Lucy Robinson (left) and Mia Chaudhuri-Julyan (right) are running for the position of Women’s Officers. They form a cohesive unit and want to make campus an inclusive environment for everybody.
Tell us about yourselves.
Mia: So I’m an English and Related Literature student in second year, I’m a member of the University of York Boat Club and I’m currently working towards my diploma in classical singing as well. Last year both Lucy and I were part of the York Hornets Hip Hop Squad and won two national titles which we were very proud of!
Lucy: And I do Social & Political Sciences, 2nd year also. Did Hip Hop last year as Mia said, such an amazing experience! I’m also a keen gym-goer and really enjoy weightlifting in particular.
Why were you inspired to run for the position?
Lucy: We saw it on the YUSU website and thought why not! Mia suggested it first really and now I’m so glad we’re going for it. We’ve both been raised and surrounded by amazing women, and always talk about gender equality related topics in our spare time anyway. It just seems a perfect platform to protect the rights of women and trans students, something we just naturally care very much about.
Mia: Lucy and I became friends in first year because of our similarly positive outlook on life and our mutual passion for women’s rights – we’re both from families that are very pro-women’s rights as well. I went to a school founded by a suffragist for 14 years and have always been brought up to never question that I could do anything I set my mind to and that all people are equal and should be treated with kindness regardless. So when it occurred to us to run for election it seemed like the obvious thing to do!
Why do you think you are the right candidates for the role?
Lucy: Essentially the same as what we’ve said before, we feel it’s so important to have an organic passion for the subject you’re representing and we couldn’t be more passionate! We feel our policies are so inclusive and fair to all students that we’d make really positive Women’s Officers. Very keen to have a totally solution-based approach that blames none, something we hope will be recognised by the voters.
Mia: We make a good team for this role – we really will give it everything we’ve got and we will use our resilience, positivity and no-nonsense attitude to make sure campus is an inclusive place for everyone. We’re really serious about making positive change happen and for this role to be one that brings people together rather than causes countless debates and becomes divisive.
Which of your policies are you most excited about?
Mia: One of my favourite policies is expanding nightline and nightsafe and incentivising volunteering for these organisations with more points towards the York Award, as well as recruiting men’s and women’s sports teams to promote on posters.
Lucy: I’m also really excited about the health drop-in sessions. Promoting mental health as equal to physical health, improving sex education and safety, self-defence classes – these are all really positive things we can’t wait to implement.
Who is your biggest competition?
Lucy: We honestly wish all the other candidates the best of luck and like their policies a lot. We’re not about divisiveness at all, and we’re just happy so many lovely people are wanting to support the women and trans students at this University! Obviously we want to get elected, but the changes that will get implemented are the important thing.
Your first policy is: Women-only workshops on assertiveness, legal rights, leadership skills and much more. Why do you feel like this is so important?
Lucy: We feel this is particularly important not only in the University setting but after graduation also. More so after graduation, actually. We’re keen to prepare women and trans students with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in a world that may not see them as equal to their male counterparts, in an employment setting. We hope that by running these workshops we can ensure everyone graduates with the knowledge that they can fully achieve all they are capable of, believe in themselves and stand up for their rights
Who are you backing for YUSU President?
Mia: We’re still deciding who we each would like to vote for for president, it’s a really crucial role that has the power to change the lives of the students at this University. All the people running genuinely want to win and are all passionate about their manifestos.
Voting is now open and will close on the 19th of February.
Interview conducted by Matthew Edwards.
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