Ryan wants it to be easier for students to get involved, “not just in Week One, [but] by visiting the website or by going to Portland.”Ryan Holmes is running for the position of Activities Officer. He has held positions such as NUS Delegate and President of the Politics Society. One of his main policies is to see “no student left behind.” He believes that there should be greater accessibility “regardless of course, campus or year”.
He contends that the Union is “very Portland-centric at the moment” and students should be able to get involved “not just if they live in Lenton and not just if they happen to do a course that offers them lots flexibility in terms of their time.” Furthermore, it is important “to work with societies to have different opportunities that don’t just happen at the start of the year, but are a general thing that go on longer throughout the year.”
Ryan also advocates greater transparency in the system of grants and student finance. “It isn’t necessarily the amount that is being allocated that is the problem, its not particularly easy to get into the system. It should be obvious how much you have been given and why,” he said.
He says that there should also be greater access to feedback: “Part of the problem with the SU is that we just listen to things but things don’t necessarily get changed.”
Since starting University, Will Knapp says that he has been heavily involved with the SU. This experience has shown him significant problems with the Union: “People aren’t appreciated enough in what they’re doing”.
Will claims that the SU has become “overly professionalised”, with an inflexible focus on finance. Although he does think that Michelle McLoughlin, current Activities Officer, is doing a good job, but there is a problem with “interaction”. Will claims, “A lot of people feel like they don’t know who the SU are”.
He also emphasised the important role that societies play, in allowing people to “build the skills they may want to use in the future”. However, he thinks that the system where societies meet with the Activities Officer needs to change. Currently societies meet in large groups, Will thinks that although this can be helpful he hopes to change it to one-on-one meetings every term with society presidents.
Using the skills learnt in societies, Will also wants to create an end of year showcasing of student talents in a festival as an alternative to the Summer Party.
Emma Louise Amanshia
Emma Louise Amanshia has been involved in university groups from the ACS to URN and currently holds roles as head of Entertainment for NUTS and General Secretary for the New Theatre. She believes that this has helped her to gain experience that could prove valuable if she was to become Activities Officer.
Emma Louise says that “to a certain extent, involvement in activities is more important than your degree”, and is therefore interested in improving the services surrounding this area. Her policies are mainly based around transparency and accessibility.
She wishes to improve communication between the leaders and members of activity groups to ensure, for example, that once an issue has been raised students are updated on how it is being addressed. She also hopes to educate students on the ease at which they can join a society at any point throughout the term as she maintains that “societies are a huge part of university life”.
Emma Louise also puts a large focus on the training which members of activity groups must undergo. She believes that “one size doesn’t fit all” and would therefore be interested in introducing more specific training for different activities. She also wishes to help members of societies asses how to receive larger grants for their activity to improve the quality of their experience.
In relation to SRSs, she believes that more collaboration between the services could be beneficial and would aim to organise meetings involving different SRSs to encourage cooperation rather than competition.
Ben Malone is running for Activities Officer with the main intention of increasing participation in societies. If elected, he aims to get an extra 2000 students involved in societies. He aims to do this by putting a greater emphasis on Refreshers Fair.
He says that if you don’t get involved in societies “you’re essentially at school again. It’s really important that students embrace [the opportunities].”
In order to develop participation with societies, Ben says that “the channels the Uni has are important, but that the Union needs to invest more in training society executives.” He also would like to see further use of the Union’s social media to promote events that societies and services are running, and argues that the “Union has a duty to go into halls” in order to promote their services.
One of his manifesto pledges is to try and get a music venue on campus, which he says other universities across the country have and that UoN is noticeably lacking. Having been involved in organising the Bastille concert in Mooch earlier this term, Ben found “Mooch not able to hold enough people, and was certainly not set up for it”.
Michael Olatokun says that it’s “time to fight for student rights, and that time is now”. With his experience as Chairman of the West Midlands UK Youth Parliament and as President of People & Planet Society, Michael feels he is an ideal candidate for Community Officer. During his time as a Week One representative at Raleigh Park, he worked with housing agencies to organise the installation of Wi-Fi throughout the off-campus accommodation. If elected, he will work to extend this to all university halls.
Michael wants to change the dynamic between the “student tenant and the supreme landlord” and put the power back into the hands of the student. As such, he feels that a Community Officer must be prepared to liaise with housing agencies, the University and Unipol. In the past he has had frequent experience with acquiring concessions from “decision-makers” and was part of a scheme in Staffordshire that granted 500,000 people access to a young person’s concessions fayre for transport.
One of the main issues facing students is that of parking fines. Michael concedes that there is no short term solution to this problem, stating that there is “not a lot that we can do”, but as Community Officer he would campaign within the University to increase the turnout at elections, perhaps even liaising with Nottingham Trent SU, to give students a greater voice within the regional electorate. When the time comes for elections, “our issues will be the ones that are talked about, because we will be a prime target for candidates.”
Josh Franks and Antonia Paget
“JDB for the COMMUNITY” is the tag line currently heading the campaign for Jacques Domican-Bird’s to be elected as Community Officer.
Jacques states in his manifesto that he ran the London Marathon in 2011, raising over £3000 for community projects. This is an altogether different race.
Other achievements listed on his manifesto include working as an advice worker at Nottingham’s Housing Service, holding the President position of Working in Tandem, and also being a course rep.
If Jacques is elected he hopes to introduce an online housing forum where students can find tips and advice on choosing houses and landlords. He says this would be very different from the already established Unipol forum as he “want[s] to make it more specific and more personable to Nottingham students”.
“I think it would be useful, particularly as a fresher, to know what other peoples’ experiences are,” he added.
Parking permit charges are a longstanding problem faced by the SUs’ Community Officer, and one Jacques plans to lobby the council about. He claims “communication” and “transparency” are key.
He said, “It’s about having a good relationship with the council, addressing problems as and when they arise rather than having a bitterness against the council or taking a negative position.”
Adam Jasko feels that his experience as Welfare Rep will assist him in the role of Community Officer. Furthermore, his position on the committee means he feels he already has an understanding of many issues. His manifesto pledge is “it’s our community, let’s make the most of it” and many of his policies are focused on increased student participation in the local council.
Adam feels it is important to involve all campuses in as many events as possible. He feels the best way to do this is to visit campuses such as Sutton Bonington and Derby to gain student feedback. He also plans to improve transport networks between campuses and the city including more late night buses. On University Park he hopes to improve food provisions, aiming to provide food at a cheaper price.
He feels a greater student participation in the local council could lead to a greater influence, especially if students vote in the local elections. Adam recognises that students can find voting complicated; he hopes to use a combination of social media and shoutouts in lectures to lead to a better understanding of how to enrol. If he is elected Community Officer, he plans to contact the council and present students views.
Dave Cordell hopes to “make a change to the community not only on campus but on the wider campuses and the Lenton community.”
He has been involved with the Union during his time at the University, being part of the SU Working Group team and a CU Rep. In his current role as NUS Delegate, he has been talking with students to find out their views on policy. He has also been attending SU council meetings “to hear the views from the representatives from each course group.”
Addressing the work of current Accommodation and Community Officer, Sian Green, Dave said that it “seems likes she’s done a lot of good work this year. She seems to be fighting a number of issues that I hope to carry on, like the parking permits.”
When it comes to interacting with Nottingham Council, Dave says that “it’s all about communication.” If elected, he intends to regularly talk to local councillors, “expressing students views to them and working alongside them.”
One of his manifesto pledges is to set up Derby road cycle paths. He plans to discuss the matter with the local county council: “We could work together to see where it would be possible to implement them and what sort of timescale we’d be looking at,” he said.
Dave also plans to introduce a farmers market to Broadgate Park, once a week, as he feels that apart from the Londis, “getting good quality fruit and veg is quite hard to do”. He hopes that as there is currently a well-established farmers market at Sutton Bonington, the same could be done at Broadgate and perhaps even at other accommodation in the future.
Abz is a former Student-Clubber and Carpe-Noctum Rep who believes his experience in organising events support his leadership and teamworking credentials for the role.
“These roles definitey improved my teamwork skills, which is vital for a role like Community Officer as it involves working not just with the community itself but also with other members of the SU,” said Abz.
While “keeping Tabz on accommodation and community”, he promises to make the city a safer, more comfortable, living environment.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES AND WELFARE
If elected as Welfare Officer, Fiona Kelly would aim to ensure that all students are able to receive support whilst studying at university. She believes her experience as a peer mentor and as a 2013 NUS Delegate qualifies her for this role.
She believes “awareness is the key issue” and plans to continue the work of her predecessor, Mike Dore, persisting with Week One campaigns, and also plans to raise mental health awareness.
She is particularly passionate about mental health awareness, and getting rid of stigmas related to mental health diseases through the use of campaigns, during which she would work with the health and diversity officers. She also aims to raise awareness of the University welfare provisions and she supports the Week One campaigns, such as alcohol awareness.
Fiona is also keen to improve welfare facilities, in particular the facilities on Sutton Bonington which she feels are slightly lacking. If elected she hopes to create mental health projects and try and introduce healthcare provision for Sutton Bonington.
She would also provide further training for welfare reps, as she feels having a wide network of people to turn to is important for the students. This training would include a welfare roadshow which would take place a few weeks after Week One and would aim to “clarify information that students are given in the first week.”
Mike Dore is in the running to refill the position he is currently in as Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer. Mike explained that he has decided to run again because “I’ve obviously loved it”. He believes that continuing as Equal Opps and Welfare Officer will be “great for continuity” as he has begun so much that he wants to see through to the end.
Mike admits that his role has faced obstacles, particularly in the attempt to move the emphasis away from being operational, and towards being representational. He feels particularly strongly about changing “the way we hear the student voice”.
He believes he has an edge on the other candidates, explaining that it can take three, four, or even five months for a new candidate to really understand their role and the way the Students’ Union works, but with his insight he will be able to dive straight into the role.
When asked for his priority welfare issue, Mike responded: “Mental health is the one I am most passionate about”. He believes that “everything is underpinned by mental health” and he is aiming to improve gaps in support services. His manifesto also states that it will bring us students “MORE for [our] money”. He believes this will not be an easy task, and that “it is about getting deeper into the problem”.
Joe Sheedy argues that his own experience suffering from mental health problems provides him with an advantage when running for Equal Opps and Welfare. “It’s important to have somebody on the Executive who’s actually had experiences of the services we’re meant to be using to support students,” he said.
Joe also notes that there is a significant problem with inclusivity in the University. He says that the opportunities for welfare should not be split into different groups: “It’s more important to represent people as a whole than it is to represent individual groups with lots of representatives”.
Joe sees a “distant and disconnected” relationship between students and their welfare services. He said this was partly an inevitable process with representatives, but that given his experience with mental health problems he would be a representative who has not only communicated with the services in an administrative role, but has used them himself.
Unlike many other Equal Opps candidates, Joe is against the introduction of gender-neutral toilets. These are single cubicle toilets without a gender differentiation sign, and are being introduced more widely across the University in order to counter gender stereotypes. However, Joe argues that these “take away a certain level of privacy” and will make people feel uncomfortable, “especially if they have anxiety issues”.
Yewande Akeju’s experience lies mainly in volunteering and pastoral care, and so she is largely concerned with ensuring students have a smooth transition between home and University life. She believes this prior experience will help her in the role is she is elected as Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer.
She said that “people are scared to admit that they’re not having a good time at University”, and this is one of the key areas she is looking to overcome. Drawing on her own experiences, she said that for the first term she wished she had known the welfare facilities available to her: “You don’t talk about how uncomfortable you’re feeling, or how you don’t fit in, or if you’re worried about your course. Its just not something that’s done”.
Yewande wants to give Nightline volunteers a platform for promoting their service, “in a fun way… that makes people feel comfortable or that they want to help”. She thinks this could take the form of a fair, or perhaps talks at the University.
She also said that it was unfair that students outside of University Park Campus did not have equal access to facilities, especially international students living further away. Although she said that the current SU were doing a good job, there needed to be a greater effort made towards ensuring equal facilities across the University.
Lucy Wake is running for Equal Opportunities and Welfare. She has been involved with the LGBT since joining UoN, and is currently female welfare officer, which she says, “is a microcosm of the role I’d be doing as Equal Opps and Welfare Officer”.
She has also had experience with organisations outside of the SU, for example with Nightline and the LGBT switchboards. Although she thinks that the current Union Officer, Mike Dore, who is running again for the role, is a “fantastic candidate”, she says that she has different priorities.
In communications with the committee of Mental Wealth, Lucy said she has identified a key problem in the lack of equal support for Mental Wealth by the SU on all campuses, especially on Sutton Bonington. She also plans on expanding welfare facilities with the support of the SU, particularly in terms of recognition of the volunteers involved in working with the services.
One of her manifesto pledges also focuses on accessibility on campus, increasing the number of rest stops and handrails on campus and adding subtitles to videos in the University.
Dasha Karzunia wants to set up a “student-run second-hand book café & a forum to exchange resources”.
“I realise that’s very ambitious,” says Dasha, but “it ties in with my point of having a forum or a Facebook group for every single school to exchange books and resources. I think a second hand bookstore will just be the best way of doing that if we can achieve this.”
“I think its something that should happen, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t,” she added.
Dasha states in her manifesto that she wants cheaper, more accessible printing, more information on module choices, and that she wants to develop employability links with industry, alumni and the local community.
She also wants to overcome the technical problems associated with Moodle and the Portal considering the #Portalgate problems that arose when students received their autumn semester results. “One of the key problems is communication. I think if we had communicated better there would have been a lot less disappointment,” she said.
“Having spoken to students I found that actually they are happy to receive results earlier or later as long as they know when to expect them.
“I’d like to improve that, from a communications perspective. For example, letting students know when to get their grades and perhaps timing things a bit better. Maybe splitting results day into faculties for example”.
Niralini believes that her experience as a Deputy House and Form Captain, and as a Senior Prefect during secondary education, makes her an appropriate candidate for the role of Education Officer.
“I have campaigned, attended interviews, made speeches and given presentations to obtain those positions, which demonstrate my excellent communication skills,” she says. “I am an organised student and I ensure that my aims are achieved and will strive to please my fellow students. I feel that being a first year is an advantage as it allows me to look at the education system with a fresh new perspective.”
Niralini’s policies are to try and ensure that lecturers put up the recordings of lectures onto Moodle so that students have an extra revision tool. She would also like handbooks not just for first years but for all years and past papers with answers to be provided for all modules.
“I would like to take on board both new voices and those that are more experienced about the education system and elevate the standards, making the students satisfied.”
[This candidate has now stepped down from the Elections]
Tyler O’Sullivan’s experience in the University varies from Welfare Rep for the LGBT network, a member of the politics teaching committee, URN presenter, Students’ Union councillor, Publicity officer for AEGIS, to an Education Rep for the Politics department.
This position identifies his specific experience in the educational field. Tyler has declared that “through working as an education rep for politics, it has given me first hand experience [working in a role of this type]”.
Tyler’s manifesto is arguably as diverse as his previous experience. Tyler wants microwaves and kettles in every social study area, generous printing allowances for paper intensive subjects, access to lectures online and also wants to maximise student employability.
When asked about his proposal of putting lectures online and how this will affect student attendance, Tyler commented: “There is always going to be an incentive for students to have that interaction with the lecturer, but its also good to have that option, for a one off thing or even for revision time.”
On the topic of increased printing allowance, Tyler argued that “even though I don’t want to be too prescriptive with the amount (because what constitutes a lot, £500?), I do believe at the moment it’s too low.”
Other proposals on his manifesto include a “portal that delivers on time” and “an improved short loan system in the library.”
Hadi Harb and Antonia Paget
James Ince wants to “make change” if he is elected. Being a close friend of Matt Styles, the current Education Officer, has inspired him to run for the role. He feels he is a strong candidate for the position due to experience such as being an Attendee of the SU Council, organising the 7-Legged bar crawl, his involvement with Karnival and being the School of Computer Science’s Ambassador.
He believes the current system set up by his predecessor is mainly sound, but “tweaks” are definitely needed. With the cost of tuition now at £9,000 a year, he believes students should get the most out of their money. His plan to make this a reality includes publicising bursary availability, as he feels many who were entitled to one did not realise that they were.
James has concerns for students on courses that demand extra expenditure that is necessary for their education, such as medics who need to travel to attend placements. He says he will work for these students to help them gain financial support.
He is strongly opposed to the School of Computer Science’s policy of emailing the top five students on each course within the school, advising them to apply to become a course representative. Calling this anti-democratic, he says he would use social media to raise awareness at election time, so that anyone who wishes to run to become a course rep has the opportunity to.
Technical failures with Portal on results days have also caused James to look into alternative methods of distribution, such as emailing or letting students know that tutors may have their results.
Though Jack Law is the first to admit that his lack of previous involvement with the SU may put him at a disadvantage, he claims that this will not stop him from making a difference. As a third year student he feels that he has had time to see what needs improving within the Students’ Union and wants to launch an annual graduate careers fair, as well as increasing student awareness of bursaries and scholarships.
Jack has chosen to run for Education Officer because he wants to make a difference in the University and felt that education is the main area where he could get involved. He wants “greater visibility of student representatives”, believing that many students are not necessarily aware of the Exec’s role and what they are doing to help students.
He suggests using Student Run Services to educate students about what their representatives are up to, working with Impact, URN and NUTS to provide updates on the goings on in the Union.
Jack believes that he can come to the position with an “outside view”, which can be advantageous as he could better represent those, like himself, who don’t necessarily know much about what happens in the Exec.
If he gets the role he intends to work hard to improve every student’s educational experience and believes that “it is not what you have done that counts, but what you are going to do.”
Jamie Sims is running after finding that he “thrived” under the pressure he has experienced as the President of the Rugby club. “If I could do that on a bigger scale that would be even better for me,” he says. He hopes for the chance to give back to the University.
Jamie has been heavily involved with sports since a young age, predominantly rugby, both as a player and a coach. His other experience includes being a Karni rep.
One of his manifesto pledges is to take a more active role in committee handovers. “It’s about formalising the procedure so once you are in a particular role, you know exactly what needs to be done early,” he explains. “I don’t feel I was adequately informed,” he added.
If elected, he hopes to introduce a handover day with “general training in the morning and position-specific training in the afternoon, because they’re probably going to ask all the same questions, and it’d be good for them to meet each other.”
Other manifesto pledges include establishing sport as a core aspect of university life, making sure that it is accessible to all students, as well as increasing awareness and recognition of sport at all levels.
Tom Hicks has been a member of the Lacrosse club for three years and is now the current President of Men’s Lacrosse and a member of the AU Exec. It is this as well as the fact that he simply “loves sport” which he believes would equip him well for the role as sports officer.
He says he “relishes responsibility” and would like to take this one step further which is why he has decided to run for Sports Officer.
Amongst his policies he wishes to provide academic provisions for students who participate in sports. He believes this is especially a problem on Wednesday afternoons when students may be unable to attend sports due to having to be in lectures. He would put forward the possibility of recording lectures to give students the opportunity to excel in both sport and the academic side of their university life.
Tom also wishes to increase participation of students in sport, and says this could be done through increasing publicity surrounding IMS (Inter-Mural Sport) and encouraging greater involvement in the NU2 sport programme which already aims to encourage students to try new sports.
As well as this he aims to guide Sport committees on specific issues such as increased support for the AU and hopes to increase communication between the university and members of sports societies. He believes that giving students the opportunity to talk to treasurers of the university who could give guidance on how sports societies could gain sponsorship would be highly beneficial in helping sports clubs achieve their full potential.
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