Student Officer Elections- Meet the Candidates: Dimitra Psychari
Dimitra is a final year Law student, Secretary for the Model UN Society, Vice President of the Hellenic and Cypriot Society- and running to be one of your next student officers! If elected, she would like to improve the Guild’s approach to mental health, learning disabilities and diversity, as well as encourage societies to reach their full potential.
How would you change the Guild, if elected?
The reason I am running for student officer is exactly because I have a vision to improve the Guild in many aspects in order to make everyone to have the best student experience possible. Firstly I would improve already existing mental health services. Mental health is a very sensitive field, especially for those who know it from inside and it can affect anyone with consequences on their studies and their overall university experience. The “you must go to a GP” (and then they refer you to the actual doctor 10 days later) and the long waiting lists are just jokes, many mental health situations need immediate help. Also when you go to a GP or services for such issues it goes to your file and this creates stigmatization and discrimination many times when going to get hired. What I will try to do is to create greater links between the Guild and services, evaluation of the situations according to their severity, campaign about the stigma and create a 24/7 helping line for the immediate tackling of the issues. Then, I will help out in the issue of diversity. Men, women, LGBT+, Non-LGBT+, British, international, this discrimination should not happen. The guild is already very sensitive on such issues, so I will ensure that it will go on being that way and about some international student’s issues. With regards to studies I will try to create communication with university and lecturers for more subjective criteria or assistance in terms of language difficulties. Also in general, students with difficulties (mobility, learning, mental) must be better represented in the guild in order lots of thing to be done to improve their welfare in university. Another thing is societies, where many of them have lots of potentials but because of pecuniary reasons do not do as much they could offer or having expensive prices in their activities and memberships in order to be viable. What I will do in that field is re-evaluation in the funding system or initiate fundraising activities. Last but not least, our guild has lots of spaces that could be utilised for a variety of events like sport ones or big student parties and I will try to organise some.
What is your favourite Guild campaign of the past?
The NSS boycott. In general, I believe that having to pay for education is unacceptable, because not all students have the same economic capacity and no one should be prevented from going to university for such reasons. So a potential rise of fees would be too much!
What is your least favourite Guild campaign of the past?
Basically, the Guild has not made any campaign I can say a bad thing about, every campaign I remember has offered positive things to the student community!
What have your experiences of university been like?
At the start of my first year I was clueless, I had just moved to a new country and did not know what the university experience in the UK is about. Then I joined some societies and met new people, sharing favourite activities and having a good time. Now, in my last semester, I feel I did many things during my studies, I was not bored a minute and even helped out other students and my two favourite societies to grow and improve. I don’t regret a thing and I want other students have similar experiences too!
What’s more important – facts or feelings?
My opinion is that facts are prevailing- and we are mostly based on them- but when feelings come into the picture they can make us see things differently, more subjectively, that is sometimes is good, but sometimes is bad.
Sum up your campaign in three words.
Better, friendlier, happier!