Degree Subject: English and History.
- - Trustee without Portfolio 2011-2012
- - Union Councillor 2012-2013
- - Current president and co-founder of Explore The UK (International/Cultural society) 2012-2013
- - Societies Committee 2012-2013
- - Pre Sessional Project Helper 2011
- - Pre Sessional Student Helper 2012
- - SUSU Receptionist 2012-2013
- - Safety Bus Driver 2012-2013
- - Settling International Workshop volunteer 2011
- - Surge DJ 2012-2013
Campaign Slogan: Stay Classy Vote Brant
Strengths: I’m hardworking and incredibly dedicated to SUSU. I’m to the point and certainly not afraid to argue my corner. On top I’m a strong communicator, I’ve listened to student leaders, presidents and students in writing my manifesto and I would continue to do that as a sabb. I don’t give things up easily so I’d be constantly fighting for our under represented groups.
Why did you decide to run for this position?
I decided to run for this position because I really feel I can make a difference for each of the areas within the remit. I’ve spent two years working with International students on the pre sessional project and as part of Explore The UK. Not only have I become passionate about helping International students but it’s shown how difficult it is for some of our under represented students when they get little support from SUSU. I also felt that I could do something a little different for sites, coming from a Highfield perspective I can take what we have here all across our sites. On top of this I’ve always felt JCR committees need a revamp and this is a perfect opportunity for me to do so. Finally, I’m a passionate believer in making our Union a more diverse community so this position really works for me.
What has been your best experience during your involvement with SUSU?
Taking 140 Pre Sessional students on a day trip to the Isle of Wight. It was a real culture shock for a lot of people after coming from Southampton. It was a really great day (that involved some pedalos too!) that I enjoyed just as much as the students. All the trips I’ve been on as a student helper or run as Explore The UK president have given me a lot of satisfaction, it’s fantastic to offer our International students a little taste of British culture for not a lot of money.
What makes YOU the best candidate for the job?
I suppose it really boils down to three things, personality, experience and the plan. I’m hugely dedicated to all the areas this role represents and as I mentioned in my strengths I don’t let things go, I’m certainly not afraid to get my point across and I really will fight for all our students. My experience, I’ve been involved with SUSU for several years and I’ve taken on a lot of roles. From trustee to society president to union councillor or even from working for the charity I’ve had a real variety of experiences and seen SUSU from so many angles. Finally, the plan. The aim is to always be working with student leaders and using the great network and SUSU to constantly make sure I’m working towards the aims our students really want us to achieve.
How will you make change happen?
I think it’s crucial that we really show why change is necessary. It needs to be made clear what has failed before, how our students feel about current situations and why things need to change. Talking about problems is never enough; I would show how our current system is flawed and why our groups need more support. From there I’d have the sufficient evidence and support to afflict change.
What will you do differently that hasn’t already been done or promised before?
I’d really look at things from a fresh perspective. I think we’ve spent too much time looking at events and looking at the core of SUSU. I’d like to focus on issues that maybe aren’t as glamorous but really need focusing on. Issues such as communicating with our postgrads more effectively, offering job specs for our JCR committee candidates or running workshops to help International students with academic issues. It’s really important to address the issues that have been a problem for many years and try to put processes in place that will not only help our students in the short term but build a long term plan.
Do you believe you can achieve everything in your manifesto? If so how?
I certainly do, I haven’t put anything down that I don’t think I can’t achieve. The aim is to break things down into three categories. Aims to be achieved by the start of International Welcome Week and Freshers Week. Aims to be achieved by the end of January 2014 and finally aims to be achieved throughout the year/ by the end of June 2014. By breaking everything down and creating timelines I think I can achieve a great deal.
You can read James’ manifesto HERE