Running for DUSA President
Sean O'Connor: Read My Statement & Policies
I am Sean O’Connor, your current Independent Member of Court (IMC) and former DUSA General Representative. I have spent the last year representing students at the University’s highest decision making body and now wish to represent them across the entire university as DUSA President. As your IMC I have fought against cuts and compulsory redundancies to staff, I have never been scared to speak up for students but I have also consistently represented our student body with respect for Court. Whether it is on a picket line with a megaphone or in a meeting with a tie, I will always stand up for us, the students of Dundee University. As your DUSA President I would continue to represent you in the University’s decision-making committees, applying the skills I have honed at Court to ensure that students are at the heart of every decision made by the University. As your President I would continue to work with the University to ensure that the varied needs and wishes of students from all ranges of backgrounds were met. In me, you would have a President who is willing to work with the University for the best possible outcomes but also a President who would fight for students until we win. It is my firm belief that the best results come from cooperation, but this does not mean that DUSA has to accept changes that would severely damage our experience as students. In testing times DUSA needs a President who can work with the decision makers but also never shrink from the challenges this presents. This is exactly the type of President I would be.
DUSA is a fantastic organisation, and the current exec team have worked wonders to bring it back to good health and build solid foundations for it to be taken forward. The Union is now in a healthier position than previously and my desire would be to build on this great work by making sure The Union gives students what they want. Indre and her brilliant team have taken DUSA into a position where it can push forward and campaign for progressive changes to improve the student experience. As President I would like our DUSA to campaign for classroom resources to be cheaper to allow the most-deprived students access to the same standard of education as the richest. I would also facilitate the creation of a DUSA Women’s Network, a campaigning group ran by women, for women, to advise both DUSA and the University on changes to make our female students feel safer and more equal on campus. I would also work with the University to create a graduate jobs scheme whereby Dundee graduates received the opportunity to access University of Dundee jobs and internships. I would also lead DUSA in working with bus companies to introduce ‘One Pound Hours’ for our fantastic medical and nursing students who have to travel to and from Ninewells. For all this and more, vote Sean O’Connor as DUSA President.
- Lobby to make University Cheaper – Some modules recommend the purchase of books costing over £50 whilst also demanding students print endless amounts of materials. I will lobby the university to end this practice.
- Live, Learn, Work Dundee – Work with the University to create a scheme through which Dundee graduates can access University of Dundee jobs and internships to increase employability.
- Facilitate the creation of a Women’s Network – Run by women, for women. A DUSA Women’s Network would give all our female students access to a campaigning body which advises DUSA and the University.
Morven Nairn: Read My Statement & Policies
My name is Morven Nairn and I am running for the position of DUSA President.
Why? Because I care. I care about DUSA, the university and most importantly, the students.
Having provided the mother figure for my group of friends throughout my life and created a strong, sociable (and very big) academic family, I constantly feel the need to help people. This is what I aim to do as DUSA President – to provide help, advice, encouragement or simply to listen to every student that needs it. Regardless of the topic of conversation or how well I know you, my door will always be open.
Working in security has exposed me to a wide range of problems people face from drug addiction to the death of a pet and the extremes people might go to when something goes wrong. It has allowed me to look at these situations logically and fairly, also enabling me to think of solutions to issues from the severe to the ones that some may consider trivial.
Working at DUSA for the last three years has given me a valuable insight into what students want and what power the exec have to make it happen. It has allowed me to see student culture from different angles and to understand different attitudes. Furthermore, through helping with various SRC motions and disciplinary panels, I have the advantage of understanding how both the SRC and the exec work in relation to the student body. The knowledge of the lesser known, internal workings of DUSA allow me to see the bigger picture and put me in a good position to be able to make changes happen.
My goals as DUSA President are not massive changes and policies that I will not be able to fulfil, they are simple:
to increase awareness of the exec and ensure that everything they do is in the best interests of the students.
To increase awareness and accessibility for crucial university services like counselling and disability, so that any student that needs help knows how and where to get it.
And to increase the amount of events for the entire university and for specific schools so that every school is socially active and every student is included in the university culture.
University is not just about getting handed a coveted piece of paper – it’s about the friendships we make and life experiences we have, discovering who we are and where our lives may go after the degree. As DUSA President, my aim is to ensure that all students enjoy this period of their lives, that no one is left behind or struggling alone and that help, advice and comfort are easily accessible for any student, any reason and at any time.
- Transparency – to make sure the exec are all held to account properly and the students know what their roles are. Furthermore, ensuring that the exec always work in the students best interests.
- Accessibility – to increase awareness of student services, counselling and disability, to ensure all students know where they can get help.
- Inclusiveness – more uni wide and merged school events. So the schools that aren’t as active socially get to be involved more in events…all students get to have fun.
Running for Vice President of Student Welfare
Caroline Goodliffe: Read My Statement & Policies
I am applying for Vice President of Student Welfare because I appreciate the lengths that DUSA go to, to ensure student safety and health. Whilst I understand the need for change, I believe that improvements can be achieved by reinforcing and expanding current strategies.
My first policy focuses on students and staff embracing mental health. I want to emphasise that all individuals need to look after their mental health, not only those struggling. If mental health is understood, it can prevent reaching crisis point and being unaware of how to seek help. These issues are not compulsory in school education, meaning many have no experience until university life. I personally experience mental health problems, and from involvement in the Mental Health Society I have learned exercises and techniques that I would love the opportunity to share. In my experience, it is learning what helps you, and makes you happy, that maintains your wellbeing. To encourage this I would start a “Switch off Social Media” campaign that people sign up to, in groups or individually. Progress could be tracked, noting activities completed instead of using social media. Whether people switch off briefly or long-term, they could see health benefits and it would encourage people to take time out, counteract procrastination and realise what’s important. I want to increase awareness of university services, and encourage use of these by compiling a list of local/online resources that could be distributed to students at the start of the semester.
My second policy addresses the established Zero Tolerance policy, encompassing zero tolerance to sexual harassment, discrimination, and bullying. Since policy introduction, awareness has grown, but there is room for improvement. I would like to expand this campaign. The policy recognises that reporting rates do not accurately reflect the number of incidents that occur. I aim to increase awareness of the importance of reporting, and stress it is safe to do so. I will collect stories of experiences from individuals that faced inappropriate behaviour and chose to report, detailing DUSA’s help, thereby installing faith in the system. I want people to know they should never have to experience these behaviours regardless of age, gender or race. In summary –We need to know that the systems in place can, and will, help us.
My third policy is to enhance sexual education. Students come from different backgrounds, with various levels of sexual education. With the rise of individuals identifying as gender neutral and Trans, I think it’s important to make sexual education accessible to all. I would implement an anonymous survey for new students that assesses sexual knowledge. A repeat survey at the end of the year could measure if sexual health campaigns are effective and which aspects need further attention.
I hope it is clear that I am passionate to help everyone. In my 4th year, my awareness of issues has increased. I joined more societies, and accepted additional responsibilities, including class representative and volleyball team captain, and as a result became further involved in student welfare.
- Embracing Mental Health – I am campaigning for everyone to look after their minds by increasing awareness of DUSA services and building on them.
- Reinforcing and enhancing Zero Tolerance – I want to continue to increase the awareness of the Zero Tolerance policy and develop it further to encourage the report of incidents, with the aim to help affected individuals and prevent further inappropriate behaviour.
- Inclusion of all in sex education, and discern the levels of sexual knowledge that students have, in order to more effectively provide services and information to help sexual health.
Matthew Sime: Read My Statement & Policies
Hi, my name is Matthew, and I’m running for Vice President of Student Welfare.
My biggest aim with this position is to make sure that DUSA is as inclusive a space as possible, ensuring that everyone feels welcome and able to come to events. For example, a project I am keen to work on is aiding people with both physical and mental disabilities so that they feel more able to attend Nighttime events, as with personal experience of mental/physical illness, attending such events can be difficult.
Another project I’m very passionate about is making travelling between campuses easier/more accessible/safer for students. With many students in off-campus accommodation, I feel that there needs to be more daytime support for students who require help moving between campuses to ensure student safety. An example of this is possibly having a secondary “night bus” service running during the day for off-campus accommodation for students with early morning classes, or general difficulties getting to and from campus.
In terms of off-campus inclusion, I am also keen to work on better promoting the campaigns run on campus around people who may not always be able to attend many on-campus events due to the journey etc. For example, safe sex week could run events that are run off campus as well as on, ensuring that as many students as possible are reached.
Finally, another project I am very passionate about is involving LGBT+ people and other minorities across campus in more events and campaigns, emphasising the diverse community the university itself has to offer. Such a project includes ensuring that staff at DUSA and across the campus are trained in transgender and non-binary awareness and bringing a greater focus to the Athena SWAN boards across the university, which aid in making education more inclusive to underrepresented genders in certain subjects.
This year has been a busy one for myself, giving me a lot of experience in roles that would really help in the VPSW role. I’ve organised LGBT+ History Month this February and I also began the process of starting up my own business working in welfare of young people and at-risk minorities.
I definitely feel prepared to take on the role of VPSW, through work with the SRC as the Equality, Diversity and Welfare Representative, the first Trans Liaison Officer last year and now the acting President of the LGBT+ Society and as a Senior Student Ambassador within the University over the last three years. Through my varied experience, I believe I’m able to work as a Student Welfare Exec at DUSA, and do my best to ensure all students feel welcomed and included in our future campaigns on campus.
- Making the university and its services more inclusive of students with physical and/or mental disabilities/difficulties
- Improve the services offered to students in off-campus accommodation, such as travel assistance for those in need and campaign advertisement
- Improve awareness and inclusion of the diversity in staff and students on campus
Running for Vice President of Engagement
Toni McKinney: Read My Statement & Policies
Hi, I’m Toni and I am a second year psychology student. I am running for the position of Vice President of Engagement for the upcoming academic year. For the past year I have been on the SRC as a General Representative and have watched how the Exec has worked with the SRC along with the entire student body. My main aims are to focus on how to engage the entire student body with DUSA and create a strong relationship between the two. My three policies are:
The University already has great communications with students, but I would like to work closely with the VPCC to increase and improve pastoral communications and objectives across campus. An integral part of how the University works is through communications, commercial and pastoral and I would like to make sure that both types of communications are focused on equally.
To work closely with the VPSW to increase the awareness of welfare services, to all students, throughout the University. I want to encourage the entire student body to seek help in any way they can with the wide variety of welfare issues. There is a growing issue amongst the student population and it needs to be addressed. I want to help students throughout the University to know there is help available for everyone regardless of what their issue might be.
Lastly, I would also like to encourage students to not only engage themselves with DUSA, but to engage themselves outside the University with extracurricular activities such as sports, charities, representation or societies to gain experiences and better themselves for the future by building up stronger CV’s for leaving university. University is the time to try things that you may never have considered before.
- The University already has great communication with students, but I would like to work closely with the VPCC to increase and improve pastoral communications and objectives across campus.
- To work closely with the VPSW to increase the awareness of welfare services, to all students, throughout the University.
- I would also like to encourage students to not only engage themselves with DUSA, but to engage themselves outside the university with extracurricular activities.
Temilayo Williams: Read My Statement & Policies
Running for the role of the Vice President of Engagement is very important to me because I have seen first-hand the importance of having social integration and interaction. Being the current President for the African Caribbean Society, it has revealed so many things to me. For example, there was not a society for anyone of African Caribbean descent until this year which meant that a lot of students were not interacting with other students because there were no events or activities for them to take part in. If elected for this role I will ensure that these students and other students of ethnic backgrounds can have the opportunity to socialise with other people from various backgrounds and to also have cultural appreciation.
Being someone who is very social, I believe I can do the job of engagement extremely well because I am very well organised and keep up to date with a lot of the affairs going on. One example of this is the Take Me Out event happening on Valentines Day this year, my society committee and I have worked side by side with Dusa to create this event and to host the event as well. Working alongside Dusa this year has given me the opportunity to know where I need to go in order to get things done on time and with the role of Engagement, I will have the opportunity to do that work more effectively and also help Dusa remain number 1 in Scotland.
‘I pledge to have more cultural interaction and integration across the university’- As stated previously this is a very important aspect for me because as someone who is from an ethnic minority background, being given the opportunity to have integration in school was a great thing for me because I learned about other cultures, whereas students coming from overseas most like have not had that opportunity and coming to university is where they can have that experience.
‘I pledge to hear the voice the students and act accordingly’- I believe that everyone has a voice and it needs to be heard and that is what I am going to aim to do if elected role of Engagement. Being able to engage in conversation with the students and to find out their needs and requirements is very important because it makes the students feel as is their voices have been heard and being a student, knowing that my vice is being heard is something that makes me feel valued and in order to continue having that same value, I pledge to hear the voices.
‘I pledge to have more extra curricular activities for students from every background in order to raise awareness about different cultures’- it is important to show the cultural appreciation which is what I want to include here at the university.
- I pledge to have more cultural interaction and integration across the university.
- I pledge to hear the voice the students and act accordingly.
- I pledge to have more extra curricular activities for students from every background in order to raise awareness about different cultures.
Vice President of Campaigns and Communications
Ana Ranceva: Read My Statement & Policies
Hello, world! I’m Ana Ranceva, a candidate for the position of Vice President of Communications and Campaigns (VPCC), currently in final year of my Business Economics degree.
I have been at Dundee University for nearly 4 years now in which I always strived to get involved in various projects, roles and campaigns that matter to students. Needless to say, I absolutely love this place!
I am currently the Vice President of Fundraising at DUSA, one of the non-sabbatical volunteers. As part of the Executive team, I have got clear insights of how DUSA operates, as well as understand the full implications and long-term impact it has on the student community. I have learned what works and what doesn’t. Being fully equipped with such knowledge, I am eager to make some positive difference!
First, I believe that a student union should be more than just bars and nightclubs! It’s crucial to understand that DUSA also provides pastoral services and runs welfare campaigns to support you throughout the life-changing experience that is University. Communication is certainly one of the jigsaw pieces that needs to be in place to boost the visibility of pastoral events and show that DUSA is here to help. My objective is to increase the input of pastoral campaigns in DUSA’s promotional channels so that they have the same presence as the commercial side of The Union to reach out to students in need.
Second, DUSA Media is central part of student volunteering on campus. It provides an opportunity to learn new skills and a great way to engage students in ongoing campaigns. By raising awareness and safeguarding the creative process at DUSA Media we will guarantee its future success and it will keep on being the starting point for students who are interested in a media career. Communicating information is a key to establish DUSA Media’s identity that students will recognize and appreciate. I believe students should possess creative ownership of their ideas with the caveat that they follow DUSA’s Bye Laws and DUSA Media’s Guide.
Finally, I plan to create a platform that will offer practical consulting experience for students. The Social Projects Scheme will aim to link groups of students with local social enterprises that need to enhance any part of their operations. This campaign will be a win-win situation as students will develop key employability skills in a real-life environment whilst at the same time the social enterprises will gain high quality advice free of charge.
Bringing my love for media and communications, combined with my ability to prudently oversee and organise campaigns, I will give my everything to increase awareness of all DUSA’s activities and help to make students more employable in the future!
Vote Ana for VPCC!
- Increase DUSA’s pastoral presence on promotional materials to ensure fair and equal importance of students’ welfare
- Ensure DUSA Media is a platform that allows students to express creativity
- Establish a Social Projects Scheme which will increase students’ employability skills
Vice President of Student Activities
Sofia Skevofylaka: Read My Statement & Policies
Have you ever asked yourself where you should Search for a Part-time job while studying?
Have you ever participated in any Student Activity (Sports Club, Society, Volunteering) and did not have the appropriate Help in advance?
Do you wish that our University could give you bigger Recognition for all the Extra-Curriculum Activities you do?
If yes, my name is Sofia Skevofylaka and I will support you with all of the above and much more. I am a 4th year International Business with Marketing student running for the Position of Vice President of Student Activities (VPSA).
I am the President of Center of Entrepreneurship (ex-Enterprise Gym) and the Deputy Student Support for the University Halls. Moreover, I got elected as the International Student Representative for the Student Representative Council (SRC). My university experience has enabled me with strong Leadership and Communication skills.
My passion to make a difference made me the President of the International Society for 2 years where we won the ‘Best Society of the Year Award’ and I was honored with the ‘Society Achievement Award’. My passion for involvement (e.g. Woman Basketball Team) and support has helped many students to enhance their university experience. It is my time to give back to students even more!
My 3 policies are:
1. Create a Part Time Job Guide for Dundee Students (DUSA Jobs)
I want to create a list of employers who are student friendly by offering flexible part-time job opportunities for students. Following DUSA criteria and regulations, I wish to create a database of recommended organizations that would be crucial to secure better, safer and friendlier working environments for students while studying. From my personal experience, I believe that DUSA and University funded jobs are the most recommended places to work if you are a student. However, a guide mentored by DUSA will be beneficial to facilitate safer welfare for our students.
2. Provide further training for all Student Activities. (Effective Promotion, Committee Positions, Food Hygiene)
I want to provide further training for all societies, volunteering events and sports clubs (or any other student activity). The training would be on various aspects. Firstly, I will be delivering and I can ask Internal Communications to assist with training on Full and Effective Promotion. Secondly, I will conduct training for all committee positions, to make all committees and clubs handovers easier. Finally, there will be more food hygiene training to ensure funding over food events. Certificates will be given to all participants so they gain full recognition for what they have achieved and been part of.
3. Further Recognition from our University to all Student Activities.
I want anyone involved in any student activities, whether it is societies, sports, volunteering or jobs to be given further University Recognition. Working intensively with Careers Service and our University, proposing to ensure recognition on ‘Outstanding Student Evolvement’ that can be used in addition of the ‘Dundee Plus Award’ such as ’University Volunteering Society Awards’.
Vote Sofia for Societies! Let’s bring the magic in DUSA.
- Create a Part Time Job Guide for Dundee Students (DUSA Jobs)
- Provide further training for all Student Activities. (Effective Promotion, Committee Positions, Food Hygiene)
- Further Recognition from our University to all Student Activities.
Vice President of Academia
Ellen Brooks: Read My Statement & Policies
Hi! My name is Ellen Brooks and I’m a 4th year Forensic Anthropology student. I’m also the current President for the School of Science and Engineering. As a School President I am expected to represent the interests of all the students within my school and therefore I think my experience as School President has given me various skills I can transfer to the role of Vice President of Academia (VPA). As the representation of students with the University structure is the main focus of the VPA, if I am elected I will continue to represent students to the best of my abilities and work on my three main policies:
Many students are not aware of the help that is on offer to them in regards to their studies. If elected I would like to put a much bigger focus on these services, so that students know of all help that is available to them. This includes appeals, which I know has had a big focus put on it this year, but some students are still not aware of this process and how DUSA can help. I would like to run a campaign that clarifies exactly what you can appeal, when it is appropriate to appeal and the help that DUSA can offer in this regard. I think this would help raise awareness of the academic appeals and how they can help students.
The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a government scheme that University’s opt into to receive a ranking in regards to the services they provide. The University of Dundee chose to opt into this scheme and next year it is expected that individual subjects will receive their own TEF ranking. This creates issues as this will provide potential employers with a ranking system for essentially the same degrees and cause students to have to make the difficult choice between a more expensive, higher ranking degree or a lower ranking, cheaper degree as it is expected that the higher ranking degrees will be more expensive. It may also lead to the loss of certain degree programmes if they don’t rank well as they will become less popular. None of these are good options for students and if I’m elected I will fight against any applications for these awards.
The support of international students is a large part of the role as VPA. At the moment the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) benchmark sits at 6.0, which is leading to students being accepted into the university without an adequate knowledge of the English language to complete their studies. This causes all manner of problems and a serious overstretching of available support networks. The University may try to lower this IELTS benchmark as they have done in the past to allow more international students to attend the university, which will only increase the current problem. If elected I will attempt to stop the benchmark being lowered any further and work to increase the support available to international students.
- Raise awareness of the help offered by DUSA in regards to academic appeals
- Stop the university submitting applications for subject Teaching Excellence Framework awards to ensure that all degree programmes are still regarded highly by potential employers and prevent the loss of any degree programmes currently offered
- Increase the support for international students by working with current support networks to increase the level of available help and ensure that the benchmark for the International English Language Testing System is not lowered any further
Vice President of Representation
Alex Muir: Read My Statement & Policies
Hi, my name is Alex Muir and I am running for Vice President of Student Representation.
I am running for this position because improving student representation at our University is something that I am passionate about and I believe that I have the motivation, energy and relevant experience to excel as VPSR.
My key policy positions include:
• Reforming the class representative system so as to increase efficiency and more effectively support our student reps.
• Improving the communication system between our students and the SRC in order to better convey the positions and perspectives of the student body.
• Continuing to represent the University’s student body and ensuring the smooth and efficient running of the democratic branch of DUSA and the University.
I am currently the Associate President of Politics and International Relations and have been a class representative for Politics and International Relations since my first year. I formerly served as Vice President of Humanities. I am also an active member on both the SRC welfare and engagement committees.
Earlier this year, I was elected to be the SRC’s first LGBT+ representative. In this position, I have worked to ensure that all DUSA staff receive comprehensive minority training regarding the LGBT+ community, with the aim to extend this training to all University staff by the end of the academic year. I have been working with the Feminist Society and University personnel to get Athena Swan accreditation across the schools. I have also coordinated with Mary Alatisè (BME rep) in order to ban culturally offensive costumes on campus and with Yasmin Odabashy (facilities rep) in order to create accessible bathrooms in the Union. Through my work on these projects and others, I will have fulfilled all of my SRC campaign promises.
Outside of student politics, I have also been included in several student societies. I have been the Secretary/ Trans Officer for the LGBT+ Society since my second year and the publicity coordinator for Nightline since my third. I am also on the Board for the Humanities Societies’ first Undergraduate Conference.
I feel that my extensive activity within the student politics of the University has provided me with the experience I need to act as Vice President of Student Representation.
If elected as VSPR:
• I will change the class representative system so as to make reps more confident about their jurisdictions and make it easier for students to contact and work with their elected reps to better improve their schools.
• I will continue the work Liam Graham has been doing with the new SRC online platform, with the goal of creating a clear and user-friendly online forum to suggest improvements to our University.
• I will continue to organise the SRC, the School Presidents forum and the disciplinary council at the high standard at which they have been run, striving to improve wherever possible.
- Reforming the class representative system so as to increase efficiency and more effectively support our student reps.
- Improving the communication system between our students and the SRC in order to better convey the positions and perspectives of the student body.
- Continuing to represent the University’s student body and ensuring the smooth and efficient running of the democratic branch of DUSA and the University.
Vice President of Fundraising
Ezichi Kerstin Ekpe: Read My Statement & Policies
My name is Ezichi Kerstin Ekpe and I am a student from Nigeria, currently in my second year studying Civil engineering at the university of Dundee. I come from a family of six being the first child which leaves me with a lot of responsibility. I tend to take up leadership roles in most situations such as in secondary school where I was appointed as the chapel prefect and in college where I was appointed as the head girl of my hostel. Therefore, I felt the need to contribute to the larger Dundee society by putting myself up for the position of the Vice President of Fundraising.
A few weeks back, I wouldn’t have imagined nominating myself for this huge task. I am passionate about this role because I have an in-depth understanding of what the opportunity entails which is synonymous which my upbringing. I grew up in a catholic background and we spent a considerable amount of time during the Christmas and Easter breaks visiting charities, orphanages homes for the less privileged in a bid to give love and encouragement and donate clothes, toys and learning materials to help them.
My siblings and I took part in many events geared towards raising money for the homeless and for the people in need. Thanks to all of this, I have grown to learn that in giving, we receive; and we should do unto others what we want done to us. My background growing up in Nigeria with loving parents has had a great impact on how I look at the concept of giving.
When it comes to charity, it helps me see that life is not just about me, but about others. This helps me take my mind off myself for a while and think of others and what I would have loved others to do for me if I was in the same situation. If I get appointed, I would put in time and effort to raise money using all creative means possible to leave an impact in the society and put a smile on peoples’ faces.
I would love to use this opportunity to encourage students using various exciting and engaging activities to join the RAG committee and aid to assist others in the best way possible. A few exciting ideas I have for fundraising include having a yard sale. I am sure at least six out of ten people would have a few items that are not in use anymore that they would like to sell, thus presenting a great opportunity for people to get rid of those things and give for charity at the same time. Also, using my hobbies to create events such as a ‘paint for charity’ day, sports competitions, games night and other interactive and profitable activities could be a good chance to raise funds. Hopefully, more students see the value of giving.
To be truly human is to love and to love is to be charitable.
- Work in hand with the university to reach the aims and objectives of RAG.
- Educate more students about the RAG committee and its interests.
- Prove to students that fundraising for charity can be a fun and benefiting activity.