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Mariam is running for VP Welfare and Community. One of the things that first made her think about running for the was the desire to make a change. “I want to say that I’ve contributed to our community.”
Previously she has worked with austistic children and the elderly, experience that she says has given her the skills to “communicate with people, and understand their needs.” Mariam says that the experience helped her understand that different people have different needs, but that they all need to be addressed.
Her unique selling point? She says that one of the things she wants to bring to Lancaster is a Lancaster Pride, something that she says will aid liberation groups with a “problem with cohesion.” “Pride shows far we’ve come as a community” and as a nation in the last fifty years, and she wants to see this event “represent all types of people.”
Mariam named this proposal as one of her key issues, as well as a focus on mental health. Another proposal she wants to put forward is the booking of counselling appointments through the iLancaster app, because she thinks that is often “really difficult to reach out for help.” An app makes that process a bit easier, she claimed.
“I hope to help people. I want to make a difference” she said when asked what she personally will get out of the role. Mariam wants people to say of her that she listened and that she did help people, even if their needs are different to her own. She was unable to answer a question on the effectiveness of the Part Time Officer system, but said that she would be willing to find out through regular meetings with liberation groups.
She doesn’t believe that the university goes far enough on consent education, and called for an information campaign of posters and talks. Mariam says she would attempt to build on the ‘Help Your Mate’ initiative through a ‘Students Supporting Students’ scheme if elected Vice-President for Welfare. She hopes this would improve access to mental health support for students at the point that it’s needed. Mariam wonders why the Union doesn’t have a liberation group for men, as an example of a failure to provide equal opportunities.
Explaining her ‘Students Supporting Students’ idea, Mariam believes existing support could be improved through JCR involvement. She suggests this could improve access and options, because “Often I find on our JCR, everyone is very willing to speak to them. It could be helpful to talk to someone, as a friend.” Mariam is concerned that the existing scheme is not sufficiently well promoted, saying “not many people know about the Help Your Mate workshops at all.”
Alongside this, Mariam is keen to improve the choice for vegans on campus. She states existing demand is not adequately catered for, and is concerned about a limited choice at present, with only one stall on Alexandra Square. “I have spoken to people who are vegan, and they say the quality of the food isn’t great.” She hopes that reaching out to specialists and arranging a pitch to show how veganism is rising could lead to more providers, and more choice.