2017 Part Time Officer Candidate Interviews

144

SCAN interviewed PTO Candidates.

 

International Students’ Officer

 

Arturs Bogdanovics

1) What motivated you to apply for this role?

The main reason I applied for this position was my observation of the reality. Unfortunately, there is indeed a division within the student community based on nationalities and cultural circles. While there is nothing wrong with the fact itself, certain conditions in the university enable many students to seclude themselves in those small areas of comfort. I believe that Lancaster University has a wonderful variety of nations and cultures, and that there should be no division or seclusion.

 

2) What skills and experiences can you bring to the table?

When it comes to internationality, I am possibly one of the most international students out there. I have been studying in an international community for a good half of my time at school, as well as attended countless Model United Nations conferences. These experiences helped me gain an insight into the cultures from all around the world, and also taught me the art of negotiation and compromise. My second experience which I think will be quite helpful in fulfilling my duties was being in charge of my school’s event’s committee. The position taught me managerial and organisational skills, which one most certainly needs as a Part-time Officer.

 

3) How would you seek to implement a 1:1 ratio in accommodation?

Implementing 1:1 ratio in accommodation will be a challenging task. It will require a good deal of negotiating with the associated departments and colleges, but I am certain that we can come to the arrangement. The main idea is to make it so in one flat, there should be as many internationals as the UK-nationals. Obviously, since roughly 25% of all students are international, some flats will be left without international students whatsoever. However, I believe this will be an improvement to the current situation, where many students cannot adequately socialize with the overwhelming UK community due to language and cultural barriers, and feel left out as a result.

 

BME Students’ Officer

 

Mab Saifelden

1) What motivated you to run for this role?

My motivation was being back in Lancaster after studying a year abroad in Norway. I missed the student community and engaging in debates and talks with my fellow students. I wanted to come back and apply for this role so I can bring the same kind of excitement back into the campus especially with how small the black and ethnic minority is in Lancaster. I wanted to create a safe space where we can speak about the problems in our community and outside of them. I want to open a window to British white students who are curious and interested in engaging in these debates. I want to create a space where we can engage in intellectual, woke, controversial yet safe and open debates where views that may be seen as controversial are allowed to be communicated so we can engage in debate and challenge those views.

 

2) What skills and experiences can you bring to this role?

I am a people’s person and over my three years here in Lancaster and my year abroad I have grown very confident and sure in myself. I am able to multi-task and have kind of mastered this, being a final year law student. I can also communicate very well, I am open and non-judgemental and I think I am very friendly. But I am assertive, I know what I want and what I need, I am not a pushover and I will fight for what I believe in because my passion is as big as my heart.

 

3) How do you plan to make the ethnic diversity committee well known?

I plan on advertising our events whether that’s through posters on the square, emailing those who are interested about our events or by speaking to people. I plan on having events where people of different ethnicities, races and religions can come together and indulge in art and poetry and debates. I will use LUSU and the colleges to advertise events and to have such good debates that will have people speaking about it later. I want to increase the membership of the EDC (Lancaster University Ethnic Diversity Committee) on Facebook and create a buzz around our events.

 

LGBTQ+ Students’ Officer

 

Hazel Richardson

1) What motivated you to apply for this role?

I applied having been general secretary for the association since January 2017. This year I wanted to take a more active role and felt being PTO would be a great way to do this.

 

2) What skills and experiences can you bring to this role?

Having been part of the exec for a year has given me a good idea of how the association is run. I’ve also been in various society and leadership roles before university, such as being head of the prefect team at school. I’m reasonably organised, and like to think I can bring a friendly approach to the role.

 

3) How specifically will you make the association more welcoming, as this is a key focus of your manifesto?

I’m currently looking at ways to make it more welcoming. Ideas include more ice breakers at the start of the year, but also on making our weekly meetings more interactive. Another idea is a wider range of events, so that there is something everyone wants to come along to.

 

Womens+

 

Sasha Dowman

1) What motivated you to apply for this role?

I have an active interest in Women’s+ Representation. I am currently on the ‘North and Midlands Debating Association’ Inclusions Subcommittee as the Women’s Representative; the role of Women’s + Officer appealed to me as a way to affect more policy change and platform the ideas of women and non binary people on campus.

 

I want to focus on giving people voices, and all of my policy ideas tie into this focus. My first policy is to try and change how women+ people are less likely to speak in male dominated environments by having workshops to build confidence in public speaking, have casual discussions about why women struggle to speak and run a campaign about the importance of women’s+ voices and their value. I also want to continue the work of the current Women’s+ forum on the #beheard campaign and help give victims a voice, as well as cultivate an environment where they can feel comfortable to use their voice by encouraging the use of trigger warnings in lectures and other spaces. My final policy ties into the final question so I’ll address it there.

 

2) What skills and experiences can you bring to the table?

I am currently the President of Lancaster Debating Union, so have experiences leading teams and organising events (I’ve organised an Intercollegiete Competition and help with general event organisation in my society). Also, I have experience discussing and listening to women and non binary people in my role as NAMDA Women’s Rep, and plan to use the “conference” dynamic there as a way to address representation issues, as well as also use it for collaboration with other PTO positions to encourage intersectional approaches to our jobs.

 

I’d also like to bring my experiences of using pronoun policies in my own society to make sure non binary people feel comfortable and are less likely to be misgendered into other societies and discuss with them what ways they can try to make sure non binary people don’t have their gender ignored in their society.

 

3) How will you seek to represent viewpoints outside of your own background and lived experiences in office?

The “conference” approach I previously mentioned will be useful in creating intersectional approaches to policy, as it would mean PTO’s from other liberation groups and their respective groups will all be able to come together and consider how best to implement policies in our own societies with consideration for how it will affect disabled women, religious women etc.

 

I also want to continue the ‘Cake and Concepts’ series so as to platform speakers from different groups and have in depth presentations about how women from different groups experience discrimination differently.

 

On my facebook page I also have a google document where people can anonymously tell me any issues they feel like they have on campus, and regardless of outcome would share information (keeping it anonymous) about possible areas of progress that can be pursued in the Women’s+ Forum.

 

Ruth Truscott

1) What motivated you to apply for this role?

The role of Women’s + officer seemed to be a great way to participate more actively in liberation movement specifically targeted around women and non-binary people. As feminism has always been more of a side-interest. This role, as result, would enable me to use the interest and passion I have for these issues into something that could create a positive difference on campus.

2) What skills and experiences can you bring to the table?

Being general secretary for both feminist society and women’s + forum I see the vital role these societies play in positively affecting women’s roles on campus. I hope to use the experience and knowledge I have learnt being part of these societies into the role as women’s + officer. Women’s + specifically has shown me how effective campaigning can be as being part events such as Reclaim The Night and Raise Your Voice are, as they key way of spread knowledge and gaining interest into these issues. In addition, in the past I have founded and run my own feminist society at school, noticing the need for a space to open a conversation about various topics. This showed me in importance of continuing and widening discussions about feminism, which I hope to bring to the role.

 

3) How do you plan to raise awareness of your campaigning outside of societies already engaged with Women’s+ issues?

There are many ways I want to raise awareness for campaigning outside of societies as I believe this can create new dialogues which would enable conversation and knowledge with those not previously familiar with these topics. Raising awareness can be done practically through the use of social media, which is a vital tool for spreading enthusiasm about various events. But also putting on events that feel open and welcome for a variety of people. Such as informal discussions through the cake and concepts series, and creating a safe space across social media for people who are curious to ask questions. In addition, I am keen to integrate with other societies, as this not only reaches a different audience but also can highlight women and non-binary roles in specific areas.

 

 

The remaining candidate for international officer is Sukriti Gracias. They were only contacted for comment on Monday morning due to delays in procuring the final candidate list