Interview: Ramsay Suliman, 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?

Housing is obviously a massive issue. A lot of landlords don’t want to let to students because they have a bad reputation when actually most students are pretty reasonable. We need to make students more aware of financial aid because it can be daunting when you become independent for the first time. There is also the issue of mental health. University can be a daunting and stressful experience and people should not be ashamed of being overwhelmed or stressed out. There is a stigma surrounding mental health, and those barriers need to be broken down. It is easy to underestimate the power the students’ union has. Students are the future of the country and we really do have the power to make a change. It is so important to realise that.


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

I have never worked in the union before but I have noticed that when I was in first year the union was more lively. It seems less busy now since refurbishments and that is the opposite of how it should be. I have lots of experience in working with social teams and charities. I have lots of connections already and I think that we need to promote links with places outside the union as well. For instance, working with nightclubs and bars to get students as involved in university life as possible. It is the bystander effect- when people see a place is busy and that their fellow students are having fun, they want to get involved. People are so unaware of what the union can offer to them. We have financial aid, mental health services and a student marketing team which is fantastic. However, I believe that all of these resources could be strengthened to offer students the best possible university experience.


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

I am a really approachable person and I always have been. I don’t take myself seriously, to a certain extent. I get stuff done in an informal manner and I prefer to break boundaries down and make friendships as opposed to business relationships. Human interaction is so underrated and I really believe that we need to hire approachable people to be the face and voice of the students. The student involvement zone feels quite tense and needs a fun vibe. I am hugely interested in the social aspect of everything and can strike up a conversation easily.


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

This year’s exec. got more people involved in student politics. This is the most contested election of all time so last year’s team have definitely done something right. Students wanted a safer road crossing on Cathedral Street and they got it. Aditionally, they got students rehoused and secured funding for various student issues. That’s not an easy thing to do and it shows the sheer power the students’ union can have. I’m a firm believer in being more open because student unions need to be more approachable. The student involvement zone can be intimidating to students and that’s not the way things should be.


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