The votes are in and the results have been counted… Here are your new student exec for 2017/18.
The biggest thing I want to change is the culture surrounding house hunting. I want to discourage students from signing too early (despite letting agents’ deceptive attempts to convince them that they have to SIGN NOW OR LIVE IN A CARDBOARD BOX!) and encourage more students to do their own bills so they can avoid overpriced ‘all-inclusive’ packages. And of course, the Fruity Bus.
The biggest challenge is going to be getting landlords and letting agents to play ball; getting a burglar alarm in every student house in Leeds, abolishing signing fees and introducing a maximum deposit is going to be tough if landlords and letting agents value making money over students’ well-being.
Union Affairs Officer
I’m looking forward to working on making our democratic structures more inclusive and visible for all student voices and having an input on how the building upgrade is developed to make the building more multi-purpose and accessible, but the biggest achievement I’m aiming for is to get the University to increase their block grant funding of LUU. With the building project having a negative effect on our income and our services for mental health support and academic representation under increasing demand, it is vital that the University recognises the role of LUU has in the student experience and as one of the best Unions in the country, and match their funding with that recognition and ambition. The block grant is up for negotiation in 2018, and having lobbied this year on this subject, I hope the future financial sustainability of LUU will be secured with this better funding.
It’s great that I’m going to be around for another year and I’m really looking forward to working with the next Exec, but I need to make sure I keep the momentum of projects I’ve started going over summer so that they hit the ground running in September and keep my focus on what I’ve set out to do. If I’ve learned anything so far this year it’s that time flies, so there isn’t any to lose!
Zaki Kaf Al-Ghazal
I want to change the culture around studying in the university; in today’s job market the coveted 2:1 is seen as the be all and end all dominating students’ lives from day one of first year (with freshers’ being told that their first year grades are needed for future internships and so on). Grades are important but too often they impact the mental health of students and take the educational aspect away from learning. It becomes a means to achieve good grades as opposed to learning for the sake of educating oneself and becoming a more well rounded person.
I think pushing for the introduction of one 24 hour library will be a challenge. Past education officers have pushed and have not succeeded. But the pressure is on the university; it cannot keep refusing this demand from students and fees are unfortunately increasing once again due to TEF. This gives the university even more money, and I will do my very best to ensure this is used to fund Laidlaw library’s 24 hour opening.
Equality and Diversity Officer
Engagement is really important to me; I want to get people up and making the most out of Leeds University Union, ensuring it is an inclusive space for everyone. I want to work closely with the Liberation Coordinators to ensure that every student has the best possible time at Leeds University irrespective of our differences. I will foster a culture of understanding and more importantly respect and continue to push for equal platforms for all including, mature, disabled, parenting, international, BME, LGBTQ+ and religious. One of my policies is to completely eliminate the negative stigma attached to the word ‘immigration.’
Making sure the union upgrade causes minimal disruption is going to be tricky but it is only fair that all students’ needs are considered.
The biggest change I want to make as Welfare Officer is to improve support for sexual assault and domestic abuse survivors. There is little awareness of how domestic abuse impacts many students and this needs to change. I want to keep on improving the inclusiveness and accessibility of all welfare support at LUU, but I think this specific issue is so important as it can be extremely difficult for students to reach out for help about this. I will ensure that the support for this is accessible to all student survivors, whether you identify as LGBTQ, disabled or even male, you shouldn’t be made to feel even more isolated by the support offered by your union.
I have to admit I spend the majority of my student loan in LUU. If I’m not eating an essentials meal deal I’m having drinks in Terrace. I want to give something back to all students that use LUU. I want to create Union loyalty cards that can be used across all venues within the union. A point system could be implemented and each purchase recorded and turned into points. In addition to this I believe engaging with LUU is also important therefore if you go and get your CV checked in JobLink you could also pick up some points that lead to PRIZES!
The biggest thing I want to change is the percentage of the student body who regularly read The Gryphon. Every lecture shoutout I performed during campaigning I began by asking ‘how many people here read The Gryphon?’ and I never got more than five hands. This is unacceptable.
My biggest challenge will be delivering The Gryphon into student halls. In the coming weeks I will be bringing a plan to the union and seeking their guidance and assistance.