1) What made you want to run for this position?
Loughborough University postgraduate tuition fee is £11000 for EU students and £19350 for
International students. As a PG Student, I asked myself; am I getting my money’s worth in and outside of the classroom? Of course I am. However, I am sure there is a great deal of room for improvement in the Loughborough University postgraduate experience. This is one of the major reasons why I am running for office – I want to be one of those that will lead the change and put in efforts that will kick-start sustainable improvements in the experience postgraduate students receive from the university. Here are some of the ideas I plan to implement as PGEO.
• Ensure closer contact between PG School and Students (I have noticed the contact that exist right now is majorly academic). I will lead the initiative that will ensure the PG school is more involved in overall well-being of the Loughborough PG Student, not just the academic aspect only.
• I plan to organize “How I did it” series that would come up once in 2months (Career and motivational talks in the mode of TEDx Talks) where successful Loughborough postgraduate
Alumni will share their experience and tips on how to achieve success in different career fields.
• Postgraduates being fully involved in sports – Part of the mini-interview I had ” I am part of a sport team, but I sometimes miss practice or games because I’m still in a lecture”. Undergraduates finish school on Wednesdays between 12pm – 1pm and the remaining time period is used for sports. Postgraduates have lectures at various times of day each week. It would be good to team with the Education EO and some of the program directors to confirm the possibilities of PG students closing at 1pm on Wednesdays in order to fully participate in sporting activities.
2) What experience do you believe you have that ensures you will be able to represent the diverse postgraduate population we have here?
As mentioned in my manifesto, I am the course representative for my MSc Consulting Major in France. In the four months spent in France I have acquired and improved on my soft skills – Leadership, team player, communication, Presentation etc. When I was in high school, I was the elected social prefect of my school to create events for students that would get them to be actively involved with functions within and outside the school. During my undergraduate studies I was the Events Manager for the Afro-Caribbean Society for 2years consecutively, funny enough I ran for a Sabbatical or Executive Officer for the post of Vice-President last year at LJMU and as we can all see I didn’t get it since I’m currently here studying and running for the PG EO. But I am glad to say that coming to Loughborough has provided the opportunity to travel abroad for a semester, I am confident I can bring this experience to bear in improving Loughborough university postgraduate experience.
3) How do you believe LSU has impacted the postgraduate experience at Loughborough since their first Postgraduate Executive Officer began their role last September?
People who have been involved with or came across the last Postgraduate Executive Officer would say it has been a positive and successful tenor. The introduction of PGIF to the postgraduate community is a
fantastic idea. The involvement of the postgraduate executive officer with students at induction also had a positive impact on them knowing that aside the course representatives, there is someone else we can take suggestions and complaints to.
4) What is the toughest challenge facing postgraduates at both our main campus and our London campus?
Some of the challenges I identified that the postgraduates students at both campuses face are,
• There are around 1500 PGR students combined across both campus and there have been some difficulties in regards to fully understanding the nature of postgraduate researchers which hinders potential support for the students. PGRs do not have (semesters, lectures, modules, exam or any rigid structure) which can impact the support given to them. I believe there’s already an existing PGR support network, the graduate house. I would like to add more
• PGT is formed of various course from MSc International Management to MSc Advanced Physics, it was also noted during my campaign that the students are not aware of activities going on in and out of campus. A postgraduate student told me about an event happen in London campus for the students there and he is going for it, In this situation I believe we have students in our Loughborough campus that would want to attend and there should be some sort of arrangement on how to get students to London and back, so it benefits all our students.
• Not to forget Part-time and Distance learners – they are also part of our Loughborough community and should feel well involved. For example if we have over 50 distant learners in a particular country we should be able to host events for them even if its once in six months so they have the Loughborough experience.
• Integrating people from different countries/cultural background, it is tough moving to a new city with no familiar face and students are bound to face culture shock. I experienced same as a fresh college student in a new country, I was able to overcome the culture shock using the help of my school-assigned buddy. Introducing the Buddy system to Loughborough would be great not only for postgraduates also for undergraduates.
5) How do you envision incorporating Loughborough in London into the wider Union strategy of being as inclusive as possible, given the difficulties faced by being over 100 miles away?
• The LSU Trips – A replica can be made for just postgraduate to have maybe a weekend trip to Edinburgh for the weekend and it will be planned well in advance to get the right cost and give the students more time to decide.
• Joint career fair for postgraduate of both Loughborough and London – Having one large fair in one location, than two separate ones. A career fair for Loughborough university postgraduate, venue: Loughborough university. In this situation arrangements of transportation should be made for students in London campus and so on.
• Having a day trip to Loughborough London campus and vice versa.
6) What could the current PG EO have done better this year to improve the experience of postgraduates at either campus?
I think a better and robust level of awareness about what the PEO does and the benefits the office offers to PG Students could have been created – After the mini interviews I conducted, I noticed a lot of PG Students are aware of the post but do not know the purpose it seeks to achieve. A little more visits to lecture halls, collaborating with other postgraduate halls like Harry French which is just off campus in that regard would have helped improve the experience of postgraduates. That being said, George Hones brought about the PGIF which I believe is a terrific idea that eased the burden and stress of postgraduate students.