Candidate interview: Kevin Wong

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Kevin Wong
Lonsdale

Take inspiration from other unions
Not afraid to ‘ruffle a few feathers’ when dealing with the University
Work on engaging International students

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If elected to the role of Vice President (Equality, Welfare and Diversity), Kevin Wong, wants “to ensure that every member of Lancaster University, regardless of their uniqueness, is entitled to have their say, to be treated equally and to feel safe”.

As previous Lonsdale Education and Welfare officer, and current Equality, Welafre and Diversity (EWD) Council officer, Wong believes that after doing the EWD remit for the past two years, he has “up to date knowledge of it” and knows how everything works, including the relevant councils and sub committees, along with experience of running his own events. He also stood in for current Vice President (EWD) at an NUS International Conference.

Wong has a passion for international issues and is willing to put a lot of time into it. Attending the conference gave him “an insight into what happens in one of these conferences. It showed me that there are other unions that are doing things better than us and there are other unions that we are very far ahead of; and I think it’s good to go to one of these conferences because it gives you that perspective on things”.

If elected Wong will aim to communicate better as he thinks that communication “is an issue within the Union as a whole”. He feels that “sometimes officers don’t know what Full Time Officers are doing; they don’t know what committees they sit on” and really wants “to work on communication and make sure that all the officers know where they’re supposed to be, what is expected of them, and also what I’m doing in order to help facilitate their events”.

Wong thinks it’s important that the University has an understanding of the situation we’re in. “Cuts are coming” he said, and “what we have to do is really pick and choose which battles we’re going to fight and put all of our time and energy into that.”

Although he does not believe that confrontation is always the best route to take, he is adamant that if there is a contentious issue he won’t “be afraid to go and ruffle a few feathers.”

Compromise and a good working relationship with the University are both things that Wong would like to continue. With the rise in tuition fees, he believes that the University should realistically be charging £9000, which would mean “we could then demand a lot more of the University and it would strengthen our position as a union.”

Wong thinks that his campaign should not be all about one “big event” or one “big idea” but more focused upon “what the students want and what the student officers want”. He would like to allow student officers as much “responsibility as they feel comfortable taking” and give them the opportunity “to do something that will make them shine”.

If elected he will also focus on more international inclusion through more consultation; he feels that voter turnout and integration are quite poor at Lancaster and would therefore like to get some “focus groups and forums up and running”. He feels that sitting down and engaging with international students in order to find out what they would like from the Union is the way forward, particularly as they pay fees of £15,000.

He is also keen to continue the work that’s been done on mental health provision. He thinks that knowledge of mental health first aid is key for officers, with a motion already put in at EWD Council to send JCR EWD officers on a mental health training course, he would also like to get “the SCRs to give college administrators mental first aid as well.”

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