Pi catches up with Activities and Events candidate, Doris Chen. Will she get your vote?
Tell us a bit about your background with activities and events at UCL?
I’ve been involved with Women’s Rugby since my first year at UCL and I was President of the club last year. I’m still involved this year, but I’ve tried to branch out a bit more into other societies. I’ve been to a few interesting talks run by societies like Debating and JSoc, and I love arts shows! The first UCLU production I saw was ‘Rent’ by Musical Theatre and I just thought, ‘Wow!’ I’ve been to quite a few shows this year too, but I actually prefer the Garage Theatre Workshop to the Bloomsbury Theatre. I like the intimacy, the closeness with the actors. I’ve queued for the shows there in the rain and the cold, so if elected I’ll work with Stage Crew to improve this system.
This year, many students were upset to see Varsity cancelled. What are your views on this and do you think it could have been handled better?
I think a lot of students were upset because they didn’t know what was going on and felt that UCLU wasn’t acting in their interest. Student media have reported on Varsity, but I don’t think UCLU has given an official statement. I think it’s really important to communicate to students if you are a full-time officer and let them know what’s going on. Varsity definitely could’ve been handled better from the disciplinary procedures to the cancellation. If elected I’ll work with clubs and societies to make the procedures more transparent and I’ll write a weekly blog, so you know what I’m doing all year.
You’re known on campus as Dumbledoris Chen and Harry Potter is worked into your campaign video. Where did this Harry Potter theme come from?!
At school our ‘Reading Week’ was a celebration of reading and on the first day you had to dress up as a character. Back in Year 12, which is about 4 years ago now, I dressed up as Dumbledore and Dumbledoris was born. I changed my Facebook name to ‘Dumbledoris Chen’, but the summer before uni, my friends told me to change it back because they thought everyone in the UK hated Harry Potter and I wouldn’t make any friends! I think I’ve made a few friends at uni though, and it’s helped my campaign a lot too!
How can UCLU members get in touch with you before voting if they have any questions?
My Facebook (Dumbledoris Chen) and email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) are best. I check them daily, in fact more than daily!
What do you think have been the main difficulties faced by students in clubs and societies this year and how would you change that?
I think communication is the key. I’ve heard a few rumours about full-time officers not attending their surgery hours and I think if you’re doing this position as a full-time paid job, there is no excuse for not turning up to talk to students. However, space is the biggest issue, which is why I’ve pledged to defend all UCLU spaces and all other spaces used by clubs and societies if elected. There’s been a lot of chat about the Bloomsbury Masterplan and UCL Stratford, but whatever happens I’ll fight to maintain our facilities.
Why should students vote for you?
Everyone should vote for me because I’m the best candidate! First of all, I’ve got a record of achievement since my first year when I was Ifor Evans Hall Rep and I organised socials for everyone in the Camden halls. Secondly, I’m passionate about and committed to all activities and events. Though I’m a member of Women’s Rugby and Snowsports, I’ve got strong connections with a wide range of sports clubs, the arts societies and general interest societies. Thirdly, I’ve got some great ideas, such as introducing bronze, silver and gold awards across clubs and societies and an online league table to show their progress. In this way, all clubs and societies will be recognised for their achievements, not just those shortlisted for Club/Society of the Year. The online league table will be an open and public way to display these achievements throughout the year, so it’s not just about writing a good application form for Colours and Awards at the end of Term 2. If elected I’ll work out criteria with arts, societies and sports representatives and highlight the new system to Presidents and Treasurers at training.