Q: To begin, I really wanted to commend you for your hard work in coming this far and for showing such an interest and passion for the Vice President Humanities and Social Sciences role. As you already know, many other candidates are applying for this role, but only one will be elected. Can you tell us why you believe you are best suited for this role, and what you can bring that is different from other candidates?
A: Thank you so much, that’s really kind. I believe I am best suited for this role because I have already shown throughout my experience how passionate I am about improving our University. My role as a course representative over the last three years and my time volunteering for the SU goes to show that I am engaged and ready to be a powerful voice of our community. Also, this seems like a natural next step for me. My running partner, Gabriela Suarez, and I, really want to do this, and we have put a lot of thought into our campaign. And I think that’s what makes me different from other candidates; I understand what it is I will be taking on and I’m committed to doing the best job I can.
Q: As a representative for students’ education, the role of Vice President Humanities and Social Sciences has many responsibilities, including teaching quality, library provision and teacher feedback. The most significant being a “campaigner for a better-quality education for students, for each student to reach their full potential with quality teaching”. Do you believe there is a lack of relationship between student and staff at Queen Mary? If so, is it important to gain an improved relationship between staff and student?
A: This is a very important question that has been raised many times amongst my peers. Throughout my own experience, I have tried to engage with staff to get the most out of my university experience. However, this has on many occasions depended on my engagement. Many of my peers, to this day, have yet to even meet their academic supervisor – or worse – don’t even know who they are assigned to! This lack of a good working relationship between students and staff has real effects on teaching quality, academic progress and career opportunities. So, it is imperative that measures and initiatives be put in place to ensure both students and staff are engaged with each other as only through this engagement can students fully realise the benefits of student-staff relationships.
Q: The majority of students will agree that mental health is a key factor in their education, one that lacks support within Queen Mary. As Vice President Humanities and Social Sciences, do you agree this is an issue? Is this something you would address within your time with this role?
A: Absolutely, student mental health is a really important factor to the student experience and to education. And yes, there are issues at the moment with student support services, but also a lack of conversation about these issues. I plan to make this one of my main priorities, as welfare and education go hand in hand. I want more support during examination season, as this is such a stressful time for students, and more needs to be done to ensure everyone knows that if things get tough, there are people to talk to. And this also supports my plans to incentivise student groups to participate in these conversations.
Only by getting everyone involved can we make real change.
Q: A major part in becoming Vice President, and being a successful one, is understanding the needs and demands of the students. More importantly, contributing and influencing the University’s learning and teaching, both through participation in committees and other meetings with key University staff, to ensure that student interests are represented. How will you effectively address issues that are raised by students in these meetings? How will you also reassure students that these demands are met?
A: This is such a good question. Transparency and student engagement in matters relating to education have been a key focus of mine in my role as course representative. I aim to make sure all Schools promote student engagement through the direct communication of SSLC minutes to students, so they can have a voice and feel empowered to get involved with their degrees. I also believe in an open-door policy; I am really keen to get students to engage with Executive Officers and get to know what type of work is involved with the position, as well as the outcomes of matters relating to their learning and teaching experience.
Q: As with any job, the role of Vice President Humanities and Social Sciences is one filled with commitments, dedication, passion and drive. How will you reassure students that you will remain motivated in your role; continuously representing the student body to your highest standard and always striving to implement new policies? Do you have any past experience in this field?
A: Of course, passion and motivation are what will make this role a success. My motivation is there for all to see, as is my passion. And I want everyone to know that in all honesty, seeing my friends work in the SU over the years and seeing how much they have given to QM, has acted as motivation for me since I first thought about running. Giving back to the community that has given and continues to give me so much isn’t a just a job, it is a chance to make a real difference. The RISE Project and my policies show how much drive and passion I have for making lasting changes. I have a lot of exciting ideas that have developed throughout my university experience and I’m more than ready to start this role.
The manifestos of all the VP HSS candidates can be found here: https://www.qmsu.org/elections/vphss/