Interview: Ketong Zhang, candidate for USSA President



1. What do you think is the biggest problem facing Strathclyde students and how do you plan to resolve that problem?

To be frank, I think the biggest problem is that the Strathclyde students do not have enough power, they deserve not only one vote on the Election Day but also a say on the quality of teaching. That is why I’m introducing the Lecture Assessment to empower students and improve the quality of teaching at the same time.


2. How does your previous experience in the Union qualify you for role of President?

My only experience is the Union was attending a Student Parliament Meeting where only around 30 Reps and making decisions for 21,210 students. This is not democracy for me. So that is why when I knew there will be an election of President, I decided to run because I know what to improve. What qualifies me is I have nothing to do with the old Union, so I can bring a fresh perspective.


3. What do you offer that the other candidates don’t?

I am Chinese student, and I am a student from France where I was living for the past six years. I was one the first Chinese members of Youth Council of Paris which represents the youth of Paris to the Mayor’s office and also runs a fund supporting young entrepreneurs from all backgrounds in the city and I learned a lot from that time. I know how talented young students are, and feel that the university could do a lot more to treat them as adults and equal partners. I am always humble and eager to learn from others and will take this attitude into my time as President when working with the Union Executive and challenging the university management. I am different from the other candidates so I can offer bold and progressive ideas. The idea of Lecturer Assessment will be the first thing to implement under my presidency; I will not be not afraid of pressures from lecturers and the administration because like the slogan “People make Glasgow”, I believe that “Students make Strathclyde.” Students are the owners of the university, and we must have a say on the quality of teaching. One vote for me is more than a simple vote for the Union president; it means that students of Strathclyde want more power to decide their own future. If we attend every class, we work hard after class, there is no reason to fail an exam. No one should determine our future but ourselves.


4. What have this year’s Exec. done well, and what needs to be improved?

I really like the secure pathway to Library, and I think people will remember this “Legacy.” Also, I appreciate the current executives attempts to improve better accessing to housing and alternative finance as well as helping mature students time at university easier and would like to continue the work of the current executive in this respect. However, I feel I can do more for inclusion than is being done now. The entire international community and freshers are not active enough in the Union. Minority and ethnic groups are isolated. I want every student who walks in the Union even for the first time feel welcomed. I will work closely with the diversity officers to come up with real and lasting solutions to promote greater diversity. I would also like to see the union offer a greater diversity of thought and debate around the union. With the upcoming Brexit campaign, the Union should be doing a lot more to entice candidates from across the entire political spectrum and from a wide variety of background (business big and small and academic) to debates and discussions on campus. This was done for the Scottish referendum, but there is nothing that I have seen being promoted for Brexit. Greater Brexit debate is something I can’t directly influence as it will happen before my term but it is an issue. If elected president I will try and encourage greater political participation of students and the university in the wider community.


Watch Ketong’s presidential bid video here:‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);