Q. How did you learn about the Union Council election?
On one of my first nights in Canterbury, the Christ Church Student's Union held a welcome dinner for all of the Cazenovia students. I just happened to sit at the same table as the President of the Union Council, Phil Mooney. We spent the better part of the night getting to know each other, and ultimately he convinced me to run for a position on the Union Council.
Q. Why were you interested in running?
Initially, I didn't think I had much of a chance of being elected, but I thought getting involved in the election would be a great way to meet some new people on campus - even if I lost. However, as I went through with the election I became excited about the opportunity to represent such a diverse group of students, all of which were in similar positions to me. As an International Studies major, the title of "International Student Officer" sounded like an enriching experience to me.
Q. What responsibilities does being International Student Officer entail?
There are actually two International Student Officers on the Union Council. My colleague Andreea represents all international students from the European Union, and I represent anyone coming from overseas: a total of about 315 full-time students. My primary responsibility is to act as a voice for overseas students, to make sure their interests are not left out of any decision. Additionally, if any international student needs guidance, I am here to act as a resource. One personal goal of mine is to make sure all international students arrive at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) with a welcoming housing arrangement.
Q. Were there interesting similarities/differences in this campaign from campaigns in the US?
One interesting difference was the ballot layout. It was not a "check one box" ballot, where you vote for one candidate only. The Union Council ballots gave you the option to give each candidate a rank: 1 being your first choice, 2 being your second, and so on. I imagine these were difficult to tally.
Q. How did you prepare for the campaign?
I was surprised to see how serious of a campaign this was on campus. I actually had to fill out a campaign expenses form, which for me amounted to $0 thanks to social media. I put out a few posts on the "Study Abroad @ CCCU" Facebook page and the American Studies Facebook page in attempt to gain as many overseas supporters as possible. I only won by a 10-vote margin.
Q. What was it like to be elected in a foreign country?
It was a shock and an honor. I was told that I am the first American to be elected to the Union Council, which made me extremely proud to be a member. More so, I was humbled by the fact that students who did not know me had chosen me to represent them.
Q. How long is the term?
A normal term on the Union Council lasts a full year, but the Council was gracious enough to let me serve just until December, when Cazenovia's study abroad program ends.
Q. Does it give you any perks?
Well, I received a free hooded sweatshirt and I think that's a pretty good perk!