Impact News presents the full-time candidates for the 2016 University of Nottingham Students’ Union elections.
DIPEN PATEL 4 REFORM
Dipen Patel’s position as President of the United Nations Society is something he believes places him in good stead for presidency of the Students’ Union. “I’m accustomed to organising large events, such as international conferences. I’ve developed good relationships with multiple institutions as a result of that”.
Patel’s main aim in running for President is to reform the Students’ Union. He believes there needs to be a change in democratic accountability.
When asked about how he aims to implement this change, Dipen told Impact that he could not divulge the information: “If I tell you about the plan, people will stop it. It’ll have to be kept a secret”.
He believes that power needs to be taken from the “unelected bureaucrats”. “These people are paid something like £20 an hour, they have soul decision-making. What is the point of there being an elected executive if they have no power?”
Dipen aims to use his campaign efforts to appeal to “disenfranchised students”. “The election turn out is abysmally low. The University focuses on first year students – they essentially prop up the votes. There is a disregard for those who aren’t in first year”.
Patel believes that the most important thing leading up to the election is getting out the message that the Students’ Union President doesn’t have any power. “At the minute, the President is a ceremonial figurehead. They don’t have any power”.
Emma Connor believes that her campaign for SU President is unique because of her experience living in Nottingham but studying in Derby.
Emma believes that the “struggle” she has experienced with the hopper bus will help her to understand student experiences.
Her involvement in the SU branch of the University of Nottingham at Derby [UNAD] has, she believes, helped her to “make the SU experience over there better”.
She has also had two years of experience as a Welcome Week mentor for Derby and has been a Karnival rep for St Peter’s Court. Her favourite experience was the charity side of Karni, “especially the mega raids in London” which she found “really rewarding”.
Emma believes that the most important part of her manifesto is her focus on the food options on campus.
She recognises that this has already been addressed by current SU President Angharad [Smith], but feels that it is an issue that needs to be taken up on all campuses and across all sites to cater for students with dietary requirements, “be that personal, religious or medical”.
She told Impact: “I have a friend on Jubilee [campus] who doesn’t like mayo – there is only one sandwich option for her. That really needs to be looked at”.
Emma recognised that for students who work at the City Hospital, “food is expensive” and meal cards cannot be used there. She feels that this must be changed because food is “such an important part of surviving”.
She is most looking forward to “getting out there and speaking to as many people as possible”.
Emma’s slogan is #GotYouCovered.
Ismail Sadurdeen is running for SU President. He came to the University of Nottingham from Sri Lanka and hopes that his experience as an international student will help him to “make a difference” at Nottingham.
“Nottingham is great but there’s so much more that can be done”, he told Impact.
Ismail was on the JCR committee for Raleigh Park, has been a Welcome Mentor for both the International Welcome Week and Freshers’ Week, a course rep for the School of Economics and a peer mentor.
He believes that these experiences will help him to implement what he feels is his most salient manifesto point – merging the International Welcome Week and Freshers’ Week.
Ismail told Impact: “I am an international student myself, from the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. We form our friendships in the first week and stay with them throughout the next three years”.
He added: “If you discriminate against international students in the first week, it is difficult for them. University should be a place for ideas of exchange and the Union should make it much easier for people to meet each other”.
Ismail believes that his campaign is unique because “we have never had an international president in Nottingham history, despite being a global University”. He hopes to be the first to change that.
Ismail’s slogan is: Ismail goes the extra mile to make you smile.
James is running for President. His manifesto is not available at this point.
Running as a tribute to the “trilogy of the Johnny Lawrence campaign”, masked candidate Jononymous places emphasis on having fun whilst showing that you’re still “an organised person”.
Jononymous believes that the focus of the position as a paid gap year needs to end. “A lot of people use this as a popularity contest and they use it as a paid gap year. We want to bring an end to that”. Jononymous wants to place a focus on the policies, not the individual. He believes that being anonymous removes the “popularity contest” aspect from the elections. “It’s not about being a BNOC. It’s about the policies.”
Mental health is the main priority for the Jonoymous campaign. In their manifesto, the anonymous candidate aims to hire more mental health professionals at the University, as well as improving accessibility to pastoral care for all students.
She told Impact: “It’s going to be difficult to implement, but we can utilise the student mind, we can use social media. There are free resources that the Union can use to raise awareness of mental health issues”.
While the campaign is a ‘tribute’, Jononymous made it very clear to Impact that they do want to be taken seriously. “It’s about being an approachable person because that’s what makes a great president. All of our policies have a seriousness to them”.
In the forthcoming weeks, Jonoymous is excited to release their campaign video. “It’s going to be a Johnny Lawrence-esque. It’s a nice video – it’ sketchy, and it’s going to be fun”.
Mary McCarthy says she is used to a hectic life, and feels ready to tackle the Presidency – “I’m from a big family in Leeds, it’s always busy”.
She believes her position as the President of the Ladies Hockey Club has given her valuable experience in leadership, time management and managing people that will be vital for running for President of the Students’ Union. “I’ve always been involved at University. I’m President of one of the biggest clubs on campus with 127 active members”.
McCarthy aims to place an emphasis on welfare at the University. She believes that welfare on campus is a huge issue, making reference to the fact that she believes there is only one counselling session a week available at satellite campuses such as Sutton Bonington. “It’s an issue at the University that we’re just not addressing”.
In other aspects of welfare, Mary makes note of issues regarding food at the University. She wants to improve the quality of food across halls, and at food outlets in University buildings. “First years lobbied against Fish Fridays in halls – it’s a good start but we can improve more”.
Meeting a wide range of people is the thing Mary is most looking forward to in her campaign efforts. Gathering the opinions of students on the Students’ Union is key. She says that she feels “a lot of people are unsure about the Union”.
Her slogan plays on her name as a double ‘M’ – Making You Matter. She wants to “Make Welfare Matter, Make Impact Matter, Make IT Matter – Make You Matter”.
“Hi, I’m Jess and I’m running for SU president”.
Jessica Salisbury is hoping that her experience as President of the Equestrian Club and her position on the exec of Night Owls will help her in her campaign for SU President.
She has also volunteered for Child Line, which she believes has given her the “active listening skills” necessary for her to “listen and take in” the proposals of the student body.
“And I work at Mooch so I’ve pulled you all a pint”, she added.
Jess believes that the most important proposal in her manifesto is focused on welfare – particularly “developing staff and tutor knowledge of the welfare services”. She hopes to enable staff and tutors to “develop a relationship with students so that they get to a point where they can explain the services that we have already got”.
She believes that this is important because “we’re all at university to do a degree, so everyone is on a course and has a personal tutor”.
She told Impact: “Personal tutors act as the first point of call for welfare problems. Any problems are firstly manifested in grade and attendance – they’re the first people who can see it and need to pick up on it quickly for students to get the support they need”.
She also hopes that a unique element of her manifesto is “not just having a signposting page” on the SU website but helping tutors and students to know “which questions to ask and how to ask them in a non-judgmental and open environment”.
Jess is most looking forward to “getting out there and chatting to people – actually talking to people, not just being in everyone’s faces”.
Jess’s slogan is ‘#Bevisible’. It focuses on three things: “let’s make students’ needs visible, let’s make the SU visible, let’s make our change visible”.
“Hi I’m Becky and I am running for activities”.
Becky is a third year English student. She previously worked as a Karnival representative in 2014 as part of the Student’s Union Welcome Committee as the Evening Coordinator.
This was a new role that was introduced last year. She explained that the “aim was to try and get students engaged in more than just lectures and nights out”. She believed that being in this position introduced her to the fundamental workings of the Students Union body. Moreover, through this position she became familiar with the Students Volunteer Centre that organizes many fundraising activities.
This experience gave her enough confidence, she believes, in order to take on the role of activities officer. In particular, the Karni role allowed her to engage and work with lots of societies and student groups which was “Fantastic!”.
In her manifesto she articulated that the Students’ Union should try and more actively publicise their events. She intends to adopt a similar model to that she avers has been successfully used in societies but, she added, “we could go further in supporting them”.
She explained that she intends to make an events calendar so that students can submit their events and it more accessible to the wider student population. Moreover, she wants to make better use of social media in particular the welcome programme that introduces the S.U.’s events. She thought that the website “could be more user friendly”.
She showed enthusiasm for the beginning of campaigning that starts on Wednesday, 2nd March. She remarked that she is anticipating “the first morning and there just being a buzz about campus….as I have put a lot of effort into the manifesto”.
“My slogan is ‘Get Busy With It’. You know the song? Hopefully people will enjoy it”.
Emily Mills believes the most important aspect of her campaign is increasing opportunities. “The main part of my manifesto is very much about getting people involved and busy with student run services, and the amazing societies we have.”
She aims to do this by increasing promotion, putting on more events, and improving the Welcome Fare. ‘This year the development of the Sports Centre meant that there were quite a few issues”. If elected as Activities officer, she would aim to try and utilise the David Ross sports centre upon its completion.
If that isn’t possible she aims to increase the organisation of the Welcome Fare – “I’d like to make an app, with a focus on a map system because that’s one thing that students found was lacking. They didn’t know where to go.”
She also believes that there is a need for further integration between campuses, between groups of students such as international and post-graduates.
She mentions her experience in meeting a First Year student from Sutton Bonington who couldn’t find a meeting at University Park and just left instead. “If there is an awareness of other campuses then those kinds of relationships and experiences can be changed.
Her experience ranges from being the activities rep for Derby Hall, undertaking the role as Week One Rep, to this year being involved with the Graduation Ball committee and being elected onto the Societies Council Committee.
Last year she helped in Bramley’s campaigning – “It was the most amazing experience. Even though people are in competition with each other, there is a community feel amongst the candidates”.
Tom is running for Activities Officer. His manifesto is not available at this point.
Elina is running for Activities Officer. Her manifesto is not available at this point.
Beth Massey is one of the Education Officer hopefuls. She is currently a History and Politics Joint Honours student, in her final year.
She highlights that since first year she has been an active part of the education side of the Students’ Network. Throughout her university life she has been a course representative, for History.
This she believes has allowed her learn “how to gather opinion and how to affect change in the department and further afield at school or faculty level”. She further added that the role “was a steep learning curve” but has “helped her strike a balance between what students want and what is achievable”.
Beth Massey has five main points she really wants to push and these can be seen on her manifesto but thought that the one that has attracted the most attention and people really want is to ‘Lecture Capture’, particularly as a lot of money has already been invested into the scheme.
In order to ensure that this is carried out and can be made accessible to students she proposed that Student Ambassador roles should be made. This would mean that if certain lectures had some trouble setting up and using the technology they “could be called upon to set it up for them”.
She looked forward to “getting out and talking to people and seeing people wearing my t-shirts and colours”.
Debbie is a student entrepreneur in Innovation and Management based on Jubilee Campus.
She is currently one of the Postgraduate representatives for the Students’ Union sounding board and represents the Faculty of Social Sciences PGT, works as an international student caller for the International Office, and is the Events Secretary for the Nigerian Society.
Debbie believes that these experiences have enabled her to run for Education Officer. “These positions have provided platforms for me to relate and engage more with students and staff. I now know the direction the University is pursuing in terms of education”.
She believes that there is a “slight gap between what the University is doing and what the students are saying they want”.
“I thought – ‘how do I bridge this gap?’ and I think that going for Education Officer is the best option for that – to improve the lack of communication and interaction between staff and students”, she said.
Debbie’s two biggest manifesto points are “pushing for better interaction with the Student Advice Centre” and pushing for a better use of “lecture catch-up” facilities. She would also like to lobby the university for a “catch-up session” ran by third year students for students in previous years.
Debbie is most looking forward to campaign week where she hopes to “engage more with students”.
“Success is only really success when it is collaborative – where you listen and engage with the people you want to represent”, she told Impact.
Debbie’s slogan is ‘WE create! WE reinvent! Education can be more!’
She explains her slogan as recognising that “UoN students are really creative – we come up with fantastic ideas, we reinvent things, we change things. If we are doing all of these things – why should education be boring? It should be interactive. We can change the status quo!”
“I’m looking forward to seeing my campaign colour, which is orange, splashed all over campus.”
3rd year Politics student David Garner believes that issues regarding mental health are incredibly significant – “It’s definitely the most important part of my manifesto”.
He places emphasis on promoting support regarding mental health through increasing dialogues between staff, tutors and students. David tells Impact “a lot of students feel anxious about asking for help, or uncomfortable requesting extenuating circumstances even if they feel like they really need it”. David wants to promote positive relationships between staff and students.
David would like to implement a Mental Health workshop in Welcome Week in an effort to raise awareness amongst First Years. He would like this to address common signs and symptoms among individuals suffering from mental illness.
He’d also like to implement a change from handwritten to online feedback in regards to course assessments. “It’s hypocritical of staff to ask us to write slowly and clearly in exams, and then provide unreadable feedback on our essays.”
He believes his involvement in a political party committee has given him experience in communicating with a wide range of people. He says, “I’ve spoken to lots of different people – I know how to communicate”. David believes his experience in political societies, and his involvement in the Junior Doctors strike, places him in a solid position to run as Education Officer.
In terms of campaigning, David says he’s looking forward to the competition and getting involved with the student body. “I’m looking forward to speaking to people, although I’m not sure they’ll be looking forward to speaking to me.”
David’s campaign slogan is ‘Go For Garner.’
Halil Ozkaraca, MA Education student, is running for Education Officer.
He told Impact that he “wants me to be a voice for students” and feels that his degree will enable him to “be the best representative for you”.
His message to the student electorate was: “If you want a competent candidate, vote for me”.
Halil says that one of the biggest problems in education are the “many lectures in the evenings” which are not always convenient and that students are “sometimes really bored because of lack of events”.
He wrote into Impact to say: “I am not writing a good vocabulary in English but, as a foreign student here like many of you, I know many people who study here from a different country. I really understand conveniently what you feel, want and do”.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES AND WELFARE
“By voting for Katie Leach, you’ll make life peachy!”
Third year Psychology student Katie Leach is running for Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer.
Katie’s experience on three different committees has, she believes, helped her to realise that “there are a lot of different needs for different people. I have had time with different students so have lots of connections in different areas”.
Describing her “insight into various aspects of university”, Katie has also been a Student Ambassador, part of the Widening Participation process, which has allowed her to engage with prospective students and understand the concerns students will have when beginning university.
Alongside this, Katie has undertaken numerous “volunteer roles throughout the three years”, including mentoring schemes and being part of Nightline.
If elected, Katie intends to create a network of all the different welfare groups, in order to unite the University’s Welfare Representatives in one location, making accessibility to information about welfare easier.
She also is proposing a Welfare website for all specialties, as she believes “people would feel more supported if they know that there is an agenda, and bringing people together would be the best way to accomplish the accessibility of these services”.
Katie is looking forward to all aspects of the campaign process, after already feeling “overwhelmed by the amount of support” she has received, and is excited at the prospect of “coming together to show people why I think I am the best candidate for the role”.
Campaigning with the slogan, “make life peachy with Leachy”, Katie intends to create a “positive and pleasant” experience for students if elected.
Paige Roden is running for Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer. She wants to talk to as many people as possible “to get their feelings and unique responses, as that shapes the officer”.
She is a final year English Student and has been involved in a plethora of roles, including Week One representative. She believes that her role as a Week One mentor was needed to help people settle in and help first years feel welcome.
Paige also became part of the LGBT committee, which she believes has been a great experience that will help her fulfil the role of Equal Opportunites and Welfare Officer. She told Impact: “Until I formed part of it, I did not realise how much it meant to people and it’s just a wonderful feeling”.
She has also been involved in Nightline Publicity – a student-run confidential and anonymous listening service. As well as this, she has been involved with Easy Tiger, a service that aims to promote safe sex during Welcome Week.
She thinks it is important to have people to guide students to these services, especially around Cripps when people register in first year, as this is a good way to publicise other services.
In order to further spread the word, she aims to give out goody bags amongst other things. She added that “it’s the small things that make a big difference”.
“My slogan is ‘The Time is Meow’, because nothing rhymes with Rachel and my cat is my life.”
Rachel Hoskin’s main aim when running for Equal Opportunities is to work with existing communities within the University to reach a wider range of students. “You can’t just place yourself in the middle and expect things to change. This university has a lot of resources, but it can be disjointed at times. We need to work with existing communities to get to more students.”
She has launched a social media campaign, under #Rachel4Welfare on her Facebook page. In the campaign, she publishes real-life stories from anonymous participants that cover issues such as suicide and abuse amongst other things. “What’s the point of a campaign or manifesto if it’s not about the people?”
Rachel believes shaping her manifesto around individuals gives the position of Equal Opportunities and Welfare “a bit more heart.”
”It’s about real students telling their real stories. How I can help is the crux of my campaign.”
Rachel believes her involvement with UoN Feminists, as Publicity Manager last year and Communications Manager this year, has given her a lot of experience in talking to students. “I talk to students every single day about gender and equality, working with them to provide more support.”
Rachel tells Impact that she “just want[s] to get started” in physical campaigning. While she maintains that talking to committees is “amazing”, she says that she is excited to talk to students who might not have an “intricate knowledge of the Student Union”.
“I’m looking forward to running around like mad.”
“Being a student can be stressful, so I like to be the person with a smile on my face.”
Radhika Chond is a fourth year English and American Studies student running for Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer.
She believes that her experience as a Peer Mentor and Welfare Coordinator for American Studies has made her “realise that we need to push the idea that the SU is for us”.
As Coordinator for the Hindu Society, and as International Relations Officer on her year abroad in America, Radhika is passionate about the importance of advocating the University’s multicultural population.
She told Impact: “We need to push how important the international population is, alongside ensuring UoN is a home from home for every single student, whether you are national or international”.
Radhika’s main policy points include encouraging inclusivity, ensuring international students and postgraduates feel involved in the wider community, and making the “Students’ Union more accessible and interactive”.
She also intends to broaden the scope of Welfare Reps, so each society has a Welfare Representative who will collaborate with the Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer.
In terms of what she feels makes her campaign unique, Radhika is proposing a ‘Well Fair’ event three times a year, where all student welfare services, including Cripps Health Centre and Nightline, would be present to provide information and promote their services.
With the slogans: ‘Putting the WE in Welfare’ and ‘Vote Rads for Radical Change in Welfare’, Radhika Chond intends to “create big change in a humane manner” if elected.
“Since coming to UoN, sport has been the biggest part of my life – the driving force of my time”.
Lauren Heria is running for Sports Officer. Since coming to University, Lauren has been a Welcome Committee Daytime Coordinator, part of the Women’s Football Committee and part of the Sports Exec.
She feels that these experiences have enabled her to encourage more people to engage with sports at the University. Lauren also believes that her own involvement with sport, and her findings from meeting and talking to other students were instrumental in writing her manifesto.
Lauren believes that the most important point in her manifesto is “equal representation” of sports societies and a “good voice for all students in sport”.
She told Impact: “We have so many opportunities, so many great facilities, but we want to have the student voice at the heart of it”.
“Lots of previous candidates have spoken about ‘a greater voice for smaller clubs’ but I would like to make sure that all sports societies, clubs and JCRs have their voices heard equally”, she added.
Lauren is most looking forward to “meeting people” on the campaign trail. “I’m proud of my manifesto so I want to make other people feel that passion and realise that there is something on there for them”.
Her slogan is “Got your back”. She feels that this explains what her role would be if she were elected. “Having links to your Sports Officer is important – when you need them they should be there, helping you to reach your goals and achieve success”.
“I’ve always been involved in sport throughout my three years.”
Third year English student Sebastian believes it would be “difficult to single out one single issue” from his manifesto that he values higher than any other. He believed that every aspect of his manifesto was important to him, but did tell Impact that he hopes for more integration between sports clubs.
“It starts with the presidents, but I’m very keen to build relationships between clubs. I believe they should have more opportunities to interact with each other.”
Sebastian says that his experience in the sports UoN Engage campaign will be useful, as it is an area that can still be “promoted and supported”. Currently covering 20 sports clubs, Sebastian says he would “definitely like to increase” the number of sports involved in the Engage campaign as it promotes participation in sports at any ability level.
“Whatever level you’re playing sport at Nottingham, that is a fantastic thing.”
Sebastian tells Impact that he’d like to increase the levels of visual and audio content in sport. He aims to implement live streaming when the David Ross sports centre is completed.
“There’s probably no better time to look at the live streaming as a real possibility.”
He makes it clear that he’s looking forward to the physical campaigning process. Sebastian says that he’s excited at the prospect of working in a team, and seeing as many different campaigns as possible. He tells Impact: “I’m looking forward to talking to as many students as possible. It’s a very unique opportunity and I think it’s one that I’m going to embrace and put everything into.”
Sebastian’s slogan is: ‘It’s Chimo time’.
“I hope people enjoy the X Factor pun in that.”
Will Rider is a third year Classics student running for Sports Officer.
He believes that his campaign is “built around trying to get as many people involved in sport as possible” and making UoN a “top five university for sports”.
Will states that his manifesto has been “built around the voices of UoN students to help him to shape what they want”. He feels that his manifesto reflects not only his “own experience” but also students that he has spoken to.
He believes that his experiences as JCR Sports Sec for Sherwood Hall and his involvement over the last year with the Sports Exec will help him to “break down the barrier to sport”.
Will states that his most important manifesto point is the idea of removing lectures on a Wednesday and replacing them with seminars only.
“I don’t think people should have to choose between education and sport – people should be able to combine the two”, he stated.
He feels that his campaign is unique because he is the “only IMS-based candidate” whereas other candidates are “based on BUCS”.
Will believes that a flexible gym membership would be an improvement on the current system, providing “multiple options” and thus relieving financial constraints.
He is most excited about “getting out and meeting people”. As a student based largely on University Park campus, he is “looking forward to going to Jubilee and Sutton Bonington”.
Runner up to the position of Sports Officer last year, Yolanda King, thinks that this year has allowed her to really identify “what people like, what they don’t like and what they want” from their Sports Officer.
She is the current President of the Table Tennis Society as well as reading her final year in her Geography degree.
Her involvement with sports at the University began in first year when she formed part of the first team for table tennis. “This is why I want to get involved, in order to give the experience that I have had to others”, she told Impact.
Since her first year, she has had a strong affiliation with the club. She was firstly the Treasurer of her society before becoming the President of the Table Tennis Society.
She also drew attention to the developments that she has made in her society. For instance, last year they implemented the ‘engage programme’. This worked as a type of taster session, providing those who did not have a sports membership with the opportunity to come along: “a pay and play system”. This, she believed, has introduced many more people to the society.
She hopes that she can translate the improvement she has made there to the sports community in general. Yolanda also highlighted the variety of opportunities available for people to get involved in the wide range of clubs. “Last week, for instance, I went gliding – there are so many opportunities to try such sports”.
One of the most unique points of her manifesto is her idea to have a live streaming app that would enable people to see different societies and what types of activities are occurring in real time. She argued that this would help students to engage with a wider spectrum of societies and activities.
Her slogan is “have it your way!”. She believes this encapsulates the values that she stands for and the way she thinks the Sports Officer should both engage and listen to the student community.
Alex is running for Sports Officer. His manifesto is not available at this point.
Abel Hartman is a final year Politics and Economics student running for Community Officer.
He expressed his intention to tackle some of the perennial issues for students especially that of housing. Abel is currently co-managing a social enterprise company called ‘Re-Covered’ and hopes that that such exposure will enable him to deal with the practical demands of the position as well as bring tangible results.
He agrees that the current Community Officer, Sam Peake, is working hard to confront these issues but he wants to continue upon these developments and “inject [his] own passion into the role”.
In order to tackle some of the problems of the current system he plans to implement an online review site of property agencies and landlords “so student can make an informed decision before they sign a contract for the whole year”.
In this proposal Abel said he would include a black list for rogue landlords once the “Housing Bill of 2015 gains royal assent”. By doing so, Abel hopes that this will promote a sense of accountability and confidence in the student community.
Moreover, he believes that his experience from being on the Amnesty International Committee has allowed him to gain exposure to the “SU bureaucratic machinery”. He hopes that this would help him deal with the requirements of the role.
In his manifesto he also pledges to cater for the needs of the international community and “the ridiculous upfront payments” that International Students currently have to make when making a deposit. He believes this is an issue that that can be resolved “by creating a University-backed guarantor system that would, through liaising with the families of international students, help provide a UK-based guarantor for international students”.
He expressed the excitement from the election process and from talking to “so many different people [as well as] hearing advice and suggestions from every single corner”. He concluded by telling Impact that he is “looking to bring some action to [his] words and make some positive changes!”.
Dina Elkordy is an international third year student, studying International Media and Communications.
“I feel like international students are misrepresented. Having an international student as a union officer will bridge the gap between international and home students.”
In her manifesto, Dina places focuses on the experience of the student. She notes that the Community Officer role tends to get the least amount of votes and wants the role to become more prominent within the SU.
Dina believes that there is an idea that university should be the best three years of your life that isn’t necessarily the case for everyone. She says that some individuals might feel that if they aren’t having a great time at university, then “they might think, ‘what am I doing wrong?’”
Based on her own experience of having to live in a large studio room at Broadgate Park following an administration error, Dina tells Impact “it can be overwhelming to have to deal with your course, and your friends and adjusting to a new place.” She hopes to change this by raising awareness of the support available to students.
She believes that introverted individuals might struggle at university, whether they’re international students or living in a studio flat, or just struggling in general. She want to ensure that students don’t struggle in the way that she did as an international student in a studio flat, and wants to make students aware of how to get involved in non-academic activities.
Dina tells Impact that “I’m just waiting for it to start now, I’ve spoken to such a diverse group of people.”
Dina Elkordy’s slogan is ‘Brighter Community’.
“I believe in accountability, engagement and empowerment.”
Ian Opara believes his wealth of experience in various societies and organisations on campus will help him if he is successful in securing the role of Community Officer. “I’ve been involved with the SU since I started.
Opara has held positions across campus, such as Activities Rep in the Broadgate Park JCR during his first year, and in his second year began volunteering at Think For The Future (For Enactus), which assisted ex-convicts in achieving a decent PHSE.
When asked about his Manifesto, Opara told Impact that his main concerns are housing, transport and safety. He says that the Derby Hopper Bus campaign is a good start in regards to changing the transport experience for students at satellite campuses. He told Impact that while the university is prepared to subsidise travel costs for certain demographics, he would like to try and push for general subsidisation.
In terms of safety, Ian says that he’d endeavour to build a relationship between the university and security staff at the city clubs. “I want to work to get sexual harassment training for club security staff, because in the club it’s a massive issue. A lot of security staff just don’t know how to deal with it.
Ian says that each of his various roles in university has helped him develop communication skills, and Enactus has enabled him to manage goals. He places emphasis on improving minute details, with constant reviewing to ensure that what he hopes to achieve is actually being achieved.
Ian’s slogan is ‘Eye on the Community’.
Scott Jennings is running for Community Officer again after placing second in last year’s elections. He told Impact that he is “still passionate about his manifesto and ideas”.
Scott states that he has been “heavily engaged with the SU and its structures” during his time at University, having “pushed for many reforms”.
He has taken part in several campaigns around fees, holding the position of Student Chair of the Living Wage campaign and co-founder of the Student Housing Cooperative. He believes that these experiences have helped him to hone his focus on housing in his 2016 manifesto.
For Scott, the most important policy in his manifesto is the idea of an SU letting agency. Whilst he recognises that this is not an entirely “unique” idea, he feels that he has been involved in pushing the proposal at the University since 2014.
He believes that the “housing problem” in Nottingham is currently “severe” and that, thanks to the Student Housing Cooperative, a push towards blacklisting certain landlords is more easily achievable.
Scott is most excited about “getting my ideas out to students again”. He told Impact: “Clearly last year my ideas were believed and perceived as realistic. I have now had time to refine them and would like to talk to students about them”.
As he expresses in his slogan – ‘for hands on change’ – Scott feels that he has had an active role in University life and in “forcing the SU to be more hands-on”. He hopes to continue his presence next year as Community Officer.
Hayden has studied Maths at this University for 4 years and is running for the position of Postgraduate officer.
Hayden outlined the importance of this role and argued that “postgraduates are often forgotten as the University has a strong undergraduate focus”. He told Impact that “we need the spotlight on us for once”.
One of the most unique points of his manifesto is to push forward a “PG moot”. He explained the concept as a type of open discussion whereby postgraduates would be able to expose some of their key ideas in their postgraduate work.
He explained that a lot of the research was confined to the office and this would allow them to improve speaking skills as well as “get recognized for it”. Hayden hopes that this would be a perfect opportunity for students to “showcase their stuff to the general public” and he added “stuff that is often genuinely interesting”.
He projects that this would be a “couple of hours a day stretched over a few weeks”.
He enjoyed making a video for his campaign although he admitted that it was a “harder than it looks and trying to make something for an invisible audience”.
Hayden also takes an active role in Mussoc and Blowsoc and plays the clarinet in the orchestra.
“Students should see me as approachable, helpful, and above all, an empathetic candidate.”
Rajesh Ramesh believes that the most important aspect of his manifesto is a constant collaboration. He thinks that the different areas of the university need to work together on a more regular basis. “I want to gauge the pulse of the university, to make it easier for student union officers to plan events.”
Rajesh suggests an inclusive, online planning form that would include PhD students and mature students as well as other post-graduates. “There’s minimal engagement between those groups.” He places emphasis on rigorous planning of events, to enable further engagement.
Rajesh, who is from Chennai in southern India, places emphasis on the post-grad officer working with international students. “57% of international students are all from different cultures. I’d like to implement further a translation system that works for all.”
He categorises his relevant experience into three distinct categories. His social experience lies in his encounters with Nottingham. He believes Nottingham is a “city for students” with a great cultural scene. Collaboration between the cultural societies with post-graduate students would allow for greater social experiences, he believes.
Rajesh also draws from his academic experience in his studies in India. He tells Impact “the system is different from in India. It’s about self-learning, experimenting here”. Rajesh thinks that learning from peers is an essential part in the post-graduate experience and his experience in two types of study will be invaluable.
The final aspect of experience Rajesh draws from is his residential involvement at Raleigh Park. “I’ve assisted in helping students in the residence, I’ve helped them with noise issues.” Rajesh believes he can understand and engage with a variety of students.
Rajesh’s campaign uses two slogans: the first #WalkTheTalk, the second #UoN2rpg (University of Nottingham ‘2’ Rocket Propelled Greatness).
Daniela is running for Postgraduate Officer. Her manifesto is not available at this point.
“I really hope that my manifesto shows that I’d be a good candidate for this job”.
Matt Bramley is an MA Behavioural Economics student running for Postgraduate Officer.
His involvement with the Students’ Union began when he started his postgraduate course, having taken two years away from studying to travel. He told Impact: “As an undergraduate, I wasn’t that involved with the SU. Since I’ve become a postgrad, I’ve been more involved, which I feel is opposite to everyone else”.
Matthew feels that his collaborative work with current Postgraduate Officer, Elliott Denham, has enabled him to understand that “postgraduates really want more from the SU but the SU isn’t providing it”.
He has been part of the Postgraduate Exec set up by Elliott Denham and was the Committee Head for the Postgraduate Winter Ball.
He feels that the most important policy in his manifesto – “because it is most easily implementable” – is improving communication between the SU and postgraduate students. He highlights that currently there are “two sides to the problem – postgraduates feel that the SU does not cater to their needs, and when it does, they do not necessarily know about it”.
Addressing the integration between postgraduate and undergraduate students, Matt said: “I would like to believe that there’s no reason why postgraduates and undergraduates shouldn’t be integrated. However, I feel that postgraduates really respond to postgraduate-specific events”.
Explaining his slogan – ‘Think Bramley’ – he states that he has taken inspiration from Apple (the tech company’s ‘Think Different’ slogan) because his last name is Bramley.
Edited by Belinda Toor
Images: Alex Farzad, Amy Rainbow and Denise Odong