During our Students’ Union Elections Media Day on Saturday 24th February, we chatted to the candidates who are running to be elected as your Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer for the 2018-19 academic year. Take a look at what they had to say.
Zoe Mackenzie, a third-year Geography student, is running to be your Equal Opps and Welfare Officer.
“I’ve been really involved in welfare-related things since the first year of university,” Zoe, an active member of both Nightline and the Welfare Network committees, tells Impact.
“Something that I’m really passionate about is helping students have the best possible time at university,” she tells us. Zoe believes introducing full-time SU staff members dedicated to welfare would help enhance the student experience. Currently, there is a lack of professional support.
“Protecting funding for different welfare groups is another key policy of [Zoe’s].”
Asked about further manifesto points, she responds saying that she plans to introduce a welfare in societies committee. Zoe believes this will help welfare reps in societies run joint campaigns on student-related issues.
“In order to help students mingle and meet each other, I want to run a monthly event in the Portland building coffee shop,” shares Zoe. She hopes discounted coffee will act as an incentive.
Protecting funding for different welfare groups is another key policy of hers. She tells Impact that both Nightline and Student Minds have to reapply each year, resulting in varied funding. She says: “I want to protect funding of important welfare groups so that the SU are committed to a minimum amount of funding that they give each year.”
Zoe is looking forward to letting people know about changes she has proposed. She hopes meeting students from different faculties during the campaign will give her a chance to reassure them about her positive plans for the future.
Her slogan ‘Zoe the well-fairy’ ties into her fairy-tale theme, and aims to bring a positive image to mental health and welfare.
Amirah de Bourg
Final-year Criminology and Social Policy student and a member of UoN Feminists, Ellie Feasey, is running to be your next Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer.
Student welfare needs are close to Ellie’s heart: “I am someone who has basically sampled every single welfare service that the University has to offer, unfortunately. Whilst it’s gotten me to where I am today and I’m quite grateful for it, there are definitely areas of improvement that I’d like to see for future students.”
Ellie told Impact that she wants to improve the visibility of mental health services available at the University and the city of Nottingham.
She believes the staff should be trained in mental health first aid: “I also learned that mental health first aid is not a compulsory part of student services staff training. It’s optional, but it’s not compulsory, so I would like to introduce that.”
“”I know people in the representation and development section that get things done. I’m not afraid to challenge the University.””
If elected, she hopes to collaborate with the next Education Officer and introduce extensive information on welfare services to undergraduate help-books across the University.
Ellie says she has the experience needed for the role: “I’ve worked with the Students’ Union over the past couple of years. Particularly, over the past year, because I’m head of campaigns now.
“I know how the Students’ Union works, and I know people in the representation and development section that get things done. I’m not afraid to challenge the University.”
“My slogan is ‘Safety, Security, Support’, because I feel like that’s what students of this University need,” concluded Ellie.
Grace Lawrence is a third-year year Humanistic Counselling student who is running to be the Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer.
The whole idea of Grace’s manifesto is based on the word ‘LEMON’, which her manifesto points are condensed into.
L– Lowering stress, isolation and mental illnesses
E– Existing officers. Grace wants to continue the work of Laura-Belin Kelly and Katie Leach, the current and former Equal Opps and Welfare Officers, to make sure that all students at the University of Nottingham have the best possible welfare experience and equality that they deserve.
M– More awareness of where you can go for support.
O– Opportunity. Ensuring everyone has the same opportunity regardless of campus and disability.
N– No more stigma on loneliness and mental health
““I want to create an animal room or something similar, to reduce mental illness, lower stress and isolation.””
Talking about one of her objectives, Grace mentions that she wants to create a de-stress zone. She tells Impact: “I want to create an animal room or something similar, to reduce mental illness, lower stress and isolation.”
Grace is also the president of the gluten-free society, is a student supervisor at SPAR, and volunteers for ChildLine.
All of these experiences have allowed her to understand how the SU works, how to lead a team of students, and how to effectively listen to children.
When asked for an interesting fact about her, she said: “In first year, I had pancakes every single day.”
Her campaign slogan is: ‘When life gives you lemons’, which sticks with her lemon theme.
Note: Fortune did not attend the Media Day on 24th February.
Fortune Mahachi is also running to be your next Equal Opps and Welfare Officer.
In her manifesto, Fortune states that she plans to ‘champion the welfare of every student’, ensuring that students ‘are supported when they face difficult times.’
Fortune also says that she will ensure that she ‘will be available to listen and support anyone, no matter how small the issue is.’
Fortune also plans to advocate for the University to be more proactive over welfare, ‘especially when students face a bereavement in the family.’
Her aim is to focus on every student matter ‘regardless of their background or needs.’
To read the manifestos for your Equal Opps and Welfare candidates, head to the Student Leader Elections website.
Featured image: Poppy Anne Malby
Images courtesy of Impact Images.