Following a successful Media Day, Impact presents the University of Nottingham Students’ Union (UoNSU) Representative Candidates for SU Elections 2015.
Black and Minority Ethnic (BME)
ANJULI ‘ANGEL’ R K S
Anjuli’s manifesto points include finding a kitchen specifically for use by JSoc to prepare Kosher food on site rather than importing it from London; to allocate a room in Harry Copson’s proposed ‘Lenton Hub’ specifically for JSoc’s Friday dinners, so more second and third year students can attend; and to work with the Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer to lobby the SU shops to reintroduce Halal ready-meals and to publicise them more widely.
She also wants to promote a ‘know your rights’ campaign informing BME students of their rights and the most effective way to act during an encounter with the police.
Anjuli aims to make university more inclusive for BME students by starting a Nottingham branch of the campaign ‘Why is My Curriculum White?’ which seeks to challenge Western and Euro-centric academic curricula in Britain. She will also work with the Education Officer and the BME Staff Network to lobby individual schools to make their curricula more inclusive.
She would seek to improve the mental health of students by working with the Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer, as well as organisations such as Student Minds and Nightline to raise awareness of the mental health stigma in BME communities and to inform students of the support systems at hand.
Finally she wants to improve Black History Month by setting up an SU website that collates all society and network events for the month in one place.
Nneka states that her ambition as BME Officer is to represent anyone and everyone who considers themselves a minority or ethnic student, and to ensure that their voices and agenda are heard and acknowledged by the University. In her manifesto she writes, ‘I would love to take on this role, as it enables me to exercise my passion to create a united campus, in which everyone is heard and represented’.
The first of her four manifesto points is to increase support and address educational needs, personal issues and career advice for BME students. Secondly, to hold cultural events that create awareness and celebrate diversity, and to further integrate the many groups on campus. ‘This could combat the ignorant remarks made against the Muslim religion last semester’, she states in her manifesto.
Thirdly, she wants to aid BME networking to help with internships and post-graduation employment. Finally she wants to create volunteering opportunities that could benefit BME students inside and outside of the University.
Esther’s manifesto was not accessible at the time this article was posted.
ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIAL JUSTICE (ESJ)
Toby writes in his manifesto that ‘time spent at the University of Nottingham is and always has been amongst the best in many people’s lives. But my case is a simple one: the University of Nottingham can and must be even better’.
Toby is a first year History and Politics Student and states that he believes in a student mandate that ‘demands more from our student life and more from our University’.
Toby promises to challenge all forms of discrimination on every campus, promising to offer full support regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or background. He states in his manifesto that he is already talking to students and trying to tackle this ‘crisis’.
He promises to treat mental health issues ‘with renewed energy’, something he considers his responsibility ‘to tackle head on’. He also pledges to ‘enhance the University of Nottingham’s green energy standing by improving recycling on campus, offering more suitable recycling bins in halls and throughout all campuses. An important aim is to boost green energy by exploring the possibilities of extensive use of both solar and wind power on all campuses’.
Having seen first-hand the amount of waste the University sends to landfill, first year Law student, Frank, is planning to lobby to implement an organic waste disposal scheme.
His other policies include creating a nectar card system in which students can collect green credits for buying environmentally friendly products to exchange for products in the SU. He has described this policy as his “most ambitious policy”.
He also wants to improve the U-Cycle scheme which currently costs the University £100 per bike per semester to run. He wants to reduce this to £50 to make the scheme more accessible for students.
Furthermore, he is seeking to increase the number of water fountains around campus and wants to create a day in which no bottled products would be sold on campus to encourage people to reuse bottles.
Frank wants to create a greater degree of fairness for international students. He believes that the fee rise was “unfair and harsh”. He argues that the University prides itself as an international campus and so the lack of consultation was unfair.
He also is seeking to bring the Sutton Bonington farmers market onto University Park Campus to coincide with Green Week and the SU party on the Downs to bring more attention to green issues.
And finally, he wants to implement a policy of recycling bins in hall bedrooms to make it easier for students to recycle.
Frank is the Hugh Stewart JCR vice-president and regularly attends Amnesty International events. He also was the Youth and Crime Commissioner for his local area and believes that his experience being involved in projects aimed at improving young people’s perception of the police will be useful in his aim to bring students closer to those in charge.
Frank’s slogan is “Let’s be Frank”.
Alexandra is a second year Law student who was Environment and Social Justice Representative in her hall in first year.
She wants to actively represent, campaign and organise events for any valuable issues raised by students, and support societies such as the Young Greens, People and Planet, and the Conservation Society. She will also continue to work alongside the ‘Living Wage Campaign’, which encourages positive attitudes and change towards social and economic concerns at our University.
Another of Alexandra’s aims is to introduce a greater choice of affordable, healthy food across campuses, including more vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan food options and to install more drinking water fountains across campuses. She would also like to promote the use of reusable drinks bottles to reduce the need to buy bottled water.
Wider aims include encouraging energy-saving techniques for those living in houses, to improve recycling facilities across campus and to promote volunteering opportunities through the Student Volunteer Centre. She says: ‘plant your seeds now, and reap your rewards later’.
Tom Parker has already sat on the ESJ committee and is the current Campaigns Officer for Amnesty Society, which, he claims, has helped develop his understanding of how social justice campaigns operate and can be most effective on campus.
His policies focus on tackling sexual harassment, pushing the University to divest from fossil fuels and making the ESJ committee more inclusive. He plans to work with NUS, nightclubs in Nottingham and campaigning organisations, such as DrinkAware, to help tackle harassment and invest more time in keeping the ESJ committee website updated.
Tom also aims to open a fair trade, student-run cafe in Portland Building, introduce stricter rules for on-campus flying to minimise paper waste and support the introduction of a vegetarian restaurant on campus.
Toby is a second year Physics student running to be LGBT Officer. He says “it will be really interesting to try and make a difference to everyone. Although the LGBT network is really good, it can be improved and be more inclusive”.
Toby’s main aim is to try and get a bigger LGBT presence on all campuses, specifically on smaller campuses. He also wants to improve the LGBT committee by bringing in representatives for medical and nursing students, and from smaller campuses. Even if this is not possible, he wants to at least encourage greater representation for them.
“I want to try to make a few more open LGBT events, but we still need a safe space policy for events where only LGBT are invited”. Toby believes that open events will encourage more people to investigate the network, especially useful if they are not sure of their identity and need support.
Toby told Impact that, although on paper he doesn’t have much experience, he can bring a “fresh perspective” to the role.
Yasemin Craggs Mersinoglu
First year English and Latin student, Alistair Boulter, told Impact he is running for the position of LGBT Officer because he’d “like to make a positive change, there is a huge amount of potential and having a strong supportive LGBT network is of paramount importance for LGBT students’’.
In terms of changes, Alistair ‘‘would like to shift the focus onto the community rather than campaigns’’. He aims to create interpersonal relationships by forming smaller groups; he claims this would be ‘‘extremely beneficial’’. He cited the example of medics who can be extremely isolated when on placement and says that the friendly support of smaller groups could help many students.
Alistair would also like to ‘‘continue to focus on welfare this year [but] make it more visible and more of an integrated part of the community’’.
In relation to previous experience, Alistair founded a LGBT network at his sixth form and helped them create legislation to support transgender students in particular.
Yasemin Craggs Mersinoglu
Left Shark states ‘I am not running for the halibut. I want to tackle the reel issues to do with LGBT people on campus with all my sole, so if there’s anything I can do, let minnow. Whilst I may not have the smarts of a brain sturgeon, I will try to make the most of the brilliant opportunaty’.
Left Shark’s manifesto points are as follows:
- Avoid turtle disaster. (Pray to cod).
- “Hug a Shark Fridays”, wherein you can become better aquainted with me by having a quiet cuttle with me in the offish.
- Free dance lessons, courtesy of moi.
Left Shark also aims to create a free Hopper Boat that transports students from one end of the lake to the other, ‘enshore all LGBT members feel whalecome to the network’, make links with local clambulance services and police offishers to make shore all LGBT peoples are safe both on campus and in the city centre and hold regular health workshops and discussion groups ‘so we can survive crabs and brine flu together’.
Their slogan is: ‘Because sometimes, we all feel like Left Sharks in a world full of Right Sharks’.
Emma is a second year PhD student in Law at UoN, and states in her manifesto that she believes in ‘the courage of the unconventional choice’ made by mature students. She states that for her, ‘being a mature student is more a question of awareness – of one’s self and life priorities – rather than purely a matter of age’.
She aims to improve understanding, making sure that mature students ‘have an approachable and committed point of reference within the Union’. She also aims to improve representation ‘in all available venues’, liaising with other SU Officers to make mature students’ voices heard on issues such as education, welfare, and work-study-life balance.
Emma will campaign for ‘improvements in UoN provision of specific services such as accommodation, childcare services, financial support and family-friendly activities’. She would also like to ‘raise awareness of and participation in the existing mature students’ groups, and continue regular meetings to share ideas, concerns and information’.
Mature students, Emma states, should be ‘included more in SU and UoN general activities, as well as having social opportunities more targeted to their lifestyle, interests and passions’.
EMMA EHRENBERG AND EMMA QUAEDVLIEG
Emma Ehrenberg is re-running for the Women’s Officer position alongside Emma Quaedvlieg, who is currently on a semester abroad in Australia. Emma Ehrenberg is interviewed here, speaking on behalf of both her and her co-officer.
“Women’s rights have always been something very close to my heart and just being able to work in the SU and lobby from the inside, making sure women have the same rights as men – that’s why I do it. Because they don’t at the minute and I can do something to help”.
Emma Ehrenberg decided to run again because she felt like “she wasn’t finished”. Although she originally had no plans to re-run, Emma Quaedvlieg asked her to do a job share and she agreed, believing that her co-officer is “extremely dedicated, interested in the matter and holds the same values as myself”.
Security has been cited by the candidates as their biggest manifesto point this year. After speaking to many female students, they have found that “female students often feel very unsafe around campus”. The candidates want to focus on improving lighting on the Downs and between the Trent building and on-campus student halls to improve the sense of female security on University Park campus. “Lots of full time officers are interested in this too, so hopefully if we get elected next year we can co-operate with the full time officers on that”.
The two candidates feel that their campaign is unique because of their combination. Emma Ehrenberg told Impact: “We’re inseparable and we’re both called Emma. It doesn’t have to be ‘out with the old’, it’s about keeping the old and bringing in the new.”
Emma told Impact that voters need to “think about what can be done. We can finish what I started this year with my current co-officer and introduce new policies and projects. Many part-time officers have problems ensuring what they start gets finished because they have to balance their degree and SU responsibilities. We will be ensuring that we finish what has been started”.
Flora’s promise is ‘bringing the network back to the women’. She wants to spread the word about women’s issues by collaborating with Week One reps and promotions across campus. Campaigns she wants to see include another Body Confidence Week, Why We (Still) Need Feminism, Fifty Shades of Consent and Stop Apologising.
If elected, Flora will make the Women’s Network more ‘accessible and approachable from every part of the University, regardless of where you live or where you spend your time’, and will ensure this through ‘more communication with the JCRs and face-to-face discussion with women in the network as well as stands on the campuses and Fresher’s Fair’.
She will improve women’s voices with ‘a re-vamp of the UoN Feminists and Women’s Network Zine’ and bring in more female guest speakers to talk about their passions and careers.
Flora states that the Women’s Network is for everyone: ‘no matter who you are, where you come from or what your belief, the Women’s Network is for everyone who considers themselves a woman’.
Parmeshwar aims to ‘promote events and campaigns with an international flavour in order to remain adept with the global scenario’.
Her other policies include ‘promoting free taster sessions for voluntary language classes’, ‘introducing a wider variety of destinations for student volunteering experiences such as India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Bhutan’, and ‘creating higher awareness regarding part-time employment through opportunities put forth by Unitemps and other credible student employers’.
Promising to ensure a zero tolerance stance on discrimination or harassment, Parmeshwar will ‘enhance student learning and experience by promoting the development of an online support forum in order to aim and update you with vital information regarding student life’.
Parmeshwar will introduce ‘Fusion Fridays’ which will be dedicated to showcasing music, food and information regarding a variety of cultures every fortnight.
Her slogan is ‘be heard, not herd’.
Srikanth says he knows ‘what it is like to feel far away from home and have to adjust to new life every few years’ and can relate to all international students.
He promises to improve the service provided to international students and provide an easier way for them to voice their opinions. He plans to ‘arrange meetings every two weeks where international students will get the chance to express their university experience and then appropriate steps will be taken based on priority’.
Srikanth also wants to ‘implement a website especially for international students which outlines the various student hot spots in Nottingham’ and ‘implement a ‘Buddy System’ whereby home students volunteer for two hours every week to show a new international student around’.
Srikanth asks students to give him a chance and believes ‘together we can make a difference’.
Rahul’s manifesto was not accessible at the time this article was posted.
Yinglin is a second year Contemporary Chinese Studies with International Relations student who wants to take on this responsibility to ‘make all international students happy’.
Yinglin understands the ‘special circumstances for international students’ having studied in China, Singapore, Canada and the UK and acknowledges that the role is ‘really important’. Yinglin promises to ‘work night and day to provide the best experience possible for each and every student’.
Ma Le’s manifesto was not accessible at the time this article was posted.
Felix’s manifesto was not accessible at the time this article was posted.
Students with Disabilities
Molly is currently undertaking a part time Masters degree in Research Methods Sociology. She defines as a student with a disability, being hearing and visually impaired.
Molly has been a member of the Disabled Students Network since the beginning of her undergraduate degree, and is currently the Disabled Committee Representative on the Women’s Network Committee.
She aims to ‘be realistic about what can be achieved within the academic year’ and focus on social, campaigns and academic areas.
‘Currently I consider the network to be quite active online, yet I would like to organise events that enable disabled students to meet and interact with others in an accessible social situation or an awareness campaigning environment’.
Molly adds that she would like to ‘ascertain any academic issues for disabled students, for instance with disabled students allowance or access to lectures, through gathering both positive and negative academic experiences from disabled students’.
Molly promises to start her year in office with a meet and greet event to fully understand the needs of disabled students and establish a committee by the start of the next academic year.
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Images: Impact Images Team