SU Candidates: Loren and Hemanth, International Officers

The SU Elections are well under way. We caught up with Loren and Hemanth, your International Officer candidates, to find out a little more about them and their manifesto!

Course and Year?

Loren: International Media and Communication Studies, Year 1

Hemanth: Economics, Year 2

1. Tell us what the role of International Officer entails.

Loren: The role of International Officer entails looking after the wellbeing of international/EU students. Essentially, this can include anything from hosting social events, promoting inclusivity around campus, welcoming different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, and voicing the needs of internationals to the local community.

Hemanth: Being the voice of international students and expressing their views is the main role of the Students' Union International Officer. The International Officer is a current international student, elected by international students to represent their interests. He or she will work with the other elected student representatives to run the Students' Union on behalf of the student community, ensure that student interests are represented effectively and that there is something on offer for everyone in the Students' Union.

  2. What are the ‘best bits’ of your manifesto?

Loren: I really like the concept of a Global Lounge. A lot of our manifesto lines up with other candidates in other positions regarding inclusivity and culture exchanges, but this Global Lounge is a direct call-to-action for a fun and welcoming environment somewhere on campus. I really imagine an open space for cultural societies and local organizations to provide food festivals, language exchanges, and various other activities for both internationals and home students. It would be a great step forward for the University to implement a purposeful area on campus as a sort of “taste of home” for international students.

Hemanth: We feel the need for inclusiveness of international students with home students. The introduction of Global Lounge is idea which we think will help with addressing that. Like Loren said, Global Lounge is an inclusive space for both internationals and the domestic students to relax and to interact on various topics to understand each other’s cultures. It’ll a completely international space which contains exclusive international food which also accommodates Halal and Kosher Food!

3. Why do you think you are the best candidates for this role?

Loren: Hemanth and I come from complete opposite ends of the globe, yet we find common ground in our love for this University and its students in particular. As international students ourselves, we understand a lot of the struggles international students face on daily basis. We are both open minded and eager to learn about new cultures every day. I truly believe two minds are better than one when sharing an SU position, in order to appeal to a larger audience.

Hemanth: What makes us stand out?  Simple Answer- Opposites of a magnet attract and makes the force stronger! We both originate from two sides of the world, who have a completely different approach to life. Loren is a sassy American who represents the values of Western Hemisphere and I'm from India and represents the Eastern Hemisphere and has the element of Asian, Hindu culture in his blood! This makes a good balance and we as individuals can correlate our cultural problems better to address them effectively than as any one individual. 

4. How are you planning to manage both being on the SU and your studies next year since neither of you will be taking a year out?

Loren: We’re a dynamic duo, by far. We’re very balanced in our sense of communication, and Hemanth finds strengths in a lot of my weaknesses (and vice-versa). I believe maintaining a focus towards our overarching goal of “inclusivity” will drive every initiative, scheme, or event we hope to achieve next year. We are quite eager to hold this position and our passion is bound to keep us motivated in both our studies and our SU responsibilities.

Hemanth: I have been heavily involved in SU from day one and this has improved our time management and planning.  Im also the current President of Southwell Hall and committee member of two other societies. Having all these responsibilities, I've been able to effectively manage my academics mainly because I maintain a diary for a week and allocate a specific time to do my positions of responsibilities and maintain a good balance of co-curriculars and academics. Organisation is key for both of us!

5. The university is renowned for its international status yet, there’s definitely still some work needed to develop the relationship between international and domestic students. Why is it, do you think, that we struggle to break that barrier completely?

Loren: Culture shock. Honestly, as an American, I didn't think university life in England would be much different than the US, but boy was I wrong. Now, imagine those coming from non-English speaking countries or those with completely different academic and social settings. These are simple factors that would disorient even the loudest of extroverts. Internationals and home students must be valued on an equal level, not one more than another. We both share such unique identities but they may not be embraced naturally from the beginning. Sometimes, it just takes a little bit more of a push. And that’s where Hemanth and I come in.

Hemanth: It’s the mainly the element of understanding the culture. Every culture has a different set of values which don’t which seems alien to others. For example, from my personal experience, the concept of early dinner at 5:00 sounded a bit strange to me. In India we usually have dinner 9:00p.m. and goes up to 11:00p.m. sometimes.  It's only a matter of understanding and being accommodative that would solve the problem. This is one of the prime reasons we're standing together. We have a completely different values and gives the right mix to break these cultural barriers.

6. You talked about the possible impacts of Brexit and President Trump’s election on the international community in your manifesto. How do you plan on addressing the insecurities that students may be feeling or experiencing?

Hemanth: Oh I'll let Loren take this one (laughs).

Loren: Despite the underlying reasons why these incidents even became reality, we face the reality of what it means for international students – hate, racism, closed borders, and closed minds. Students experiencing any sort of insecurities should know we will be working tediously to diffuse the yearly increase of international fees, support their welfare by offering “taste of home” events in our Global Lounge, and increase opportunities for work experience and scholarships whilst studying in the UK. Because frankly, England has an academic standard competitive worldwide, and who are we to limit international students from living up to their potential and offering their best to a country that isn’t their own?

We’d like to do a quick fire round just so the readers get to know a little more about you that isn't election based! Ocean - yay or nay?

Loren: YAY (Ocean DevOCEAN for the win)

Hemanth: Yay!

Claim to fame? Or a fun fact?

Loren: I know my US states in alphabetical order?? Does that count????

Hemanth: I speak 5 languages and I'm a cluster level tennis player in India

Biggest weakness/indulgence?

Loren: Coconut water and online shopping

Hemanth: Public Speaking can be daunting sometimes Any final words?

Vote Hemanth and Loren for your International Officer for #AWholeNewINCLUSIVEWorld

Vote here: www.studentleaderelections.co.uk

Edited by Jenine Tudtud