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Valentina Piredda is currently the Union’s Part Time Officer (PTO) for Mature Students and she’s running for VP Education. Valentina completed her undergraduate degree in Italy and decided to study at Lancaster several years later.
When asked about what she thinks the Union could change, Valentina said “people don’t actually know about what’s happening in the SU. They have an opinion about it, but they don’t know what’s going on, so we need to be more open”. She adds: “Even as an academic rep, I’ve found it difficult to get students to come and talk to me and give feedback”.
In terms of maintaining student satisfaction with their academic life, Valentina sees using the academic reps as the best way to hear students’ concerns, stating that “they’re the intermediate between the Students’ Union and the students”. “Some of the same issues are coming up again and again. For example, exams being too cramped together… I don’t understand why exams within the same department are so close together. We can do something about that”, she added.
She also wants to make the practice of recording lectures more widespread across the university and is concerned by the potential of increasing tuition fees in the future, as well as the impact of Brexit on international students. “If you come from Europe and you’re in your first year, you’re probably thinking ‘What’s going to happen to me over the next two years?’. These things need to be addressed”.
A key point in Valentina’s manifesto is her intention to make prospective students aware of the fact that some modules may clash or be unavailable by the time they reach 3rd year, prior to their application. When asked about whether this may deter students from coming to Lancaster, Valentina said “It could, but my point is that I want students to be happy here. I want students that are aware of what’s going on and made an informed decision to come here. Once you’ve done your first year, you’re restricted on what you can access in your 2nd and 3rd years”.
Her manifesto also states her desire to be more supportive of minority groups. She elaborated: “As a PTO myself, I’m trying to build a community for mature students. There’s so many mature students out there and I’m trying to find them […] I would work closely with PTOs, because they have great ideas and can make a real impact […] I can’t be aware of everything but the PTOs are there to make the FTOs aware of these issues”. Finally, Valentina was able to name 2 of the 4 faculties of the University: Management School and FASS, missing FHM and FST.