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.
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.
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.