Peter Donnelly, Editor

In the run up to the Student Union Elections, taking place from Monday 1st March 2021, The Gown is featuring candidates who are running for student office in the Queen’s University Student Union Elections, for the next 2021-2022 academic year.

As Editor, of The Gown I am grateful to Michael Upham for sending us his campaign objectives for the 2021 Student Elections. Michael, who is a third year Mechanical Education undergraduate at Queen’s, is running for Education Officer during for the 2021-2022 Academic Year.

Throughout the last three years as a student representative, I’ve seen how outdated and inaccessible your education is.

I’ve seen first hand how your deadlines are bunched while your feedback comes back too late. I’ve seen how international students are charged obscene fees while being shut out of rooms where decisions are made about their education. I’ve seen how students without access to technology are left without support and I’ve seen how the personal tutoring system doesn’t work, with many students not knowing who their tutors are.

Michael is running for student Education Officer in the 2021 QUB Student Union Elections.

Most importantly, I’ve seen the impact of all this on your wellbeing. The SU’s mental health study OMNI showed that academic pressures were the number one factor in poor mental health.

COVID-19 has exacerbated the challenges facing students, but it has also shown us that change in education is possible.

For years, students campaigned for lecture recording and were told it was impossible. Now, it’s the standard.

For years, students campaigned for accessibility in education and were told ‘that’s just the way it is’. This year has shown, that’s just no longer an excuse.

For years, students were capped at 40% and charged. This year, the cap and fee were temporarily lifted overnight.

We can’t afford to lose this chance to change education.

We can put student wellbeing first, address your workload and end bunched deadlines so assessment works for you.

We can give international students a voice on their education

We can make lecture recording permanent and make education more inclusive for everyone.

If you elect me as Education Officer, we will change education and finally put students first.

Follow Michael’s campaign on his social media:

Facebook: @votemichaelforeducationn
Instagram: @uphamfunk
Twitter: @uphamfunk

The Gown invites all candidates standing for election this year to contact us in order to be given a platform to unveil their campaign objectives and pledges. Given the current public health circumstances, in which we all find ourselves, it is these times that homegrown, student-led societies, such as The Gown, are an invaluable tool for spreading the student voice.

A full list of candidates are available on the Queen’s University Student Union website, here.

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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