Introducing the 2017-18 SA Officers

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IGNITE recently had the opportunity to find out more about the incoming SA Officers’ plans for the upcoming academic year:

SA President Tormalli Vigilia Francis


How do you feel about winning?

I feel beyond blessed to have won! Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this 3 years ago when I first moved to UNMC! Also being the only woman running for this position, I really wanted to win it, and hope more women run for this position in the future!

What’s the first thing you’re going to do once you’re in office?

First thing would be to make sure the executive officers feel like they belong in the office. For me I want my team to use the office, not just as a place for just work, but a space for them to grow and break barriers within themselves – to make SA keep moving ahead beyond limits.

What do you plan to carry forward from the previous execs’ efforts, and what do you plan to do differently?

Being in the current executive team, I’ve seen hands down the hard work put in by each and everyone. Their individual initiatives which they have started will be continued, and the incoming executives very well know how important it is to always take it up and make it better for the upcoming year! Of course, they will bring their own ideas into their portfolio, making it bigger every year, and they can always change things for the best.

Now that you know who you’ll be working with, are there any specific challenges you may face in terms of getting the team to work together, or with regards to any specific manifesto points?

Working in a team for me personally is one of the key things to make the vision possible for next year. It’s never going to be a smooth ride but I am beyond excited with my team as each of them have their own uniqueness they bring to the team! I see all of them having great passion for the position they hold and I hope they will succeed in everything they will be doing next year. I will lead them and get the team to work together for next year to the best of my ability. It’s going to be a rough but an awesome year ahead and I just can’t wait.


SA Vice President John Lim Hong Cheong


How do you feel about winning?

I feel grateful for the people who have supported me in running for this role. The journey itself has been more meaningful than the outcome of the election, as I have become more aware of my responsibilities as a student leader who can and should contribute while still in university.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do once you’re in office?

Ultimately, my role is to assist the President in executing the overall vision and aims of our entire team in the coming year. The most challenging part will be to align the values of all incoming executives, and therefore the first thing we need to do as a team is to identify our common goals, possible conflicting areas of interest and work to minimize the impact, if any. My role will be to facilitate this important process early on and ensure continuous good practices in communication thereafter.

What do you plan to carry forward from the previous execs’ efforts, and what do you plan to do differently?

I think some of the greatest efforts of the previous team were to build connections and start conversations which couldn’t have been possible before. This is in terms of reaching out to students and various clubs & societies, or part thereof, which are less acknowledged among others.

Moreover, I believe the focus of these conversations should not only be in monetary terms. As we can all understand, the amount of our SA Grant is very much limited to the number of students we have. Rather than complaining about the lack of funds, we have to think of other ways to enhance and improve the student experience here in Nottingham Malaysia through other means – means that involve students more directly and more creatively.

There are of course endless possibilities as to what can be done when the right conversations are held at the right timing. One of the projects our Marketing & Communications Team has been helping to move forward is the URNM (University Radio Nottingham Malaysia), which is still in the early phase of setup under the Digital Arts Guild. This is an example of a good objective which aims to give a greater voice to students within our community. There are also other upcoming projects around campus which you will soon see brought to life – hint, a new concept café that celebrates philosophy, art, and creativity.

How are you planning to bring forward the Resource and Acquisition Team which was established to encourage student entrepreneurship? Any specific steps in mind?

I believe this is linked to the previous question – after all the conversations I have aforementioned cannot be held by only one individual. Ideas are constantly created and critiqued for their suitability in our campus. Having had the chance to hold conversations with the current Presidents of the Student Unions in UNUK and UNNC, there are indeed many ways we can achieve the goals of setting up the R&A Team, which is to raise funds and empower students to do more than they presently can.

Indeed, talks alone will not get things done. While I cannot list out all our plans at the moment as there is still a lot to be discussed with the new batch of executives, seeing as resources are limited and I cannot without consent of my team make such solitary decisions, I’d like to take this opportunity to invite anyone reading this article to join us in not only sharing a conversation, but a journey to create something meaningful and lasting that will benefit the coming generations of UNMC students. If you feel you have great ideas or a drive to get things done, you are always welcome to apply to our SA Networks once recruitments are open.


Education Officer Mariyam Imsa Shakir


How do you feel about winning?

I feel extremely excited that I have won. This will give me a chance to push for at least 80 percent of my manifesto and make all my dreams on campus come true. Even though I felt that I had the most suitable experience (being a course and school representative before this), I never thought I would actually win the elections.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do once you’re in office?

The first thing I would start doing when I am in the office is work on the mentor-mentee program that I have stated in my manifesto. I will be sending out emails to the current students who will be the incoming students’ seniors to volunteer themselves as a mentor. This will give the Freshers a chance to mingle with their seniors and not feel overwhelmed by the new environment.  Then, I will be planning how to conduct an effective EN Training to all the representatives of the Education Network.

What do you plan to carry forward from the previous execs’ efforts, and what do you plan to do differently?

I have a lot of new ideas that I would like to work on as the new Education Officer. Firstly, I would be organizing an Interschool Cup which is somehow similar to the idea and concept of Nations Cup. Each school would compete in various categories to win the cup. In addition to that, continuing the effort of the previous Education Officer, I too would conduct an EN training to all my education network representatives. However, I plan to make this training more interactive to ensure that all the representatives get the best out of it.

How would you go about trying to have lectures recorded, i.e. how would your approach differ from previous efforts to implement Echo 360?

I will first speak to some of the lecturers from the faculties to understand the root cause of this issue. I will also train my network representatives to make sure they all know the basics of how to use Echo 360. I’ll also be working with the incoming President to speak to the higher management regarding this issue.


Activities Officer Sarah Soe Jia Wei


How do you feel about winning?

To be honest, I was extremely shocked when I found out that I won. As I didn’t really campaign as well as some other candidates, I had a feeling that RON might actually win since I was not well known on campus. Hence, I was surprised and honored to be given this amazing opportunity. Later, when I found out that I had the highest votes in the history of SA Elections, I felt proud and I want to work hard to prove all those 500 people who wanted to reopen nominations for my portfolio wrong.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do once you’re in office?

As I am already working with the current executive officers, I would want to start planning my April and July Freshers. I would work efficiently to make sure these freshers happen exactly the way I want it to be – a fun and great experience for students who are coming to UNMC.

What do you plan to carry forward from the previous execs’ efforts, and what do you plan to do differently?

I have learned the way Hassan has done his events, and I do see that he has implemented a lot of changes in the way how things are done here. I also feel that most of the students here are happier compared to the previous years’ events. Hence, I would like to keep the changes that work best for the students and bring in new changes that may improve the Activities Network.

One of the first events you will have to plan for is the combination of CS Fair and Fresher’s Week into one week, which means putting together two of the biggest events happening at the beginning of the semester. Do you currently have any steps or plans to ensure that it goes smoothly?

Definitely! (Gasps) I will need to start planning to ensure everything goes smoothly. I will work closely with the clubs and societies to make sure they are happy in the end of the day. I will also have to work with my other executives so that we are all on the same page.


Sports Officer Omar Elshweekh


How do you feel about winning?

Really happy to win the post that I ran for but really pressured for next year’s duties as I don’t want to disappoint the student who voted for me. I also hope that I am able to fulfil the requirements the students who did not vote for me saw in the other candidates. Finally, I hope to try and reach out to students who did not vote at all.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do once you’re in office?

Get work done.

What do you plan to carry forward from the previous execs’ efforts, and what do you plan to do differently?

I still have not had a meeting with Andy as we are both busy with assignments but he has agreed to  do his best in educating me about all the work he has done this year and I will do my best to ensure its continuity and improvement. Concerning what I am planning to do, I can’t reveal that now as I don’t want to give fake promises but at the moment I am recruiting my team for next year and planning part of the events with the sports clubs during the summer, so as soon as next year starts we will be ready for it in all ways.

Do you anticipate any challenges in terms of organising an inter-department sport tournament, and how would you address them?

For any event to be organized there are challenges to be faced, but I have discussed some of the points with the Education Officer and we have some good ideas for the event which still needs development and planning. Generally some of the challenges would be that some departments would have more students than others, and encouraging the students to join the event in the second semester which is usually shorter and accompanied with more assignments. However, some suggestions are on the table to tackle these problems which I can’t reveal for now.


Sustainability Officer Eric Ting Tze Yik


How do you feel about winning?

I felt really excited as I have been looking forward to serve the SA. Now, I do feel slightly worried about the workload that comes with this portfolio but I am sure I will be able to execute my tasks to my best ability. Going against the other candidates during the hustings was nerve wrecking but I am happy that the student body have given me this chance to serve them.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do once you’re in office?

I will focus more on knowing more about my network and the new changes that has taken place in the previous years. Then, I would start planning for the next term after getting more information regarding what is expected from me. Hence, the first focus of mine would be to recruit my team.

What do you plan to carry forward from the previous execs’ efforts, and what do you plan to do differently?

Uraiba has done some events that has received good feedback. I will continue those events. In addition to that, I will try to increase the participation of clubs and societies with the Sustainability Network.

With your focus on CESJ, what events or programs are you going to focus on predominantly, e.g. community garden, a recycling event, encouraging international students’ participation, etc.? Also, with the recent attention given to the Earth Hour event, do you have plans to change the way its organized or perhaps even discontinued in favour of other events?

My main focus as the sustainability officer is to focus on issues regarding the environment. As I feel this is a serious matter, I will look into this and try my best to solve issues that already exist. I also hope that I can also focus on other issues for the betterment of UNMC. As for Earth Hour, this is an event that is organized by Nature Club. So I have to communicate with them to know what are their plans regarding the next Earth Hour event. I will like to improve the event by looking at the matters that were brought up during my term as the Nature Club President in a serious manner to make sure the same mistakes does not repeat again. I will also encourage the next Earth Hour to reduce the consumption of Energy that will be more beneficial.


International Student Officer Nkosi Sikhosana


How do you feel about winning?

I feel very thankful. I was sitting right at the back of the hall because I honestly didn’t expect to win. I am probably the most “controversial” win considering how close the results were but I am grateful all the same to God and all the people who voted and supported me. I hope to do right by them.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do once you’re in office?

I’m going to have a bonding session with my ambassadors. I have just selected my team so I can’t wait to get to know them and see what ideas they have for the coming academic year.

What do you plan to carry forward from the previous execs’ efforts, and what do you plan to do differently?

I would like to maintain the high standards Marwa has set especially ICN in particular. I plan to interact more with the cultural societies and people on campus so everyone will look forward to participating in celebrating every National Day.

To improve integration between local and international students, you’ve suggested a number of event: makan sessions, speed-dating, a world-cup tournament, and Friends across Borders. Which of these would you most want to see be implemented successfully, and why?

I would definitely say Friends across Borders because helping new international students settle in is very important. It’s already hard to be away from home and to make new friends, so making it easier for them would probably make me happiest.


Home Student Officer Muhammad Hishamudin bin Mohmad Hasim


How do you feel about winning?

I am so grateful that I have won as I thought I did not have a shot in the beginning. After an intense hustings, I was quite demotivated. But with the support from my friends, I was more enthusiastic to perform my task as the future home student officer. One more important thing that kept my enthusiasm high is the fact that I am running for this position because I want to learn and gain as much as I can in UNMC.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do once you’re in office?

In the office, I hope to get the table which has a large space for me to do my work. Of course, I will go through all the portfolios under my portfolio and I look forward to work with the new SA Executives Team.

What do you plan to carry forward from the previous execs’ efforts, and what do you plan to do differently?

Of course the boxes in the cafeteria, cleanliness monitoring will be the main thing that I will continue next year. In addition to that, I am planning to do a Malaysian Food Festival and ‘Spread the Kindness’ event next year. I just can’t wait for the ‘Spread the Kindness’ event because it really can bridge the gap between international and local students. Also, I am planning to put boxes in the bus to make it easier for students and staff to find their belongings if they have left them behind.

With the job scope of your position covering food, transport, accommodation, security issues and all other non-academic issues, which issue(s) will you be focusing on addressing?

I will be focusing on food, transport and accommodation because I have plans to improve them by talking to the management. But this does not mean that I am forgetting the other present issues also. If students have any ideas or complaints, I will immediately try to take actions to solve their problems.

Written by Dinesh Jayabalan and Harishma Remanan 

Photography by Hashma Hameed

Potato sprout monkey bladder. Who reads these things?

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