‘Vote for Someone Who Gives a Flying Flap’ – SU Election 2020

By Caroline Hill – Students’ Union Presidential Candidate – I am Caroline a third-year Software Development student currently running for the position of President…

By Caroline Hill  Students’ Union Presidential Candidate

I am Caroline a third-year Software Development student currently running for the position of President at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU). I am a driven, passionate and sympathetic person with an ageing sympathetic ear.

featured image
Top-notch Photoshop Skills!

I am an approachable friendly happy go lucky person who is really enjoying their time at Anglia Ruskin as an undergraduate. I would like to make sure that all students attending the university feel the same. I am really keen to meet and engage with new students on a day to day basis to ensure this. I fully understand the realities of student life how challenging and rewarding it can be. As a person who also Identity’s as LQBTQ, I understand these challenges too.

Over the past 3 years, I have seen some significant changes in the way student union supports its students and some of its greatest success namely the let’s be an honest campaign which has to lead to a change in how students feel about mental health and the confidence to have the conversation. I feel it’s important to continue this momentum of positive change.  I have fully immersed myself in student life from taking part in University Competitions, joining the Archery Club, setting up and a running a Society and volunteering with young people. This year I was elected as Chelmsford Disabled Student representative. These opportunities that I have relished taking on. I feel this illustrate my commitment to university life.

One of the points that I have raised in my manifesto is the subject of equality, diversity and inclusion. In this time of uncertainty theses, core values could not be more important. We are seeing an unprecedented level of anxiety arising from the freighting report about the Coronavirus as such I would like to propose to work with the students union in providing online opportunities for students to socialise and support each one another. It’s important at times like this we take good care of our mental health as well as our physical health.

Another area I am passionate about is course reps and finding ways to better support, motivate and enthuse them in the roles they undertake. With better and stronger leadership, I believe this can be achieved. Course reps are the first port of call for students and essentially your voice. I propose engaging with the course reps regularly in a social setting, focusing on building them as a team whilst supporting them with the written aspect of the job.

The student’s union plays an important role in setting the tone of the most topical issues that should be perused over the coming year. They provide lots of support for campaigns and whilst I think they do a brilliant job, I would like to introduce a system that allows all students to put forward idea’s and drive the direction that the students union take. This works extremely well at other university’s and I see no reason why this could not work brilliantly at Anglia Ruskin University.

I have always been an innovative and creative person and as the Disabled Representative, I am currently working on a prototype which is a database of accessible off-campus accommodation for students. Whereby you simply enter the name of the university and all accessible accommodation just appears. I am proposing that all properties are personally vetted before going on the database and this would go some way to preventing all the issues highlighted in the current rent report. As students, we are paying customers and a steady stream of income for landlords and deserve a better service.

When campaigning on Monday face to face I spoke to many students some of whom talked about books plus and the fact it has gone. The general consensus is it was a benefit of incredible value and lack of understanding as to why the university can’t provide all students with a £400 bursary per year towards the cost of living. This is certainly something I can campaign for and get some momentum going.

Engaging students can be a changeling task at the best of times and even more so when trying to do that across disciplines.  I propose to improve collaboration between facilities by creating a ‘student’s matter’ interdisciplinary society focused on the contribution of ideas on how we can all work together for the greater good.

I will pledge to work hard to support all of my colleagues and as many students as I can. I will lobby for change and be someone who keeps promises and works extremely hard for the benefit and welfare of all students.

I have what it takes to help maintain the success and progress of the student’s union.

Check out my video. Friend request me on Facebook. Vote for Caroline.

Visit the SU website to cast your vote. Polls close on March 20th at 2 PM.

Images: Caroline Hill

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. Contact the editor for more information.

‘Let’s Chat! – A Campaign for Compassion’ – SU Election 2020

By Mira Ceti Andreassen – AHSS Vice Presidential Candidate – So, it’s March. Finances are running low, deadlines are coming up, and there’s a pandemic spreading faster than wildfire…

By Mira Ceti Andreassen AHSS Vice Presidential Candidate

So, it’s nearing the end of March. Finances are running low, deadlines are coming up, and there’s a pandemic spreading faster than wildfire, closing everything around us. People are scared, panicked even, and it’s easy to buckle under the pressure, grab everything you can, and run for the mountains. And yet, you haven’t. You’re still here. We’re still here.

Top picture
Picture by second paragraph

When I first came to ARU, I was scared I wouldn’t fit in. I was just old enough to be categorised as a mature student, which added on to the feeling of shame I had for once dropping out of college and needing to redo all of it again. Now, don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a mature student. In fact, the strength it takes to decide to take that step and go back into an education field mainly dominated by young people “on track” is a strength unlike many others, but it took me a long time to realise that. It wasn’t until I recognised that if I hadn’t dropped out the first time around, I would not have been strong enough to go to university. My path was unconventional, but not wrong. It has made me stronger and prepared me better for my future.

Which brings me back to the beginning. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a wrong path. Some of you reading this will be at university ahead of the curve. Some of you might feel like you are a bit behind. Others will have already realised what I have, that time is a social construct, and that worrying about when you came to uni is pointless. You are here. You are reaching your potential, and I am so incredibly proud of every single one of you, no matter where you come from or where you are in life.

Now, I believe that my unconventional route has put me in a position where I am uniquely qualified to represent all students at ARU. I have seen both sides of the coin, I have been the privileged and the oppressed, and I have the knowledge and wisdom that comes from having stood completely on my own two feet and built myself up to where I am today. My perspective is a little bit different from all sides, a little bit unconventional, but 100% honest.

Picture by second to last paragraph

Now, how about that honesty? As a student ambassador, I have learned to reflect on all the good things at ARU – I love the diverse modules, the support my course leader has given me, and the incredibly supportive community I found (eventually) with the Students’ Union. However, this has not left me blind or biased, and I am painfully aware of the areas that need improving. I am constantly disappointed at the lack of financial and integrational support for international and EU students. I am appalled at the university refusing to accept that the overall mental health condition is worsening in higher education levels. I am outraged at the expected level of study engagement, a whole 50 hours a week of both lecture time and self-study, while still expecting students to have time to work and fund their own studies, ignoring the fact that it is straight-up irresponsible to work upwards of 70 hours in total and still have a physically and socially healthy and active life. These are just some of the things I am acutely aware of and am dedicated to spending the next year fixing. I see you; I hear you, and I refuse to ignore even a single one of the student voices I will be representing if I get elected.

I am Mira-Ceti. I am like you; a student. I have a voice, too much love, and a never-ending passion to make a difference. I can’t move mountains, nor will I ever tell anyone that I can. But with the help of this amazingly supportive student community I have grown to love so much, we can make changes. I will not stand down until I improve students’ lives, and I will not give up or leave anyone behind, nor will any of my SUitable Candidates. So, tell me what you want, what you really, really want. Let’s Chat.

Picture after final paragraph

Visit the SU website to cast your vote. Polls close on March 20th at 2 PM.

Images: Mira Ceti Andreassen

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. Contact the editor for more information.

‘Katherine for Vice President, Business & Law’ – SU Election 2020

By Katherine Hasegawa – Business & Law Vice Presidential Candidate – A call to ARU’ youth to be resilient and carry hope. Covid-19 will pass! As I write this…

By Katherine Hasegawa – Business & Law Vice Presidential Candidate

A call to ARU’ youth to be resilient and carry hope: COVID-19 will pass!

As I write this, most of you – fellow students – might be moving back home with the fear of being in danger and far away from your loved ones. For those that stay in Cambridge, your main concern might be “how am I going to pay my rent in the following weeks?”.

charity-Cambridge IMG_7292

I know changes can be overwhelming, but the reality is, we all face changes every day – a delayed bus, last-minute requests from teachers and employers, or cancellations of events due to extraordinary circumstances. Life itself is, indeed, uncertain. Heraclitus once said, “The only constant in life is change”.

Changes will for sure happen, the way how we handle them it’s what impacts our destiny. This thought has brought me to wonder, what attitude are you taking right now, are you stepping back and waiting for this to pass? Or do you accept that changes happen, and challenge yourself to explore the unlimited potential you have within you to be resilient? 

My invitation to you is to experience the second one and share with your student’s community how creative and compassionate you can be.

CJBS-BenjaminGuyjpg

This is me and my money-dress. I made it last year for the Global Week. I hoped the dress would be shocking and would help people to experience, in a tangible way, the currency crisis in my homeland, Venezuela. 

Visit this link, if you want to read more about this journey https://socialinnovation.blog.jbs.cam.ac.uk/2019/04/24/the-venezuelan-economy-not-worth-the-paper-its-printed-on/ 

Since then, I have been able to represent our university and the B&L faculty in different contexts – e.g. as a guest speaker at Cambridge University talks, speaking out about the socio-economic and political injustice in developing countries. Furthermore, I have participated in fairs and charity activities raising money for schools. Through these experiences, I have developed the confidence to represent our interests and desires as students. More photos on my website: https://www.ideasforvenezuela.org 

If elected as your SU’ Vice President (Business & Law), I promise:

1
  1. Social networking platform, by lobbying the university to get an online network to connect you all with other students and academics, with the purpose to generate collaboration across faculties. The aim is to support the development of your ideas, projects and campaigns. 

Having this on campus will help you to develop enterprising and employability skills.

4
  1. Greater financial education, by organising the money festival which will include dynamic workshops with experts to learn about money, value and wealth.  
  2. And last but not least, be a voice for you. I will ensure that everyone has equal opportunities by working closely with our LGBT+, disabled, women, black and minority ethic’s reps. +Societies! 

Here a little proof that I will be your voice: https://www.instagram.com/p/B9uhkS1pZ7U/

I am confident that you valiant students will strengthen your lives in the coming days, you will create deeper connections with your friends and find new ways to do things. I am certain that Covid-19 will pass, and we – young people of the world are the ones that will bring hope to society.

7

I would like to leave you with this final question, has university taught you how to handle changes and economic disruptions? If the answer is not, then, engage with me in influencing the way the university works to prepare us for the future, not just the way it teaches us to pass the exams. University life should be more about preparation for long life than just literacy. 

If you need help and/or want to know how I will cope with self-isolation in the days to come, message me on  www.instagram.com/katherinehasegawa/ 

Visit the SU website to cast your vote. Polls close on March 20th at 2 PM.

Images: Photos By Benjamin Guy (full shot of money dress) & Zheko Georgiev

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. Contact the editor for more information.

10 Reasons to Vote for Rhiannon – SU Election 2020

By Rhiannon-Breeze Harris – HEMS Vice Candidate – To follow are 10 bullets regarding why Rhiannon feels you should vote for her as Vice President of HEMS…

By Rhiannon-Breeze Harris – HEMS Vice Presidential Candidate

  1. I will campaign for a nursery on Cambridge and Chelmsford campus. 
  2. I have experience talking to senior-level management in a professional setting and can bring our voice to the table, and I have worked as a research assistant to create more engaging module activities.
  3. I work for a bespoke higher education training company, giving me the skillset to run sessions to encourage students as leaders, and to work with the university effectively. 
  4. I have worked with the Global Sustainability Institute, discussing how to make the university campus and student accommodation more environmentally friendly. 
  5. We can work together on current initiatives such as The Rent Report, The Bloody Mess Campaign and The SU Bar to make the events on campus collaborative and inclusive.
  6. I will host coffee mornings for students to have a space to come and talk to me face to face and discuss issues you have with student life. 
  7. I have been a student consultant for the Students’ Union, meaning I have sat down with Anglia Learning and Teaching, along with course leaders, and told them based on reliable feedback exactly what the student body is asking for. 
  8. Together we can work on initiatives that empower and protect student mental health. 
  9. I am trying very hard to reach all cohorts of students to show that no matter what demographic you fall into, you will be represented if you vote for me.
  10. I keep things concise and clear. I know you always have a lot to read, so here’s a music video to listen to which shows why the Suitable Candidates are the team for you (#cringe): https://www.facebook.com/matt.hayes.12935756/videos/630089971165985/ 
Campaign frame

Thank you for reading.

If you have any other questions or would like to reach out to chat, you can contact me on my social media platforms:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/rhiannonbreeze.harris
Instagram – @RhiBre22
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhiannon-breeze-harris-1272a561/
Snapchat – miss_breeze 22

Visit the SU website to cast your vote. Polls close on March 20th at 2 PM.

Image: Created by Rhiannon & the SUitable Candidate Slate

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. Contact the editor for more information.

‘Ditch the Racism, Celebrate the Diversity’ – SU Election 2020

By Izzy Woodcock – Women’s Campaign Representative Candidate – While deciding what to put in my women’s rep manifesto, I wanted to talk about issues that affect women…

By Izzy Woodcock – Women’s Campaign Representative Candidate

While deciding what to put in my women’s rep manifesto, I wanted to talk about issues that affect women of many identities, and women of faith are close to my heart. It’s something that rarely gets discussed and if it does then it’s usually about a man’s negative behaviour. Not mentioned is how women have impacted their religion or inspired others of faith. Instead, they are chastised for their faith because of misogynistic behaviours.

Are we isolating these women by imposing a view that their faith inherently misogynistic? Instead of empowering women in their faith the status quo seems to look down upon women who follow a religion, especially one considered mainstream. However, to me, this seems hypocritical. Do we not all, of faith or not, subscribe to a society that is patriarchal? Society oppressing women in another way by telling them what they should and shouldn’t believe. Western society as it stands is quick to point the finger at religion as a source of misogyny as if its own society is not entrenched in sexism.

I can only speak from the experience of being a woman who is also a Christian and I in part I agree with this statement. Religion can be misogynistic; faith and belief doesn’t have to be. On the contrary, my own faith is based on self-worth and a belief that people are all equal.

Sexism towards women of faith by those of non-faith and western society has widely been ignored, despite most major faiths being made up of mostly women. Some research even goes as far as to describe women as being more devout than men, especially in Christianity. So, when we are pointing the finger in the general direction of religion rather than individuals we are mainly pointing at women. You see the dilemma? When we discriminate against religion as a whole, we are discriminating against women indirectly.

That is not to say that there is not sexism within a religious establishment, such as the church of England. I have witnessed first-hand the kind of sexism that puts men in charge and allows churches to still deny women in leadership. This is not a problem with religion, this is a problem with society. The kind of sexism rife within religion is also rife in western society.

It tends to be the more liberal groups who are more ready to reject religion as a worthwhile endeavour, citing it as remanence of a bygone era. This seems to be contradictory of liberalism and incorrect. Quakers, a well-established denomination of Christianity, were progressive for their time. The majority of preachers were women and published their work, which was extremely rare for that time.

Women who follow Islam are also disproportionately discriminated against. Wearing a hijab or any form of religious clothing means some Muslim women are often visibly religious. It’s no secret that hate crime and islamophobia are on the rise in the UK. In this respect, Muslim women who wear a hijab are potentially at greater risk of racism as they are immediately identifiable as followers of Islam. Yet every day they refuse to be intimidated by this. How women cover their bodies is a contentious subject in western culture as well as in more conservative countries. Some countries like France have even restricted the freedom of what women wear. When did it become acceptable to limit someone’s freedom to express their identity? To some, the headscarf has become a symbol of oppression and signifies a woman needs to be rescued.

nuns

Sounds familiar, right?

A society who treats women as weak and men as the strong rescuers. A woman’s freedom of religion includes expressing faith as an identity and in some contexts a rebellion against the status quo and an expression of individuality, as has been in the past.

Instead, we should be empowering women of faith, supporting them as they fight the gender bias within their own religious establishments. Through events, socials and collaborations we will celebrate the wonderful diversity of women of faith together.

Visit the SU website to cast your vote. Polls close on March 20th at 2 PM.

Image: Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. Contact the editor for more information.

‘Don’t Let Your Disability Stop Your Success’ – SU Election 2020

By Shubham Singh – Disability Representative Candidate – Hello, I am Shubham Singh, I am studying in 1st year, BSc. To begin with…

By Shubham Singh – Disability Representative Candidate

Hello, I am Shubham Singh. I am studying in 1st year, BSc. To begin with, I would like to share my father’s teaching to me that has stuck with me, he said: “Don’t let your disability stop your success, make your disability your strength”. I hope I will be running to be your next Students with Disabilities Officer. For Context, I have hearing impairment with 100% deafness by birth. I don’t let this break my spirit no matter what.

shubham

However, Despite this range, I am very much aware of broad of disability, which many of them I have experience dealing with it.

  • My own experiences alone are not enough to adequately represent the range of disabled students at ARU.
  • I will first of all endeavour to hold feedback sessions and drop-in a couple of times a month in order to find out if there are any issues which need addressing that I am not aware of.
  • Engagement will be one of the priorities for me.
  • I also intend to use my communicationsmarketing experience and working in student media to ensure that my work.
  • Campaigns and my assistance is advertised to as many of the disabled student population as possible and hopefully, some of them will work/help me to ensure everything is fine.

Ever since before I came to University, I have been a very active and passionate disability student. I am hoping to start afresh and new adventure but I am glad I did.

Thank you for reading my manifesto, and please VOTE for me.

shubham

Visit the SU website to cast your vote. Polls close on March 20th at 2 PM.

Image: Shubham Singh

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. Contact the editor for more information.

‘Raise Your Voice, Make a Choice!’ – SU Election 2020

By Avinash Miriyam – Students’ Union Presidential Candidate – Hi Friends, I am Avinash Miriyam. I am currently studying for a Master’s in Film and Television Production…

By Avinash Miriyam – Students’ Union Presidential Candidate

20200314_113654

Hi Friends,

I am Avinash Miriyam. I am currently studying for a Master’s in Film and Television Production. You have probably seen me around the campus talking with students inquiring about issues and sharing their happiness. I was like you when I joined, I felt the emotions of being new and homesick, I went through residential problems, was stressed at the time of assignments and much more like how you felt in the University all these days. With all these experiences I have had as a student it has led me to help students in whatever way I can do, in the best possible manner to change the university into the best place to live. Even though English is my second language, I can still empathise with the struggles and the joys of students. So, friends let’s come together to make our university a better place to develop ourselves whilst helping each other.

20200316_150701
  • I want to focus on increasing the accessibility of facilities across all campuses such as the library, editing and computer suites and studios during the assignment period.
  • It will be my top priority to maintain sustainability across all campuses by doing whatever we can to reduce plastic usage and remain environmentally friendly.
  • I will continue to do my best to push forward with the current campaigns in place to assist mental and sexual health, as well as ensure that students are involved with the process through the introduction of regular engaging activities and talks.
  • The decentralisation of power is something that means a lot to me. I feel it would be my duty as a student representative to ensure that people aren’t left feeling unequal and out of the loop in terms of communication. I would aim to do this by encouraging all representatives to meet up and regularly discuss their ideas and intentions for the future and current benefit of students.
  • I would like to forward the idea of making maintenance costs more manageable for students when they first arrive. It is a stressful time as it is without having the worries of ID card charges and printing credit on top of it. I would like to propose that students are credited with an initial small allowance of printing credit to get them started in their semester and, if possible, look into the other costs around.
  • I would like to do everything I can to make the university feel like a home away from home for international students. I would do this by making sure there are activities available for everyone where they can meet with others from their countries and talk about how they feel.
  • I would like to make sure that students are well represented and aware of all the extracurricular activities around which are related to their course in order to help them with their career prospects. Obtaining feedback about the student experience through the course reps and other representatives through regular meetings would help me to achieve this.
  • I would like to maintain or improve the standards of accountability and communication between students and the student’s services (residential, personal hygiene facilities and maintenance, security, etc).
  • I feel talking with members of the prior alumni could be beneficial both to the current board as well as students as it would be insightful and a great chance to exchange ideas, for example, career prospects and experiences.
  • I will listen to everyone’s ideas and always have their best interest at heart. I want to feel like a friend to them, someone they can talk to comfortably and with confidence. Implementing procedures and taking action with the utmost care is important, and so are the beliefs and values of the students, so I will always consider these when it comes to making any decisions.

To achieve all these, I need your support to act as the voice of students in the university to the best of my ability. So, vote for me (Avinash Miriyam) as your Student Union President and support me as your representative across all platforms in the university, together as a team.

Screenshot_20200312-220639_Facebook

Visit the SU website to cast your vote. Polls close on March 20th at 2 PM.

Images: Avinash Miriyam

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. Contact the editor for more information.

‘AHSS Faculty Rep – Why Me?’ – SU Election 2020

By Ciéra Cree – AHSS Faculty Representative Candidate – Arts, Humanities and the Social Sciences are important, intelligent and beautiful areas of study…

By Ciéra Cree – AHSS Faculty Representative Candidate

Hello, readers of The Ruskin Journal! You may have seen me around here before (*admin and writer waves*) but this time I have a slightly different sort of write up for you!

20200308_161404

Arts, Humanities and the Social Sciences are important, intelligent and beautiful areas of study. I am running for the position of AHSS Faculty Representative because of my genuine passion for these areas, as well as my passion for the experience of others in our university.

I may often be quietly spoken but I’m a person with a loud mind filled with ideas and a great love for creativity. As a person who dabbles in many things that work collaboratively with Media Studies (my chosen course), such as photography, article work and creative writing, I feel I am a good candidate to represent the collective student voice for this broad sector.

It’s vital that we all have the opportunity and comfortability to express how we feel about our courses and class atmosphere, and it would be my aim as a representative to ensure not only that people are able to do just this, but also that areas highlighted for improvement or consideration are brought to the attention of those appropriate.

20200308_155752

During my gap year before studying here, I worked alongside the National Centre for Writing gathering experience as well as relevant information and contacts within the industries of Media and Literature fields which has proven to be very beneficial. Before doing so I had no idea of just how many opportunities there are available out there for us creatives – something I feel a lot of students can relate to. In light of this, I would additionally aim to do all I can to have opportunities well advertised for people, as well as be there as a point of contact for those perhaps wanting a hand from someone who’s had some experience in regards to gaining connections.

For anyone curious about specifics, some of the other places I have worked with or have contact with include the Young Artists In Suffolk Collective, the Young Norfolk Arts Trust + Arts Festival, the Royal Society of Literature and BBC Radio Norfolk. The term ‘artists’ in these places is broad and refers to anything under the umbrella of creativity. ‘Arts Award’ Qualifications as well as submission platforms for artwork, written work and photography are things I can additionally introduce students to if they wish.

20200310_124024

Currently, I am a Course Rep as well as a writer and administrator for The Ruskin Journal. I feel the prior experience of being a rep in combination with the fact that I can offer students advice, ideas and/or some guidance make me a good candidate for this position.

Alongside these creative passions and assistance I can offer, in regards to Humanities and Social Sciences, they are also areas that I value deeply as an ex-student of Sociology and Philosophy. They are so interesting and thought-provoking – it would be great to encourage students from these areas to engage in the likes of debates, events and talks with others!

I will listen to everyone’s thoughts, concerns and ideas equally and without judgement. I want to be a safe space for people where they feel that they can be honest, open and heard.

We are here to learn but also, of course, to enjoy our time and make the most out of the blank canvas presented before us. There are so many possibilities for the year(s) ahead, and it would be an honour to have a hand in making the student experience here for people better.

20200308_155752

Visit the SU website to cast your vote. Polls close on March 20th at 2 PM.

Images: Ciéra Cree & Daniel Miller

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. Contact the editor for more information.

‘Omkar for Vice President, Business & Law’ – SU Election 2020

By Omkar Singh – Business & Law Vice Presidental Candidate – I am Omkar. I am pursuing a Master’s in International Business and I am running…

By Omkar Singh – Business & Law Vice Presidental Candidate

Hello ARUians,

I am Omkar. I am pursuing a Master’s in International Business and I am running for Vice President (Business & Law). I received my Bachelor’s in Business Administration in 2017 and then I went on starting my two own start-ups (stumansys.com and Raauni Industries). Being in’ and growing in’ Business sector is always what I dream of. Today at ARU, I’ am here to explore the unexplored, learn and socialise. Ups and downs and failures have made me a man with stronger intellect and embedded prominent qualities such as emotional intelligence, patience, self- confidence, ability to move out of comfort zone and being an optimist.

I was in my 7th grade when the seed of leadership sown in me. Since then I actively participated in school and college-level student unions. Being a class representative addressing the whole school, the journey was filled with great learnings. I acquire zeal to serve society irrespective of any differences. I have done various social activities such as teaching 20 underprivileged children every day for free, I use to weekly teach in OMKAR for Vice-president (Business and Law) government-run schools where the actual quality of education was left undelivered. I also collaborated with multiple NGOs (Non-Governmental Organization) or NPOs (Non-Profit Organisations) to bring awareness and make people understand the importance of each vote in general elections.

My Ideology: “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which means “the world is one family”.

thumbnail_image2
Campaign Poster – Omkar Singh

My ARU Experience:

During the first week of the university, I had to go through difficulties in finding accommodation and maintaining hygiene food and also coping up with studies at the same time. It also took me a while to understand the system but hopefully I covered up as quickly as possible. I find our earlier batches of Student union executive post and all the societies have done a marvellous job, If not student life wouldn’t have been that smooth as it is now. Hence I prepared my manifesto after going through intensive research on students and collecting the feedback and problems they faced. The demographics of the research includes diverse student base. Therefore, the manifesto prepared by me is not be considered as my one-sided opinion rather than it is your manifesto, it is every student’s manifesto.

20200313_163937

What I will do after winning elections!

1. I will be the voice of each and every student and make sure everyone’s voice is heard to all the academic levels.

Being in an executive position I shall conduct quarterly meetings with all the course reps and faculty reps to understand their issues and follow the proper hierarchical level, it will solve the issues of most of the class and students. I shall also organise stalls and give an open invitation to all the students to directly approach me in order to solve any kind of issues or challenges they face in and around the campus.

2. I will bring structure to make our classrooms easily accessible to disabled students.

I have seen that our classrooms be to be seminar or lecture halls are not well structured to provide user-friendly ambience to disabled students. I will focus on making our university user-friendly to all disabled students (eye blindness/ wheelchair/ left-handed seating chairs)

3. I will conduct job fair events for all the students in order to place them in a job after studies and also provide an opportunity for internships and part-time jobs.

Every student desires to get placed after studies in any of the reputed organisation. Hence keeping the importance of jobs I will create employment programs or job fairs in order to help all my fellow friends to achieve their goals. The programs will also be conducted to find them an internship in placement year.

4. Our canvas and e-vision will be taken into consideration for making it more user friendly.

Canvas and e-vision are not user friendly. They are not aligned in a way that can be understandable. We have a lot of resources available on canvas but they are not actually placed in a proper format. I will bring a change in this system by merging canvas with e-vision and Turnitin. This would decrease perplexity and we can also avoid using three different platforms, which will, in turn, be merged in one.

5. Extra one-hour tutorial classes to be conducted where there shall be no teaching but only to clarify academic doubts and assignments

From the previous records and feedback, we have found out that students are demanding extra lecture hours and they feel that the class hours are not justified with the fees charged. This is completely a valid point. I shall take this matter further and go through certain more feedbacks from students and faculties and execute an extra one hour class for the courses. The main objective of this extra class will be just to clear our doubts and this class will not include normal teaching sessions.

6. Conducting more social events in and around the campus.

This is the need of the hour, I understand that there many events going in and around the campus every week but still students fail to turn up. I will understand the demographics and come up with own survey and find out what students actually like and create teams for each themed event.

7. To well maintain university-run accommodations and a special focus on rents and other charges. Private accommodations will be brought under one roof.

I have been to university-run accommodation to collect data about how students feel about their stay but unfortunately, it was disappointing that they were not happy with either pricing or maintenance. I will make sure to visit and note down the issues related to maintenance and pricing structure of the university-run accommodations will also be taken into consideration.

Reach out to me on Facebook.

20200313_163956

Visit the SU website to cast your vote. Polls close on March 20th at 2 PM.

Images: Omkar Singh

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. Contact the editor for more information.

‘Let’s Talk About the Union’ – SU Election 2020

By Joshua Wade – AHSS Vice Presidential Candidate – It’s time for change, not more of the same. Since 2017, I have been studying Politics here at Anglia Ruskin…

Let’s Talk About the Union. Successes, Failures and Why It’s Time to Vote Joshua Wade for Vice President of AHSS

By Joshua Wade – AHSS Vice Presidential Candidate

It’s time for change, not more of the same. Since 2017, I have been studying Politics here at Anglia Ruskin. Although my time here has been extremely great: making friends, improving academically, and growing as a person, I believe that a lot can be achieved to improve your Union and the University. By definition, a union should be there to represent you – the student. The Union has done some good, such as global week and freshers fair, but they have also achieved some great failures. Most notably, not fighting to keep Books Plus. As a result, students that started in September are now up to £1,200 worse off by the time they have finished their studies. The nursery was torn down, scrapped, and not replaced leaving mature parent students having to choose between studying or parenting. The final failure is the most damming. According to their own accounts, which are public for all to see, they lost £37,000* in the last fiscal year (2018/19). I am running because I want to keep what’s good and fix what’s bad. I have a fight on my hands, and I am a happy outsider.

Many of my opponents are heavily tied into the SU, either as employees or course reps. I admire their commitment to our Union. They have experience in dealing with the SU, strong ties with current representatives and have a clear passion for the Union. However, sometimes being so close to an institution can mean you fail to see the serious shortcomings. As an outsider, I can bring a fresh perspective into the Union – one that is more akin to the average student. Since I started my journey at ARU, I have been listening to students that don’t feel part of the Union, observing the removal of Books Plus and recently been concerned about my EU national friends. I am seriously passionate about making current and future students experiences better than mine. A Student Union that is a Union, not just in name only. A University that puts the priorities of the students first, not the meaty wages of senior management. We need change, not more of the same. Here are my 3 flagship policies to transform this ‘Union’ into a Union for all students.

20200314_121744
  1. Bring Back Books Plus. It is a shame that the Union capitulated over the issue of Books Plus. The ill-informed substitute isn’t good enough, and the unnecessary obsession of addressing inequality is hurting all students. Inequality is a serious issue in wider society, and it must be addressed. However, as students, we are all in the same boat. The removal of Books Plus hasn’t reduced inequality – it’s just made all students poorer.
  2. Putting the mental in health. Being a student, particularly in your final year, is a daunting and stressful moment. Do you ever look at the mounting piles of work that you have, and think “how am I going to get through this”? As a third-year with a mountain of work, I know how you feel. The Union must make mental health a top priority. Loneliness, anxiety, depression and stress are all factors that need to be addressed urgently. My plan to combat these issues is to not only increase mental health provisions, but also to ensure the SU supports students who need that little bit of help.
  3. Brexit doesn’t have to mean students exit. We must support EU students through this stressful period, particularly with the threat of a no-deal Brexit as the transition period ends in December 2020. We can, and must, lobby the government to ensure the rights and protections for EU students are guaranteed. Non-EU students must also be protected as the UK is going through a change of direction in the world. An open, inclusive and embracing society that welcomes all students from all backgrounds and all nationalities is vital for the health of Universities across the UK.

So, why should you vote for me? I want to make the Students Union a true Union, sticking up for the rights and expectations of all students. It is scandalous that the Union didn’t fight for Books Plus. We cannot allow such a lack of willingness to fight for students interests to continue. A vote for me is a vote for a passionate fighter. I will not stop championing your views, your interests and your concerns as I believe the students of this University deserve better. If you elect me as Vice President for AHSS, I will answer to you, and to you only.

Here is a link to my full manifesto for you to see – http://bit.ly/2PJDQmw

Visit the SU website to cast your vote. Polls close on March 20th at 2 PM.

* This figure was amended on March 10th. Previously, this article indicated a loss of £150,000. This figure did not take into account pension contributions and other factors. After discussions with the Students Union, the true figure is a £37,000 loss. These figures can be found here.

Image: Arnaud Jaegers on Unsplash

Disclaimer: This article has not been edited by The Ruskin Journal. The Journal will publish similar submissions from other election candidates that want to get involved. Contact the editor for more information.

Calling All Students: Make Your Voice Heard!

By Joshua Dowding – As I’m sure you know by now, another general election is upon us. Though it seems like an eternity since we last went to the polls, on December 12th the country will be asked once again to decide it’s future…

By Joshua Dowding

As I’m sure you know by now, another general election is upon us. Though it seems like an eternity since we last went to the polls, on December 12th the country will be asked once again to decide it’s future. Some pundits have already branded it as the ‘Brexit Election’, but I feel it’s important to consider some of the wider issues facing the country now, and in the near future. There’s a whole lot more going on in the world right now: climate change, the ongoing refugee crisis, and the rise of the political fringes just to name a few. Of course you should consider Brexit, of course some of these issues bleed into the Brexit debate, but try not to make this election all about one issue. Cast your vote based on a whole range of issues that are important to you, and don’t follow the pack. This is your opportunity to make your voice heard.

What’s at stake?

Every constituency in the country is up for grabs in the upcoming general election. There are 650 constituencies in the United Kingdom, each representing between 56,000 and 72,000 constituency members (depending on where you live), and a single seat in the House of Commons.

How does an election work?

The name of the game is to get a majority, and for any one party to gain a majority, 326 members of that party must first be elected to the House of Commons. Each party tries to field a candidate for each constituency, though sometimes a party may not field a candidate for a particular constituency due to a pact they’ve made with another party, or because they just don’t have enough candidates.

With the first-past-the-post voting system we have in the United Kingdom, the candidate with the most votes wins the constituency, and thus a seat in parliament. However, that candidate may only secure 39% of the total votes cast with the other candidates securing the remaining 61% of votes. What counts is that each of those remaining candidates did not secure more votes than the victor despite amassing more votes than they did in total. For better or worse, the current system favours the person with the 39% mandate, over the people with the 61% lead. To combat this system, you might want to research into ‘tactical voting’. I’ll leave that up to you.

At a national level, the party with the most elected members, or MPs, wins the election. However, since the name of the game is to get a majority, the party with the most elected MPs may still lose out on a commanding position in parliament by failing to gain that majority. This is referred to as a ‘hung parliament’ where no one party has a majority in the House of Commons. At this point, the party with the most elected MPs must try to form a government by either partnering with another party or by forming a ‘minority government’. The former may (I stress ‘may’) prove beneficial if the winning party can find another with similar political views, whereas the latter would mean that the government might find it difficult to pass their legislation due to a lack of a majority in the House.

In advance of the election, each party will release its manifesto outlining what they intend to do should they win the majority – at least in theory. And while it’s easy to dismiss them, they do provide some insight into the party’s priorities and leanings. So they might be worth a skim at least.

It’s important to remember that voters do not elect the Prime Minister themselves. The person that’ll become the PM is either the current leader of the party that wins, or the leaders of the parties that enter into a coalition, or they’re elected by the parties themselves (sometimes after-the-fact).

How do I know if I’m eligible to vote?

It’s not enough to be 18 and over to vote in UK general elections. Voters will also need to be a registered British citizen with a residential address somewhere in the United Kingdom, or – for those living abroad – must have previously registered to vote within the past 15 years. Qualifying citizens of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland (especially if they were born in Northern Ireland), Cyprus, or Malta, may also be eligible to vote as well. However, EU citizens living in the UK on a permit will not be allowed to vote in the upcoming election at all. Again, make of that what you will.

Prospective voters aged between 16 and 17 may also register to vote, though they will not be able to participate in this upcoming election unless parliament decides to extend the franchise to those people. EU citizens are in a similar situation here.

How do I get involved?

You can vote in one of three ways: in-person, by post, or by proxy. Regardless of which you choose, you will first need to register to vote.

  • To register to vote, follow this link. The deadline is midnight on Tuesday, November 26th. It takes a few minutes at most, but don’t leave it until the last minute! It will take some time for your name to be added to the electoral register once you’ve registered.
  • To apply to vote by post, follow this link. The deadline date is the same as registration, but the time is slightly earlier at 5 PM. Voters in Northern Ireland can also apply to vote by post, though you’ll need to provide a reason as to why you cannot vote in person in your case.
  • To apply to vote by proxy, follow this link. The deadline for applications is the same as voting by post.

If you intend to vote by post, or by proxy, you will need to make a separate application in addition to your electoral registration. These applications must be made in-time – any applications received after the deadline will be rejected even if it was the fault of the postal service that it wasn’t received in time.

How does ‘in-person’ voting work?

Voting takes place at designated polling stations. Before the election, voters will receive a polling card telling you which station you are registered to vote at. These stations open at 7 AM on the day (December 12th), and remain open until 10 PM. After that, the station will close to the public.

When you arrive at a polling station, the ballot officer will ask you for your name and address so that they can find you on the electoral register. Be sure to have some form of identification on you just in case you’re asked for it. Then you will be given a ballot paper and shown to a polling booth. You are expected to put a cross in the box next to the name of the candidate you wish to vote for. Putting a tick, a circle, or anything else in that box will spoil your vote. Once you’ve finished, fold the ballot paper in half, exit the polling booth and drop the paper into the ballot box. That’s it, you’re done.

The results are declared through the night as each constituency office counts its votes. The count might spill into the following morning depending on how quickly each constituency declares it’s results, and whether there are any recounts.

How does voting by post or proxy work?

If you intend to vote by post, providing that you’ve registered to do so, you will receive your ballot paper in the mail close to the date of the general election. You must fill in the ballot paper as you would at a polling station, and return it in the envelope provided. If you think your postal vote won’t make it in time, you can take the sealed letter to your local polling station instead.

Voting by proxy means that you’d like someone else to vote on your behalf in your absence. Your proxy would vote as normal, though they would receive two ballot papers instead of one. Your proxy of choice must be trustworthy and registered to vote themselves.

Should I get involved?

Yes, absolutely. Every vote counts, literally. It’s a numbers game after all. One vote could make all the difference – that could be your vote. After all, voting is anonymous, so as long as you don’t tell anyone, no one will find out which way you voted. Nobody needs to know.

Lastly, there’s been a lot of talk about the ‘two-party system’ as of late. According to the BBC, every election since 1922 has been won by either the Labour party or the Conservative party. But in the years since the infamous 2016 EU referendum, a number of alternative parties have sprung up in an attempt to disrupt this system. Together with some of the smaller established parties, a credible force could be brewing here to take on the two-party system for the first time in nearly a century. Could be worth a look? I’ll leave it to you.

Last Word

For more information on how to vote – especially if you’re voting from abroad – follow this link to the official government website. Register to vote; make your voice heard!

Sources

‘General election 2019: A really simple guide’ (BBC – 1/11/19)
‘General election 2019: How political parties choose election candidates’ (BBC – 10/11/19)
‘Register to vote’ (gov.uk)
‘How to vote’ (gov.uk)
‘Minority government’ (parliament.uk)

Image: Steve Houghton-Burnett on Unsplash

The SU Election Results Night (2018)

 By Hanushka Karnani & Kiana Rad

On Friday 9th March, the SU Election Results took place at the Academy on the Cambridge Campus of ARU. There was a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere as soon as entered the venue, it was apparent that there was an ambience of excitement and nerves amongst all the potential candidates. They were all eagerly wishing one another good luck and assuring each other that whatever happens they’ve done their best. The good-sportsmanship alone was one of the many reasons why this year’s elections may have been the best one yet.

The event took off with the candidates getting settled into the party atmosphere, buying drinks and socialising with their competitors and other attendees. Once everyone was ready, the ceremony begun with Daniel Login, the Deputy Returning Officer for The Election, taking to the stage to welcome the audience and begin announcing the long-anticipated results. For those who were unable to attend the eventful evening, the highlights have been recorded and posted on the Anglia Ruskin Student Union Facebook page. You can also visit the Student Union Instagram page or their Twitter feed to catch up on all the details of last Fridays results

IMG_5928
Everyone was in high spirits, filling up the Academy which is based in Cambridge.

The first categories announced were Trans Students’ Representative for Cambridge and the LGBT+ Students’ Rep (Cambridge). The winners for these categories were Michael Turner, as the new Trans Students’ Rep and Luca Girardi as the re-elected LGBT+ Students’ Rep with a lead of 49 votes. Both candidates kept their speeches short and sweet, thanking the audience for their support and swiftly leaving the stage to re-join their fellow competitors. This was followed by intervals of dramatic movie soundtracks to enhance the competitive feel of the event.

After the first interval, the next two categories announced was the Disabled Students’ Rep (Cambridge), won by student Juliet Onuoha and the BME (Black & Minority Ethnic) Students’ Rep (Cambridge), won by Blessing Raimi from the campaign team SU 4 YOU. Once again, both candidates delivered short but thankful speeches to the crowd.

IMG_5927
The campaign used LEGO figures and bricks, which provided a colourful aesthetic to the whole experience and signified strength from the new team.

The night continued by introducing the Science & Technology Faculty Reps. The first category announced was the FST Faculty Representative for Cambridge, won by Jamie Smith, our current Students’ Union President who after two years of making significant changes for the university has decided to take on a new role within the faculty alongside her studies. We took her aside for a quick interview, asking her about her experience as the President and how she’s felt about this year’s election.

HANUSHKA AND KIANA: “How are you feeling about the elections this year and your new role after stepping down as president?”

JAMIE: It’s nice to have the confirmation from students that you did well, also its really really nice that some of the people who have been elected in I haven’t met before the elections and they’ve obviously gone to so many students and informed them on the changes they wanted to make and made them think “Yeah I believe in this person”. So I’m really excited to see that it’s not just the typical keenos [sic] that are getting the roles, it’s exciting that some candidates have just spoken to other students and got their feedback to improve the university experience.

Candidates who have come in and said “I really want to do a good job for students” have said let’s just ask students what they want and written their manifestos based on what current students want. There have been some candidates who have gone on what I’ve done and what I’ve done is good for this year’s student but not necessarily good for next years students.

It’s a whole new calibre of students this year and I think that everyone cares and mental health has been on the top agenda and it’s really exciting especially for me”

IMG_5930
Current President Jamie Smith takes to the stage alongside Daniel Login.

H&K: “Yeah It’s amazing that so much attention is on mental health now!”

J: “Yeah I love that! It’s so good to see the turnaround. Everyone that ran this year should be so proud of themselves.

H&K: “I mean c’mon [sic] that’s also due to you as well giving that impact on others as President.”

J: “I hope so, I think my team this year have done a fantastic job. I think they’re all very different and they’ve all done great things and it’s a testament to the role that three of my officers have run for full-time roles again which I’m super proud of! It’s really nice for them to be like “I’m not done yet, I have so much more to offer”. The only thing I’m upset about is not all three of them are going to get in.”

The next category announced was Vice President for Science and Technology which was won by Matt Hayes of Team SUpreme with a total of 495 votes. As he ran up on stage, he jokingly asked his audience to wait silently for his mother to pick up the phone so that he can tell her to live on stage to say that he won. His team cheered him on throughout his speech and jumped up to give him endless hugs and congratulations. After the overwhelming response to his win, we managed to pull him aside for a brief interview on how he feels to be the new VP of his faculty and discussing the changes he hopes to make in the future.

H&K: So how are you feeling after that overwhelming experience?

MATT: “Uhhh…disorientated”

H&K: We like what you did there with calling your mum on stage

M:I had so many things I wanted to do in my speech but I couldn’t do them all!

H&K: “So what are your next steps as VP?”

M: “So the first things that need to be looked at is reviewing the well-being and counselling services because they are not as good as they could be and the waiting time is six weeks to four months at the moment and even then some people aren’t getting the services they need. We need to collate the information and figure out where we can take it.

The Academy is absolutely popping tonight! We need more events like these, where people are just getting responsibly drunk, having a good time.”

H&K: “As third-year students, we haven’t seen the Academy this live since our first year because of other obligations, so what would you like to say about your work there?”

M: “So I’m the coordinator for the Audio Music Tech society so I run a vast majority if the events that happen at the Academy, and we occasionally get events like this and it’s such a good feeling when you’re doing sound and lights for an event and people are absolutely loving it. That’s one of my other main aims for my term is to create more of an interconnected community for societies to make it easier for societies to be like “let’s make a sick event”.

H&K: “Bringing people together basically, that’s great.”

M: “It’s just about putting people with common aims together”

H&K: “We noticed that you have a very strong support system, and seem to be one of the few candidates that had a large and encouraging team. Tell us a bit about that.”

M: “Obviously I had my absolutely incredible girlfriend, and friends in first year who’s I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I had the support of my slate and my slate’s campaign teams – even if there was a level of competition we’ve been constantly together all day every day. There is such a community atmosphere that I’m so grateful for.”

IMG_5929
A new friendship: the newly elected Vice Presidents of FST and FLAIBS Matt and Mary

After the third interval, we re-joined the crowd for the announcement of the Vice President of Health, Social Care, Education and Medical Science. The winning candidate was the bubbly re-elected Eliza Torres who ran up on stage with high energy and graciously thanked all her supporters and fellow competitors. Following this, was the FHSCE Faculty Representative for Cambridge which came to a draw between Tiegan Lawson and Camile Trancoso-Gordon. As a result of this, there was a coin toss to break the tie which resulted in Tiegan Lawson’s win.

The evening continued with the fourth interval, where candidates were bracing themselves for the announcement of the Vice President for Business and the first ever representative for ARU London. The candidate that was nominated as the first representative for ARU London was Oluwadamilare Ojewande who unfortunately was unable to make it to the event.

Following this, Mary Copsey was announced as the new Vice President of Business. The crowd was noticeably elated, especially her campaign team, Team SUpreme. She gave an inspiring speech as she was still in disbelief that she won, as a student who is fairly new to Anglia Ruskin. We addressed this in our interview with her, also asking about her personal experience about her campaign.

H&K: How are you feeling Mary?

MARY:I’m just like, so overwhelmed! Literally, I’m so excited because I really wanted this but not just for myself, it’s so many things like my manifesto just screams it. I just wanna [sic] implement and change things for the students.”

H&K: You seem to have a very supportive team as well?

MARY: “I honestly wasn’t expecting it! I know I’m in Business and I’m quite competitive, however, with this – you can ask my friends – this is just me like on a daily basis, I’m quite loud and chatty and to me, some of the stuff in my manifesto is really close to my heart and I’m already a course representative as well as a student ambassador and I do lots of volunteering, I’m always at the student councils and I know there’s the stuff that needs changing and I want to push that more.”

H&K: “So, what was it that made you want to take this role?”

MARY: “To be honest, I contemplated it for a little while – like I said, I’m quite active with the student rep and I’ve been to student council meetings and I actually got nominated – I got an email saying someone had nominated me and put me forward with a paragraph saying “Mary would be really good as VP, she cares so much for the students’’. That’s what made me go for it, but if I’m honest I’ve only been here since September so I just felt like I wasn’t sure because the people I was going up against have been here for many years, I thought they would be much more popular than me so I just you know what, I’m just going to go for it!

The final Vice President to be announced was for Arts, Law and Social Sciences where Amanda Campbell White won with 516 votes, the third member of Team SUpreme to win. Her team showered her with affection as she gradually approached the stage, shaken and overwhelmed by the landslide win.

Then the ALSS Faculty Representative (Cambridge) winner was announced and Alex Mead won the position. In our brief discussion with him, we asked him how he was feeling and he was visibly overjoyed, saying that “I’m so thankful for people supporting me and spreading the word…loads of emotions there, I’m proud of myself and proud of my team”.

IMG_5931
Relaxing after a victory in the faculty rep elections

Last but not least, the President was announced, and winning with 829 votes was no other than current Vice President of Science and Technology, Laura Douds. Whilst the crowd was chanting her name, she got on stage and urged everyone to give a round of applause for the other competitors running for President as well as all other roles. She took her to win with grace and took a moment to embrace her new team for the upcoming year. She gave the Ruskin Journal this quote about her win:

“At the time it was really exciting – and it still is a few days later! I was so tired and so nervous all week, so it was really fantastic to know that all the hard work had paid off and that people believed in me. In terms of next year: first things first, I need to get to know my team and what I think they’re going to need from me. I know Eliza already so that’s good – but there are three officers who I don’t know yet! I want to hit the ground running with my rent campaign once the new officers get settled and hopefully we’ll make some good progress on that. Mostly I want my team to be successful and happy!”

IMG_5932
The new Student Union Officer Team of 2018-2019 celebrating together and ready to begin a new chapter at the SU

Overall, the evening was a success and win or lose, all the candidates seemed humbled by the end result. We hope to follow up with the candidates next year in their new roles, and in another article over the next few months, chat with the current officer team about their tenure at the Students’ Union. For now, it’s time to celebrate Global Week, and give all the candidates a well-earned break!

Images: Hanushka Karnani

The Student Union Election – Last Day!

The Anglia Ruskin Student Union’s election is almost over! From 9am, 5th March – 3pm, 9th March, you will be have been able to vote on a number of important positions within the SU. This week is your chance to have your say and nominate the people who you think will best represent the SU, your course and student life. There are still a few hours left before the vote closes!

You will have the power to nominate a President, four Vice Presidents, four faculty reps and six campaign reps. Those voted in will attend essential meetings on what is going on within the University and will ensure that student voices are not just heard, but acted on. Having just gone down to the busy voting station in Helmore corridor, it is clear that a lot of students are invested in who runs their SU.

I spoke to the ALSS Representation Coordinator Caliana Jakes on why she thinks it is so important for students to have their say. “It’s important for students to choose their leaders as they will represent them for the next year, and they could really make a change.”

So make sure to vote! Around campus there are plenty of posters from all of the candidates that give you a quick breakdown of their manifesto’s, or visit http://www.angliastudent.com/election/ to read their full manifesto so you have an idea of what candidate best represents what you think the SU should be doing for the next year. You can vote on the SU website, or by the stalls on campus (where I see they are giving away sweets and stickers for those who have voted!)

Get voting here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/agreement/337/

By Hollie Luck

9th January 2018

Meet the Candidates: Coverage of the Student Union Election (2018)

By Elle Haywood & Hanushka Karnani

On Thursday the 1st of March, ‘Meet the Candidates’ was held at The Academy, in the heart of the ARU Cambridge Campus. An enjoyable event where a number of people from all faculties of the University came together to meet the eligible candidates of this year’s Anglia Ruskin University Student Union Election. After some light-hearted conversation with the other attendees including our current President Jaime Smith at the bar, the assembly took off by introducing the prospective candidates running for the position of Vice President of the four different faculties; Arts Law and Social Sciences, Lord Ashcroft International Business School, Science & Technology and Health, Social Care, Education / Medical Science. Then the position of President rounded off the evening. Despite the event starting half an hour late and overrunning, everyone in attendance appeared to be in high spirits talking to and about the other candidates.

Candidacy for the Vice Presidency of Science and Technology

To kick start the evening, the candidates for the position of Vice President for the Faculty of Science and Technology presented themselves to the crowd, giving a little insight into their manifestos and taking on the spot questions. The VP position for Science and Technology Faculty had the most candidates running for office, and there was a fierce sense of competition between them. We will go briefly through each candidate, summarising their talk and presenting points from their manifesto, which you can read in detail here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/candidates/337/ 

Leon Staffa began the evening talking about his vision for the department which was highly student-focused and made a point to talk about the importance of accountability with the faculty board. He is part of the #AllStars team in collaboration with other students, and pressed on the issues of mental health and inclusivity. Leon’s thoughts during questioning on mental health, prompted the response from him saying the university needs to be more visible, honest and open about the subject, and wanting to get more FST trained in using faculty equipment when asked about equipment access. Read his manifesto here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8614/

Zinnia Thorpe was next up, and her wealth of experience as a course rep and as a society president meant that she had clearly invested time, passion and effort into her studies and the student experience. She is a second-year Marine Biology with Biodiversity and Conservation student and has teamed up with #SU4U. Her focus was on the biodiversity and sustainability of the university, which if she were to become VP of the faculty, and help to get students involved in these projects. She also mentioned wanting to provide free environmentally friendly menstrual and contraceptive products to students. During questioning, her responses to faculty equipment access included wanting more computer rooms for FST students, out of hour access and more application software, and the ARU words about herself were: Ambitious, Realistic and Unity.. This is her manifesto: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8743/

The next candidate to the stage was David Cheeseman, 3rd-year biomedical sciences student, who focused on course-based networking, pushing for Student social spaces and ensuring there are enough resources in the faculty. His previous experience in a society shows his student involvement, clear competence and has education at the forefront of his plans. David spoke about mental health being interested in courses to prevent people from slipping through the net, and described his ARU words as being Agile, Resourceful and Understanding. His manifesto can be found here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8806/

The energetic Alexander Towey took to the stage next with a fresh bout of confidence, speaking about his plans for student engagement / involvement and cooperation in and around the faculty. Alexander is currently in his 3rd year studying Electronic Engineering. His manifesto talks about having fair and equal opportunities for all students. When asked about facility equipment, he agreed about there being more software access for FST students, and when asked to describe himself in the letters ARU, he responded: Articulate, Resourceful and Uncanny. You can read more about his manifesto here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8804/

And finally for the position of Vice President (Science & Technology) was Matt Hayes, who studies Audio and Music Technology, and who was vibrantly passionate about society coordination and integration. His time working with the AMT society meant that he’s worked closely with other students in the faculty providing external skill practice alongside his duties as Course Rep. He spoke consistently about mental health awareness and focus; a very topical current issue, and wanted to push for more faculty forums. During questioning, he said that ARU and the SU must push to decrease weekday service waiting time for appointments, pressing for Compass House to have 24/7 access and have FST related software in the library. He is also part of #TeamSUpreme, and his ARU words were: Amazing (at listening), Really (bad at thinking on the spot) and Unimaginably (proud). Here is his manifesto: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8777/

7583850000_IMG_0965
People attending the event chilled at the bar for a few drinks in-between speeches

Candidacy for the Vice Presidency of Health, Social Care and Education / Medical Science

The next faculty in line for their speeches and question time was the Faculty of Health, Social Care, Education and Medical Science. This was the lowest contested position with only two candidates: current VP Eliza Torres and MA in Education student Fraser Luther-Yarwood. Only Fraser attended the Cambridge MTC evening, but we have some details from Eliza’s questioning in Chelmsford earlier that week.

Fraser spoke about his hopes to campaign to reduce funding and course fees, increase communication in the department and for students to have more access to important resources. He is a Masters Education Studies student and has been at ARU for 4 years, and for the election is part of the #AllStars team. It was mentioned that many students based in Cambridge in the FHSCE Department felt isolated from the university – and his response was that there should be more video conferences, better feedback process and more resources shared across campuses. He also responded that there should be more extended mental health sessions and for the faculty to have a new identity with creative branding and be proud of the faculty. In his manifesto he also speaks about being part of 3/4 SU & sports societies and is an advocate for international student and LGBTQ+ rights. This is his manifesto: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8724/

In Eliza’s online manifesto, her key points are: 1) Mature student space, 2) Continued Cultural GIAG and minority group representation. Also, 3) More lobbying against cuts to the NHS and fighting for bursaries for paramedic students; nursing students and 4) Continued FREE cross-campus Monthly De-stress events. She has also successfully carried out 4 campaigns in her current role. During the Chelmsford MTC event, when asked about contact with students on placement, Eliza responded stating that she needs to re-think hours and the definition of 9-5, whilst also doing evening work to fit in with students. She has teamed up with #SU4U. This is her manifesto: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8799/

7583850000_IMG_0970
An introduction to the intense and lively evening 

Candidacy for the Vice Presidency of the Lord Ashcroft International Business School 

The runners for the LAIBS faculty, were the third group of candidates to present themselves to the audience. Three of the candidates; Mary Corpsey, Michael Graham and Jamie Hall were at the event however the fourth candidate for this position, Tammy Redersdorf- Marquis was unable to attend. Each individual was given the chance to demonstrate their ideas from their manifestos and attempted to give solutions to the problems they felt the need of bringing to the table.

Michael Graham member of the #AllStars team and is a third-year student in Business Management who has not only been his course rep but his entire faculty rep too. His manifesto indicates how student diversity is key to his ambitions as VP as well as describing how he will ‘collaborate with course-based societies’ within the LAIBS faculty to ensure students make the most of their degree. Graham also seemed determined to bring upon issues such as living costs and teaching excellence if he were voted in as a VP. His manifesto and personal profile can be read here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8609/

Human Resource post-grad student Mary Corpsey – also a volunteer and student ambassador- brought upon a number of distinct issues compared to that of Graham. In her manifesto as well as her speech at last Thursday’s ‘Meet the Candidates’, she described how she will introduce new ventures such as more Career Awareness and Internship opportunities for prospective graduates, as well as creating a Support Package as an alternative to Books Plus for international students. She is also on #TeamSUpreme for this election. You can read her manifesto here on the SU website: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8739/

Similar to Graham’s collaboration of coursed based societies – Jamie Hall is aiming to increase the number them and have more societies related to the subjects of Business and Management. His manifesto also states on ‘improving employment and networking opportunities’ as well as creating stronger relationships with other local companies to introduce more internship and placement opportunities for students at ARU. Hall has been Course Rep for the last three years and is currently the president of the International Business Society, whilst being on the team #SU4U Jamie’s manifesto can be read here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8803/

Fourth runner for VP LAIBS, Tammy Redersdorf- Marquis a second-year Marketing Student had not made an appearance at the Academy this last Thursday, however after reading through her manifesto, it is clear that she, just like the rest of her opponents have introduced practical matters that need attention and is willing to work on them if she is elected the new VP of her faculty. Here is Tammy’s manifesto: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8629/

7583850000_IMG_0959
The campaign design for the SU election is a mixture of fun-loving childhood figures and a bold colour palette, which could suggest the diversity and range of candidates running

Candidacy for the Vice Presidency of Arts, Law and Social Sciences

After a short interval and some refreshments, the participants running for VP for the faculty of ALSS were brought to the stage to inform the crowd on what they can provide to the students at ARU. The prospective candidates for this position are; Amanda Campbell White, Chizoba Isu- Omo, James Morgans, Ryan Price, Demi Smith and Lars Woolnough of which only three were present at the affair and were able to deliver their speeches first hand to the assemblage.

#TeamSUpreme’s Amanda Campbell White, delivers a positive message through her manifestos, describing the many ways she will help in improving the ‘university and student experience’. By doing so she aims to begin the progress for a permanent student bar on the Cambridge Campus in addition to ‘improving social space and this being accessible to all students and societies.’ Campbell also describes how if she were elected she would enforce more ‘managing stress’ workshops and provide more creative outlets for stress relief.’ Campbell was not able to attend the MTC. This is her manifesto: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8796/

Chizoba Isu- Omo is a Media Studies student from Nigeria, with a ‘desire to inspire others in a higher cause through being cooperative, considerate and sympathetic.’ Isu-Omo’s focus is to improve the sites of the ALSS department in addition to ‘encourage co-operation and robust leadership amongst students and the department.’  Chizoba was not present at the MTC, and you can read her manifesto here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8607/

The next candidate to make their case as to why they should become the next Vice President for the faculty of ALSS is third-year Politics student James Morgan. The student was delegated course rep in his first year and is currently the representative for the LGBT society at Cambridge Campus. Morgan affirmed during his speech this past Thursday at the Academy that if he were to be elected for this role he would take upon matters relating to Societies, Representation, Student Health on Campus and The Academy. Morgan also stated he would look into issues in relation to the Library and Canteen as well as collaborating with the SU. This is his manifesto: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8795/

Demi Smith, a Masters student in English Literature and course representative aims to improve societies and collaboration of all students. Smith’s ‘Think Pink’ manifesto which she discussed throughout her time on stage, also stated she will focus on improving well-fare, sustainability and student representation. She also spoke about reaching out to employers and having a larger graduate job presence for ALSS students. She is clearly devoted to the welfare of students as well as their academic studies. You can read more about Demi’s plans here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8625/

Ryan Price is a 3rd Year BA Drama student, who was not able to attend the MTC either. HE speaks about wanting everyone’s voices to be heard at the university and to encourage democracy in voting. His policies include cutting the costs of printing, moving graduation to summer and encouraging creative/chill-out zones in the university for each campus. His manifesto can be read in detail here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8611/

The final participant to be running for this position for this year’s Students’ Union is second-year Graphic Design Student Lars Woolnough. The student’s manifesto pinpoints the areas he would focus on changing if he were to be voted as the upcoming Vice President for the ALSS Faculty; Societies, Accessibility of Resources, Mental Health and Teamwork. Woolnough’s speech at the ‘Meet the Candidates’ also discussed Unity at the university and the ways in which he will enforce this in the student community that exists in ARU. His manifesto can be read here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8617/

7583850000_IMG_0966
The evening was filled with close discussions between friends, the layout of the room splitting the rivals apart into teams to discuss their strategies for campaigning, and also giving a moral support to each other in this close election

Candidacy for President of the Student Union

Last but not least, it was time for the candidates running for President to take the centre stage and showcase their individuality and share their personal reasons as to why he or she should be nominated as President of Anglia Ruskin’s Student Union. The six candidates have brought upon a diverse range of matters to the public interest. Kaileb Bryant, Laura Douds, Randolph Fields, Wambui Gitau, Johanna Korhonen and Christopher Manson are the six prospective candidates for this position.

Third-year English Literature student Kaileb Bryant, also a course rep for three years demonstrated her aims and ambitions if she were to become the new representative of the Student Body. Throughout her discussion on stage, Bryant focuses on creating more destress events and hopes to build a stronger relationship between the University and the Student’s Union. She recognizes that students have different needs and for the SU to make more of an effort to connect with harder to reach students. She is on #TeamSUpreme and promotes the slogan, Kaileb Cares. One pledge that she would include that she hasn’t is the idea of student blogs and more involvement of students projects. This is her manifesto: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8772/

‘I will encourage and foster pride within our community’, says Laura Douds our current VP representing Science & Technology. Douds’ manifesto touches upon interesting issues such as ‘campaigning for affordable rent prices and investigate other housing issues’, as well as managing events during the Winter Break for students who aren’t able to go back to their homes over the holidays. Mental Health was once again brought the table in her talk at the Academy last Thursday evening stating she will help in making ‘improvements on counselling services’ on campus. She hopes to keep up her campaigning, keep an open ear to part-time student queries and support student societies/community. She also works with many societies and faculty boards at the moment which gives her additional experience for the role. She is also running with the #AllStars Team this election. You can read more about Laura’s plans here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8615/

Randolph Fields, 3rd-year Politics student, Course rep, and National Conference Delegate for ARU describes how if he were to be elected as President, his primary focus would be to empower the future students of this ever-growing university. At the event, he also implied how he would like to create more societies to target all everyone’s tastes and encourage a stronger bond between the SU and Anglia Ruskin University. He suggested there should be more cross-faculty cooperation and use his power as President to influence what happens to students. Randolph is also a National Conference Delegate for ARU. This is his manifesto: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8616/

The 4th candidate, as listed on the SU website, Wambui Gitau was not present at the event last Thursday, however, her key focuses are well- illustrated on her manifesto. Gitau aims to ‘collaborate with other universities to create more activities as she feels it could enhance the student experience. She also hopes to work with the university to provide more internships and work placements, organise more course trips and incorporate a Reading Week throughout the semester. Her manifesto can be accessed here: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8805/

Christopher Mason is next up on the list of potential candidates, he is currently doing a postgraduate in cybersecurity and has been at ARU for 4 years. Mason spoke about keeping up the university and student union relationship by being friendly, polite and helping to push through policies for the benefit of students. He appears keen to keep pushing for events for students, a potential student bar and stop the top-down filtration of management, whilst working closely with reps. He hopes to increase the productivity of students and making even the smallest voices heard within the university. You can read about Christopher’s plans in his manifesto: https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8732/

Finally, the last candidate for this role is the current ALSS Vice President Johanna Kohornen. Johanna spoke about her ambitions to carry on successful campaigns as she has done in her current role in the SU, and to keep in touch with students on a regular basis. She previously studied Media Studies for 3 years at ARU. She spoke about wanting to negotiate all submissions to being online, a better-renting guide for students and honour rep help and society pledges. One unique idea is having an SU blog and regular drop-in sessions for students, as well as pushing for inclusivity and efficiency. One pledge she would include that she did not would be more mental health awareness and highlighting the student experience. This is her manifesto in detail:  https://www.angliastudent.com/elections/manifesto/8745/

So with a large number of student and post-graduate candidates for roles across all sectors, it looks to be an exciting week of electing to campaign! Voting opened on Monday 5th March and will close on Friday 9th March. You can read more about the candidates, their personal reasons for running and their manifesto pledges here: https://www.angliastudent.com/news/article/union/Who-am-I-voting-for-in-the-Elections/

Keep up to date with election coverage on the Ruskin Journal and on the ARU SU website!

IMG_5372
A snapshot from our Instagram story about the evening

She’s Finally Snapped: What the Upcoming Election Could Mean For the Country and For You

By Ben Smyth – As many of you will be aware, be it from news outlets or Facebook memes, PM Theresa May has announced there will be a snap election held on June 8th…

By Ben Smyth

As many of you will be aware, be it from news outlets or Facebook memes, PM Theresa May has announced there will be a snap election held on June 8th. What you might not be aware of are the potential implications of this election, and where we could all be headed depending on its outcome.

Whatever way the election goes, there are likely going to be big changes in many aspects of our daily life and in the long term future of the country and its people, so let’s take some time to look over what these changes might be and how they will affect us so that when the time comes we all have a better idea of who, and more importantly what we are voting for.

​It makes sense to start with the party who have decided the election must take place, so let’s have a look at what a victory for the Conservatives could look like. The Conservatives have been in power since 2010, initially as part of a coalition government with the liberal democrats, and have been in complete control since their majority win in 2015. In those 7 years, they have put forward many considerable changes to the way this country works, and many people have not been satisfied with them, especially in the fields of austerity and the funding of public services, particularly the NHS.

With fewer taxpayers money being put into such services and instead of being used to help equalise the national debt acquired after the global financial crisis of 2008, many people have voiced concerns about the Conservatives being more concerned with the economic stability of the UK rather than the wellbeing and quality of life of its citizens.

Other issues raised by the public have been the Conservatives stance towards immigration, especially the acceptance of middle eastern refugees escaping persecution and murder from their corrupt governments, and most recently of all, the debacle of Brexit. So why has Theresa May chosen to call a snap election in six weeks time, especially after explicitly stating in several TV interviews that she would not do this?

Many people are saying that this is a power grab by the conservatives, trying to secure their political leadership before the ramifications of Brexit become a reality. In her most recent public appearance, May declared that Brexit is happening, and “there can be no turning back”. This has since been refuted by Antonio Tajani, leader of the European Parliament, who has stated that if there were to be another referendum and the public voted to remain in the EU, this would be totally possible and things would continue as if nothing had happened. This then may be an indicator of the Conservatives motivation for the snap election, as it would allow them to secure their political leadership for the next 5 years and carry through their plans for a hard Brexit without allowing an opportunity for the public to reconsider if Brexit is the best thing for us.

A victory for the conservatives in this election would also allow them to continue their plans of cuts to public funding, including disability benefits, public housing, and public education. A point of contention that many members of the public have with the current Conservative government is their apparent unwillingness to find different areas from which to take the money they need to repay the debt, by for instance introducing higher tax rates on the very wealthy, or taking a percentage of the country’s military budget, instead opting to take money from the sections of society who need it the most, notably their highly controversial “dementia tax” which would see elderly people suffering from severe illnesses having to pay for their own health and social care through selling their home to the government. In short, a Conservative win in the upcoming snap election will likely lead towards a hard Brexit, and further cuts to public funding that will make life more and more difficult for the average citizen of the UK, and especially so for those already at a disadvantage, such as people with severe disabilities, medical conditions, or financial issues.

​So then, if not the Conservatives, who? This is where the issue of the snap election becomes a bit more tricky because while you may feel very strongly that the Conservatives are not the party for you, because of the current state of the other parties and the very short notice at which this election has been called, the alternatives are far from perfect as well. Let’s take a look at the Conservatives’ historic rival, the Labour party.

After the highly questionable nature of Tony Blair’s leadership, culminating in now provenly unnecessary war in Iraq, leading to the deaths of many many UK servicemen and women, as well as countless Iraqi civilians, followed by the less disastrous but notably forgettable leadership of Gordon Brown, the Labour party has fallen out of favour in recent years, helping contribute to the Conservatives’ rise to power. Since then, the party has been the centre of a lot of media attention on the account of Jeremy Corbyn, the successor of Ed Miliband as leader of the Labour party after his resignation following the 2015 general election.

Corbyn has been the centre of much controversy on account of his very socialist views, leaning farther to the left than previous Labour leaders. This has, on one hand, won the hearts of many young voters, especially students like ourselves as he has pledged to immediately scrap university tuition fees for new students and write off the outstanding debt or current students or graduates. Many young people in the UK see him as the leader the country needs, but this has also made him very unattractive to the majority of older and more centralist voters, who see him as a dangerous figure who would sacrifice the economic power of the UK. This division exists not only within the voting public but also within the Labour party itself, which has essentially collapsed in on itself since Corbyn took the lead.

As a result of this, many people now see Labour as an unelectable party, as they have shown themselves to be divided, unguided, and unable to see the bigger picture of the political climate through their own infighting and creative differences. While many of the policies Corbyn has vowed to enact seem like they would benefit many people, such as increased funding to the NHS, nationalisation of the railways, and increasing minimum wage, and the deconstruction of the Trident nuclear programme, it is not unreasonable that many people do not want to be led by a party who appears to not even be able to lead themselves.

​So with the two main UK political giants, particularly the conservatives, showing a host of reasons to not vote for them, to whom do we turn? In an election such as this, rather than asking yourself who you want to win, perhaps ask yourself who you want to lose.

This is the decision we all have to make for ourselves, and this article has only shown you a small section of all the aspects we must consider. We are currently living through a period of great political uncertainty, both globally and locally, and all we can do is make sure that we don’t close ourselves off and become uninterested, because if we do that then we will have no grounds to complain if things do not go the way we want.

This snap election will determine the future of this country for at least five years, and if you plan to live here through those five years, why would you not take this opportunity to do what you can to make sure they are the best five years for you? We the 18-24-year-olds of this country are the smallest voting demographic yet we are the ones who will be most affected by the results, so we cannot let this opportunity evade us.

The ability to vote is a gift not given to all people, and we must make sure to use this gift to at least try to ensure a future that is worth staying for, so when you wake up on the 8th of June, don’t let your say on your future slip through your fingers, get down to the polling station, make your voice heard, and once you have enacted your fundamental right to contribute to your country’s leadership, go have a pint and wait for this to all blow over.

Image Credit: Stock Images