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This year’s Community Relation Officers are Sumayya Patel and Ifrah Farooq. Here’s a bit more about them with seven serious and seven random questions: 

First things first, what is a Community Relations Officer?

As your Community Relations officers, our job is to make sure you’re represented within the community. We work on issues that affect the student population on campus, ensuring that your voices are heard in places of power. Alongside this, we also work on issues concerning student welfare; making sure that you feel safe at all times during your time at university.

Why did you become the Community Relations Officer?

During our first two years at university, we were exposed to the workings of the Union as a result of being a part of different societies. However, we realised that for many students, the workings of the Union was not very clear or accessible. One of our main reasons for running for this role was to nurture a more democratically engaged student population who are well equipped to take advantage of all the opportunities that the Students Union has to offer.

What are you planning to do this year?

We have a few different plans for projects this year, here’s a few of our top priorities:

  • Increase student engagement in the Union and wider SU politics. We plan to do this through making it clear what the SU does and getting as many of you involved as possible. Now more than ever, it is super important that you are able to have your voice heard where it matters.
  • Secondly, we are working on improving student welfare; the pandemic has drastically altered what university life looks like and we want to make sure that you all feel safe and supported during the academic year.

What do you like about the role?

One of the best things about the role is how flexible it is! There’s a whole host of issues ranging from student safety, democracy to volunteering activities that we can work on which means we can really make of the role what we will. The role also allows us to work with other officers and union staff which is super fun too.

If you were Provost for the day, what would you do?

We would address as many of the biggest issues as we can, starting with listening to the student voice. Students are what make up the UCL community and they know better than anyone what issues should be prioritised and which are less important - therefore the institution must make the effort to engage in meaningful and productive dialogue through its relationship with Student’s Union UCL.

Study spaces is one of the biggest shortages on campus - we would push for new facilities that allow students to study without the stress of finding sustainable and adequate space for UCL’s growing numbers, and ensure that these facilities also cater to the welfare needs of every students at all times, including Quiet Contemplation Spaces, social spaces, easily accessible student support, and food and drink that caters to a variety of dietary requirements. 

What was the last show you binge watched?

Ifrah: Merlin

Sumayya: Modern family

Favourite ice cream flavour?

Ifrah: Mango

Sumayya: Bit of a strange one but has to be lemon.

What’s your favourite holiday, and why?

Sumayya: Antalya, we went as a family and it was lots of fun.

Ifrah: Malaysia; it’s a beautiful place to do tourist stuff but also relax and the people are so hospitable

What’s the phone app you use the most often?

Sumayya: WhatsApp

Ifrah: Trello, perfect for keeping track of different projects & commitments

Who do you admire most in the world?

Sumayya: My parents

Ifrah: All mothers (they are superheroes)!

Which of your personality traits are you most proud of?

Sumayya: My ability to see the funny side of every situation

Ifrah: I’m a part-time vegan

What’s on your bucket list

Sumayya: Write a book

Ifrah: Travel the world

Contact Sumayya and Ifrah