What made you decide to run for Disabled Students’ Officer?
I decided to run after seeing how much the Disabled Students Network and the previous Disability Officer [sic] achieved for disabled students. I was inspired to take a step and show how much more we could achieve. There are a few things I wish to change, especially involving making the Disabled Students Network much bigger and tackling certain issues around campus such as inaccessibility of the old campus and strengthening disability services’ presence in the teaching environment.
Sum up your main policies.
– Strengthen the links and liaise closely with Disability Services, academic departments and students alike to bring disability awareness into the teaching environment.
– Continue the successful line up of Disability Representatives within each college, ensuring these positions are filled, as it is so important to have a voice within each college.
– Work hard with the Disabled Students Network to expose the committee to greater and more beneficial publicity by liaising with YUSU, Open Door and Disability Services.
– Create an online mentoring forum for disabled students to share tips about their experiences and to give practical advice.
– Host events surrounding the concept of disability awareness through a series of talks and workshops.
– Be a visible and accessible point of contact for all disability related issues. Create a one-stop support map to ensure all students, new and current are aware of where they can find help and support from disability services.
– Tackle issues such as the general inaccessibility of the old campus, particularly Derwent, by liaising with university staff.
– Make ‘Access Your Future’ bigger and better. I wish to continue ‘Access Your Future’, our annual summer event where we showcase a line-up of successful people through a series of talks and workshops as they present how they challenged the notions of perceived barriers and overcoming them.
Describe yourself in three words.
Determined, resourceful and creative.
What makes you different to the other candidates?
People should vote for me as I am willing and dedicated enough to work hard to tackle disability related issues and make university a much more supportive experience for disabled students. If disabled students feel they can connect with other disabled students and be part of a support group, that is an achievement within itself. I also believe my own experience at university with a disability myself means I can identify with struggling students and ensure such issues they may have can be tackled.
What experience do you have that will be good for the role?
Currently, I am on the Disabled Students’ Network as an events coordinator and I am setting up our third Access Your Future event, which will happen this summer. I was also James College Access Rep in 2013 where I was able to help students access the university disability support resources and provide a drop-in service.
What will you do different to Thomas Ron, the current Disabled Students’ Officer?
Honestly, it’s pretty hard to fault Tom’s work as a lot has been done over the past two years. I am hoping to continue the standard of work Tom has set with my own take on things. I would like to focus on academic issues a lot more as I still think there are problems with ensuring students get the best out of their degree.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
So last year, I unexpectedly took a year out of university and did lots of crazy, random things, including getting more experience in journalism, organising a massive event in the Leicester Square Penthouse, starting an awesome (if I may say so) blog and I worked for Elle Magazine.
What do you think of the other candidates?
I’ve noticed it’s a lot more diverse which is brilliant as it means there’s a fresh take on things from different people from all walks of life. I think YUSU needs a bit of shaking up as it means we can connect with students better.
What do you think the biggest challenge you’ll face during elections is?
My fear of public speaking!
What’s your campaign strategy?
My strategy is actually quite simple. I’m not a fan of gimmicks and tactics but would rather come across as honest, open and keen to improve things. I’m a big believer of sticking to what I say and would ensure that I fulfil my manifesto as well as I can. If that’s not good enough, then oh well!