As I have written previously, I am standing to become the next Student Officer for Equality and Diversity at QUBSU. I believe in, and desire to see Respect, Empowerment and Action at my university. I am so excited to run with the dedicated team of fellow activists and campaigners with whom I share the same passion and interests as part of REUNION.
I know it is going to be a long couple of weeks of canvassing and campaigning. But I am nothing if not determined. I have issues to raise, and topics to raise awareness of. No matter the ultimate outcome of the campaign, I know that I will try my hardest and do my best, and ensure the issues I care deeply about are raised and acknowledged.
I thought to write this evening to share my manifesto with you all to keep you updated on the campaign. This comes after a week of juggling meetings and my internship with classes and campaigning, and in light of the canvassing and hustings this coming week. But seeing both my ticket and individual manifestos launch this week was a proud moment. I suppose it was a moment of realisation, knowing that my team are so passionate and determined to bring about positive change for all QUB students.
Leah Rea – VP Equality and Diversity
~ Respect ~ Empowerment ~ Action ~
I believe equality is recognising we are all human, and entitled to the same access to education, opportunities and experience. It is realising we each should hold the same status, and rely upon the same rights and freedoms. It is respecting your fellow students, accepting everyone as your peer irrespective of background, nationality, culture or religion.
Diversity is understanding that alongside our shared status and rights, we must recognise each student is unique. We must recognise and celebrate differences of both group and individual nature. I am passionate about supporting and protecting diversity because by valuing individuals and groups we create a vibrant and enriching community of equals. By eliminating prejudice and stigma, we foster a climate where equality is the reality and mutual respect is intrinsic.
At QUB, we are fortunate to participate in a diverse society. We need to be able to respond appropriately and sensitively to this diversity, ensuring all students feel valued, motivated and treated fairly.
Our current VP Equality and Diversity Officer has worked hard to ensure this, and I would welcome the opportunity to take over and build upon his work.
For there is so much more to be done.
Barriers still exist. Stigma is still present.
In the face of additional cuts, and threats of tuition fee increases, it is more important than ever before for all students to unite in opposition to plans that would prevent many from continuing their education in the subjects they love, or being denied an opportunity to experience the student life.
It’s time for this to end.
In sum: I aim to ensure all students realise their importance and dignity. I want to empower all students to utilise their voices and realise their rights. And I will pursue this through active campaigns the development of an inclusive and respecting community, where we can learn alongside and from each other.
I will uphold equality and diversity through:
Respect – times may be difficult for higher education, but cuts should not mean accepting inequality.
Better recognition and understanding of mental health issues, greater inclusivity for international students, greater support for students re-entering higher education, better signposting for students of faith, increased positive awareness for sexual consent, greater recognition of self-identification for trans* and non-binary students.
Empowerment – students are not blank chequebooks. The adopted financial stance of the university should not deter students from having their say.
Creation of Inter-Group Forums to enable various student representative groups to come together and unite on shared issues, greater recognition of female student autonomy in relation to contraception and choice, visible platform for LGBT*QIA students, establishment of visible roles for international students for greater inclusivity in the student community and politics.
Action – Words alone will not create the inclusive community QUB students desire. Campaigns will bring about positive change for all.
Raising awareness of pronoun importance, greater promotion of Human Rights Week, greater awareness for LGBT* Month, better recognition of positive consent, increased awareness and promotion of International Women’s Day, raising awareness of derogatory language and slurs.
I am a passionate Human Rights advocate, student activist and volunteer. I believe it is vital and necessary to speak up, help others and desire change. I firmly believe we all have a voice which deserves to be heard and respected.
Throughout my time at QUB I have been involved in fantastic societies, campaigns and volunteer work. I have discovered that it is through collective involvement with students of similar thoughts and aims that positive change can be achieved. I know one student alone cannot truly be representative of our diverse student body – I seek to be the facilitator, the medium through which students can be heard.
Upon returning to QUB this year after studying in America, I saw that the university was becoming more business-focused and money-orientated, much to the detriment of students. I also saw that the SU was seeking to oppose such rhetoric and practice by becoming a passionate hub of student activism. I thus joined other committed activists in Campaign SU in order to defend fundamental rights and freedoms of all students. I desire to run for office to ensure this platform of activism and empowerment continues, existing to serve students both present and future.
‘Are Ye Well?’ mental health awareness training (2013)
Mind Your Mood CBT training (2014)
After-School Study Support tutor and mentor (Sandy Row Community Centre, 2013-2014)
First Year Law Buddy/workshop facilitator
Typhoon Haiyan Aid campaign volunteer
Young City Leader Communications Officer 2013-2014
International Buddy Scheme
Children in Crossfire committee member
InnovateHer participant 2015-2016
Inspiring Leaders Class of 2015
USA via Study USA scholarship, 2014-2015
Coe College Human Rights Advocates committee member
Coe College Mental Health Awareness committee member
Alpha Omicron Pi: empowering women through leadership and philanthropy
‘Yes Means Yes’ campaign activist
International Club/Multi-Cultural Fusion member
Coe (LGBT) Alliance
Vote for Respect, Empowerment and Action for Equality and Diversity.
Vote REUNION #1 from the 1st – 3rd March via Queen’s Online.