Results Night: Your New Student Officers

After a relentless week of campaigning for your vote, it was time to announce the latest crop of Student Officers ready to represent your voice in the next academic year. Pugwash caught up with the winning candidates for a few words about their success and what they’re hoping to achieve during their time in office.

Disabled Student Officer: Rhiannon Jenkins

PUGWASH: Congratulations! Is there anything that you would like to say to your fellows candidates?

RHIANNON: Congratulations to Josh, you’ve been an absolutely amazing candidate. You’ve been such an amazing friend as well.

PUGWASH: What was the Highlight of your campaign week?

RHIANNON: Probably just being with everyone today has been amazing. Just chilling out with all the candidates and supporting everyone.

PUGWASH: How are you planning to implement your manifesto?

RHIANNON: The first thing I want to do is organize a Paralympic event.  But I realized during the campaigning all the invisible disabilities need more pushing to lecturers, so they can help support us.  So, I definitely want to set up, not support group, but a help group for anyone who wants to discuss what’s going on with their disability in a safe space.

PUGWASH: Do you have any plans to collaborate with any other student or sabbatical officers?

RHIANNON: Yeah I’d really like to collaborate with sports to get the Paralympic event going.  I’d also like to work with VP Welfare & Community to do more with Mental Health stuff.

PUGWASH: If you could be any meme, what meme would you be?

RHIANNON: The Buzz Light year one.  Elections, elections everywhere.

Environment Officer: Oli Flanagan

PUGWASH: What was the highlight of your campaign week, is there anybody that you’d like to thank?

OLI: I think some of my very close friends, Lily, Maria, and Zack who’ve been very proactive in supporting me and bouncing ideas of me about what I want to do in my campaign and helping me really get through it when it’s been particularly stressful. Big thanks to them!

PUGWASH: How are you planning to implement your manifesto?

OLI: Well, like I said in my acceptance speech I’ve already been in contact with the National Union of Students in an attempt to get them to bring one of their campaigns into the university and they’ve already got back to me saying that they’re going to work with someone at the university to implement that. I’ve already had a look at a few of the universities policies concerning Environmental Management and I’m hoping to have a meeting with the Green Impact leader to have a chat about whether we can review and implement these policies. I’m working with a group of students at the moment on reforming the universities Earth society so hopefully we can have a bit more of a linkup between the union and the university in that respect. I’m in contact with the green society as well so I’m trying to build up a nice network of people, get as many people on board as possible!

PUGWASH: The student elections have observed an unprecedented level of candidates running for some of the positions this year, why do you think this is and what do you think it means for the future of the elections?

OLI: I think in terms of the Sabbatical Officers, having such a huge number of students come forward and offer themselves to be candidates for selection shows that students are really taking their university quite seriously and really wanting to stand out and make a difference. In particular with what’s been going on in Europe and around the world from a political perspective, it’s shown that this is a very important time for democracy to be heard and that students or anyone that’s putting themselves forward is well represented and appropriately represented. So having such a large number of candidates putting themselves forward to do this is just really inspiring and I hope that we see more and more students stepping forward and I hope that this is something that I can work on with the other officers this year and I’m really encouraging more people to step forward and put themselves out there.

PUGWASH: Do you have any plans to collaborate with any other Student Officers during your term in office?

OLI: I would definitely like to work with the VP Welfare and Community because obviously part of their requirement is to be wary of the environment so I’ll be working with them and pairing up with them for some of the campaigns that I want to do and some of the community and student projects that I want to work on so I’ll definitely need their support with them. I also want to get involved with other officers such as the BAME, LGBT+, and International Students Officers because they’re part of the vital community so having them on board will be essential if I want to be successful with any of my policies.

LGBT+ Students’ Officer: Ashleigh Mills

PUGWASH: Congratulations! Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellows candidates?

ASHLEIGH: Obviously I didn’t get to know Pip as much as I would have liked to, but next year I want to work alongside her.

PUGWASH: What was the highlight of your campaign week?

ASHLEIGH: I did a lot of research in to the University and it’s been quite an eye-opener for me.  I think I’ll be able to put all that into my election.  And obviously my friends have been amazing and it’s brought us a lot closer together. It’s been a really good week.

PUGWASH: You said you’re going to promote the LGBT Society.  How are you going to do that?

ASHLEIGH: So I’ve done a lot of research into it and I found that the actual Union LGBT page and social media hasn’t been posted on in 18 months.  Social media, for my campaign, was a massive platform, so I feel like that is definitely something we need to enhance more.  And I know they do have a secret group at the moment, but we need to share it more.  Also fresher’s fayre is going to be a big event.  We also going to engage with the local gay bar.

PUGWASH:  I you were a meme, which one would you be and why?

ASHLEIGH: The shooting star meme, the one that Lady Gaga’s been tagged in.

International Students’ Officer: Rubie Targema-Takema

PUGWASH: Congratulations! Is there anything you’d like to say to your fellows candidates?

RUBIE: It was a good campaign, I saw everyone striving out there with social media and talking to students, it was absolutely amazing so good luck to everyone really. It was really good campaigning against them and I was happy that I had other candidates to run against and not just myself so it was good, that was fun for me.

PUGWASH: What was the highlight of your campaign week?

RUBIE: I got rejected quite a lot, I think a lot of people got fed up with students coming up to your face. I heard the ‘f’ word dropped at times with regard to the elections so it was just about learning to handle rejection from people that are probably fed up of hearing election, election, election. But, it was also fun because I got to talk to people that I would never have talked to otherwise and I got to approach people which is something that I didn’t think I could do so that was really cool for me.

PUGWASH: Before this year’s elections, what was your biggest achievement concerning the Student’s Union?

RUBIE: I was International Student’s Officer last year too so this is my second term in office. I think I’ve definitely involved more international students and increased the engagement of international students in the Union. When I first came to the university I found that there was very little in terms of representation for international students and I didn’t like or want that so I went back to the student body and tried to encourage them to come and represent themselves so that’s what I would say I have achieved since last year in this role.

PUGWASH: In your opinion, what do you think is currently the biggest issue that the Union faces and how would you combat it?

RUBIE: I think it would probably be to do with inclusion. I’m looking at this from the perspective of an International officer so certainly inclusion yeah. I think the Union are doing their best but I feel like there’s more to do and that’s why I think I won. To be able to bring that inclusion and to try and involve every student in the Union, every race, every religion, and every country. Inclusion is what I’m up for!

Good Governance Officer: Beth Moody

PUGWASH: Congratulations! What was your highlight of campaign week?

BETH: I’ve not really campaigned! Due to personal circumstances, I haven’t really been able to!

PUGWASH: How do you plan to implement your manifesto?

BETH: It’s going to be a lot of social media, and using things like Facebook live so that Q & A’s can be done online. This is so it’s more accessible to students to where they are, rather than a formal setting like it’s been in the past. I just want to make it more up to date, as the system is currently outdated.

PUGWASH: This year, the student elections have observed an unprecedented number of candidates for each position. Why do you think this is and what do you think it means for the future of student elections at the uni?

BETH: I think we’re getting more passionate about politics, which is a good thing. I think we’re getting a better quality of students applying, who want to be involved in the union, and I think that’s why. We’ve got some interesting candidates for VP Welfare and Community and VP Education and Democracy this year. It’s really been great to have so many people running, its fantastic and it makes me happy!

PUGWASH: How are you going to represent the voice of the student community at the university?

BETH: I’m going to carry on doing, what I’ve been doing for the last year! I’ve already got a year’s experience representing student voice, by attending university meetings and others, so I feel I can step into this role instantly. Also, because I am already known to a lot of the students, I don’t need to build up the relationship and respect, as I feel I already have that.

PUGWASH: Before this year’s student elections, what was your greatest achievement involving the union?

BETH: I won VP welfare and community last year, but for anything else I don’t know what to pick! I’ve been involved with the union since my second year, I’ve been on the law society committee twice, I’m obviously VP Welfare and Community right now, and I’m going back to be the president of the law society. They’re all great achievements, so I couldn’t pick one as the best! It’s been amazing spending the year as VP Welfare and Community and I feel like I’ve made such a big change to individual students’ lives. Whether it be through supporting a student through a disciplinary or to making changes that are going to affect future students. They’re both such rewarding roles.

PUGWASH: Do you have any plans to collaborate with any of the other officers?

BETH: Obviously, I want to work with them all. I feel there are changes I can make and get their support from.

PUGWASH: In your opinion, what is currently the biggest issues that the university is facing and how would you combat it?

BETH: There’s so many issues, I feel it is unfair to say that this is the biggest issue or that is, because it is so subjective. You could ask ten different students and get different answers, it’s unfair to say what the biggest issue is, but there is a lot of difference issues to tackle!

BAME Students’ Officer: Faheem Ahmad

PUGWASH: Congratulations! What was your highlight of your campaign?

Faheem – I belong to a minority group, so I wanted to be support for those groups that are maybe not part of every activity. They try, but don’t, because they are minorities and they can’t come forward, so this was the main slogan for my campaign.

PUGWASH: How do you plan to implement your manifesto?

FAHEEM: I will be supporting the societies, minorities mostly, as a part of my manifesto was to make societies to be more inclusive of all the minority groups. This is so there will be an understanding and learning of other cultures, traditions and what problems and challenges they are facing and so they can find a better way together.

PUGWASH: How are you going to represent the voice of the student community at the university?

FAHEEM: I have been in student politics, back in my country and have worked with students. There is always a group who has issues and problems, but remain silent, and I want to be with them and support them with other members of the team. I want to create a community of support.

PUGWASH: Before this year’s student elections, what was your greatest achievement involving the union?

FAHEEM: The biggest achievement I feel is being a mature student. In my class everyone knows me, teachers know me, so when you’re sitting with younger students it can be very difficult to talk to them. I consider making good friends to be a great achievement!

PUGWASH: In your opinion, what is currently the biggest issues that the university is facing and how would you combat it?

FAHEEM: I may not be able to tell you the main issues now, if I were to say some issues it would be my own personal issues. Once I meet with the other members of the team, we can bring forward joint issues to tackle together.

Stay tuned for our interviews with your new Sabbatical Officers for 2017!

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