Alexandra Nita
NUS Delegate candidate

Manifesto

Hi, my name is Alexandra and I am a finalist studying BA Sociology. Most of my work experience has been in the field of human rights and diplomacy. Having published a paper on intersectionality, I think it is highly important to teach others about the concurrence of inequalities especially within the context of Higher Education. My mission is then, to make university experiences more accessible for students who may be at risk of facing concurrent forms of discrimination, and to ensure that their experiences are not distorted. Education has the potential to positively impact well-being through a balanced focus on cognitive, social, and emotional skills.

Being at Durham has made more aware on how this could be improved. I propose a policy that relies on the +£49 million surplus of unrestricted income (Durham Annual Report, 2020), some of which should be used to fund services that could improve student’s well-being at university. There needs to be an emphasis on funding more counsellors, to ensure that specialists help struggling students. Emphasis is also placed on giving students unlimited counselling sessions (if needed) or more than the standard number of sessions per student. For students finding comfort in physical exercise, the collegiate system should focus on improving their gyms.

The inability to return to face-to-face teaching has shown motivation for student attainment on pre-recorded lectures to be affected. Horn (2020) claims that lower-performing students benefit from attending live lectures. Lectures should be live to ensure that students perform at their best ability, regardless of their socio-economic background. These should also be recorded and made available to students who prefer watching lectures using their own timetables.

Equally, universities should aim to prioritise students and not profits. Indeed, funding is crucial to aid the advanced facilities provided on campus, and other resources readily available online, but knowing that facilities on campus cannot be accessed, why are students still charged full tuition fees? Lowering tuition fees by £1,000 would still generate surplus for the university. Online courses at University of Edinburgh have a totally different price to those provided on campus. A universal threshold should be applied to all universities to ensure that students are not exploited.

When do we stop to be the products and when do we start to be the drivers of change? We have to work together to change this! Vote for Alexandra.