Leena Rivas

Image: YUSU

Image: YUSU

Fourth Year
Constantine (formerly Derwent)

What made you decide to run for Student Activities Officer?
Activities have formed the best part of what I’ve done at university: the events I’ve run, the societies I’ve helped develop. I think they are what makes York so special. That said, there’s still so much more to be done. Some things I’ve started with the Societies Committee, and some I want the chance to work on next year. I’m also running because being Student Activities Officer is my dream job and it fits my skill sets perfectly.

Sum up your main policies.
– Push for the building of a media hub. This idea is in response to the crumbling facilities some of the campus media societies have at the moment. Both URY and Grimston House are due to be demolished in the near future. Creating a single building for them would encourage more interaction between different groups and will offer ways to save YUSU society costs in the long term by sharing equipment and facilities.

– Boost financial support for societies. I want to build on our achievements as the Societies Committee in getting online finances, and bring everything finance into this century. I will also push for full transparency on the Union’s website about what each society gets and where they get it from. There are a lot of other sources of income like alumni grants that societies miss just by not knowing about them. Finally, I would give a £50 float to all societies allowing you to cover small costs so you don’t have to spend your own money.

– [Improve] RAG and volunteering support. Currently [it’s] not the best it can be. I want more relevant training for the part-time officers, whose roles vary widely and who currently all get given the same activist style advice. I want to encourage more collaborations between societies, RAG and volunteering to get them to support each other to do more. Finally, I’d also want to allow more autonomy to college RAG in order to put on a wider variety of events.

Describe yourself in three words.
Passionate, organised, lioness!

What makes you different to the other candidates?
I’ve got the experience, know-how, passion and work ethic to make the changes we need. I have a track record of creating successful collaboration events, having co-created and co-written Sexposé for the last three years. I’ve fundraised for volunteering projects through YuCall, which I now supervise, and been immersed in so much of what activities have to offer.

What experience do you have that will be good for the role?
I’ve been Chair of both Academic and Special Interests society categories [sic] for the Societies Committee. I’ve been an active member, strongly representing my group and offering them the chance to talk to me whenever they need help. As part of this role I pushed for reforming the way societies can access their finances online, a change that is currently being implemented. I’ve also been involved in all kinds of activities on campus, including starting the Derwent drama group and chairing MathSoc. I’ve run performances in the Drama Barn and performed with various societies in Central Hall. I know where issues crop up for students working with YUSU and I have lots of ideas for making things work better.

What will you do differently to Chris Wall, the current Student Activities Officer?
Chris has been great at creating a YUSU presence at a wide range of university events, an important part of the role that I am keen to continue. I would, however, want to focus more on improving the behind-the-scenes workings that affect us all so much, like giving all activities the time and support they need to flourish.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I’ve got seven half brothers and sisters – but no full ones.

What do you think of the other candidates?
I think this year is going to be one of the best for Student Activities. Whoever wins this, it’s going to be exciting. It’s great to have lots of people running and from different backgrounds too!

What do you think the biggest challenge you’ll face during elections will be?
Getting my message out. I’ve got a lot of ideas about how to make the Union better, but this involves reforming things that many people haven’t heard of.

What’s your campaign strategy?
Lots of cardboard, lots of animal face painting, and having kick-ass policies that inspire people to be #KeenerForLeena.

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