The Norwich Radical contacted the candidates for this year’s Student Union elections. Here are the people running for Non Portfolio and Mature Students Officer that responded.
You can vote for your favourite candidates until Tuesday 8th March at midday on ueastudent.com/vote.
Jack Robinson, Non-Portfolio Officer Candidate
Hi I’m Jack and I’ve been involved with the union for quite a bit now. For this past year I’ve been a Non-Portfolio Officer and I’d love to do it again. As well as that I’m involved in charity fundraising, political societies and am on the committee for UEA Pride. I love to just chill out and have a good time, my ideal night is spending time staying in or going out with my friends. I’m originally from Leicester where I live with my Mum and Brother, and my cat, Poppy, who I love.
The union needs to be more transparent and to improve it’s communication. We need to develop clear ways to promote how decisions are made and how students can get involved and hold their officers to account. I’d like to introduce greater part-time officer accountability, so that students are aware of what work is being done for them. Also I think there is more we can be doing to reduce costs for students, from looking at where we can have more affordable deals in the shop to considering how we subsidise society activities more.
Over the past year, I’ve proven myself to be an effective officer. From working on the Foodbank to lobbying for recorded lectures, from supporting #RefugeesWelcomeHere to improving Club and Society socials, I’ve been there supporting students. I think I’ve identified key areas that students care about and want to see change in. Lastly, I’ve tried to engage with as many students as possible, I’m always up for a debate and have spoken tirelessly to students with any concerns they’ve had. A record of delivery and a promise of more!
Lewis Martin, Non Portfolio Officer Candidate
I’ve been politically active for years fighting various campaigns that are both national, e.g. Occupying at Balcombe against fracking and anti cuts in London, and local with the most recent being the Occupy protest for fossil free UEA. I’ve also been a member of the Green Party for the last 5 years.
I want to make the union a more open place where students can share their grievances openly with SU officers such as myself so. I also wish to help improve the mental health services so that students get the help they need as soon as possible and increase the amount of green study spaces so that the students get the best use out of the environment on campus
I would be good for the role because I’ve got past experience of fighting for what I believe in and also what’s right for people. I’m not scared to voice my opinion even if its against the tide of fought but I am also willing to be pragmatic and work with others in order to achieve the best goal for everyone.
Finn Northrop, Non Portfolio Officer Candidate
Hi! My name is Finn I’m a first year LDC student and currently represent 1st year LDC students on Union Council. A non-portfolio officer has significant freedom to address a huge variety of issues and I want to ensure that the focus is on the kind of fundamental issues that students face everyday. I’ve been politically active since I was 15 particularly in relation to anti-austerity and environmental campaigns
Students are poorer now than ever. I want to run a campaign to address this: through introducing more offers in the shop (including extending the loyalty card to the bar!), lobbying for cheaper food deals in campus kitchen, and introducing a student fare for buses. And Mental Health services both in the community and on campus are underfunded and ill-equipped to deal with the volume of students who need urgent support. I will fight for more investment in the student dean and more stress-management support for students
Because I have chosen to focus on key issues that I care passionately about and will willing dedicate significant amounts of effort into fulfilling my promises. Having been involved as an activist for many years, I’ve got the skills and experience to mobilise effectively on the issues the Union prioritises!
Tom Etheridge, Non-Portfolio Officer Candidate
Having been a union officer for two years, I’ve got the know-how to deliver, and a proven track record. I’ve made sensible changes which make your day easier, such as introducing contactless card machines and the Unio loyalty card. As a third year chemistry student, I’ve also worked a lot on student representation for the school. Now, I want to free up extra money for advertising and promoting sports clubs and societies by scrapping news|su. I think the SU should learn from mistakes. Only by recognising this can we make sure we’re putting students first, because we deserve better.
I intend to carry on fighting for changes that affect students in their everyday life. From cutting the queues in Unio, which not only makes students’ days easier, but make our venues more accessible, to scrapping news|su, freeing up funds to spend on promoting our amazing clubs and societies and their events, which I know both from personal experience and from speaking to students is a big issue.I’m also keen to make the Union more accessible, by streaming Council online, so it’s more open. Similarly I want to get people involved in choosing weekly offers for shop|su and Unio.
I’ve got experience as a Union Officer, as the chair of my school’s SSLC, and having been a committee member for two societies. But when it comes to being a good officer, it requires more than just experience. It comes from a true willingness to work to make students’ lives better, to listen to students and to work for the students. I’m really passionate about the positive things that the union does for students from the advice centre to club nights, and I want to improve on this by bring students back to the forefront of everything that we do.
Julian Canlas, Non-Portfolio Officer Candidate
I am a second year international undergraduate doing English with Creative Writing. Prior to this, I did two gap years, between 15-17 y/o travelling around the world. In uea, i am currently in the committee of five societies, namely: Ethnic minorities as its deputy chair Womanist as its LGBT+/Queer rep Creative Writing as its secretary Cinema as its secretary Literature as its Publicity Officer Being in the committee of five different societies have taught me the value of hard work under significant time constraints and strengthened my sense of responsibility. As any committee member knows, you have to deliver on time, because people depend on you.
I want the union to become not only more transparent but to ensure that it improves its support towards clubs, societies and caucuses. I want to make it explicitly clear to students that the union can give them the adequate tools and platform for self-representation–for individuals to have their opinions aligning equality and diversity policies to be HEARD and RESPECTED. With this, I mean, supporting student-led endeavours, from (multi)cultural events, to diverse career networks, to safe spaces for minorities and other groups of people. I want to help improve the housing support system to further accommodate international and minority students. Only through communication and support can we move forward.
With the passion and a keen sense of responsibility to pursue my aims to promote solidarity and understanding within the student body, I am eagre to collaborate with other officers to learn more about areas, concepts and situations that I may have been unfamiliar with. I will work with all my heart and soul to achieve my aims of making this already-existing diversity much more apparent, encouraging students with varying differences to work together in order to make the uni experience much more fulfilling. I also want this diversity to be apparent in the establishment and our curriculum.
Louise Rudd, Mature Students Officer Candidate
I am a part time master’s student, reading social and political theory. I did my first degree, in criminology and psychological studies, through the Open University. I have lived in Norwich since 1984, having first come here to attend Norwich School of Art. I am married and have raised four children, the youngest of whom is studying for her GCSEs. At UEA I have organised events for PG and Mature students with families and I am on the management committee for Scholars Bar and the Post Graduate and Mature Student Centre. This Summer I will be celebrating my 50th birthday!
I will raise the profile of mature students within the union, so that more funding and support is available for mature students. As careers change more frequently and retirement age increases, UEA has more mature students. The UEA Student Union needs to respond to their needs and provide easy access to thorough information. Many have told me they are excluded from activities because of the limited service of the park & ride service, and the prohibitive cost of parking at UEA. Mature students say they would like more mature student study spaces. I want to address these issues.
As a mature student I understand the added responsibilities that mature students have to cope with, and their specific needs. As a post graduate rep I have experience of sitting on Union Council, and have campaigned successfully against cuts and for Hepatitis C awareness. I believe that if the profile of mature students is raised, the UEA Student Union can make the mature student experience a better one.