Meet the candidates running for SU President

Meet the candidates running for SU President

Why are you running?

Lewis Williams

Having been involved with the Union for the past 3 years and having studied at both Queen Mary and Barts and The London, I feel I’m in a truly unique position to be able to lead QMSU and develop a more supportive relationship between the two campuses, whilst also proposing some new and fresh ideas that I think will assist in creating a campus community where all students feel represented and listened to.

 

Nadia Hafedh

For too long I have seen students feel alienated and disconnected from the Union. I believe the Union has a real capacity to improve student lives, both academically and socially. Having worked to bring about many policy changes academically through my work as head of Decolonise QMUL, I am aware of the level of perseverance and effort needed to make change within a structure as embedded as higher education. It is with this insight and drive for change that I am running to be SU President to continue to unapologetically demand a better, more rounded education for all students.

 

Silvano Guadagni

Queen Mary has been giving me an extraordinary life experience over the last three years. Thus, I decided to put forward my ideas to allow QM and BL students to get the most out of their University experience for their personal development. Having worked in the Students’ Union for two years means that I can fully appreciate the hard work and effort put into the organisation to ensure it runs effectively. Therefore, I am running because I would like to ensure an accessible education for everyone and to improve students’ experiences step by step.

 

Rakin Choudhury

No response yet.

 

 

 

 

 

Ahmed Mahbub

No response yet.

 

 

 

 

 

How would you describe your leadership style?

Lewis Williams

I think my leadership style is one of cooperation. I’ve learnt a lot from studying at university and one of those things is that leadership requires good communication. I’ve learnt a lot about listening to individuals and hearing their points of view and trying to adapt my ideas to suit everyone. I think, as QMSU President, you have got to be the voice for all students on each of the different campuses, so you have to be a cooperative leader and someone who can take on others points of views.

Nadia Hafedh

Having been the President of two societies, one of which had a committee of over 50 people (Pro Bono Society), I have developed a leadership style which is effective but amicable. I believe humility is essential, every committee member has something to offer the team, and a culture of discussion and nurturing creativity always brings out the best work from people. Furthermore, I always ensure to create action points and clear steps for any ideas, to ensure they do not remain ideas. Action and organisation are key when leading any team and it is with this experience that I intend to lead the Students’ Union.

Silvano Guadagni

Being President of the Italian Society was my first real leadership experience. In doing so, I aimed to showcase an engaging leadership style, breaking down hierarchies within the committee and listening to any members’ idea. I always look for an environment in which everyone can feel they are a change-maker and their contribution has an effect. Surely, it is imperative to be an example through hard-working but enthusiastic behaviour to yield the best initiatives from the team. To obtain maximum achievement I believe it is important to appeal to positive emotions, with an approach that showcases what can be achieved as a group and through collaboration rather than what can be lost out.

Rakin Choudhury and Ahmed Mahbub

No responses yet.

What do you see as the biggest challenges currently facing the Students’ Union or Queen Mary more broadly?

Lewis Williams

One of the biggest challenges facing QMSU currently is the disengagement of students from what the SU does. This was clearly shown recently at the Annual Students Meeting (ASM) when students voted to skip the Executive Officer updates in order to get started on the motions. It’s this lack of willingness to ensure accountability and engagement with SU processes that I want to get to the root of, if elected, making sure that every student feels that their voice is heard. Contrastingly, Queen Mary more broadly has experienced greater engagement, but many students are frustrated at both QMUL and the Higher Education system as a whole, especially in regards to international student fees and the current UCU strikes. I think we, as a student body, are becoming much more aware and proactive in fighting these misjudged reforms and that’s definitely something I’d love to continue working on next year and to make the movement stronger.

Nadia Hafedh

The biggest challenge for the SU at the moment is surely the level of engagement with students. Many students I have spoken to do not care about these elections and don’t see how the SU affects them. More needs to be done to tackle this disconnect. On a wider scale, a sense of community in Queen Mary as a whole is generally absent. The SU could play a much bigger role in developing a sense of belonging and unity across all campuses. Another pressing challenge facing Queen Mary is the lack of space on campus, both studying and social space. This year many of us have felt we have reached critical capacity with students regularly leaving campus as there is simply nowhere to study. This is an unacceptable issue for any higher education institution to have, especially a Russell Group university.

Silvano Guadagni

One of the biggest issues concerning the SU is low engagement with other University bodies, which translates into a loss of credibility for the SU by students and less powerful lobbying within the university. An example of this is the absence of cooperation between the housing hub and the SU, creating confusion for students living on campus, and making it extremely hard for them to understand who they can see regarding issues and ideas.

In terms of the UCU strikes, engagement with the teachers could have resulted in an ability for the SU to predict potential difficult scenarios. This would have enabled students to be better prepared and organised during this period of disruption in their studies. The UCU would have more support from students and would have made their cause heard more efficiently.

As a university, Queen Mary has great expectations for the future and it is investing in new infrastructure to increase the appeal and feel of the institution. However, there needs to be assurance that enough investments are directed to current students to guarantee a Uni Made Better for everyone!

Rakin Choudhury and Ahmed Mahbub

No responses yet.

If you could invite five people, dead or alive to a dinner party, who would you invite?

Lewis Williams

Louis Theroux – I can always stick one of his documentaries on and be engrossed. Also, he works a lot in areas related to my Masters in Forensic Mental Health so I feel like we’d have a lot to talk about.

Marsha P. Johnson – She’s credited with being one of the instigators of the Stonewall Riots and one of the key advocates of the LGBT+ struggle for equality and is a true hero of mine.

Hillary Clinton (a little cliche, I know) – Reading her book earlier this year actually inspired me to get more involved in politics and actually to run for a sabbatical role (again), so I’d love a chance to grill her and compare notes on what it is like to have lost an election.

Kim Kardashian West – She’s truly a modern-day icon.

Dua Lipa – I have some ‘Big Plans’ I’d like to show her…

Nadia Hafedh

Steve Biko and Malcolm X – Both of whom have inspired millions with their bravery and persistence in speaking to truth to power and uplifting their peoples.

Lowkey and Akala – Both of whom shaped my childhood activism (my mom took me to my first protest when I was 4 years old) and continue to inform and inspire me to this day.

The Queen of Sheba – Home girl was from Yemen and that way there would be two Yemeni Queens at the table haha!

Silvano Guadagni

Galileo Galilei  – To discuss the Flat Earth Society.

Gordon Ramsey – To discuss Mucci’s.

Oprah Winfrey – To make QMC more entertaining.

David Attenborough – To be in one of his cinematic trailers.

Ellen DeGeneres – To get a good selfie with David Attenborough.

Rakin Choudhury and Ahmed Mahbub

No responses yet.


Section: Elections, News

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