Policy Profile (Activities & Development): Natalya Sharapova

The Beaver (TB): What do you think is the biggest problem with how the ARC operates?

Natalya Sharapova (NS): Basically, I think ARC is doing an amazing job. I worked at the SU this year as an ARC receptionist, so I had the opportunity to get to know the members of staff, and they’re really helpful.

I think the main issue is the system and how everything is organized. The website is messy, the financing system is very messy. The Activities and Development Officer two years ago made a great improvement, but there are still lots of issues. So the main problem is the system and I’ll try to change it.

TB: More than 50% of societies who responded to our survey say that it’s difficult to work with the SU. How do you plan to change that?

NS: So basically, have you heard about the reform? I believe they sent the email yesterday. Part time officers aren’t going to be there any more, so I believe there are going to be more full time officers.

So I believe the best approach would be to delegate each particular role to each member of staff so they can delegate 100% of their time to that particular role. For example, you’re going to have a member of the ARC who is responsible for financing, room bookings, AU clubs. So they can delegate 100% of their time to this.

And so this way I believe the time to respond to the emails will be much shorter, so clubs will receive answers much quicker. Also I’m planning to do drop in sessions.

TB: How do you plan to make the AU more accessible?

NS: I am planning to organise a sports day during the first term. For example, Freshers week is very busy, you can’t attend every event, you might miss some give it a go sessions. But you still want to try new sports. So I’m planning on that day to have lots of classes, maybe on campus, so more people can come, try different sports and maybe then they will be encouraged to join.

Also, I was thinking about AU funds. Obviously it depends how much money we secure from LSE, perhaps we will work with sponsors. But because we have all those GDPRs, we couldn’t really secure money this year because before they would cold call the sponsors but now it’s not working. But if we can secure separate AU funds, maybe we can subsidise AU memberships and it will be an incentive for more members to join?

TB: Does the AU have a problem with misogyny and consent, and, if so, how do you plan to tackle it?

NS: So basically, Katie, our Women’s Officer, did an amazing job this year with consent. I attended the consent workshop but it’s only optional. So, if elected, I will work to make it compulsory for all the freshers to attend, because I think it’s an important member.

Regarding misogyny, I think this problem directly relates to certain teams like men’s rugby and men’s football. I think that compulsory workshop will help change the attitude.

TB: What is the biggest positive impact on the student experience that student activities can have?

NS: I believe student activities are going to improve student well- being and hopefully help us to raise student satisfaction which we have problems with. When you’re part of something, a society or an AU club, you feel like you belong, your well- being increases, you make lots of friends. You enjoy your time more, because at the end of the day, what are you going to remember about university? Perhaps you’re going to remember insane library sessions and lectures, but for me person- ally I’m going to remember all the conferences I organized with my Russian studies society and all the events I attended.

TB: What is your strategy to win

NS: I’ve mobilised all of my friends, all my active social media friends, to ask their friends to vote for me. I made a poster. I’m going to make a video. Just making myself more present on campus.


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