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Balint Pongracz is one of the two candidates running for the position of International Student Officer. In our interview, Balint emphasised key points of his manifesto as well as how his range of experience could help him with this role.
Balint has had a wide range of experiences which he believes would be incredibly useful. Most notably he has worked for a Hungarian MP and, subsequently, the Hungarian National Assembly. This has allowed him to experience lobbying and representation in a formal setting. Balint has also been involved with competitive debating for years. He believes these roles have helped him reach out to people and develop his communication. Balint claims his experience sets him apart from the other candidates as it is so appropriate for the role.
Balint established that his first priority would be to ensure a smooth handover from the previous PTO. He wishes to meet with the PTO and learn from his experience working as International Student Officer. This would allow Balint to understand the role and the challenges connected to it. He has already been in contact with PTO to lay out the groundwork for this smooth transition.
A major goal for Balint is to increase the visibility of international students in the student union. He stated that the student union does not properly represent over 3000 international students and he wishes to change that. When asked how he would ensure this representation, he replied with saying he would act as a ‘middleman’ for the students. Being a ‘middleman’ would allow the students to have their opinions and voices heard within the union. This would also involve lobbying to ensure any concerns are responded to. He also claimed he would also reach out to groups and societies to give them a clear point of communication with the SU.
Balint believes that cooperation between the PTOs is key to an effective office. He has already reached out to some officers to discuss their role, specifically the BME students officer. He thinks it would be prudent for them to meet in a group regularly and share their ideas. He was firm to say that they should not overstep their boundaries with relation to their roles but instead share their thoughts and develop alongside each other.
In his manifesto, Balint discussed his appreciation of the ‘buddy system’ and his ambition to build on it. In the interview, he clarified that he wished to keep in place the achievements of his predecessors as best he can. He took part in the buddy system and believes it has good potential however it needs space to expand. He explained how he would use his role to help the system develop by giving it the power to do so. He also expresses the same ambition for the special welcome meeting. His aim is to help these programs and societies reach their own personal goals with his assistance.
Balint emphasised the key aspects of his campaign surrounded the notion of smooth handover; cooperation with the other officers and increased visibility in the student union. He believes that his experience can be used for the best interests of the community.