With five years experience at Loughborugh, Maz Haider seems to have had a hand in many different aspects of the University life. He is currently campaigning for the hotly contested position of VP Welfare and Diversity against Izzy Ford and Dave Tingle. Will his many years here at Loughborough help him during his campaign? Read his answers to our five big questions below to get to know this candidate a little better:
1. What are the main reasons behind you running for VP Welfare and Diversity?
"The main reason I wanted to run for this position, first of all I have always had a desire to get involved in different things, it’s something I have always wanted to do. But I think what really did it for me was the fact that I am Rag Rep for Butler Court, so obviously seeing all of the different charities that we have and things that we get involved in, so that was probably the deciding factor as I wanted to have my chance to give something back to the community and do what I can really. The next bit was obviously planning what I could do."
2. What do you think of the current VP Welfare and Diversity and is there anything you would plan to do differently if you were in that position next year?
"I would really like to commend Georgie for what she has done this year, because it has been a new role, there has been so much to do. I think she has gone beyond her role to not just cater for everyone but cater for a diverse range of students which obviously comes under the diversity part of the job. It’s not just about coming up with events but sort of in a business way knowing who your audience is and seeing what they want and she’s putting on events such as Diwali and Black History week and all that so she knows the people that she caters for. It’s about getting them involved through events that cater for those specific students. Through publicising them it gives a chance for other students who may not be of that faith or tradition to get involved as well and I think that’s important for the Loughborough experience and I think Georgie has done that really well. In terms of what she has done, she started off the counselling service and the night bus and I think I would like to carry that on because it is going really well.
A few things that I would like to bring in is, after talking to Georgie about lots of my manifesto points, currently cultural associations like the ACS or HinduSoc feel a bit upset that they are being labelled under the banner of a ‘society’, so one thing I want to do is to get that changed to ‘association’, because having spoken to Jermaine who is the current Chair of ACS, he feels it is a bit unfair that they are being labelled as a society along the lines of like the Harry Potter society and the Paintballing society which emphasise fun and games, whereas societies like these are obviously more cultural and there is a learning aspect involved as well. Having gone to one of the meetings, they talk about issues that are related to being a better ‘association’ because there is that cultural aspect of it as well. So what I would do is help them come under the banner of ‘association’ rather than a society because it gives people a chance to see them for what they are, it’s not just about fun and games but it is emphasising that it is a learning experience as well. How I plan to go about that, again one of my main manifesto points, is maybe having an Arts and Crafts week showcasing objects from different countries within ACS or same thing with the Islamic society and different Islamic countries, that would change people’s perceptions and show that there is more than meets the eye, its traditional, cultural, there are lots of things that come out of this country. So I think that would be a good start and I would like to change that."
3. What is your one main manifesto point?
"I’ve got so many and I think they are all pretty important but my point about having welfare reps in all the Halls, is as equal a point as any other one I have got but, in terms of that I want to make sure that I have got Welfare reps in all the Halls to be there to answer questions about any problems people have in Halls. I think this is especially important for Freshers, you know like ‘I don’t get on with my flatmate’ or ‘I’m feeling homesick’, they are not necessarily questions that you want the sub wardens to deal with or trouble the wardens with. Such trivial matters could be left to students, they have obviously gone through the same process so they have that experience and they have an idea of how to deal with students. And what I would suggest is giving Welfare Reps training on how to deal with certain issues, and if they can’t do it then maybe point them in the direction of someone who can. Therefore publicising the student support services that we have got. So I think that would be an ideal step. I have already received a bit of critique from it, such as ‘should the wardens not deal with this’, well I sort of fire it back by saying that I think that such matters should be left to the students themselves so that the wardens and sub wardens can be left to deal with bigger issues."
4. Why should students vote for you to be the next VP Welfare and Diversity over anyone else in Loughborough?
"I think students should vote for me because, for a start I have been here for five years and I think that is longer than any of the other candidates running. Having been here five years it has given me the chance to get involved with different things, currently being a Rag Rep and a Union Councillor, I have been a student rep for my course, I have been in a society committee and an AU committee so I have dabbled in different aspects of the Loughborough Experience. Having interacted with different people from different aspects, gives me again, no pun intended, a diverse range of experience to get involved with different students and see what they want. I have been interacting a lot with mature students as well as the LGBT as these are some of the groups I would be working with, so I have taken that sort of approach to understanding my audience.
So I know some of the candidates might be on the welfare committee themselves and I was asked why would I not want to go on it, I just think that would limit me, because everyone has their specific roles in any committee so that would sort of limit me, going out there and sort of finding out what I want to find out on my own freely. So I thought I am going to go out there and explore, do my research, do whatever I can I don’t want anyone or anything to impede that so I can go out there and see what I have got to deal with, obviously asking students what I want them to help me with as well. It has been an interesting experience and recently I conducted a survey with students asking them different questions such as how could we publicise student support services or how can we broaden your Loughborough experience etc. I think we are here for students, we are here as an executive and we would be nothing without the students so I think my main task has been and will continue to be looking for ways to get the students more involved in my section and once I have got a few good ideas, looking for ways to publicise them and how we can improve on them. Obviously I am going to keep doing my research, whether I get onto exec or not for what more I can do as an individual member of the student community to help others because a lot of students aren’t on the welfare committee or any other committees."
5. In one sentence, can you sum up what you think the role of VP Welfare and Diversity involves?
"The role involves looking to increase involvement of the welfare and diversity section by encouraging students to feel that they are in a safe environment to express their individuality."
All answers given are those of the candidates, recorded and transcribed word for word, and are not influenced by our writers.