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The Corporation

Posted: 13/11/20

College students take on president roles

West Nottinghamshire College students Molly Young, Ben Allen and Fionn Paliouras have outlined their plans after securing top roles on its Students’ Union.

Students’ Union site president for Derby Road, Molly Young (left), and vice-president, Ben Allen.

Digital media student Molly becomes president of the Derby Road campus, Mansfield, for 2020/21 after winning a hard-fought election contested by six other candidates, gaining almost one-third (31.03%) of the 290 votes cast.

The election, which was run entirely online, saw nominees for the voluntary role produce manifestos setting out their pledges and aspirations, before fellow students voted for their preferred candidate.

Seventeen-year-old Molly, who is studying a BTEC National Extended Diploma in Creative Digital Media Production (Digital Design and Games), was elected after pledging to remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues, provide more student-to-student support, and ensure students’ achievements were recognised and celebrated.

She said: “I’m excited about helping students out, getting their views across and making college a welcoming place for everyone.

“I absolutely love coming to college but I know some students might feel a bit uncomfortable being around larger groups or perhaps don’t have many friends. I want everyone to feel that they’re together and can help each other out and be willing to speak up.

“Education is a very important factor in my life and I feel everyone should have the opportunity to study what they love, where they love and have a positive future.

“Everyone’s got a chance to do well – it’s about helping them to gain confidence and getting everyone on the same level, ready to leave college and take their next steps.”

Computer science student Ben becomes vice-president of the Derby Road campus after gaining almost one-quarter (24.14%) of the total votes. His manifesto stated his commitment to represent students’ views, raise their concerns and help solve any problems they may have.

The 18-year-old, who studies on the Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in IT (Data Practitioner) course, said: “There will be fantastic opportunities in this role and I feel Molly, Fionn and I can work well together to put our stamp on the college.

“Students have the liberty to have their say but some may not have the confidence to take it to the next level. By making sure students’ voices are heard, we can make the college an even better place – not just for the students already here but for those who come in the future.”

Access to Higher Education (Humanities) student Fionn was installed as president of the Chesterfield Road site, Mansfield, after their nomination went uncontested, which meant there was no requirement to hold an election.

The 23-year-old wants to improve social inclusion and promote greater understanding, awareness and support for students of all communities and backgrounds. Enhanced catering facilities, the provision of lockers and more outdoor seating, plus other environmental improvements at the campus, were also key manifesto pledges.

Fionn said: “I’m very pleased to be in a position where I can work with other people of my age and bring about change. I’ve never done anything like this before but it seemed like a really good opportunity to get more involved in the college.

“I have a genuine and invested interest in making Chesterfield Road a comfortable environment for all.

“I’ve been to two other colleges previously and also spent time at a school in the USA, so I know it’s sometimes really hard to feel at home, which is important in how well you can achieve academically.

“College is an important stepping stone for Access to HE students, who study a one-year course and then go to university. It is important people get the most out of their time here.”

The successful trio’s main role will be to represent, and be the voice of, students at their campus; taking their views to the college’s senior management team and governing body. They will also be tasked with developing an action plan to improve students’ experience at college.

Principal and chief executive Andrew Cropley said: “Congratulations to Molly, Fionn and Ben on securing these vitally-important roles. Their detailed and ambitious manifestos set out clear proposals with students’ interests at their heart, and I’m looking forward to working with them.

“The voice of our students has never been more important as we continue to provide them with the best possible experience, so it is great that they have such impressive representatives."

Elections are set to take place at the college’s construction and building services centre, in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, and engineering centre, in Sutton-in-Ashfield, with the aim of having other Students’ Union site presidents in place.