Happening on Campus

Manifesto Reviews- Full Time Officers: Union Development Officer Candidates

Katie Sullivan

A group of Impact Magazine writers have looked over the candidate manifestos for this year’s Student Union Elections. Harry Chapman, Katie Sullivan, Emma Burnett, Oli Harris, and Hannah Walton-Hughes summarised and discussed each candidate’s main manifesto points, and gave their views on the manifesto. Voting closes on 15th March 2024 at 2pm.

Megan Sharma Bradley:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Improve student-body communication with the student’s union
  2. Centralising students in the democratic process
  3. Supporting societies

Megan, a 3rd year Film and Television student, acknowledges the previous work carried out by the SU to improve student experience and plans to maintain these within Union Council processes and aims to allow for more ideas to be debated prioritising student experience, making the democratic process more central to student representation whilst also making an effort to introduce directly elected representatives for different student demographics to provide a focal point at Union Council Meetings.

Megan acknowledges the issues that committee members have to tackle to get society meetings and events organised

In her views for the future, she would promote the SU further across student body maintaining updates on social media channels, creating up to date Digital Student Directory of contact information to promote the SU’s facilities, officers and associates. Megan believes there is a large proportion of services provided by the SU that are being underutilised by students that could be majorly beneficial for them, therefore she believes the promotion of them and the people associated with them would improve students’ lives.

The focus on support for societies interested me as Megan acknowledges the issues that committee members have to tackle to get society meetings and events organised and aims to review the process for booking rooms and promoting events as well as the society funding process and enquire about seeking alternative industry financial contributions.

In terms of experience, Megan lists several connections she has with the SU throughout her time here at the University of which include; Publicity and Promotion Liaison for the Activities Executive Committee, as well as Arts Faculty Rep, Course Rep and General Secretary for Games Society. She believes that each of these positions have given her plenty of understanding of how the SU works. Her experiences have also allowed her to be a proven team player and a champion for collaboration, meaning a comprehensive student voice will be delivered to the council of the SU.

Megan’s manifesto is well-informed and implies a good strategy going forward, however I would be keen to ask questions regarding what specific needs of the student body are at the top of her priority list at the moment.

Nicola Wambui Maina:

Main manifesto points:

  1. Well-thought-out campaigns
  2. Aspirations to connect with external organisations
  3. Very focused on student experience

As Union Development Officer, Nicola, a 3rd year law student, would hold the University accountable for not making the most of its potential, and work with them to improve this. For example, restructuring the Part Time Officer system to unlock its full potential.

She sets out a well-thought-out campaign entitled; ‘Back to Basics’ which strives to actively improve student experience by addressing the systemic issues at the university and Students’ Union. Nicola would improve communication by explaining the SU and its structures such as the student services and visas and immigrations teams in a way that is easy to understand for students making it easier for them to address their concerns with additional focus groups and online data collections.

Her student-centred focus life is promising as she outlines a number of factors that have great impact on student life such as the frequent delays of timetabling and exams and how this can leave students confused and unprepared through no fault of their own. The concept of Extenuating Circumstances and pushing for a fairer alternative. More interestingly, holding the university accountable for the oversubscription of courses and the impact this has on students’ quality of learning and studying in and outside of lectures. In addition to changing the academic student support system by legitimising the role of Student Reps and reassessing the personal student system to increase points of contact.

Nicola’s manifesto addresses matters beyond campus parameters by suggesting liaising with city transport companies to increase buses between morning rush hours to ensure students can attend morning lectures. Other areas of interest to her include the pre-arrival engagement and experience of new students in Halls. As well as the experience of international students with an ‘International Student Guide’ and English Language Workshop.

Nicola’s manifesto definitely presents her as a very capable candidate for the role of Union Development Officer with her previous experience with the Students’ Union

Nicola is familiar with the inner workings of the Students Union as former International Students Officer (ISO) 2022/23 and demonstrates a knowledgeable understanding of student needs. Her experience as a former ISO means she has had opportunities to meet with the Union Council and express the concerns of the student body previously.

Nicola’s manifesto definitely presents her as a very capable candidate for the role of Union Development Officer with her previous experience with the Students’ Union and evidence to be a natural leader. However, I would find it interesting to ask what it is specifically she would like to achieve at the end of some of her proposed changes.

Full officer manifestos can be read on the UoNSU website.

Katie Sullivan

Featured image courtesy of Korng Sok via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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