Since the election result a lot of the focus on the result has been on the fact that I am the fourth woman to be elected in our history. I do not wish to be a female President, rather a President who happens to be female. Articles and tweets have tended to draw emphasis on my gender, rather than my campaign that focused on the concepts of accountability, representation and inclusivity. I have been awarded an incredibly exciting challenge, and the fact that I am female makes no difference to this.
2. What are your main aims as president of UJS?
I hope my Presidency will bring the UJS back to the students it represents, and reach a wider target of students, whilst improving the service to those who we already work closely with. Firstly, I want to renew the Jewish Students Survey of 2011. Jewish students come from a variety of backgrounds, and there are 60 Jsocs in different cities which all represent unique and varied challenges. Jewish students do not deserve a guesstimate, rather a concrete basis of knowledge to work off. A comprehensive survey would serve this function, and I hope this could be renewed on a triennial basis. I also believe that students often feel disenfranchised from the Union of Jewish Students employees. Whilst we are a sabbatical team, and many of my friends and peers will still be studying when I take up my position, not all students feel comfortable picking up the phone and contacting their elected representative. An online feedback system, or a “suggestion box” can be used so that students can give (anonymous if they wish) honest constructive criticism, and shape the Union that they wish to see. A side from the grand theoretical ideas of accountability and representation, I would like to expand the more concrete networks. This would build on the basis of the liberation networks, which launch (or have launched) this year. In particular, during the campaign, I received incredibly positive feedback in relation to the idea of a Jewish Students Studying Abroad Network.
3. What motivates you to be involved in Jewish student life?
UJS has defined the life I have led at university, and I’ve been incredibly lucky with the opportunities I have received. From running weekly Friday night dinners, to teaching an Israel Advocacy course, to organising a social for 150 people, Jsoc became my support system at University. I could not imagine my experience at University being as amazing as it has been without UJS and I look forward to giving back. Being in a Jewish community has always been important to me and I believe it is up to us a students and young leaders to shape the experience we want to see and to portray our own voice on campus.
4. How do you feel the rest of the community can help support UJS?
Community support is incredibly valuable to UJS. Career networking, advice and fundraising all help UJS to deliver the service that we do to Jewish students on campus. I’ve been offered a wealth of advice and connections as UJS President Elect, and I believe that with an alumni network this could be extended to the rest of the organisation. UJS also works with the community on a number of projects such as Mitzvah Day, and we are offered involvement in so many incredible opportunities.
5. What are your plans to further develop the relationship between UJS and the JLC?
UJS runs numerous leadership training courses, from ones focused on running a Jsoc Committee to political activism. I hope UJS can learn from the JLC’s example and together we can move forward into the future through exchanging possibilities and potentially through involvement in an alumni network.