2018 Election Interviews: Teresa, Farina & Ariel

It’s Election Season! Names and posters have been flying around for a while, and everyone is getting prepared to present themselves and their ideas next week at the Election GA. Each year, Tabula RASA gives the candidates the opportunity to react to a quick Q&A, so that the whole student community can read a bit about who they are, and what they stand for. In this article, you can read about Teresa Nagore for AAC Secretary, Farina Shaaban for AAC Internal Officer and Ariel Teo for RASA Secretary!

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  1. What is your full name, semester, hometown, and the position you are running for?

My name is Teresa Sarasa Nagore, I am a second semester from Pamplona, in the North of Spain. I am running for the AAC Secretary and Program Advisory Committee position.

2. What is it that you feel you can contribute to the AAC?

With my open and welcoming personality, I will encourage students to get in touch with the board, portraying the AAC as visible and approachable. I am a great communicator and listener, and I have a lot of experience in representing students and working as a teacher, so as part of the Program Advisory Committee I am certain that I could strengthen the relationship between professorate and study body. I am efficient, hardworking, and extremely enthusiastic about the potential of academics at our university. As the secretary, you get to work behind the scenes and help your fellow board members organize their very important duties. As a very organized person myself, I would love to be the glue that holds the board together!

3. What issues do you consider to be the most pressing for the AAC?

I believe that for many there’s a certain sense of unconformity in regards to structuring our academics. A main priority would be to improve the quality of courses and teaching in this institution. I would also look into some graduation requirements, especially in the Academics Core department. Despite several recurring complaints on certain topics, little to nothing has changed overtime. It seems to me many students feel that the university doesn’t listen to them or values their opinion.

Another pressing problem is the lack of direction and future security most students have at UCR. A Liberal Arts and Sciences program comes with many advantages, but a big handicap is that curriculum planning and choosing a Master can become extremely intricate and nerve-racking. Many students are uncertain as to where or how to move on with their studies.

4. Please outline a few ideas/initiatives you would like to implement if elected.

I would strike to make AAC initiatives more visible, by for instance being more active on Facebook, and re-organizing the Intranet to make all information and tools like the complaints submissions more accessible and organized.

I would facilitate course planning by updating tracks and course outlines available on the Intranet, making sure they all follow a similar structure, therefore allowing students to easily find relevant information. I would also look into creating a platform or series of online templates that can help students piece their semesters together.

I would take a similar approach to Masters programs. There are great platforms, such as the one used by UCM, which provide great guidance on choosing your Masters by taking into consideration your current courses. I would look into implementing something of that fashion at UCR. Lastly, strengthening the Alumni-student relationship at our university could be really helpful when seeking guidance on future studies.

5. What is it that you like to do outside of the classroom?

You can often find me in Elliott, either studying, volunteering at the Mensa, or twice a week a little tipsy at parties. I am part of the basketball team, and I also travel around the Netherlands a lot as part of the UCR ambassador team. I am always working on some sort of art project, whether it is photography, drawing, or contemplating life. As a Spaniard it is mandatory for me to mention siesta. I, of course, enjoy spending time with my friends, they’re the main reason I stay sane.

 

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  1. What is your full name, semester, hometown, and the position you are running for?

Farina Leonie Shaaban

2nd semester

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Internal officer and UCR council representative (AAC)

2. What is it that you feel you can contribute to the AAC?

With my experience in student representative institutions, I know that perhaps my biggest asset is my eagerness to change what needs changing, and my curiosity to understand what makes the wheels go round in an institution like UCR, and be a part of it. My previous positions at the Youth groups in the UN and the British council in Zanzibar, and later at Airbnb in Berlin, really taught me the organization skills which make me competent enough to be responsible for setting up events for such large organizations.

3. What issues do you consider to be the most pressing for the AAC?

Planning one’s UCR career can be tricky. With the freedom to take a large variety of courses in different disciplines comes the challenge of planning a balanced coming semester. The tutors and the handbook are helpful on a general basis.  An easy and maybe even boring semester followed by a draining semester leaving one mentally exhausted is not an uncommon story at UCR.

4. Please outline a few ideas/initiatives you would like to implement if elected.

Because I am “only” a first year, the troubles of adapting to university life are fresh in my memory. The current emphasis on the life after UCR is important, and I want to continue the work started by my forerunners if elected. I also want to support students who need guidance to make the best out of being here. I would like to centralize questions such as “how stressed will I be with this course combination?” and “would anyone recommend this course?” in an event oriented to help students structure their time at UCR using guidelines more specific to their personal goals. The aim is not to help a student check off all their graduation requirements, but to help them distribute the courses they want to take with minimum stress and maximum cohesion.

5. What is it that you like to do outside of the classroom?

I was lucky enough to be put into a house with the most wonderful people. My favourite thing to do outside of the classroom in Middelburg is to hang out with them. When I’m not studying or drinking tea with housemates I’m probably watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S or House MD. I hope to get the chance to go home for a dive or two soon.

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  1. What is your full name, semester, hometown, and the position you are running for?

My name is Ariel Teo and come from Perth, Australia. I am a second semester student at UCR and I’m running for RASA Secretary.

2. What is it that you feel you can contribute to RASA?

The experience I have as Music Society’s PR manager has taught me how RASA societies function. I’ve learnt to deal with the issues societies might face, and to figure out how to address people’s opinions and act appropriately. Even if it’s by performing Toto’s “Africa”. My insight would help communication between CAOs, societies, and students by understanding different perspectives if issues arise. Empathy and practicality would guide me when suggesting solutions.

During my time as PR Manager, I’ve realized I can be incredibly motivating and induce enthusiasm, which would help with board dynamics and bring out the Vikings in us all! Chilling with people I only just met and learning about them has become a habit of sorts. My adventurous and pretty casual nature would help improve RASA’s approachability. While Villex doesn’t allow me to physically always leave my door open (it’s a fire hazard), metaphorically, it always is.

3. What issues do you consider to be the most pressing for RASA?

Community spirit and the approachability of the RASA board should definitely be a priority, and I believe they come hand in hand. It’s harder for everyone to thrive if people don’t feel like they can look for support throughout the community we spend three years with.

As the students representing all students, it could have a positive effect if people could see the passion and effort the board puts into the community. Hopefully, this can be achieved by improving the connection between the RASA board and its members. Transparency would improve approachability; if people are more in touch with what RASA does, it would decrease the feeling of disconnect people have, and ultimately improve community spirit. People having polar opinions about RASA’s activity isn’t necessarily negative. It only further emphasizes the necessity for RASA to be more transparent and accessible. If negative comments are addressed, technically they should decrease, creating a nicer atmosphere for us all.

4. Please outline a few ideas/initiatives you would like to implement if elected.

Recently, it seems obvious that we need an official and accessible place to give feedback, so appropriate people can then take action upon it, or at least address it. I would love to possibly provide this through the system of an online, anonymous form for people to approach RASA. As some people may feel uncomfortable directly approaching the board, it is important that there is still a place for everyone to express issues constructively with the option of anonymity.

I believe transparency is important, and RASA’s work should be readily available. I would like to have more open board meetings, and possibly update people more casually and frequently with what we cover in meetings by posting a condensed version of the minutes. This would be an easy option for people to check up on what RASA is doing, in addition to approaching us during office hours or contacting us directly.

5. What is your favorite icebreaker activity?

Not sure if it counts, but if you play Cards Against Humanity with people you really get to know them. You get straight to the core of their humor, and some interesting things can happen from it! I think it’s also my favorite because I enjoy dark humor.

 

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