Hustings: SU President

On Tuesday 6th of March, the candidates running to be your next SU President participated in a hustings run by Dimitrios Potsos.

This year there are three candidates running for the position of SU President: Pete Lendon, Hemanth Kalathuru and William F. Buckley Jr.

What inspired you to run for the position of SU President?

Pete said she had a great experience with the SU and was involved in many activities throughout her time in University. She wants to ensure everyone gets the same experience.

Hemanth said he felt excluded in his first year of university and was inspired to ensure other students do not experience exclusion. “I want to make sure everyone is represented,” said Hemanth.

How are you planning to combine representing both the students and the SU?

Pete said she was running primarily to represent the students although she did acknowledge the importance of representing the SU.

Hemanth would also put the student voice first because the president should be there to represent students.

“Hemanth said it is important to be unbiased and apolitical when representing such diverse student body”

How do you plan to ensure that part-time officers feel part of the team?

Pete plans to introduce a staff member who works exclusively with student networks. She also said she would work to ensure everyone feels free to voice their opinions.

As the current International Officer, Hemanth said he understood the issue very well. Because of his experience, he hopes to help integrate the part-time officers better.

It could be said that past SU Presidents have been apolitical. Would you be a political president? Do you plan to take a political stance?

Pete shared that she would not take a political stance because she is running to represent all students.

Hemanth said it is important to be unbiased and apolitical when representing such diverse student body.

“Pete pointed out international students are often undermined”

What will be your first priority in office?

Pete’s priority will be ensuring the officers work well together. She wants to make sure she has all the officers on board before starting anything else.

Hemanth’s priority will be integrating the International Student Welcome Week with Freshers Week. Additionally, he hopes to focus on cultural awareness because he feels there’s a huge issue there.

How do you plan to ensure the students’ values are represented both with the and the University?

To Pete, it’s about building relationships. She plans to start building relationships as soon as she becomes president, and hopes the University will understand her stance because they’ll know her.

Drawing from personal experience, Hemanth described how he handled issues while working with United Nations by going and speaking to officials. He asserted that “going the soft way is the best approach.”

“Hemanth voiced his concerns about the lack of lecture capture facilities”

What is something you feel the SU has not focused enough on in the past few years?

Pete pointed out international students are often undermined. She wants to introduce a full-time a International Officer  to ensure they are not neglected.

Hemanth voiced his concerns about the lack of lecture capture facilities. He believes they are crucial for international students who have difficulty understanding accents and following lectures.

What current SU President’s work would you like to continue?

Pete wants to keep working on students being recognised for the hard work they do.

Hemanth would like to carry on with the Global Buddies Programme. He believes that it is a great project for both home and international students to collaborate on. He looks forward to expanding programme.

Where do you feel the president role has the biggest impact?

Pete highlighted the recognition of students’ achievements. She mentioned that Martin had worked on developing the rewards scheme, and she wanted to expand it across the SU.

Hemanth mentioned the importance of representing international students and ensuring International Officer becomes a full-time position.

“Pete highlighted the recognition of students’ achievements”

How do you feel about the current transparency of the SU?

Pete acknowledged that lots of work was being done yet there was lots more to do. She especially likes Martin’s videos and wants to expand the initiative across the officer team.

Hemanth thinks there is more to be done. One of his manifesto points is an introduction of a calendar on the website, which would show officer availability. He also believes more work can be done on social media.

Who are your role models?

Pete has many, but belives she can learn the most from past officers.

Hemanth’s parents are his role models. He has learnt a lot from them in terms of leaderships, and he’s thankful for their support.

Note: William F. Buckley Jr. did not attend the hustings.

Goda Naujokaityte

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