Get to know Deniz
What made you decide to stand for election this year?
My belief in a Union where the student body is ever more involved in its decision-making and functioning motivated me to stand for election.
What are your top three priorities from your manifesto?
1. Drastically improve our democracy through increased engagement and transparency, particularly with regards to policy zone discussions and proposals.
2. Empowerment of Students to be Changemakers & Provide Opportunities for Professional Growth
3. Better Accommodation Terms & Support
What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
To work with my fellow officers to create a historic year for the Union and its members. In order to do this, I hope to draw upon the experience and skills of all of the Union’s members. This is the reason why my main focus is creating a better integration between the Union and its members with regards to its overall functioning.
What has been the best part of your UCL experience so far?
I would say my engagement with Societies affected the quality of my UCL experience immensely. Not only have I learned and developed a great deal, but I also enjoyed every second of it. This is another reason why I hold the student-led parts of life at UCL at such a high regard.
Your advice to new students?
UCL is a unique place in terms of the breadth of experience in can offer you, and how much it can widen your horizons. You can meet special people coming from all backgrounds and interests; you can discover your enthusiasm in an incredibly wide range of activities through societies and your courses; and you can always find an opportunity to grow while giving back. I would advise you to start taking full advantage of what UCL can offer you as soon as you can; first year is a great time to try new things.
Priorities and Projects
- Improved Democracy & Engagement
Improve communication and transparency of discussions at Policy Zones & Union Executive. Develop a system that allows students to feed into Policy Zones prior to the proposals being discussed.
- 18/08/22: This will require some software infrastructure; work being done on other priorities (Priority 3) is essentially going towards this as well.
- 28/10/22: We had a record breaking turnout for our Rep Elections, 5,880 students (12.16%) voted and 22,569 individual ballots were cast. This means that our turnout has DOUBLED compared to last year's Rep Elections.
- 07/11/22: A new system in place to gather written student feedback on policies. Zone agendas posted through social media channels. The efforts will focus on increasing the awareness around the new system, and finding a way for the feedback to be open discussions that are transparent to the student body. Efforts will continue to increase the overall engagement and transparency of our democratic structures.
- 25/01/23: New Projects in line to raise awareness around democracy & governance. Furthermore, the relationship and transparency between Students and University is being strenghtened through the invitation of senior UCL managers to Union Exec (a historic moment). I also have began planning a code of conduct for the zones & executive.
- 25/02/23: A list of now ongoing projects:
- A massive colloboration with UCL in our communications
- A student townhall with the provost in May
- A democratic review for a constitutional framework.
- Empowerment of Students to be Changemakers & Provide Opportunities for Professional Growth
Encourage more partnerships working with students.
Establish improvement projects that develop and enhance UCL.
Work in partnership with UCL to increase internship opportunities within UCL that train and develop students and contribute towards the development of UCL.
Work with UCL Innovation & Enterprise to develop more UCL based social enterprises.
Position the Union as a student enterprise hub.
Work with UCL to develop more opportunities for student social enterprises.
Students’ Union and UCL Innovation & Enterprise will be coming together for next steps. SU partnerships with student initiatives in the pipeline.
- 18/08/22: Started the conversation with SU Volunteering; UCL Careers; UCL Innovation & Enterprise; UCL SDG Initiative; UCL Sustainability Council (& relevant team); among others
- 24/11/22: Support for the project across all levels at UCL (from the relevant departments to the leadership of UCL) is secure. Next steps will include finishing the project plan with Carl; meeting with VP of Innovation; and starting the work with I&E, perhaps to start with a pilot project. As with some other priorities, my work on this will have to slow down until second term as I am the sabbatical officer responsible for pushing through the Student Life Strategy and the Students' Union building, which will take considerable effort and time until the end of December.
- 25/01/23: Communications put in place to reach students. Reached further departments at UCL. The project will have started by the time of the board. Furthermore, I have included this project in the Student Life Strategy, which has gained Council approval in December.
- Better Union Spaces; Home on Campus for Students
Explain the need for a Students' Union building to relevant UCL Boards and Committees. Advocate for more SU facilities and spaces.
Create greater awareness amongst the student body on the regrettable lack of student space, and the case for a new Union building.
- 18/08: Working with the Architects & other relevant parties regarding Masterplan
- 07/11: The conversations are in place, any feedback from students regarding their experience with UCL & SU space are welcome
- 25/01/23: The work on the project board has started. The Estates strategy, which includes a strong committment to the building (due to my efforts in Estates Committee, Finance Committee, University Management Committee, Central Estates Management Committee, and UCL Council) will go to Council in February. Me and fellow Council Member Hamza will be pushing for it in said meeting to deliver the result.
- 16/02/23: A Students’ Union Building is recognised as an institutional priority
- Better Accommodation Terms & Support
Work with UCL on the potential for students to let their rooms out during vacation periods.
Work with UCL to make accommodation contracts more flexible.
Lobby for more emergency accommodations to be available for students in need.
- 24/11/22: Have talked this through with many VPs and the Provost's team. This was also discussed with numerous other relevant parties across UCL, including the Estates team. My lobbying efforts are currently going towards the Union Building and the Student Life Strategy, therefore I won't be able to push this further until the second term, after the Council in December.
- 25/01/23: Currently in talks with UCL (Finance Committee, etc.) to push for dedicated financial support for accommodation. Helping UCL East Students in their efforts.
- Better Financial Support For Students
Lobby UCL to provide more bursaries and scholarships.
Work with UCL to review the process and criteria for UCL's Financial Assistance Fund.
Research how financial assistance funds are operated in other Universities.
Lead on a new fundraising strategy for the Union.
Work with Welfare & Community Officer, to review and develop how best to allocate the new hardship funds.
25/01/23: Started work with the SU Research team to identify areas of improvement. Started conversations at Council level regarding further scholarships & bursaries.
28/02/23: Discussions over many committees taken place; UCL will be moving towards a strategy of targeted support for the most vulnerable of our students.