A NEW AGE FOR THE STUDENT MOVEMENT: NUS ELECTIONS 2017 – CEEWHY OCHOGA

The Norwich Radical was born in the student movement, and we continue to play an active role within it. We recognise that while official structures are not the sum total of the movement, they are undeniably important. After a momentous year for the National Union of Students, studying it is more important than ever for understanding the political consciousness of the student movement. As we move into election season for the new NUS President, Vice Presidents and National Executive Council, we contacted all candidates in those elections and offered them the space to write about their election campaigns, why they are standing and their vision for NUS.

Submissions are unedited, and are being published in the order we receive them. This candidate is standing for the NEC Block of 15.

 

My engagement with student politics began when I joined Middlesex University, and in May 2011 got elected as the first president of the newly formed Middlesex International Students Association of Mauritius (MISAM). I held that position till I graduated in 2013. After my 2 years as president of 300 international students from 20 countries, the association still exists 6 years on and is still doing great things for students.

Ceewhy 1 

In 2014, I went on to study a conversion to law degree at Oxford Brookes University and in 2015, I went to Salford University to study for my MSc in media psychology. I wasted no time in getting back to what I was passionate about… representing students! I’ve always been a part of making something happen, challenging the status quo, being bold and unafraid of making views heard, being proactive for positive change and entering uncharted territory to blaze a trail. I became actively involved with my students union through sports and activity groups and even successfully became appointed as a student Trustee and elected as an NUS delegate within two months in Salford. 6 months later in March 2016, I was elected the first Black president of the union and have been fully committed to fighting for students and bringing to the table the difficult conversations that are often avoided. I have championed inclusion and diversity, fought to entrench student leadership, and have been able to influence the beginning of a change in mindsets.

Through engagement with Salford Students’ Union, I got involved with the National Union and went on to be elected to the Union Development zone committee where I have worked with the current VP Richard Brookes on policies that address students directly.

I’m looking forward to an NUS that focuses on REAL student issues

I actively engaged with my local Union because I felt that a lot more could be done for students. I also wanted to be the voice that advocates for students and expand the debate by bringing the views of Black and underrepresented students to the forefront. And this is what I expected from the NUS when I joined through my Union. The past year has been bumpy and the emerging rhetoric among students is that the NUS does not represent them as it should. Students have stopped feeling like the priority of the NUS and sabbatical officers can do with increased support. There is always room for improvement and so NUS also needs to improve.

I’m looking forward to an NUS that focuses on REAL student issues. The issues that affect students on the ground in campuses across the country such as access to services provided by Universities, and increasing support for sabbatical officers to better support their students. National officers also need to focus more on students rather than identity politics or headline issues and therefore I’m standing for Block of 15. I am taking my energy to a national level, to refocus our movement back to the ones who really own the movement – the students – to ensure that our real issues take priority over anything else. To ensure that, proper accountability is primary so that we can again begin to make real wins for students.

I am standing for a place on NEC in the Block of 15 elections to reclaim our movement to ensure that students are the main priority. Keep up with my campaign here https://www.facebook.com/Ceewhy4block/

 

 

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