IGNITE recently interviewed Sasha Amira on her experiences as the Home Officer for the term 2016/17. She gives an insightful account of what it’s like to be the Home Officer and part of the SA family.
What interested you in picking the position of the home officer?
I first heard about the position when Mariah, the previous Home Students Officer, held her Mid-Autumn Festival to celebrate and showcase the different celebrations and cultures of Malaysia. I remember talking to the Aqeel (SA President 15/16) who animatedly expressed his excitement on Mariah’s efforts to represent the beauty of her country to international students, like himself. It was then when I first started gaining interest in the position.
Tell us about all the changes you managed to imply here at UNMC during your term as the Home Officer.
One of the few things I managed to accomplish here during my term was the food price issue. My team and I managed to secure a deal with the food stall operators to maintain the food prices for Academic Year 16/17. We even managed to reduce the prices at the Arabic/Pakistani stall, and the beverages stall. Additionally, we managed to carry out hygiene inspections. To do so, we had to persuade Campus Services to conduct one on the cafeteria with the help of the Health and Safety Office and the Sustainibilty Team. From this, it was agreed that an inspection will be conducted once a semester.
We even implemented the voting box system for students to rate the food stalls on campus. How it works is that each stall must now make notices of the voting results visible to the public eye. This way students would get an accurate picture of what the service is like across the stalls. Moreover, with help from the other executives, specifically the Vice President, we started the Catering User Forum; a platform for students to file complaints mainly regarding the hygiene of the food served on campus. Finally, my team and I managed to push for the implementation of lights around the lake, in response to complaints about the lake’s path being too dark to use at night and in the early morning.
What are some of the changes that you are proudest of achieving throughout your tenure?
I would have to say the biggest change was conducting the survey which compared the prices of food on campus and outside UNMC (within Semenyih). It’s not common knowledge, but this successfully maintained some of the current food prices and reduced a few others. My deputy and I compiled the results, set several meetings with Campus Services, and pushed for positive outcomes with the stall operators.
This was the first welfare related matter I worked on since starting my term as HSO, therefore it remains as my biggest achievement thus far.
It appears that the SA Executives received quite a number of criticisms on UNMC Expressions during the 2016/17 term. What is your response to that?
The SA Executives generally receive criticism every year. There is bound to be complaints from students as you can’t satisfy everyone. However, as Tormalli, the SA Education Officer has stated once before, we learned from the constructive criticisms and continued working hard.
Regarding the cash card system, a majority of students appeared unsatisfied. Some have even switched to using cash instead. What actions have you taken to address this situation?
The cash card system was implemented by the management of UNMC itself, through Campus Services. We set meetings with the board and relayed statistics on the dissatisfaction of students, but the SA did not have much say to this matter.
Was there any part of your manifesto that you were unable to accomplish? If so why?
Thankfully, I have accomplished all promises made in my manifesto. However, there is one thing that I was unable to do, which was stated during my hustings. I failed to display the Malaysian flags around campus in celebration of Merdeka (Independence Day). Unfortunately, it was due to my lack of time management skills that I was unable to complete this task.
Would you be interested in running for elections again? If yes which position would you run for and why?
Yes, for the position of President if given the opportunity. I would like to represent the students of University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus as the first female Malaysian president of the Student Association.
What is your advice for the incoming executives?
Always stay humble, work hard, and be kind. Don’t abuse your power and give back to the students who believed in you.
Written by Harishma P.Remanan and Monisha Sivanesan