During our SU Elections media day on Saturday 4th March, we chatted with the candidates hoping to fill part-time SU officer positions. Here’s what they had to say.
Hemanth & Loren (aka Aladdin & Jasmine)
Loren Querickiol is a first-year International Media and Communications student and Hemanth Kalathuru is studying Economics.
Loren has “dipped her toes in” various leadership roles, such as the Global Buddies Scheme, and is also an international student caller.
Hemanth has worked with the UN in Cuba and is also President of Southwell Hall and Treasurer of Skydiving.
Their most important manifesto point is “inclusivity” which is to put international and home students on an equal level and give international students the same recognition and opportunities as other students.
“The Global Lounge would include different international foods to try, as well as language exchange sessions”
Another key point is to have a “Global Lounge”, which would be a space in Portland that is welcoming and friendly and is open to all that societies and sports clubs.
The Global Lounge would include different international foods to try, as well as language exchange sessions.
There would also be the opportunity to have different cultural societies featured each week.
Loren and Hemanth are most looking forward to interacting with other students and understanding their perspectives on changing aspects of the University.
Their campaign slogan is “A Whole New Inclusive World” which centres on their key theme of Aladdin, which they believe will be very “recognisable” around campus.
Ruby Harrison is a third year medical student running for the position of Women’s Officer.
She tells us that she was initially drawn to the position by a drive to “get more involved in University life”. She explains that, “as a Medicine student, it rarely feels like you do.”
Within her manifesto, Ruby predominantly emphasises the need to increase the visibility of the Women’s Network.
However, she also wants to contribute to the sustenance of the quarterly Artemis Zine magazine, a collaborative project involving the Women’s Network and UoN Feminists.
“Ruby’s key policy is heightening the visibility of the Women’s Network”
The key policy in Ruby’s opinion is heightening the visibility of the Women’s Network, as she feels a strong problem is that many people do not know about it.
She tells us: “By working with other societies, the Women’s Network can extend its reach around the University”.
To do this, Ruby proposed creating further links with Nottingham Economics and Finance Society as well as the LGBT society.
Ruby is currently the Events Co-ordinator for the Women’s Network, working very closely with the current Women’s Officer.
She believes this role has given her a unique insight and experience into the Women’s Officer role.
“I’ve had a lot of ideas that I would like to have implemented this year but didn’t really have time for, so I’ve got quite a few things that I’d like to take forward and continue next year,” she explains.
In response to what aspect of the campaign she is most looking forward to, Ruby expresses an interest in the synthesis of ideas that arises from meeting other candidates.
Chris Smith is a “gay man, who uses him/he pronouns” and is running for LGBT officer.
“I have been Welfare Officer of the LGBT Network for the last year, and in first year I was an active member of the Network,” he tells us. “This helps me to understand how the Network runs, what problems may be arising and how we can fix them”.
Chris continues: “My experience with the Network has been really rewarding and enjoyable. It’s a really great community to be a part of”.
He told us that the publicity of the LGBT Network is one of his priorities. “My most important policy is to help encourage LGBT+ students who are unwilling to join the Network due to prior misconceptions to join, end stereotypes and make sure we include them”.
“I am looking forward to meeting LGBT students who I may not have met before”
He pledges: “I would bring in a variety of events, not all of which would involve drinking”. Chris recognises that it is important to “increase general awareness of the Network, with better promotion [by] having a good social media presence so people can see all the good things we are doing”.
Although he is running unopposed, he is still looking to make the most of the campaign period: “I am looking forward to meeting LGBT students who I may not have met before, and encouraging them to vote”.
He closes the interview by telling us: “There is also a referendum on gender-neutral toilets going on throughout the campaign, so it will be good to spread awareness of that, as it is a big issue”.
Adele Purdy is well placed to know what is expected of the Mature Students’ Officer, as it is it role she has held since she won a by-election in December.
“The most important policy that I’ve got is that I want to investigate and address the reasons why mature students drop out of university at such a high rate,” she tells us.
She continues: “On the whole, undergraduates drop out at 4%, whereas for mature students it’s closer to 14%. I want to find out why that is and what support the University can offer.”
“Since being elected, I have been working on the social aspect for mature students”
Adele already has accomplishments in the role to refer to. She tells us, “Since being elected, I have been working on the social aspect for mature students”.
She explains: “Last year there were no Welcome Week events for mature students as there was no Mature Students’ Officer, so I have been working at putting some into place. I have organised nights out for people to meet and socialise”.
Some of Adele’s original manifesto points are ongoing. “One of my original manifesto points was to work on a common room space for mature students.
“It’s a difficult thing to push forward but I am working with the Widening Participation team to present it as a viable option”.
Students with Disabilities
Alice Armstrong and Eden Smith
Alice Armstrong is a final year Politics and American Studies student and Eden Smith is in her second year of Chemistry.
Both feel that having two officers for the role of Students with Disabilities Officer has worked really well this year and that the Network takes a lot of effort to run which would require an extra officer.
They revealed that the Students with Disabilities Network is going to have a committee next year and that two officers working together will benefit the Network as they can share the workload.
“Their most important policies are to put a bigger emphasis on representation of disabled students and to oppose DSA cuts”
Alice and Eden’s personal experiences have helped shape their manifesto. The two have seen the developments of the Network and want to work openly together to present a stronger voice.
Their most important policies are to put a bigger emphasis on representation of disabled students and to oppose DSA cuts.
The other main issue they want to address is housing, as “it is a big issue for disabled students; it is hard to find accessible housing and difficult for students with anxiety to live with other people”.
In order to tackle these problems, they want to “undertake a systematic review” to “try to find better ways to work with the University”. They intend to form a “taskforce” to help with that.
Alice and Eden are most looking forward to campaigning: “We love to talk to people, getting viewpoints and ideas”. Their campaign hashtag is #growsupportchange.
Helen and Rebecca
Helen, a postgraduate Statistics student, and Rebecca, a fourth year Geography student, are running for Students with Disabilities Officer.
The duo formed out of a friendship developed through the Inclusive Riding Sessions and they have both had experience on the DSN (Disabled Students Network) during their time at University.
We ask what other initiatives the two have been involved with whilst at UoN.
Helen, who has been one of the Officers this year, reveals that she has been involved with the Disability Steering Group and has also engaged with Project Transform this year about DSA cuts.
Rebecca has been part of the Scout and Guide Society since her first year, as well as holding a position on the committee. She has also volunteered with disabled children.
“Helen and Rebecca tell us about their plans to introduce a Disability Awareness Day in collaboration with the Welfare Network”
They summarise their manifesto: “We want to create a smoother education process, better social life, a greater variety of inclusive sports and simplify the accessibility of support at the University”.
We ask how they plan to fulfil these promises. They emphasise the importance of carrying on with ongoing SU campaigns, such as the accessibility ethos.
They also reveal that they plan to get in contact with the Disabled Staff Network for advice.
Helen and Rebecca tell us about their plans to increase the number of inclusive sports at the University, as well as intending to introduce a Disability Awareness Day in collaboration with the Welfare Network.
Finally, they outline plans to increase the support for disabled students and students looking to support disabled friends, as well as improving accommodation for disabled students.
When we ask what they are most looking forward to about the campaign process, they say: “Talking to people and meeting people”.
Florence & Adreanna
Note: Florence + Adreanna did not attend the Media Day on Saturday 4th March.
Florence and Adreanna are both second year Biology students.
Their manifesto details how they would like to strengthen the BME network by building “solid relationships with all BME societies and reinstating a democratically elected BME Network committee”.
“The pair believe that they “actively champion social justice issues by attending and organising protests”
They believe that more frequent events (“cookouts to current affairs chats over brunch!”) are important, as well as collaborations with organisations that “focus on increasing BME presence in the workplace”.
The pair believe that they “actively champion social justice issues by attending and organising protests” as well as “consistently increasing [their] awareness and knowledge”.
To read the manifestos for your Part-time Officer candidates, head to the Student Leader Elections website.
Featured image: Daniel Norman