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City SU Elections 2020- Raha Ghadaksaz: Candidate for SU President4 min read

This third-year law student has worked with the Students’ Union from the beginning of her time at City and is now prepared to get into the next level. CityNews sat down with Raha Ghadaksaz to talk about her campaign for SU President. 

About why she is running for SU President…

“I think one of the main reasons that drove me to take this decisions is the fact that I have been involved with the Students Union for so long. I have been working with them for three years and I think I can use my knowledge to better the Union. My work with the societies has shown me what kind of red tape is out there, and what could be improved in terms of communication with society leaders and with students. These are the kinds of things I could really make a difference in if I get elected as SU President.”

About things the Students’ Union could do better…

“One of the main problems that the SU is facing now is student engagement. I know we’ve had some really amazing representation, and Tuna has made the face of the Union a great one, an approachable one. But I think we can continue to work in making the students know that we are there for them and what resources they have. It’s something that I would want to address with my knowledge and experience from the societies and generally being involved with the student experience for so long. “

On how to improve student engagement… 

“What I’ve found works the most effective is face-to-face engagement with students. Online promotion works as well, but the most effective way is to speak to students. I appreciate that the students who run societies are students as well. They have academic work to get to and other responsibilities, so maybe that’s not as easy for them to do, but that’s where the SU leaders and the SU President would come in and let the students know what’s available for them. Utilising our website would be another great way to improve engagement, so that we are actually able to direct them to a more user-friendly website that tells them what is going on.”

About what are some of the things she wishes to see happening in terms of health at university…

“I talk about mental health and physical health because they are interlinked. As SU President, I want to encourage people to participate in sports. We have this amazing sports culture at City: our teams are doing amazingly in competitions, there is a sense of togetherness. That in itself, making improvements to your body, healthy eating, that can address issues like mental health. But beyond that, students are struggling in a different sort of way, so it’s about making sure that the services available are made more public so that students are more aware of them. Campaigns are important as well. For example, making sure that during exam times there are workshops to teach you how to deal with exam stress and how to cope with the pressure. 

Regarding employability and how to provide better services for undergrads and alumni…

“The Careers department need to target their approach to students better. I know we get a lot of emails from them and events we can go to, but I think earlier engagement with students would help to prepare us better for positions and to know better what’s out there. I know me as a law student, in terms of graduation, I would need to go on and do another course if I want to be a solicitor or a barrister. Knowing more about those courses and where they would get me in terms of employability, I think that helps.”

On how to mitigate the impact of UCU strikes and coronavirus on students…

“That is something that students have talked a lot about in terms of missing parts of the student life, especially regarding education and activities. While I totally understand that the staff was trying to put across their dissatisfaction, I think it’s really important that students don’t take a hit form that. One of the ways we could improve the situation is to utilise the online resources that we have for the university and to put academic material online. It’s also important that the Union is aware of what is going on with staff in terms of their strike actions and what the university is doing to address it so that the situation is resolved more quickly and it doesn’t continue next year and the year after that.”

And what she would be looking for in whoever gets elected with her…

“I think enthusiasm and dedication are key. For VP of Education, for example, they would need to know what the important points are for students and what they are actually looking for in terms of the feedback system and types of assessments. In terms of wellbeing, I’d like for them to know that involvement in sports is important and generally that they need to make sure that students are listened to. Those are the kind of qualities I would be like to have in my team if I become SU President.”

 

Marta Casais

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