus rides, rodeo horses rather than just tents with music inside. At the same time you could even bring the ticket price down and make it slightly less to make profit, more student run, and just to make it more accessible to students.”
By Oscar Williams
Michelle Mcloughlin, Third year History
Michelle Mcloughlin promises to make a “positive difference for you” if elected to the position of Activities Officer. She has had experience as a volunteer for the SU’s mental health campaign, is a member of several societies, has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for charity, and has been a Karni Representative and Executive. Especially having been in charge of Publicity and Promotions for Karni, Mcloughlin said that she feels she has unrivalled experience as her role centred on getting large numbers of people to events.
Mcloughlin highlighted the importance of wider student participation from all campuses in the many activities that the societies and Student Run Services have to offer, stating that “there’s no better way to make the most out of your time at Nottingham than getting involved.” She pledges to encourage greater involvement through a big increase in publicity, so that the student body is well informed on what is available to them. Mcloughlin also urged for students’ voices to have a greater impact on the running of large events like the Summer Party and the GradBall. Lastly, she vows to ensure that more money is put into activities so that funding is proportionate to the fee increase, with fairer distribution and more transparency in the funding system also being advocated.
By Sedef Akademir
ATHLETIC OFFICER CANDIDATES
Alex Dakin (Candidate has withdrawn)
Williams’ athletic background means that he feels well qualified for the role of Athletics Union Officer. Coming from a “sporty family”, he has a keen love of sport and wants to help everyone get involved, whatever their level. Apart from being the Captain and President of the Croquet Club, Williams is also on several committees including the Tri-campus games Organising Committee and ChemSoc Committee. He was also on the GB Team for the 2011 World University Games.
Williams’ main policies involve responding to what the students want. He aims to focus on gaining input from those who participate in sports and use their feedback to lobby for the facilities that they want. He wishes to provide more backroom support, for example physio-screenings, nutrition coaching and sports psychology. Hew is also eager to increase IMS (intra-mural sport) participation and provide more support for non-BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sports) clubs. Hew also wants to promote lower level sport to make it easier for anyone to get involved at any level.
By Suzi Collins
Jonny ‘JB Sports’ Bell says the role as Athletics Union officer is something he’s always wanted and it would help him pursue his dream career as a sports manager. He believes his policies take into account the whole university, and he wants to get everyone involved in University sport — particularly any “unchecked talent” — as well as postgraduates, international students, and students from the satellite campuses.
Bell plans to achieve this by working closely with the NU2 Sport Campaign saying, “it’s like a ‘sport for all campaign’”. He also wants to work with the Week One and Karni Reps (both positions he’s had first hand experience in) to get more Freshers involved. Bell stresses that his campaign would be aimed at everyone, “whether they’re just apprehensive about getting involved in a sport club, or they’re just lazy”.
“If people fancy doing something extra-curricular but they’ve just had no prior incentive, then I want to be the person who gets them out of bed and get them knocking about on the football pitch.” Other points on Bell’s manifesto include the pledge of a fixed date for kit orders, and the extension of Varsity to other sports, including tennis and squash, but he wishes to “target all clubs. Large or small.”
By Antonia Paget
DEMOCRACY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Gareth Wilcox, Fourth Year Physics
In the SU’s official candidate booklet, only an early draft of Gareth Wilcox’s manifesto that was “filled out 5 minutes before the nominations closed” is available, which simply cites his experience as a School Rep and a Course Rep. However, in an extended version provided to Impact, Wilcox adds that he has been a Student Ambassador, a voting council member, and has a love for “all things democratic and communication-y”.
His other experience, in his own ‘order of relevancy’ are as follows: “managed to crawl out of bed this morning (2012)”, “accidentally made a speech opposing a motion in Council about wind farms (2011)”, “something else to fill up the space (2013)”, and “actually voted in the referendum (2012)”. In his interview, Wilcox stated: “I don’t believe I have enough information about the Students’ Union to make a manifesto, or policies.” This down-to-earth approach to his campaign stems from his belief that students are not engaged enough in the SU: “The SU is taken for granted, so student apathy towards the SU is understandable. I do not seek to change this. However, there are some things that need looking at: attendance in council, the horrific prospect of two or more referenda every year, and the amount of SU spam.” His main problem with the SU is that he feels it is out of touch; he says that the referendum questions weren’t student-friendly, and they didn’t discuss issues that were relevant to students. He fully intends to treat the position as a job, rather than a popularity contest, and wants to avoid the use of “wishy washy” language in his campaign.
By Katie Woods
Luke Mitchell, Second year Philosophy and Theology
Luke Mitchell has been on the SU Council for two years, though he does not believe that it fairly or accurately represents the student body as a whole. He is running for Democracy and Communications Officer because he believes that it will be an important position for next year, as the officer will have ‘the potential to make a really big difference’ with the proposals that were raised this year in the Big Ask. Mitchell’s biggest concern and challenge, should he get the position, is whether to “get rid of council to bring in the new Assembly structure” an alternative decision-making structure explored in the recent referenda.
Mitchell’s aims are centred around his wish to improve the overall accessibility of the decision-making structure of the student body, and he wishes to encourage more students to take their grievances and concerns to Council, and vote on the importance of such matters, so that these issues can be prioritised in discussions and hopefully solved with more immediacy.
He also aims to make attendance to these Council sessions as compulsory as possible, and to make representatives send replacements if they are unable to attend. He strongly believes that students who take up such positions should ‘honour’ their title by representing their constituents more effectively.
By Aatish Thakerar
Matt Styles, Third year Computer Science
Matt Styles is running for the position of Education officer, and it is clear that he is enthusiastic about university life and education. “I really do care for education,” says Styles, “Its something that I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years”.
Styles has been a course and school rep and has been on the Student Support Committee, the Academic Appeals & Offences Committee, and the Science Faculty NSS Committee. He is also very enthusiastic about several NUS Conferences he has attended and says his previous positions have left him with “extensive experience” for the role as Education Officer.
Styles hopes to improve the university wireless system and extend the library’s holiday hours if he is voted in, and intends to encourage quicker and more personalized feedback on coursework as well as more student input on university committees.
To implement these pledges, he wants to interact with Nottingham’s students through both personal interaction and social media, but stresses the importance of talking face to face as it “makes people feel like part of a community”.
“I am a strong believer in engaging with the students. It’s something that we should be doing as representational officers, but we need more chance to get out and engage with students about SU issues.”
By Antonia Paget
EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES AND WELFARE
Alcock’s background in University involvement is one that has primarily been concerned with advancing the interests of LGBT students. A training midwife, Alcock focused on health awareness and help for members of the LGBT community, in her role as Campaigns Officer for the LGBT committee in 2010/11. One campaign she worked on was ending homophobia in halls, which she pledges to concentrate on if elected. Alcock has been an active member of the committee, extending her interests of the LGBT community beyond that of university level; for example, by signing letters to Stonewall demanding further action in lobbying for the implementation of full marriage equality, and in her role as NUS LGBT conference delegate in 2010.
However, her experience is not confined to the LGBT community alone, as her position as Campaign Officer for the Women’s Network committee demonstrates. If elected into the position, Alcock promises to advance the involvement of healthcare students in the SU, as well as working closely with Cripps health centre on reaching certain student groups. Through collaboration with societies, Alcock hopes to help student networks.
By Emily Tripp
Joanne Dawson is running for Equal Opps and Welfare, because she has experienced not fitting into university life and wants to make this easier for others to allow them to enjoy university and enable their full participation.
Experiences with mental health and disability have given Dawson a level of empathy and understanding that she thinks would equip her well for the role. She currently helps run the new Mental Wealth project on campus which is something she wants to see continue and diversify. She is also a Governor for Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, where she liaises between patients and the executive board to ensure their business plans meet the needs of their patients in Nottinghamshire.
Dawson’s key pledge is to build a better relationship between staff, students and the Student Union, believing that university is a stressful time and that it is important that academic staff understand this, and be more considerate when setting deadlines and pushing for perfectionism. Being a local disabled student, Dawson has extensive knowledge about what services are available through the university and around Nottingham.
By Daniel Fine
LGBT officer for the year 2011/2012 Elliot Reed is a passionate activist who has previously been on the prizes and awards committee and campaigned for the Big Ask. “I actually campaigned to save this position”. He also has the experience that would be necessary for this post, including attending an NHS medical training day among other things.
The four pillars of his campaign are night buses, working to promote mental health, establishing an equal representation committee and sexual health. He says that the night buses should run on weekdays at night from the city center to Beeston, Lenton and Campus. This would be safe and cheap and could be implemented by lobbying NTC.
Reed also says that the stigma behind mental health issues must be reduced and support services available to students must be publicized . Though this is already happening, he adds, it should be given more attention through workshops, posters and the portal among other things. The equal representation committee would also be the first of it’s kind in the University. His fourth pledge, working to improve sexual health would be achieved by a combination of screening and advice to students.
By Zeeshan Wadiwala
Mike Dore says he has always wanted this job, stating that it’s the only position he could see himself going for. He wants to target students across all campuses and make them aware of the services available to them through the equal opportunities network. “So many people I’ve spoken to tell me that they just don’t know about these things and there’s a problem if you don’t know.”
Dore wants to hold more campaigns with the representational networks within the union as well as increase support for mental health problems.
Dore says he is ready to take on the challenge, having volunteered for people of all ages and backgrounds, including being a mental health volunteer and a nursing home care assistant, and within the university has held the positions of course rep, contact exec for Karni and a UCAS tour guide.
By Damilola Ikeola
Matthew Wilks is keen on this position because of his love for the University. He’s been inspired by current Equal Opps and Welfare Officer Rosie Tressler. “Watching the current Equal Opps and Welfare officer and what she’s brought to the role, I think that’s why so many people are running for it. She’s created this buzz around it.”
Already a welfare rep for the English society, a member of the New Theatre exec and a student ambassador, Matt comes prepared and qualified for the job. Matt is really enthusiastic about re-vamping pastoral care and wants to develop an improved relationship between students and their tutors. “I don’t think pastoral care at the University is the best it can be, especially as people will be paying £9000 next year; I think they’ll expect a little bit more.” Filled with many ideas and ready to take them into action he says, “I’m the kind of guy that walks around and says, yep, that needs fixing.”
By Damilola Ikeola
For 2nd Year student Charlie Bell, the primary drive to run for Equal Opportunity and Welfare officer comes from the need to raise awareness for the numerous services that are available to support students during their university life. In particular, Bell stresses the difficult transition period for first years during fresher’s week, and that it is essential that students are aware of services such as Nightline from the onset.
Bell believes that these services currently lack a successful advertising campaign and need renovation through more novel ideas, such as a “Keep Calm and Call Nightline” poster to make the information more appealing. She also expresses the need to tackle other issues; such as mental health awareness, raising the profile of representational offers, and improving the dynamic between Welfare reps and the SU. Bell brings with her an understanding and experience of these issues, currently participating as a member of the Nightline publicity team, as well as having been a welfare representative in her first year.
By Malcolm Remedios
FINANCE AND SERVICES OFFICER
Running under a mock Ernst and Young campaign slogan, Anil Parmar aims to bring “quality to everything” he does. A third year chemist and current Chemistry Society President, Parmar has organised the university sciences ball, founded an Ethiopian outreach charity and has been a manager at John Lewis and Ralph Lauren. He insists that improving IT support while increasing students’ awareness of it is his campaign’s key aim. Universities don’t consider extenuating circumstances for technological problems so he thinks there should be a push for publicity for Cripps computing centre.
He also believes that both the Den and Mooch need rethinking. With regards to the Den he says “it has the potential to be a really good venue. We’ve got the space but students aren’t using it and aren’t getting what they want out of it.” Finally, he aims to help “sift through money through the grants accounts” with the aim of fairly redistributing the budget if necessary. Parmar wants the union to “offer everything [it] can” to members of the students’ union, considering “next year students are paying nine grand to come to the university.”
By Oscar Williams
Jonathon Stimmler, Third year Politics
Running with the slogan “In a Recession you need Stimmulation”, Stimmler aims to bring fairer distribution of grants and improved packages for a range of societies and is also keen to utilise SU facilities such as The Den.
As Treasurer of Ancaster Hall JCR 2010-11 and Treasurer of Politics Society from 2011-12, Stimmler sees running for Finances & Services Officer as a “natural progression”. While in these positions, Stimmler gained experience implementing a variety of services including formal parties, booze cruises, a cinema and casino trip, a trip to Westminster, a Gaza Debate and a planned Euro Trip for Easter.
A major manifesto point of Stimmler’s is a fairer distribution of society grants; he feels that his time working within the current financial system has shown him that it needs improvement. Stimmler aims to improve the use of the Den, a campaign policy which has been overly ambitious in the past; as such, Stimmler has more realistic aims of not making The Den into a club night, but into a more general student venue. Stimmler feels that by enacting these policies, he will be able to motivate the student body and break down the boundaries between students and the Students’ Union.
By Ben James
ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
As President of People and Planet Society, Pilava has already been working closely with the University’s Environmental Team and feels that this makes her a good candidate for Environment and Social Justice Officer. Pilava’s policies involve continuing to work closely with SEEN (Student Environmental and Ethical Network) societies to make sure that their campaigns benefit from SU input, and to make sure SU policy takes ethical and environmental considerations into account.
Her main concern is to continue with the work of the previous Environment Officer Sarah Joy Lewis and to contribute to the completion of her projects. She also wishes to improve awareness and student engagement with environment and social justice issues and promote the development of a more sustainable campus.
By Suzi Collins