Ian Opara: SU Community Officer Candidate

We spoke to third year Biochemistry student, BGP Welcome Mentor and Enactus member Ian Opara about why he wants to be your Commnity Officer!

Hi Ian. What made you put yourself forward for the role of Community?

Initially it was my love of people and serving in roles of social responsibility (as well as being egged on by the previous Community Officer Mike Olatokun) that drew my interest. Then I had to research the role because I had the same question a lot of students ask: “what does the Community Officer actually do?” Many meetings, scrutiny panel minutes reading and bugging of officers later, I really found myself wanting to take on the role as I realised that some of the frustrations I and others have frequently had all come under the scope of the Community Officer. This eventually led to the buzzwords and mantra at the heart of my campaign: “Accountability, Engagement and Empowerment”.

Why do you think the role of the Community Officer is so important?

I’m going to be really abstract here and talk about Toyota’s manufacturing strategy: kaizen. The manufacturing process is constantly reviewed and solutions are created, which eventually leads to the most efficient manufacturing process. The reason I bring this up is because the issues Community Officer deals with aren’t necessarily the stuff you notice or pay attention to. It’s the important stuff running in the background that probably affects you or your friends every day. But a lot of people think is just “what happens” when you’re a student: bad landlords, unfair parking permits, crime in student areas. A lot of people don’t realise how much this affects the university experience for many people. I want to get people’s “Eyes On The Community” and set up a community that is constantly reviewing, scrutinising and offering solutions so the university experience is EVERYONE’s best time – that’s the accountability part right there. So if I get the role, feel free to send me angry emails every day; I won’t take it personally!

What relevant experience do you have that you can bring to the role?

I’ve been activities rep for the largest hall during welcome week; I’ve gotten very good at listening to what students want and always fighting to basically give students the bang for their buck. I always went out of my way to make sure students felt included, listened to and respected. In one instance, personally delivering Spring Formal After Party tickets to every table leader in BGP after we got a massive complaint about the queues.

From being on Enactus I would say I’m a very goal-orientated person and part of our training is resisting the urge just to pat yourself on the back when you’ve done something good. Making sure you constantly reviewing what you’re doing with short-term goals and long term-goals in mind and not being afraid of criticism. Furthermore, since Enactus does social enterprise, a key part of that is empowerment: we’re not doing projects for ourselves, the main goal is to empower others to make the change themselves. That's a mindset I want to bring the role of Community Officer

What’s the best part of your manifesto/ your favourite part of your manifesto?

Am I allowed to say all of it? Everyone give it a read it’s great! Seriously though I think my favourite manifesto point is giving club security staff training on how to deal with sexual harassment. It’s too big of an issue for it to continue to be seen as “well you’re a club, what do you expect?” No one should be subjected to that, and guys out there if someone did it to your sister, you’d probably flip. So even if it doesn’t personally affect you, don’t stand for it being done to anyone else.

What part of your manifesto do you think will be the most difficult to implement?

Oh buses, the bane of so many students. The long war that has been waged against buses is certainly one of great frustration to many students. However, part of my research was trying to find out multiple solutions to the problem of buses and I discussed many times with Sam on the different views from the stakeholders, so if I get the position I’m prepared for the scrutiny panel to be on my case to hold me to it.

What should we be looking out for during campaign week? Slogans, branding?

Spacehoppers, cookies, eyes, smiles and a campaign team not barking at you for votes. #EyesOnTheCommunity: I’m looking out for everyone’s best interests.

Anything else you’d like to add for our readers?

Please go through and read manifestos, as much as I’d like for you just to vote for my pretty face. The manifesto is the most important thing.

QUICKFIRE ROUND

Ocean- yay or nay?

Yay, I’m too old to be edgy now

VKs or Jagerbombs?

The real question here is Ocean or Crisis?

Pizza or pasta?

Pizza

Cats or dogs?

Dogs

If you were to go on Mastermind, what would your specialist subject be?

I’m not sure, I like puzzles? Can I solve puzzles?

What would your dream job be?

Technology Consultant to entrepreneurs. Or Space Pirate.

Hallward or George Green?

I prefer Hallward for all-nighters

Gandalf or Dumbledore?

Gandalf

McDonalds or KFC?

Maccies!

Thanks Ian!