Checking in on the SA Series: SA Home Officer

In another installment of our Checking in on the SA series, we spoke with the Home Student Officer Muhammad Hishamuddin on his achievements so far including Malaysian Festival, his new committee, and ‘The Spirit of Giving’ Donation.

As your first time being a part of the Students Association executives how did you find settling into your new position?

Hishamuddin: At first I can say it was difficult. This is a big thing for me, being in the SA, but I keep in mind that I want to learn. I wanted to learn about the SA and the execs truly welcomed me and we have a strong bond, if there is something I don’t know they would come to me and help me. I tried to learn from the previous Home Officer, Sasha and looked into her projects that I could maybe continue this year as well. Also, I have my committee, which I recruited late because I wanted the best possible committee to help me. Now I have a committee that I am extremely happy with and am proud of.

Home Students’ Office Committee. Source: SA Home Students’ Officer Facebook Page

It’s only been 3 months since you started your position as Home Officer. Within this short span of time what have you achieved?

Hishamuddin: During the start of the year, during the Freshers week I had the Malaysia Festival. We promoted Malaysian food, dance and culture. A great number of students were able to attend. I had 20 plus vendors coming in. I received a lot of good feedback from everyone and as it was my first big event, it was extremely stressful. However, I am happy with the outcome, the event was supposed to have a RM 10,000 loss but I ended up having more than RM 400 profit. Other than that, I had the Spread the kindness event and I will be having the Spirit of giving event.

How was Malaysia Festival funded?

Hishamuddin: Malaysia Festival was funded by the sale of tickets and the SA Grant (Welfare Network Grant). We sold more than 300 tickets for that event and the ticket price was RM5 only. Not only that, for the stalls that we had invited, we charged them RM 80 and RM 100. RM 80 for those who set up the tent by themselves and RM100 for those who used the canopy that we prepared. We had more than 20 stalls coming in and not only food stalls but also Malaysia traditional crafts stall. The losses of the event were covered by the Welfare Network portfolio money. The festival was so great because not only did we have food stalls at the Central Plaza (Fountain Area) but also we have performances in the Great hall on that day.

Your hustings and manifesto both focused heavily on your initiative “Spread the Kindness” campaign. Let us know more about that?

Hishamuddin: This event happened last month. It reached my target, I expected 50 people and I ended up getting 55 people to take part. This event was basically held in a comedic way, if they had a secret admirer they could give them chocolates and then if you wanted to prank someone they could give them broccoli. Many people liked the broccoli concept and how funny and unique it was.

Regarding your initiative to install a box in the campus shuttle buses to store lost items that were found,  is it implemented or are you working on it?

Hishamuddin: I had to reconsider implementing that because when I tried to bring this up with my committee they said we can’t because, if for example someone puts in a lost wallet box someone could take away the box and all the wallets would be gone. Giving it to the security office is safer. I still want to put the idea through. It’s a necessity because it’s not only wallets that would get lost, if someone leaves something else like a t-shirt no one is going to steal them.

Also, about the transportation portfolios, there are a lot of problems with transportation regarding the new routes. When we received the survey and reports there was a neutral response however many want the old routes. We still struggle to go to Management and speak to them about what students want.

Being a university with many International students I think we could all benefit from the Food Fill Festival; introducing Malaysian food to everyone. Can we expect that anytime soon?  

Hishamuddin: This was a part of my Manifesto. Malaysia festival was the way I put through the Food Fill Festival. The aim of the Food-Fill Festival was to promote Malaysian cuisine and culture and I believe I did that through the Malaysia Festival held during Fresher’s week.

You recently put up a Facebook page, what can students expect from this initiative?

Hishamuddin: All the Facebook pages from the execs were to let the students know what is happening and what we are doing. We put the Facebook pages up especially because of the negative comments from the confessions/expressions pages where students didn’t know what exactly I have done.

SA Executives of 17/18 received a great deal of criticism on the UNMC Expressions and Confessions Pages. What is your response to that? Is there anything you want them to know in that regard?

Hishamuddin: I know that there is only one confession/expression written about me stating I didn’t do anything. I took this personally, asking myself ‘did I really not do anything’. I made the Facebook page because I want people to know that I am doing a lot of work. So students can keep up with the updates on my Facebook page.

Are there any projects you are currently working on?

Hishamuddin: I am currently working on the event “Christmas: The Spirit on giving’ where we collect donations from students to give gifts to the gardeners and security officers. This was an idea from my committee. I told them I wanted to do something for Christmas and they instantly came up with the idea. It’s a different initiative and I really liked this idea from my committee.

What can UNMC expect to see from you in the future?

Hishamuddin: Basically, I am working on a Health Portfolio. In the early second semester I hope to give you guys health surveys to get to know your health how you feel the well-being department operates, surveys to find the health in Nottingham to find the most illnesses and how to prevent them.

Also under the health portfolio there will be a “First Aider” event which is going to give first aid training in Nottingham. Also, I will improve the first aid boxes on campus. I received comments that some of the boxes are not well supplied.

Anything you would like to add?

Hishamuddin: I hope I can do more events for the students and I hope students will appreciate and understand SA more because we try our absolute best for the students.

Update on the Christmas gift-giving event:
Hishamuddin: The turnout for the Christmas Spirit of Giving event was successful. A lot of students donated money and we had collected a total of RM440 from this event, where the money was used to buy the cleaners, gardeners and guards a handkerchief and a water bottle. Then, on the 22nd of December 2017, we gathered all the workers at the SA circle and gave them each the gifts that we had bought. We also thanked them for their excellent services provided to the students and campus staff. I almost cried at that time when I gave a speech because I felt so grateful to have them make our campus life comfortable, clean, beautiful and safe. When I saw their happy and bright faces when they received the gifts, I felt so happy too.
Written and interviewed by Dona Shehani Amarasinghe and Rzan Mohamed 

"They say that great minds think alike, but also fools seldom differ"

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