The Accomodation and Community Officer should promote and maintain good relations with the local community, and represent the interests of students for community based issues. The officer should work extensively with groups who have involvement in the community, and should liaise with healthcare associations and healthcare students. They should run campaigns on issues affecting the students that the officer represents (e.g. bulglary prevention campaigns) and which educate students on how to live safely and responsibly in their community.

Rory Thomas

Thomas’ greatest appeal as a candidate was his awareness of the ‘community’ aspect of the Exec title. Through work towards a dissertation on the housing in Lenton, he has thorough knowledge of issues surrounding 2nd and 3rd year accommodation, including contacts with Unipol and local resident society Nottingham Action Group.

To this end, he was confident talking about his intentions to set up a student lead housing website, including honest and up to date testimonials, and also his wish to better represent other student areas like Beeston and Dunkirk through monthly drop-in sessions in each area. These initiatives did seem to take precedence over first year accommodation issues, though Thomas spoke strongly of his opposition to proposed changes in the welfare tutor system in halls, and as such showed awareness and up to date interest in University accommodation too.

Vishal Sharma

Sharma has extensive experience of accommodation issues in halls, having lived in halls for two years, and through involvment in the JCR committee for both – first as welfare rep and then as president. He has been professionally dedicated to improving student involvement in halls, particularly on a financial level through better money management training for JCR committees.

Outside of halls, Sharma’s pledges were not as specific and well focused. His main pledge of commitment to improving fair rental practice, which was supported by a survey of students living in private accommodation, was impressive, yet still not as convincing as his passion for improvement in halls.

Seb d’Agar

D’Agar’s believes ‘It’s your house, your hall, in our community”. This encapsulates the main focus of his campaign for Accommodation and Community officer which emphasises the need to forge links between students and the community. He hopes to achieve this by “running more community projects and working with the local authority”. D’Agar believes his active role in SU politics, most notably as Chair of the Guild at SB has equipped him with the skills and experience to succeed.

A further pledge is to tackle crime in Lenton. This is a big aim but D’Agar thinks simple initiatives like marking property with UV pens hold the key to success. In halls, D’Agar wants to give more guidance to the JCR on how to spend their budgets “to maximize the Fresher experience.”  D’Agar believes that being based on SB and living in Kegworth, puts him in the position to represent Nottingham students living away from main campus.

Julia Seal

Seal has an impressive roster of achievements, including various rep positions including being an event coordinator for various societies, and a previous job with the SU reception team. She cites personal experience as the motivating factor in her candidacy, having experienced some horrifying living situations during her stay at Nottingham, including a legal battle with her former landlord.

Consequently many of her manifesto aims are centred on off campus accommodation, specifically holding landlords to account and creating a searchable database for off-campus accommodation, with a student based review system. She aims to ensure all landlords sign up to the DASH quality code scheme (ensuring basic standards in rental accommodation) and is also focusing on smaller, more manageable aims such as instating expiry dates on Uni cards and creating later finishing times for intra-campus hopper buses.

Images by Helen Miller

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