During our SU Elections media day on Saturday 4th March, we chatted with the candidates hoping to be your 2017-18 Postgraduate Officer. Here’s what they had to say.
“It’s good to be back in Impact! I submitted a piece and didn’t hear back so that means it was probably fantastic”.
Anthony Alduino is familiar with the Impact office, just as he says he is with student life. “I think my background in student affairs from my time in the States and my time here would make me the ideal candidate,” he tells us.
“In the States, I worked as a Student Assistant at Undergrad, which you would call a tutor here,” he explains. “I was head of the Hiring and the Student Life committee for Housing residency and life, which were the overarching organisations for student welfare”.
“The people I have been talking to in the International community are afraid of visas and their right to travel”
Anthony assures us that his course will also help him with the Postgraduate role. “I have spent my time here getting a Master’s in Social Policy, and the crux of my campaign is dealing with the social element”.
He continues: “The people I have been talking to in the International community are afraid of visas and their right to travel, conference and research in other countries. [Given] my experience in student affairs and [my] knowledge of Social Policy, I think I’d be the perfect candidate”.
Anthony wants to have a liaison with the Home Office, believing this to be crucial “particularly for a university like Nottingham”.
He tells us: “You can throw a dart at a map and there would be a Nottingham student from that place”.
When asked about what he’s most looking forward to during the elections, Anthony cited the campaign in general: “It seems like a lot of fun!”
“For me, it’s really important to take part in this election because it provides an opportunity to use the power of my voice, to transform the situation for my fellow postgraduate students and to serve the community here at the University of Nottingham”.
Those are the words of Manuel Basares, an international student from Mexico who is running to be your next Postgraduate Officer.
In his manifesto, Manuel outlines three main points: welfare and mental health for postgraduate students, improving funding and financials for prospective students, and to listen to the ‘voices’ of the student population.
We quizzed Manuel on his policies. On mental health at the University, he emphasised that the most important thing is to make sure to be more active through sport and social activities.
“As an international student, Manuel understands the stress involved in moving countries for university”
He stated that as an international student, he understands the stress involved in moving countries for university and adjusting to the new culture and language. He believes that this needs to be addressed.
In terms of improving funding for postgraduate students, he emphasised that an increased number of scholarships would help to rectify this, revealing that he would not have been able to study in Nottingham without the scholarship scheme.
Manuel also said that it is important to make the University more appealing to prospective postgraduate students.
As a student in Mexico, he was involved with a student group that raised awareness for HIV and AIDs. Since coming to UoN, he has been heavily involved in student welfare and support.
Manuel is most looking forward to getting out and talking to people as part of the campaign process.
He is hoping to chat to both postgraduate and undergraduate students about their issues, and emphasised the importance of their voices and perspectives.
“My campaign slogan is #thewisechoice”.
Paige Roden believes her experiences in setting up her own society (‘HeartSoc’) and as the current Outreach and Liaison Officer for the Student Volunteer Leadership Committee will allow her to fulfil the role of Postgraduate Officer.
Paige tells us that she finds “volunteer-based roles really rewarding”.
In regards to her manifesto, “changing courses is probably what gave [her] the base ideas for it”.
Having to change from a PGCE to an online English Masters exposed her to what she believes are the weaknesses in Postgraduate support systems.
“If successful, Paige aims to try and vary the events that are available to Postgraduate students”
Paige feels that the Postgraduate Sounding Board could be utilised more frequently and effectively to “gain feedback from courses”.
She also notes that she used to be a course rep for PGCE students and there were “quite a few issues that would be discussed in our meetings that would never make it to the SU level”.
If successful, Paige aims to try and vary the events that are available to Postgraduate students: “Looking at the feedback, a lot of people want to do things like day trips [and] international students want to see England more”.
Paige also tells us that there are issues with teaching rights and payments. “There is a lot of disparity between schools,” she says. She would aim to standardise pay rates, and change the “imbalance” between departments.
Paige concludes by telling us that her campaign theme is “owls”.
Yolanda King is a fourth year Criminology Masters student running to be your Postgraduate Officer this year.
This is Yolanda’s third year running for an SU Officer position, having run for Sports in her second and third years at UoN.
Yolanda cites her involvement in Table Tennis as Treasurer, President and Women’s Captain, teaching her valuable team skills, as well as her previous experiences running in the SU Elections, as preparing her for this role.
As a Masters student, Yolanda has experienced the transition from undergraduate student to postgraduate.
“Being with different people has been really helpful to me in seeing how people work and what different people enjoy,” she tells us.
“Yolanda cites her ‘Virtual Welcome Fair’ as the manifesto point she is most passionate about”
She continues: “Obviously I’ve run before for Sports Officer. This is a different role but at the same time, it’s still the Student’s Union, it’s still supporting students”.
Yolanda cites her ‘Virtual Welcome Fair’ as the manifesto point she is most passionate about, commenting that for a lot of postgraduate students, it is impossible to be on campus during Welcome Week.
While Yolanda would not campaign to remove the Welcome Fair, she argues that “having the opportunity to see what’s available online is really important”.
When asked why she is not running for Sports Officer for a third time, she comments: “I wasn’t going to run this year, but then it came to nominations and these were the two standing out – Sports and Postgraduate”.
“Obviously being a postgraduate [student], it opened up a new door. I didn’t realise I was as passionate as I am now until I started looking into it”, she concludes.
To read the manifestos for your Postgraduate Officer candidates, head to the Student Leader Elections website.
Featured image: Daniel Norman