During our SU Elections media day on Saturday 4th March, we chatted with the candidates hoping to be your 2017-18 Community Officer. Here’s what they had to say.
“I’m Ellie Mitchell and I’m running for SU Community Officer”.
Ellie’s experience, while not SU focused, is wide-ranging. “I am publicity officer for Amnesty International Society and a member of STAR (Student Action for Refugees)”.
“We do refugee classes and English conversational classes for refugees and asylum seekers in the community,” she tells us.
Ellie is also involved with Nottingham Soup Run, a society that hands out soup to Nottingham’s homeless people.
“I don’t have a massive string of SU related jobs; I am not the president of any societies,” she concedes. “However, from what I’ve learnt from previous officers, it’s all about humility and learning as you go”.
“The pay as you go student bus pass is probably the most important policy in my manifesto”
When asked about her most important policy, Ellie surveys her manifesto. “The pay as you go student bus pass is probably the most important policy in my manifesto, and I hope that it engages students who otherwise wouldn’t vote”.
“I’ve asked loads of people and it is definitely my most popular manifesto point,” she explains.
With a laugh, Ellie says that the part of the campaign she is most looking forward to is “results night, when it’s all over”. As a more serious follow-up, she cites “being able to talk to loads of people”.
Ellie adds: “This campaign has lead me to talk to people who I would never have spoken to otherwise”.
She concludes by telling us that her policy to establish kosher food options in at least one or two halls was devised after speaking to J Soc (The Jewish and Israel Society).
She hopes to create an inclusive meal plan, but is pragmatic about the practical challenges that kosher food presents.
Moonisah Iqbal is one of this year’s BME Officers, interacting closely with the SU, and sitting on the University’s work groups.
All of these experiences spurred her to go for the role of Community Officer in the upcoming elections, recognising room for improvement.
Moonisah’s main policy involves more interaction with students. “One of the main issues is communication; for me, it’s about increasing communication between the students and the SU,” she explains.
Moonisah’s key policies are all centred on communication and inclusivity. Namely, creating an online welcome pack for freshers to increase accessibility for all students, especially international.
When questioned about her plans for supporting Part Time Officers (PTOs), Moonisah says she believes there should be a dedicated member of staff specifically for the support of PTOs.
“Moonisah plans to work with the Police Commissioner to tackle harrassment and bouncer welfare training”
Her plans for this support are far-reaching. She explains: “Part time officers are having to deal with both their academic work and SU work, so it’s just keeping track of them, providing possible training and getting them to meet more SU members”.
She adds: “This means they are more likely to go to meetings and get involved more”.
As for hall committees, Moonisah believes that many hall officers are “not really supported” after being voted in.
Moonisah also plans to work with the Police Commissioner to tackle harassment and bouncer welfare training.
She believes she can create these connections in a number of ways, including networking at events like those by Nottingham Citizens.
She explains: “Going to events like these, you establish those connections; you can build up those relationships to try and work together with them”.
Moonisah is most looking forward to speaking to students in her campaign, getting feedback on what the SU is doing and sharing her manifesto.
Priyanka Vij, a third year international student studying Management on Jubilee Campus, is hoping to be your next Community Officer.
Her time on Jubilee, both as a resident in Newark Hall and a daily visitor to the campus, has clearly shaped her manifesto.
Priyanka outlines plans to boost student awareness of the upcoming ‘Rate Your Landlord’ scheme, citing her own bad experiences with landlords and housing agencies as the motivation behind this.
She also aims to educate people on the “pros and cons of every housing agency” since “housing is very important and every parent wants their child to be in a better house”.
Priyanka’s experience as Activities Rep in her first year has driven her passion to be a Community Officer.
She explains, “When I worked as a Welcome Mentor, I realised that it was something I wanted to do. I saw Lauren [Heria] and Becky [Player] on the Welcome committee and I decided that I wanted to stand in the SU elections”.
“Priyanka feels that there aren’t enough events taking place on other campuses”
Priyanka wants to implement more facilities on the satellite campuses.
She tells us that, currently, a student studying on Jubilee Campus or over at Sutton Bonington has to go to University Park to seek advice on work experience or employment.
She also feels that there aren’t enough events taking place on other campuses: “Everything society related, including PHD events and postgraduate events, all take place at University Park”.
Finally, Priyanka intends to implement more safety measures for nights out.
She would like to install more CCTV cameras in the city centre, as well as providing bouncer training to ensure that students are treated in a more respectful and safer way.
Sami Hawari is a Law student from Jordan who is running for the position of Community Officer.
He is “the Welfare Officer for one society, and the General Secretary of another, and also the Co-Founder and General Secretary of the International Students’ Network”, experiences that he believes make him suitable for a role “as broad as Community Officer”.
He tells us, “I am most looking forward to conversations with individual students, which I have been doing a lot of over the last month”.
“It allows me to really get to know what students want. I just want to meet as many people as possible,” Sami adds.
“Sami also wants to introduce a Games Lab in the Portland building”
“All of my policies are unique in what they cover,” Sami explains. “One policy that students really like is to introduce a housing website where you can meet potential housemates and read students’ reflections on properties”.
“This will help people know everything they need to know before they sign for a certain property,” he continues.
Sami also wants to introduce a Games Lab in the Portland building, “with a couple of couches and consoles so students can relax between lectures”.
He would like to negotiate with Nottingham City Transport over the price of bus passes, as he believes that “the increase [from £199 to £219 over the last year] deters students from taking the bus”.
“We want to keep the yearly bus pass at a reasonable price so that students make their money back,” he says.
To read the manifestos for your Community Officer candidates, head to the Student Leader Elections website.
Featured image: Daniel Norman