Candidate Profile: Hanan Isaaq

Orbital Magazine interviews VP Welfare and Diversity candidate, Hanan Isaaq.

Hanan Isaaq, 3rd year Comparitive Literature and Culture, VP Welfare and Diversity

What are your motivations for running?

I think, like everyone else, I just want to bring about change and I feel like I am the best person for it.

What are your key manifesto points?

Housing: This is a big issue for lots of us. I started a not-for-profit business called Eghome last year as I had a terrible situation. The SU have since bought up House Search and I think the two combined, with me building relationships with landlords could bring about significant change. I would like to also lower guarantor fees.

Welfare: I know we are having massive issues with the health centre, mental health support and support for students of all crime. I want people to feel like they would be supported.

I also want to start a Save Our Streetlights campaign and work closely with Runnymede council on that and the parking issue causing disputes between residents and students.

Diversity: I have been heavily involved as President of the Women of Colour Collective. I would like to address the BME attainment gap and revamp the BME officer role. I spoke to the current officer about lots of changes and I hope together we can bring those about.

I also want international students to feel like despite the current political climate that they are welcome. I want to defend them against racisim, isalmophonbia, sexism and homophobia for example.

How?

I want to increase awareness of LGBT and Black issues. I would also like to expand the Holocaust Memorial Day into a week and expand the exhibition space to include diverse artists.

Who will you be working with and what tangible things in particular do you want to make a difference in?

I want to change the stigma around mental health, potentially that’s giving societies and sports clubs more training so that they can look after their members. Also retraining personal tutors so that students can receive the support they need from their department.

In regards to the health centre and the mental health services, to put out a big questionnaire to see what changes others need to enable our lobbying and campaigning.

How would you work with the council on issues like parking?

We need to build bridges with the local community through volunteering capacities and working with local charities. That way students feel more approachable and humanised by the community. Once we have established a relationship we can then start lobbying Royal Holloway to start providing better infrastructure as the buildings have been going up so fast on campus but there hasn’t been infrastructure to match causing tensions.

What would you have done better as VP Welfare and Diversity this year?

I think mainly in relation to mental health. Having seen people who have struggled with it I wouldn’t have taken no for an answer. Whether that is going public and taking the issue to the newspapers and publicising it, as if internal pressure can’t bring about change, maybe external pressure can.