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Amy Amira believes that her experiences as an international and post-graduate student will help to represent students that are typically underrepresented in the Union.
She cited her work at the Union’s front desk and in the Alumni department of the University as where she came across demographics and issues that aren’t always visible and was thus motivated to work to “bridge gaps” between students, the Union, and the University. Amira said, “I feel like I have enough knowledge to manoeuvre around so I feel like my knowledge in terms of the University running and the Students’ Union running would really be a good a good way to bridge gaps.”
On what she thinks is the most important issue that students currently face, she said that when she talks to people she often hears that they are struggling with finances as the cost of living is high, but she has many tips to reduce expenditure and she really enjoys helping to teach people to do it.
“In terms of identifying a specific problem I most likely would like to hear what other people want me to do, although I have a specific set of criteria that obviously I’d try to go for, but I think it’s always variable. It’s always the people come first and then your model can be based on that.”
As an international student, Amira spoke about language challenges that many of her peers face. Although she speaks four languages fluently, she knows many people who sometimes find the wording of resources confusing. “Yes it’s an English university but not everybody’s first language is English and we should account for it as well.” She also referenced a post on the Overheard at Lancaster Facebook group where a girl posted about being bullied in the library and some of the comments were “nasty” remarks as English was clearly not her first language, and highlighted the importance of having multilingual posters so they are more accessible for everyone.
Her manifesto talks about counteracting hate crimes by spreading information, and she highlighted the importance of ‘the direction and method of communication,’ though she was not clear how this differs from the work the liberation groups are currently doing.
On her manifesto point about bus passes being subsidised by the University, she said, “I don’t think it should be such an expensive thing to be able to afford because Stagecoach runs relying on us, on the University using their services, so this can be a selling point for us in terms of negotiating prices.” She conceded that feasibility would also depend on the budget, but believes it is something that should be considered.
Amira discussed her pledge about increasing ‘secular informing’ for international students, explaining that she means having a more detailed and cohesive way of informing them about what they will need to bring and what to expect culturally from being in Lancaster. She said that she has learnt this over the four years she has been here but wants to give future international students “a package where you can have it and then you don’t have to worry about it because you can integrate slowly into the system.”
Trivia: When asked, Amira recalled three of the six liberation groups that are represented by Part Time Officers: BME, LGBTQ+, and Women+ but was unable to name the officers.