Anjum Nahar for President (pG)
Candidate Profile Questions
1. Why are you running for this role?
I used to be generally sceptical of SU’s and their ability to create real material change. This shifted when I became a co-chair of the Ethical Affairs Campaign and worked in close proximity to Cambridge SU’s current officer team. I’m impressed by this team’s dedication and commitment and would love the opportunity to honour and extend their work, while also pressing harder on issues which I think are important to the student body, such as supporting final year PhD students with obtaining funding extensions, and to society more generally (e.g. opposing the hostile environment, with which Cambridge is complicit). I also believe that unexpected issues may arise for students during the looming post-pandemic period, and I want to work hard to protect student interests in these precarious and unpredictable times.
2. What should the SU’s long-term priorities be?
I think the SU should always be thinking about how it can extend its reach and welcome more students to participate in SU matters. It’s unfortunate that there are many Cambridge students who aren’t clear on the role of the SU and how it can support them. I also think the SU should keep accessibility and welfare at the heart of its principles, and in my opinion, this is something the current SU has thus far achieved. Thirdly, I think the SU should constantly be listening to student opinions and working to improve the student experience. And finally, I think the SU has a significant role to play in terms of eradicating social and environmental injustices within the University context and in the wider city of Cambridge.
3. What experience would you bring to the role?
As previously stated, I am a co-chair of the SU’s Ethical Affairs campaign. I’ve worked with a number of student campaigning groups and organisations over the years, the most notable of these being People & Planet, a UK-wide student network for grassroots organising.
4. How do you think student life will change after the pandemic?
I think Cambridge students will be craving social contact and experiences and that the SU needs to play a part in making sure all students can access events such as May Balls, especially now that certain clubs have closed and options have dwindled. I think the effects of the current pandemic mental health crisis will be felt long after lockdown is over, and that it is imperative mental health is continually centered in the work of the SU.
5. If you could change one thing about Cambridge what would it be?
It would be the institutional classism and deeply embedded inequality. As with my previous University (Bristol), Cambridge suffers from an overrepresentation of privately educated students, at least at the undergraduate level, and this often leads to students from lower-income backgrounds facing a multitude of access barriers throughout their time here. I feel that there is greater diversity of people and thought amongst postgraduate students, which is why I feel more connected to, and inspired by, this community.