Firstly, as you’re running for the position for a second year how have you amended your manifesto compared to last year?
Looking back at my manifesto from last year I feel like I’ve achieved pretty much everything I said I would. I’ve increased the involvement from international and postgraduate students and I feel like I’ve improved the awareness of action and more people know about it. I hope I’ve helped with the growth of the section- for example the food drive, we beat the record by 5000 items which is amazing. In terms of amending my manifesto, I feel like when I wrote my first manifesto I didn’t understand what the job involved and I didn’t understand what the real improvements that should be made were. This year I want to utilise the out of term time for our students because I’ve understood over my time here that there are still a lot of students here out of term such as postgraduate, international and pre-sessional students. The experience that I’ve gained from last year means that I don’t have to learn anything in terms of marketing etc. and I can focus my time on giving people those opportunities within action and giving people the chance to get to know action before they start doing their degree.
Is there anything in your manifesto from last year that you haven’t achieved this year or you don’t think has gone as well as you’d have liked?
In comparison to my manifesto from this year and last year, what didn’t go so well is the fact that I wrote that “I want Loughborough to be a mentor for other universities”. A year later I understand that that’s not the right way of putting it, what I wanted to say was I want to improve the partnership between universities and improve volunteering across the country. What didn’t go so well is that I didn’t realise that so much of my time would be spent doing admin work and I would’ve loved to spend that time looking at ways that we can improve the section rather than sitting on a Friday night typing up risk assessments which is a big problem in the section that many people don’t realise.
You mention in your manifesto creating co-curricular volunteering opportunities as well as the extra-curricular ones, can you elaborate on what you mean by that?
The demographic of our students has changed extremely from when I first came to uni and now. Now students are much more academically driven and they care about their degrees fundamentally more than I remember it being in my first year. What I want to do is make sure that our academic achievers have those opportunities to volunteer as well. For example, if you are wanted to go into working with people with learning difficulties we’ve got projects such as RNIB college. I want to make sure that our volunteering opportunities go parallel with the academic achievements that the students want to get out of action to enhance and enrich what they want to study with the volunteering opportunities. It’s so important to realise that with volunteering it’s a way to escape, it’s a way of making friends, it’s a way to find yourself in an area of the union that you haven’t found yourself in but also it’s there to help you with your academic achievements, which is especially the case with our college students as well.
Are there any new projects you want to introduce?
I want to improve my relationship with more organisations, for example, Twycross Zoo which is not too far from us and would mean that our students could go out and work with them. I’ve also been in touch with the cat sanctuary in Loughborough, which is really exciting because over the year I’ve found that students love animal projects.
Overall how do you think your year as Action EO has gone?
I think that my year couldn’t have gone better, I feel like the committee that I’ve had with me, the staff in the union and the students this year have been phenomenal. It’s such a privilege to be able to be in that position because not a lot of people do get that opportunity and I feel like I am the luckiest person in the world and I feel like my job is the best in the world. It’s such a proud moment to see all of your committee achieve amazing things and support each other and be there for each other, not just as committee members but as friends and that’s what I want the section to be. I’ve always said that the section needs to maintain values and reputation which is so important because it’s a really nice thing to hear when a resident of the community comes up to you and says our students are amazing and thank us for all our help. Seeing the faces of people when we gave them the food our students collected for the food drive was unforgettable and I feel like the reason why I love the section so much and the reason I want so much to become better is not just for myself if I get re-elected next year but it’s actually for the people who come after me as well and I hope I get that opportunity.
– Interview conducted and written up by Lydia Kah Pavlov, Label Culture Editor