Search

Freshers 2022
– Meet your Presidents

The new University year has begun, and our campuses are welcoming students from around the UK and the wider world to begin an exciting new chapter of creativity and collaboration! As you get stuck into Freshers’ Week, we thought we’d introduce you to your UCASU Presidents – Sol Gjoines and Foysal Mobarock.

21 Sep 2022

Sol, President of our Kent campuses, graduated in Fine Art from Canterbury in 2021, focusing on drawing as well as mixed media installation work.

Hi Sol! Tell us why you wanted to become a President within the Students’ Union, what issues matter to you?
“Being completely transparent, I had no contact with the Students’ Union during my time at UCA. Ironically enough, that is one of the reasons I wanted to be your representative the following academic year – to work toward making sure you as a student know how the Students’ Union works for you, and all the amazing things you can expect from your membership.

“Through my time at university there were moments when it felt like my voice wasn’t being heard – it’s not a feeling I’d like anyone else to have! I want to help create the change that I wish I’d seen when I was studying and make UCA the very best place it can be for everyone.”

Tell us what a typical day is like – what are your roles and responsibilities as President?
“As full-time presidents, our job is to represent the student voice, as well as to deliver the manifesto promises we were elected on. We sit on various UCA groups and committees as representatives. At these meetings, we will provide updates about your Students’ Union, and represent the thoughts and views of the student body as best we can.

“However, one of the perks of this job in my opinion, is that every day will look different. Some days we will attend student events, some days will be filled with meetings, emails and office work, some days we solely go out and speak with students, etc.”

As you’ve been voted in based on your manifesto – what campaigns will you have this year, and what will you be aiming to achieve during your time as President Kent?
“I have five campaigns that I will be focusing on this year:

“Cultivate Campus Community. Because of the pandemic, students have seen higher levels of isolation, less opportunity to be in community with one another and it has been harder to make those friendships that makes University life that bit easier. That’s why this campaign will revolve around things like Kent having regular on-campus events (both creative workshop events, and things like pub quizzes, silent discos, and open mic nights), promoting clubs, societies and identity communities, and properly celebrating FE and Rochester in their last year.

“Enhance Employability. One of the biggest anxieties students will face is wondering what is next at the end of their University career. Because of this, I want to organize things like free headshots for students, portfolio review sessions, and networking events, as well as collaborating with the careers team where possible.

“Implement International Inclusivity. International students make up quite a sizable chunk of the student body at UCA, and although UCA has started the process of internationalisation, international students in the UK are still inadequately supported in many areas. I will be working on some business cases and reports in favour of UCA; 1. Implementing a guarantor scheme, and 2. Freezing International fees from year one. This campaign also includes things like organising a culture fair, to show off the many cultures we have on campus.

“Campaign for Climate Justice. Our generation is one of the most disproportionately affected by the Climate Crisis, which is why I think this is something that is important to a lot of students. This campaign includes things like creating sustainable gardens on each campus for students to tend to, collaborating with local climate activist groups to get students involved, and employ a student climate campaigner to continue the ongoing UCASU Climate Campaign.

"UCASU Promotion – This is a very small addition that has rolled over from last year and is already very close to being finished! I wanted to have all the UCASU promotion in one easy to find location, with some permanent posters for general information, and some rolling ones for upcoming events etc. New noticeboards have been purchased and installed on each campus, and some of the new posters will be designed before the start of term! It was a very easy win, but with very high benefit!”

How can UCA students get involved with your campaigns?
“Simply by getting in touch! You can stop me for a chat if you see me around, come by the UCASU office, or send me an email at sol.gjoines.su@uca.ac.uk. There’s no pressure, it’s up each person to decide how much or little they want to be involved with something. Don't be afraid to ask, my door is always open!”

What advice would you give to our new intake of UCA students to ensure they get the best from their university experience?
“One of our Fine Art tutors, Jessica Voorsanger, used to tell us something that always stuck with me – ‘The squeaky cog gets the oil’. Basically saying ‘don’t ask, don’t get’. Use your voice, it’s more powerful than you think! Ask for help, get a second opinion, book in those extra tutorials – you’re not being annoying, you’re being a squeaky cog!

“Another piece of advice I have, as someone who never did, is to get involved with your Students’ Union. Whether it is by joining or creating a club or a society, coming along to an event, or just stopping by the UCASU office to say hi. We are here for you, the students, and you only! Getting involved can mean that you have something new to add to your CV, it can mean you having some fun away from your studies, it can mean you being a part of creating positive changes, and much more. There is so much value there, and I highly encourage you to take advantage of this while you can!

Finally, what are you looking forward to most about the coming academic year?
“I’m most looking forward to interacting with students again! To me, that is the most fulfilling part of this job. It’s what I’m here for, and I can’t wait!”

Foysal, President of our Surrey campuses, is currently completing his Global Masters in Business and Management at the Business School for the Creative Industries at UCA Epsom.

Hi Foysal! Tell us why you wanted to become a President within the Students’ Union, what issues matter to you?
"To work with the Students’ Union and have the unique responsibility of representing the voice of all UCA students across all campuses. In my role I have some goals to achieve, which I’ve shared below. Most of all, I am excited to lead your Students’ Union direction, complete the manifesto points I outlined when the student body elected me to represent them, and act as the voice of students this year.”

Tell us what a typical day is like – what are your roles and responsibilities as President?
“Well, as an elected representative, myself and Sol have a lot of responsibilities, including:  

  • Chairing the Students’ Union Board of Trustees which includes line management responsibility of the UCASU Chief Executive.
  • Sitting on the Union Council, made up of the two Presidents plus up to twelve part-time student officers. Here we create and pass motions, approve policies and help decide what UCASU should focus on.
  • Getting feedback directly from students to make sure that UCASU reflects the needs and wants of our members (you, the students!).
  • Attending the Academic Board meetings – this is the highest decision making body at UCA.
  • To work with the marketing team to actively promote myself via social media through official channels and promote the work of UCASU!
  • Encourage students to engage and maximize the opportunities available to them as UCASU members!
  • Uphold the core values of UCASU and be an ambassador for the Students’ Union.
  • Support UCASU activities including Freshers’ Week, elections and other events we run for students.”

As you’ve been voted in based on your manifesto – what campaigns will you have this year, and what will you be aiming to achieve during your time as President Surrey?
These are my manifesto points and will be what I’m aiming to achieve as President Surrey:

“Canteen Discounts and Signage.  As a student at UCA Epsom, I know that it can be hard to have time to go out and get lunch during breaks and many have said to me that food can be expensive on-site. To help with this, one of the first things I am working on is to introduce meal deals in the canteens to create better value for everyone. There also needs to be Halal signage for food; currently it relies on the students to ask canteen staff at the point they are getting food.

“Financial Support for Students. Most students would not be able to pay tuition fees without student financial aid, let alone their living expenses. Student loans serve as a financial springboard to assist you in reaching your goal of studying in higher education, which is an investment in your future, but it is getting more expensive to be a student. I want to work to help students financially, so they are less stressed and with the university to develop ways of offering more financial support and advice to students.

“Expanding Job Shops. Many students who relocate to a new city or country for university will be seeking jobs to support their education and maintain a vibrant student lifestyle. Experience in the workplace demonstrates to future employers that students have gone above and beyond their studies to obtain transferable skills; part-time employment can help students to improve their CV and employability. It is for this reason that I want to support students by promoting local part-time jobs.

“Exam and Coursework Feedback. For me, receiving feedback and results on time is crucial to the success and wellbeing of students. We know in some cases this hasn’t happened and so for me this is a very important area of improvement - students need to able to have time to discuss their results or feedback and move forward with confidence.

“Religious Festivals. These are often a time of great celebration and help believers to remember important beliefs in their religion. Religious celebrations bring faith communities together to celebrate these shared beliefs and values. I am excited to do more to recognise and celebrate the festivals that matter to you from religions such as Diwali to Holi, Eid, Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter and more in-between. As part of my campaign, religious festivals will be added to the UCASU events calendar, and I want to make sure that we host events for students to celebrate throughout the year. I will also work with the university to encourage them to consider religious events and festivals when they are planning course deadlines, events, and term times.”

How can UCA students get involved with your campaigns?
“There are so many ways for students to get involved with my campaigns and I will be looking for support in the coming months. For the time being, you can get involved by following us on our social media channels and keeping your eyes on the UCASU website.”

What advice would you give to our new intake of UCA students to ensure they get the best from their university experience?
“UCASU and your Presidents are here to support students at any point. We have an advice service independent of UCA and I encourage students to make use of it. I also suggest that you can take a proactive role in your learning by doing things like representing your course as a Course Rep! I’d also say, take care of yourself, never be afraid to ask for help, stick to your timetable, limit distractions and figure out when you are most productive.”

Finally, what are you looking forward to most about the coming academic year?
"I am looking forward to playing a big part in ensuring that students have the best experience they can during their time at UCA, be it socially or academically. I am also looking forward to supporting students to have the best outcome from their education too.”

You can find out more about the activiities of your Student's Union, visit www.ucasu.com