Unfortunately, due to a technical problem, we not not have the hustings videos for this category.
What is your background?
I started up The SOAS Spoken Word Society in my 2nd year of SOAS. We’ve hosted a variety of events from nights inspired by Rumi to evenings of jazz and poetry. We actually have an evening inspired by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda this Thursday right after hustings.
Before SOAS, I was a volunteer youth worker at my local youth centre and founded a youth poetry collective. It was a space for young people to write, share and perform our own poetry.
This year, I worked with the current Activities and Events Co-President and politics student Neelam Chhara to start the Decolonising Our Minds Society. The aim of the society is to facilitate events, lectures and workshops that deconstruct remnants of colonial thought that have become internalized norms in society today.
What are the two most pressing issues facing students on campus today?
I think firstly students are concerned that universities are merely the cogs that take us to our inevitable 9-5 jobs rather than places of knowledge, wisdom and discovery. This is why from an Activities and Events perspective, I’d work with the other Co-Presidents to continue to push forward the ‘Democratise SOAS’ campaign through events, lectures and workshops. Secondly, I think one of the most pressing concerns facing students is how free our union space will be.
What are your top priorities in this role?
One of my top priorities will be to continue the pressure on management to extend the JCR. With a growing population, it is essential that we have an autonomous space that retains our distinct SOAS community, even after we move to Senate House. Tied into this and another priority of mine is to facilitate the kind of events that make SOAS a magical place. So that when you walk around SOAS you find a night of Sufi chanting in G2 and Afrobeats playing in the bar all on the same night. Finally, I want to make it possible for students to access podcasts for popular events that are often oversubscribed.
How can the union improve as an organisation representing such a diverse group of students?
I think the Union can improve in terms of how it can empathise with a diverse group of students. From an Activities and Events perspective, a viable way to do this would be to organise public meetings for heads of society’s to voice their concerns and grievances.
What is the most important quality for a member of the union executive to have?
A friend of mine gave me some advice when I told him I was going to run for the SU elections and it was that enacting progressive/inspiring ideas is one thing but standing firm on behalf of students when things get tough oftentimes more important.
If you could invite any three people (alive or dead) to a party, who would they be?
I think I’d invite my favourite writer, rapper and poet; my favourite writer Junot Diaz, my favourite rapper Jay Electronica and my favourite poet Pablo Neruda. Hopefully revolutionary love would be the topic of conversation.