Newly elected officers of TCSU reveal what motivated them to stand for office, the experience they bring to their role, and their aims for the year ahead.
Seb Millar, Access Officer, first year, Maths
Access is about ensuring that the best candidates can come to Cambridge or Oxford, regardless of background. A lot of schools, parents and indeed, students, have gaps in their understanding of the application process, with spatterings of misinformation that create artificial barriers to higher education. My school was not unusual in this sense, so running for Access Officer was a natural step for me when I got here, and I have since joined in with the incredible work being done to break down these barriers.
Farzana Huysman, Publicity and Computing Officer, second year, Engineering
My main aim as Publicity and Computing Officer is to build our community spirit by taking pictures at various events at Trinity and sharing them on social media. I hope to build a platform that showcases the best parts of Trinity life, and which would give potential students a good idea of what goes on at the College, from a student’s perspective. In addition, I would like to increase the publicity of various societies’ events in order to get as many people involved. I will also maintain the TCSU website.
Robert Crawford, LBGT+ Officer, first year, History
There is no escaping the fact that LGBT+ people continue to be a persecuted minority, and in times of increasingly narrow-minded politics, we need representation. I am not a confident person, but in this role, with a supportive community behind me, I hope to rise above my anxieties and, as a result, improve our lives at Trinity. Currently, we are not united or even aware of each other’s presence; therefore it is my aim to bring the College’s LGBT+ students together to ensure there is a safe, understanding environment for us to thrive as individuals, and as a group.
Joanna Samardzija, Treasurer, first year, Economics
I feel extremely honoured to be TCSU’s Treasurer and I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to our wonderful and welcoming community. I look forward to managing the TCSU bank account and allocating funds in order to enhance the welfare of fellow Trinitarians. This year, I hope to work closely with the Ents Officer, ensuring that we spend our money as efficiently as possible so that we are able to provide more social events and bops, both within and outside College and with other colleges.
Hadi Khan, Junior Steward, first year, Maths
Even though I may sound like I am from the UK, I have lived all over the world in countries like Pakistan, Iran and Kazakhstan. I spent most of my school life in different international schools (local schools do not usually accept foreigners) and one of my schools was closed permanently due to violent protests at the school site. My experience of the culture and food of many nations allows me to bring a new and unique element to my role as Junior Steward, which I hope will become apparent over time.
Zahra Imaan Seyyad, BME Officer, first year, Languages
I stood for TCSU because I think it’s so important for BME students to have a representative in College, but also an approachable person who students can just chat to. It’s not always easy being a minority and my role is to work towards changing that, to encourage dialogue, and raise awareness of the experiences of BME students here.
Dante Gaviano, Vice President, first year, Economics
I stood for VP because I felt deeply grateful and privileged to be able to spend some of the best years of my life in Cambridge. When I was offered a place at Trinity, I immediately knew that it would be up to me to give something back to our special community. Every day, I learn so much from every Trinitarian that I meet, and that’s precisely where I get my enthusiasm for TCSU from, and why I believe so passionately in advancing other students’ lives.
Molly O’Brien, Ents Officer, first year, Economics
I stood for TCSU because I want everyone to enjoy their time at Trinity. Cambridge can be a daunting place and it’s very easy to get buried in the workload so as Ents officer I want to ensure there are always some fun, varied events or entertainments to look forward to so students can have a break from all the deadlines. I want everyone to feel they can suggest ideas to me for any form of entertainment and I would give my all to try make those happen.
Toby Henley Smith, President, second year, Natural Sciences
TCSU President definitely looked like a thankless job, and when the Dean suggested in the summer that I should apply, I laughed. However, in my previous role as Male Welfare Officer I learned so much about what I’m good at, and more importantly, how I can be useful to other people’s lives. I’ve learned that being able to communicate clearly – not just in the way you speak, but the way you listen – is one of the most important and useful skills you can develop. I’m really looking forward to the next year, and I’d like to set down a template for how a students’ union should be run, an organisation based on inclusivity, communication, and pride.
Mia Finnamore, Environmental and Domestic Officer, first year, Theology
My role is to continue to move towards a greener Trinity! This year, I’m hoping to encourage a more open dialogue concerning environmental matters between students, TCSU and Fellows through Environment+. This way, we’ll encounter new ideas, spread awareness and make real change on both a personal and College level. Alongside other keen green thumbs, I also hope to establish a Trinity Gardening Society through which I aim to promote the concept of circular living.
Kieran Hobden, Male Welfare Officer, first year, Natural Sciences
I stood for the role of Male Welfare Officer because I thought that I was the sort of person that students, who were feeling down, might want to come and talk to. Life at Trinity can be stressful, from deadlines to home-troubles, and sometimes the stress can just get too much – we all need a helping hand at some point. I really wanted to enable students to get the most out of their time here, so I knew from the start, that I would apply for this role.
Becky Shepherdson, Female Welfare Officer, first year, Geography
Cambridge can be an overwhelming place. I ran for Welfare Officer so I can be there for people in College when things get too much and to be a point of support for everyone, regardless of year or gender. Even if it’s just knowing that the support system is there, or having a hot chocolate in the bar, I think the welfare roles are vital in making sure that College is a welcoming and caring place. Last year I moved to Paris as an au pair, so I know how hard the upheaval can be. I think having moved away from home twice now puts me in a really strong place to help others and I want to give everyone the support I have had.
Martin Luk, Overseas Welfare Officer, first year, Economics
I’m from New Zealand and my parents are from Shanghai. Coming to a new country with a different culture, weather, food, and possibly different language can be quite hard. As Overseas Welfare Officer, I’m here to make this transition as smooth as possible, and look after all the international students during their time here. I’ll be organising International Freshers’ Week (which takes place before actual Freshers’ Week), which will be a great chance for you to settle in, meet other international Freshers, and get a fantastic first taste of Cambridge life! I’ll also run events showcasing the cultural and ethnic diversity we have at Trinity, and be involved in sorting out accommodation and storage during holidays. I’m looking to hold film and food nights, languages classes, and international festival celebrations. I’ll always be up for a chat – about anything ranging from homesickness to trying to translate British slang. Just send me an email or message me on Facebook!
Ruth Warner, Mental Health and Disabled Students’ Welfare Officer, first year, Languages
I want to get Trinity talking about mental health and disabilities! Everyone deserves to have the fairest possible experience at Cambridge and I am passionate about ensuring that this extends to those students with mental health problems and disabilities. I hope to introduce mental health workshops as part of welcoming new Freshers, as well as running events throughout the year. Please come and say hi if you ever want to chat – I’m very friendly!
Rebecca Metzer, Women’s Officer, second year, Philosophy
I stood for Women’s Officer because I want to be there for the women of Trinity, whether that is in moments of need or of celebration. As a second year and a member of Trinity Feminism Society, I feel that I understand life as a woman at Trinity a bit better, and I want to be there to help Freshers adjust, as well as supporting women of all years. I’m here to listen and to be a mouthpiece when needs be, and I’m so excited about the role.