Candidate for the position of President

Image for Sufia Begum

Sufia Begum

What would you do to improve Education at the University?

As president I want to improve education by campaigning to make studying at the university a fairer place for all students and those from non traditional backgrounds, such as commuters, parents/carers, and first generation university students and those who are finding it difficult to keep up but do not meet the current mitigating circumstance criteria.

Currently students who have other responsibilities outside of university find in more difficult to successfully apply for mitigating circumstances.  I will campaign for the university to recognise a wider range of issues that students face as a mitigating circumstance.  For example, students that have unforeseen care and childcare issues.  I will also campaign to remove the requirement of evidence for mitigating circumstances and work towards establishing a trust based system. 

I will uphold the VP Education's current non detriment approach to studying and will continue to campaign for the academic regulations to be relaxed for the next academic year and even beyond as student transition from remote learning to face to face learning to ensure student achievement is supported.  These policies have enabled an effective safety net for all students and helped close attainment gaps between different groups and these regulations should be applied permanently.  I will work towards keeping lecture materials and recordings readily available to students online as this has proved to be successful in allowing students, such as parents and carers, to access the course material.

What would you do to improve the Employability of students?

As President I will improve employability by campaigning for the university to offer students a wider range of placements or workshops related to their course subject to help students gain hands on experience. 

I will continue to encourage societies to achieve accreditations to gain employability skills and offer workshops to the committee members to support them with planning events that are geared towards employability.

I will campaign for extracurricular activities to be put on certificates that show employability skills gained by students.

How would you make the Union and the University more Inclusive?

As President I will make the university and union more inclusive by continuing to support the current campaigns on zero tolerance for racism and discrimination, whether it be discrimination against race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or financial background. 

I will ensure support is available to societies to make their events accessible to their members without any barriers.

I will campaign to make lectures more accessible to everyone and to have online material available in different formats to help those who may need more time and support to take in the information at synchronous or face to face lectures. 

How would you improve the Welfare of students?

As president I will improve welfare by campaigning to have additional support for those with LSPs, such as a check-up message or call to make sure they are coping well.  Sometimes even with an LSP, students can fall behind and are too nervous to ask for help and all it takes is for someone to ask 'are you okay?' for them to reach out for support.

I will ensure that union staff members have adequate training to recognise when a student is having problems or is in distress and to know what to do in that situation.

I will have an open door policy for students to reach out and discuss anything that is worrying them.

I will support the union staff and societies to raise more awareness of how joining societies can have a positive impact on student wellbeing.

I will campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues faced by students and organise workshops to give students practical skills needed to cope with stress and anxiety.

How would you improve Communication between the Union and students?

As President I will improve communication by having an open door policy where students will be able to contact me with any concerns or feedback that they may have.

I will organise and hold regular forums with students to gain insight into what is affecting them, what is working well and if they have any feedback on how they would like to improve aspects of university life.

I will work to raise awareness of what the Student Union is how students can get in touch or get involved.

What qualities or experience do you have that would you make a good full time officer?

As a mature student I have experienced what it is like to study not only as a traditional student but also as a student that is part of a group that is underrepresented in the university.  I have personally had many issues that have affected my ability to study to the best of my potential and know how difficult it is to reach out for help.  However, during my time at the university I have gained the confidence in speaking out about issues that have affected me as a student and I have a passion for making sure that students are not unfairly disadvantaged in their studies or any extracurricular activities they may participate in.  

My aim as President will be to help make the university a FAIR place to study in and be a part of.  I will campaign for students that are in all sorts of different circumstances to have a level playing field when it comes to achieving the best of their potential and will work to ensure that more students look back at their time in university as a positive experience.