Interview with Joshua Chooyin: Education Candidate – Elections 2024 


Caitlyn Taft (she/her) from SCAN interviewed Joshua Chooyin (he/him) on why he is running for Education Officer for the Students’ Union.

Josh is a 3rd year Chemical Engineer student. He has been a faculty rep for his department and an academic rep since his first year.

  1. What do you mean  by “poor publicity and complex systems slow that work down”? How would you streamline this process to make it easier for students to understand?

Josh’s manifesto underlines the “complex systems” that keep students from working, I asked him about this:

“At the moment, the example I can give is for engineering. Third year students need more support from technical staff but everyone has had work delayed because there isn’t enough technical staff. Changes in faculty forms have separated VP Education from student reps. Departments struggle to retain reps because they don’t see benefits from LUSU because of the lack of support. Having more meetings with VP Education and academic rep and bring them back in faculty forums.”

  1. Can you discuss more about the “significant hidden costs of studying” and how you would plan to combat that?

Josh discussed the struggles that students come across in university due to the current cost of living crisis.

“This affects different students differently as it’s departamental. Film students have options to make films for this dissertations and the department is supportive in regards to equipment. But when it comes to hiring actors, costumes, and locations, there’s no funding available for that. They are left to pay the additional costs which add up. This is money that’s being taken away from students’ food budget. 

He continued:

“Hidden costs, in terms of managing and eliminating them, I want to make the hidden costs more transparent. Publicising the hidden costs of departments will help students plan their degree and finances for the year.”

  1. Tell me more about this balance of work and life, in regards to free time, food (cost of living crisis), and education?

Josh continued his point about the cost of living crisis, stating:

“This varies between departments. Medical students work so many hours. In terms of scheduling and work-life balance, it’s unfair. It’s not about when you’re working, but it’s about when you’re overworked. Students are stressed. We need a more empathetic approach. Some students have coursework due at the end of term or over the holidays. No faculty has got this right.”

He continued:

“We need a more holistic approach and how LUSU can support students through it. The amount of coursework should be better advertised. A lot of these problems are happening all across the country in higher education.”

  1. What is your plan to make academic reps feel more supported by the Lancaster Students’ Union?

Like I’ve said previously, Josh’s manifesto focuses mostly on solving the issues that academic reps face.

“Rep training currently happens on one day and it’s only on a Saturday. Postgraduates deserve reps too. Many reps have prior commitments like jobs, caring responsibilities, it means that if you miss that one day you’re stuck with online resources. Oftentimes, it feels like we [academic reps] are flying blind on what we actually should be doing. A lot of students don’t know their academic reps. We need the meetings to be more inclusive as they’re late on Wednesdays. In theory, it’s great because everyone is free but only some are engaged.”

  1. What in your time of being an Engineering Department rep have you learnt that you want to take into this role?

Josh told me more about his experience as a rep.

“I have a lot of power as I’m the department rep and I’ve seen the lack of support for department reps. I understand how they work. I know how modules are attained and abandoned. I want a better structure across the board.”

  1. How do you plan on making education more transparent?

The main thing that Josh underlined was that current degree scheme handbooks are outdated.

“As Education Officer, I can put a lot of pressure on departments. Students feel isolated and academic societies could be better supported. I would like to see degree scheme handbooks as a lot are currently outdated.”

  1. How would restructuring communications help streamline the purpose of students thriving in their degrees?

Josh had mentioned to me that he wants to restructure communication, so I asked him to tell me more about that.

“This year, all faculty forums are on the same day. That means VP Education can’t be in all of them. I want to hold them staggered. So that all forums have time with the Education Officer. I understand the change to the forum and believe the VP shouldn’t be there all the time. Having more meetings between lead reps, faculty reps, and VP Education would help exhilarate the issues we’re bringing up faster, meaning they’ll get solved quicker.”

To vote for Joshua Chooyin, you can head over to the LUSU website.

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