The Dark Knight
“For good karma, vote Parmar for President,” is the tag line heading Anil’s manifesto. Anil is the current Finance & Services officer for the Students’ Union and Chairman of the Board for UNU Services. He says that the main thing that he is “really focussed on” is “supporting all of our students”.
Anil wants to “empower the student voice in both the local community and in local and national government”. He especially wants to make sure that international students are provided for and that their voices are heard. “At the minute we don’t really do anything for international students, and I don’t think that’s good enough,” he said.
He told Impact that this year the SU has focussed on mobilising student networks, and that he wants to continue that work, gaining valuable feedback in order to empower students in halls. He would also like to extend beyond campus, and get voices heard in Lenton and Beeston, particularly by the council. He acknowledges that it has sometimes been difficult to do this in the past. “People have opinions but there hasn’t been a single channel to echo them through,” he admitted.
Anil intends to conduct an audit on society and club needs in Portland, and lobby the University to provide spaces on all other campuses. Should he be elected, he would also like to continue working with the NUS, saying that “at the moment we do a lot of great work with them.”
Anil states on his manifesto that he promises to deliver “a representative, fair and student led union, inclusive of all, all year round.”
Economics student, Tom has 18 months of corporate employment experience at various leading firms. He founded W&T Enterprises, a global oil and gas equipment brokerage and set up his own student letting agency.
Tom plans to bring the University “into the 21st century” by implementing the video-recording of lectures and a video-chat facility called “Webinars.”
He emphasised that he “might as well make the first step now as in ten years’ time people are going to be sitting at home for lectures.”
A big part of his manifesto is his reformation of the accommodation system to make house hunting easier for students. He plans to liaise with Unipol to see if they are willing to move their dates to November rather than January to allow students to begin house hunting sooner. He wants to push Unipol to drop their £600 charge for landlords, to the average £150 that is the going rate. This should encourage more landlords to list on Unipol rather than on other letting agencies.
He stated: “If that doesn’t happen, I will start a new University run database.”
Tom has singled out the AU rather than other societies in his manifesto because he thinks that is where improvements need to be made. He said, “The AU is part of the SU so it’s much more down to us than other societies who are often very happy with the way they are running.”
If elected President, Tom aims to communicate regularly with his fellow officers: “I’m a big believer in Monday morning meetings.”
Current Democracy and Communications Officer Luke Mitchell wishes to continue work on the Students’ Union Exec, this year running for the role of President.
He has a range of relevant experience, from being JCR president and SU council member to Exec officer last year. He claims that this has given him a better understanding of how the University works, and that he now knows exactly who to go to in order to get things done, which he will do with “confidence from day one”.
He has a firm idea of how to coordinate with fellow officers should he get the presidential role, and if he is “lucky enough to get elected” he plans to hold one-on-one meetings with all officers.
He also believes that there is “room for collaboration” with other Students Union’s, especially in terms of democratic reform, however he makes it clear where his loyalties lie, stating that “my focus is on Nottingham students”.
His main aims include abolishing student parking permits in the city, which he strongly believes to be “illegal and a form of discrimination”. He also says that he believes in building a positive relationship with Nottingham council and that legal action will only be taken if absolutely necessary.
He has plans for a safe bus scheme, similar to the recently implemented safe taxi scheme. Whilst making it clear that he “doesn’t condone” heavy drinking, Luke thinks the taxi scheme may not be taken advantage of by students that are too far over the limit, and a free bus service would be more successful in ensuring safe trips home.
On top of this he has long term aims to get to the “grass roots” of University teaching, believing that “good research doesn’t necessarily mean good teaching”.
Ellie’s qualifications for President include a range of leadership positions both at university and beyond. She believes roles including Premiership Captain of the Women’s Rugby team, Week One rep and a Week One exec demonstrate proven leadership qualities and her communication and public speaking skills. As well as this, Ellie has been “Events Administer” [sic] at both Latitude Festival and Wimbledon Juniors tournament.
In terms of issues, Ellie’s passionate about a range of policies, designed to improve every part of the campus, and is especially concerned with improving the value of the university experience for the new higher fee-paying intake of students.
To reflect this strive for value her seven point policy plan includes the addition of microwaves and kettles to all faculty buildings, providing health care provision to Sutton Bonington, and cheaper, wireless printing.
Wireless printing has been achieved by Exeter’s Student Guild and Ellie says she plans to network with their new President for advice on how to fully implement this. “I’ll happily work with other people to make our Union better,” she said. Regarding employment, Ellie plans to better integrate the alumni network and senior University staff with current students.
A more ambitious policy is to team up Karni with Nottingham Soup Kitchens and Help the Homeless charities, recycling leftover hall food to help the city’s homeless. This would get rid of food waste issues while helping the University’s charitable image with locals.
“If we all rally together we can implement change”.
Third Year Maths student Shehroze has already had plenty of experience engaging with student issues through his role as NUS Delegate, Maths Course Rep and President of the Islamic Society. After applying to be NUS Delegate in his second year and missing out, he turned to the film ‘Rocky’ for inspiration, deciding to apply again the following year and ultimately being elected. His experience as delegate has given him ample experience of engaging with and representing the student body.
Shehroze is determined to provide more support for all of the University’ campuses, highlighting the recent issues with Sutton Bonington hopper buses as an area he would like to improve. He also intends to work on getting students better value for their money, especially with the increase in tuition fees this year. Increased printing allowance, reducing ‘hidden course costs’ and making the SU more transparent are all on his agenda.
When asked about the current Exec he says that he admires Amos’ approachability and credits him with inspiring him to run for the position. However, he adds that there should be greater awareness of the SU President amongst the students, claiming, “I want to see Amos’ face everywhere! I want posters of his face and cardboard cutouts of him so people know who is representing them!”
Shehroze believes that it is of utmost importance for a president to engage with the students in order to find out what they need and to bridge the gap between the SU and the student body. If he gets the position he is determined to make the SU more accessible and to engage with students as much as he possibly can.
Will Clempner decided to stand for President, after feeling “frustrated by the support I received from the SU”. He has been involved with the Union during his time at Nottingham, including having been on the Karni Exec, Chair of Societies Council and NUBC Fundraising and Social Sec.
Will has recently been elected as an NUS Delegate for this year. In order to connect with students he has been contacting network heads to gage their opinions and so that they can “pass my message down” to their members.
Commenting on the current SU President, Amos Teshuva, Will’s fellow Week One Rep, he said, “I know when he went into the role, he didn’t know that much about it but after the training he’s really grown into it. He has achieved what he wanted to achieve”.
Addressing how he’ll interact with his fellow SU Exec if elected, he said that “the President isn’t above anyone else in the exec but there to make sure they can do what they want to do. I want to make sure the Exec are going out and speaking to the students as much as possible”.
His manifesto pledges include setting up a “Lenton Hub” as “the SU shouldn’t just focus on campus”. Although he appreciates this may not necessarily be something that he can achieve in a year, Will ultimately wants to bring the “SU to the whole of Nottingham”.
Another pledge is to modernise education. “I find it frustrating if I miss a lecture and go back and just see a slide that doesn’t make sense with no notes so I think lectures should be videoed,” he explained. He also hopes to implement a system similar to that of the University of Exeter who have interactive lecture halls meaning that lecturers can “ask the students a question to see if they’re keeping up” and chairs that can turn around so students can “form study groups within the lecture.”
Johnny Lawrence, thinks he has an “insight into what students want”. Having seen many candidates run who have been society presidents, or members of SRSes such as Karni or Week One, Johnny wants to run to show that “we don’t have to just keep it in these individual circles”.
Whilst he has not held any committee positions before, he has “dabbled” in many societies and student groups including being an Impact contributor and a Week One rep. “You just get to meet a lot of different people by doing that,” he says.
Talking about current SU President, Amos Teshuva, he said that he “seems like he has students’ desires at heart”.
His manifesto pledges include establishing a printer credit casino, which he described as a “William Hill on the intranet portal.” Johnny explained that “people are always complaining that they don’t have enough printer credit and you’ve got to go through all sorts of boring services to get it, so make it fun.”
Another pledge is to create a strong University Challenge team, in order to “get Nottingham University into the media.” Whilst he says this is not “crucial”, he feels that “people like getting behind and supporting stuff” and that considering Nottingham is a Russell Group university, renowned for its research, “it would be nice to be up there with Manchester and Oxford.”
Johnny also wants to reduce gym memberships for students. While he admits that this needs examining further, he says since students are now paying increased tuition fees “let’s try and get all the trimmings for that… the facilities are there – they’re our facilities”.
Discussing how he would interact with his fellow SU Exec, Johnny said, “I wouldn’t form some kind of fascist dictatorship, I’d want to be friendly. My campaign isn’t really built around policies and experiences, it’s more built around personality.”
He also wants to appease the gods, “maybe offering up essays or Firsts”.
Ella Funge, Natalie Popow, Hannah Kirby, Calum Battersby, Suzi Collins & Ellis Schindler
Video made by Ntobeko Chidavaenzi