Association Elections: Meet your Presidential candidates

We asked students what they wanted to ask candidates to get a better idea of who they might vote for during this year's Association Elections.


A collage of all candidates

We had a record number of nominations this year and want to thank each and every person who has been involved. During the inital nomination process, we asked students what they wanted to ask candidates to get a better idea of who they might vote for during this year’s Association Elections.

This article introduces all candidates running for the roles of President and Deputy President, so keep your eyes peeled for more information on Faculty Reps, Area Reps, Vice President roles, Student Council candidates and, Trustees candidates.

Below are the answers candidates have given. You can see the candidates’ full manifestoes on the election website.

Presidential Candidates

Ishtiaq Ahmad

James McAllister

What is sustainability to you and how will you manage it across the association? 

Sustainability, at its core, is about ensuring that the needs of the present can be met without impacting the needs of the future. There are many frameworks for sustainability, each with their own pros and cons. I personally prefer the three pillar approach of social, environmental and economic sustainability.  

I will manage the sustainability of the association by implementing a sustainability risk assessment into every decision that the association will make going forward. This includes understanding the CEC and elected member’s equality, diversity and inclusion scores, understand our carbon footprint and will help us understand what we need to do to be economically successful in the future. 

With a President being responsible for driving the culture of the Association, both internally within the CEC and externally, what would be your priorities in this area and how do your qualities help achieve these priorities? 

I will pledge myself to uphold the association’s mission and values, and ask that the rest of the elected team also verbally pledge themselves too. By making this promise, we are also promising to uphold regular reviews of the current culture statement to best meet the needs of the students. As mentioned before when discussing sustainability, a big part of upholding the association’s culture of equality will mean that we hold a review into the association’s past and current equality, diversity and inclusion score to better understand how the association is performing on these levels. 

Outside of internal review, I will promise to push for the association to be transparent in our activities, and open to suggestions and feedback from the students. I’d also love to implement a study into student location to identify hotspots that will help area reps better co-ordinate activities across the different regions. 

Margaret Greenaway

Mark Allen Fluharty

What is sustainability to you and how will you manage it across the association? 

Sustainability…to me sustainability means when you start something you finish it. If we start a project within the association, whatever it may be, we work together to solve any problems that may arise and keep working on the project until all goals are met. That is what sustainability is to me. You do not give up just because something is not going your way. It is about getting from point A to point B. You have a plan of action and act upon it regardless of what obstacles get in the way until you arrive at point B, your final destination. 

With a President being responsible for driving the culture of the Association, both internally within the CEC and externally, what would be your priorities in this area and how do your qualities help achieve these priorities? 

You have to open up to the people we represent. We have to encourage all students to get involved as I am sure many have great ideas, we as representatives should be listening to. When I said I would have an open policy, I meant it. Our priorities should be about the students we all represent. Simples. 

Peter William Davey

Poppy Brown 

Deputy President Candidates

Gareth Jones

John Owen

How would you propose to keep in regular contact with students during your term to stay up to date on their needs and issues?

I’d stay in contact with students by:

  • Running a fast-response e-mail service
  • updating a website.

If elected, what do you bring to this position that will help to promote growth in the students around you?

I’ve a strong background in STEM. I’d like to introduce a fully-fledged BSc degree in Electronic Engineering (currently the OU’s offering in electronics is very weak). So I’d urge the powers that be in theOU to put out a range of modules in electronics. I’d like to see the OU put the full range of their modules in all regional centres so that students can have a look at module texts before signing-up to modules. (A few years ago the OU used to do this, but unfortunately stopped it.) I’d also press the OU to open a few more regional centres.

What would you focus on in regards to developing the Association’s Volunteer Strategy?

I’ll focus on advertising volunteer positions online. I’ll e-mail out a newsletter advertising new volunteer jobs to anyone who is interested in such jobs.

Natalie Anane-Adjei

How would you propose to keep in regular contact with students during your term to stay up to date on their needs and issues?

I aim to have an open policy whereby students can feel comfortable to liase with me about anything at anytime. I want them to feel confident in knowing that there is no issue whether small or big that can’t be addressed with the right support and guidance available. My hope is to start a forum whereby students can engage and share ideas each other, and I will also make myself readily available for the same commitment. As mentioned previously, I have an open door policy, in a sense that students should feel empowered to communicate with me via email or telephone, knowing that I will always provide a listening ear and a space free from judgement to disclose any concerns they may have.

If elected, what do you bring to this position that will help to promote growth in the students around you?

If elected, I bring determination and the drive to cope with not only personal adversities, but provide support for all that need it. I have a passion for helping others, and assisting individuals with recognising their full potential,  despite our lived experiences and the adversities that may impact it. I want to be a support mechanism and help empower ALL students at the university to make the best decisions, for the betterment of their learning journey.

What would you focus on in regards to developing the Association’s Volunteer Strategy?

I would focus on ensuring that students have a platform to express their views, opinions and concerns, whilst making sure that there are opportunities available to everyone to participate and engage with the Association’s Volunteer Strategy. I think the most important aspect is to listen and share ideas, because in my opinion working collaboratively with others encourages positive growth and  the opportunity for change,  to meet the needs of those we aim to help.


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The Open University Students Association exists to serve the interests of #OUstudents and ensure that the student voice is heard throughout the University. Find out more about what we do at oustudents.com

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