What made you decide to run for Student Activities Officer?
I really care about the student experience. I want to share the skills that I have accumulated over my three years with the rest of the student body – the confidence to get involved, the ability to transfer your skills gained through hobbies into qualities that employers want to see. I have seen flaws from the point of view of societies, prospective students and committees, and I believe that I can bring clarity and standardisation in event managing.
Sum up your main policies.
– ‘Fro Clarity: Fix the EMF booking system. Consult students adequately on YUSU events and provide an accessible calendar of events.
-‘Fro Employability: Work closely with careers and York Alum to tailor particular employability workshops to what students want to see: e.g. the fear of public speaking, how to write down “transferable skills” gained from societies.
– Just’FroRAG: Like ‘Just-Giving’ webpages, a RAG page where individuals or groups may fundraise for the causes that are personal to themselves. This must be followed up with an advice and mentoring workshop in event planning – with contacts given.
– ‘Fro Accessibility – Members Hub: I want to develop the YUSU website so that when you log in, you can access the societies and colleges that you’re a part of. You should then be able to view an online calendar, upcoming events and updated contact details for the society.
– ‘Fro Rewards and Recognition: Committees should get something back! Working hard all year round, we need a weekly reward system that acknowledges this hard work and dedication to voluntary roles. I have my own ideas but I’d much rather consult the student body on this!
Describe yourself in three words.
‘Frotastic, passionate and dedicated.
What makes you different to the other candidates?
Other people have ideas in their minds and/or brains (I study Philosophy, this is a debatable concept). I keep mine safely tucked away in my massive afro. But also I have a really wide range of experience! I’m very ‘Fro-active as a member of the student body. Alongside my degree, I have been a member of G&S Society, DramaSoc and Pantomime Society. I have written for Nouse, I’ve completed student ambassador work, worked for YuCall [and] I have been part of a committee for two years in the Halifax College Students Association (HCSA) – making me very well-rounded and understanding of what it is like to be a student juggling so many different activities.
What experience do you have that will be good for the role?
I have worked on the HCSA committee for two years – firstly in an Entertainments Officer role, then progressing to Halifax President. Over the two years I organised and helped to organise a range of events, re-establishing our college’s theme and the notion of ‘bigger is better’ into ‘FaxChoseMe/IChoseFax’. This was so important in engaging our students and putting the experience into their hands. Being the ‘creative’ college, we were able to oversee a number of student-led events in JJ’s. Our events achieved higher capacity than I’d been used to seeing and money-wise, Freshers’ Week was a success. Our committee worked with the college welfare team to bring puppies to Halifax – the first college to pioneer such an event! This allowed students to make links with the Guide Dogs charity and the volunteering opportunities available. As a student ambassador, I understand how the University comes across to prospective students and the ways in which YUSU can market itself as much more accessible and exciting!
What will you do differently to Chris Wall, the current Student Activities Officer?
I plan to set meetings with college officers and society members to find out what struggles they have faced with approaching YUSU in the past. I want to work towards clarifying or changing the current systems we have with room bookings – speak to central services and IT about developing Planon, and work through obstacles such as Central Hall being used more frequently for teaching! I really want to be an active mentor for student leaders. Of course, with any job, when you first begin you come to understand feasible and unfeasible changes that can be made. However, my aim is to mentor and help as many students who want it or to work towards fixing the issues that they’ve raised and not just brush over them with new ideas as such.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
My afro has shrunk since the first term of first year. This makes me a little sad. However, I played a character called Mr Cocker in the musical Back to the 80s during school. Brilliant musical and hilarious role.
What do you think of the other candidates?
They’re all coming from a very different perspective of university life which gives great variation!
What do you think the biggest challenge you’ll face during elections will be?
Debating. I tend to waffle a lot. It’s a good job waffles are tasty.
What’s your campaign strategy?
Being honest about my experiences, admitting that it’s a learning process and getting a solid night’s sleep. Also, let’s be honest – the afro has a strategy that even I can’t comprehend.