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QM Elections: Society Officer Candidates’ Interviews

Eve Bolt interviews the potentials

On Tuesday, I individually met up with the three candidates running for the role of Society Officer 2015/16.

Kehinde Ibrahim, for QMAssemble, is a second-year Law and Politics student and former Course Representative, who – through enthusiasm and grit – managed to implement the change in the University’s certification for Law and Politics graduates to the same as Law graduates, an LLB that is immediately recognised as opposed to the BA term.

Alice Green, for Union 4 U, is a second-year Geography student who spent her first year immersing herself in the University experience, specifically with the Sports Societies; she is currently considering a dissertation thesis in Care and Geography,  specifically on how the elderly are integrated into society as a whole.

Yasir Yeahia, running independently, is a first-year Politics student with experience as a Global Ambassador for education, which gave him the opportunity to speak at the National Union of Teachers and House of Commons. His visit to Guatemala taught him the valuable lesson that education equals opportunity.

After reading their responses to the next ten questions, it’s up to you to vote (here https://www.qmsu.org) for who you believe will make societies in the next year bloom and shine.

How do you intend to increase student interest in societies?

Y: Through cross-society events: integration, publicity and encouragement as a motivator and mediator. Using the email system to increase awareness and lecture shout-outs.

K: By particularly promoting the smaller societies; using Library Square at routine times to promote events; encouraging societies to get their faces and hearts out there more than just at the fairs.

A: Through enlightenment: promotions of the specific and diverse societies available to the student body, especially taking advantage of emails to communicate with and benefit both the students and the societies.

What do you think needs to change for societies to be more successful?

Y: There doesn’t need to be change as much as positive development – change gives the impression that something is lacking. The dedication that is especially seen with small societies, their passion as they fight for their beliefs, needs to be seen within every society so students recognise the potential of each one. With this, first year students will have the best opportunity to seek their identities through the myriad of societies QM offers.

K: There needs to be more motivation from the University itself for activities and more communication. A bridge needs to be built over the dangerous gap between societies and the Student Union that stops SU getting involved. This connection can be achieved through meetings with society-category specific representatives so a communal problem solving process may be initiated.

A: From discussions with current society representatives, it’s clear that funding and room availability are primary concerns that have led to dissatisfaction for all parties: societies, students and the Union. By increasing the variety of criteria necessary for funding application, these particular issues may be resolved.

Which society have you enjoyed being a part of the most?

Y: The Model UN has developed his public speaking. ISOC has given him space for his personal religious beliefs. The unity endorsed in his religion is a feature he wishes to espouse should he be elected. Participation in ideological societies has encouraged him to question and keep his mind continually open.

K: Her involvement in lots of competitions have trained her to be prepared and informed at all times. With the ACS, she has met exciting people and become friends with members of that society. Her involvement in societies has provided for both her social and spiritual needs.

A: Many of the sports-orientated societies, because that is where she was naturally attracted and felt most comfortable. Joining a society is a personal choice, and each society gives students the chance to meet people they share an interest with who they might not know from their course.

Why did you choose to be a society officer in particular?

Y: A dislike of reclusivity and exclusivity. He desires to dismiss these and encourage acceptance, boosting potential in societies to inspire present and future societies for a united legacy to be proud of.

K: The ability to reach out to a vast variety of students and initiate actual change, for instance to change excessive fees.

A: A desire to improve the whole Freshers Fair experience and make involvement with societies across the year more interactive and accessible on campus.

What defining characteristics make you perfect for this role?

Y: Tolerance, Unity, Equality.

K: Persuasiveness. She reached the semi-finals of negotiation competition and with her charismatic character she can connect to everyone . She knows results come not by magic but by might.

A: Approachability, an easy talker and organised. Her first-year immersion into the university experience is now a talent and a tool for her ambitions.

 

Which societies do you believe are missing from the University selection?

Y: A society would only be missing if there wasn’t an aspect of someone’s identity that they could express through it. His desire is to push for the expressions of identity.

K: She is impressed by current selection and seeks to maintain and represent the wealth of societies QM has to offer. There is an efficiency in the current societies and in the end, it’s about quality not quantity.

A: Students have the power to increase and maintain the host of societies.

What do you think is holding societies’ potentials back? 

Y: A lack of approachability from figures of authority.

K: The hierarchy of power disables confidence. Societies have the power, they need to use it. A Society Officer needs to be adaptable and approachable, which she aims to be.

A: Promotion and funding. There are over 140 societies and a lot of people aren’t aware of the majority of them. A plan for individual help for societies; through posters,emails and taking advantage of popular places students visit to advertise the fantastic experiences societies can give to tackle exclusivity. Research on QM Confessions has shown her students feel left out, which she plans to combat through bolstering awareness and working for more appropriate funds and fees.

Why do you think societies are important to the University experience? 

Y: A student’s identity is influenced by society and the societies they can join, and can be personalised by fostering a bespoke set of values from a variety of groups. It enables independence in students.

K: They add excitement, through activities and meeting people, and are a gift to CVs, as well as aiding the mental and physical states of a student dealing with the stresses of study.

A: They provide the social aspect of University, enabling a proactive attitude and creating more confident and involved students.

How do you intend to fairly promote all societies? 

Y: By using departments and course reps for connectablility and taking special advantage of first years’ energy, setting up a tag-team of encouragement through the years of study.

K: By not disengaging by waiting for them. Meetings for progress will be held as she works with the current system whilst improving along the way.

A: By making use of the outdoor space the campus has and improving the quality of the Freshers Fair, with more live tasters across the year.

Do you have any wild ideas to raise awareness and encourage participation? 

Y: In particular, involvement with external societies and in general spending the year elevating societies for success.

K: Producing an event that unites all societies for cohesion, and to raise awareness of multiculturalism.

A: The role needs to be improved, significantly through accessibility and approachability, reaching out to more people and trusting in the wonders societies can work with encouragement.

 

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