MCR Committee Elections 2014-2015: Manifestos
The time has come to elect Clare College’s new MCR Committee. Candidates for the positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Social Secretaries and Bar Managers have submitted manifestos. These manifestos are as follows:
CANDIDATE FOR MCR PRESIDENT: EDWARD OUGHTON
My name is Ed Oughton and I’m a third year PhD researcher in the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research (4CMR) at the Department of Land Economy. I feel very fortunate to be a member of one of the most vibrant graduate communities in Cambridge and it’s why I’ve had such a fantastic time at Clare. I’m running for the role of MCR President because I want to make our awesome community even better!
This year I had the privilege of serving as the MCR Treasurer and sitting on the College’s Finance Committee, where I successfully oversaw the renovation of the MCR and managed the £30,000 financial transition in our accounts. I also represented the MCR on the student interview panel in the Mastership selection process, and as Treasurer I was made a charitable trustee of the College. I have strived to ensure that all financial matters are dealt with efficiently and transparently, and I made sure that a vibrant and diverse variety of student-led events receive funding and support from our limited resources. Oh, and I bought our new, much-loved coffee machine and hi-fi!
But what do I stand for?
Firstly, I am committed to making our MCR the friendliest, most inclusive place in Cambridge. If elected, I will encourage those less familiar faces to come to College more regularly by emphasising the value of activities like eating in Hall or stopping by the MCR for coffee. I will also support a wide variety of opportunities for the entire graduate community to become involved in, keeping in mind the diversity of work commitments, beliefs and interests that we represent.
Secondly, I am committed to successfully managing the MCR-College relationship which has proved to be more critical than ever after a testing few weeks with the bar. I already have a very positive rapport with Senior College Staff and members of the Finance Committee. Consequently, I am confident that I can get to work quickly in reinforcing and highlighting the fact that the MCR brings great maturity and diversity to Clare – we are an asset to the College.
Thirdly, it’s no secret that I am committed to keeping accommodation costs, MCR membership fees and MCR bar prices as low as possible. We need to spend more time looking at how we can further maximise the MCR’s revenue streams without adding increased costs onto our members. If I am elected I will work to ensure that these costs do not increase.
In addition to these election pledges, there are two strategic issues facing the MCR over the long-term which I am committed to addressing. As President I would not accept an offsite relocation of the MCR, but I’m very much open to the long-term prospect of the MCR expanding into the cellars one floor below our current location. Furthermore, as President I will work to improve the current student experience by fully utilising the MCR constitutional review due in 2015. This only happens every five years, so we need to make the most of this opportunity to shape our direction for the future.
I pledge to deliver an inclusive, fun and vibrant MCR next year — a place in which everyone feels welcome and a community of which we all can be a part!
MCR Love x
MCR Treasurer 2013-14
CANDIDATE FOR MCR VICE-PRESIDENT: GEORGIE FRANK
Hey guys! If you don’t know me already my name is Georgie Frank and I’m a 5th year Veterinary Student here at Clare. Over the past 2 years I’ve had the privilege of being a part of our wonderful MCR community and it’s the people I’ve met here (and been lucky enough to count as my friends) that have made these years particularly special. Of course I’m looking forward to spending many more enjoyable evenings in your company, but during this time I would love the opportunity to repay the MCR for all it’s given me by taking on the role of VP.
This year I was lucky enough to serve as one of your Social Secretaries. In this role I firstly worked collaboratively within the MCR and wider College community to coordinate a full and diverse Freshers’ Week – on time and on budget. Since then I have continued to deliver a very successful programme of Formals, Bops and socials with the shameless aim of luring you from your homework throughout the year! I believe that, as VP, I could put this practical experience with the actual logistics of MCR life to good use. After all, I now know the cost of a Ceilidh band and which are the most popular biscuit flavours!!!
However, I’m also acutely aware that the MCR committee still have work to do in order to provide resources and events for the full breadth of our membership. Over the previous year I’ve been party to your concerns and frustrations with college life and, therefore, I feel that I would be effective in bringing your views to the College’s attention. I have a good rapport with key members of the current staff and know who best to approach on different issues.
In conclusion, the MCR is a fantastic community who deserve an efficient, dependable VP and I would love to be that person! I hope that through my recent role in the midst of the action I have demonstrated to you that I’m reliable, enthusiastic and have the experience needed to represent and support you all!
Thanks for reading and vote Georgie!
MCR Social Secretary 2013-14
CANDIDATE FOR MCR VICE-PRESIDENT: OLIVIER GROUILLE
Hello! I’m Olivier and I am a first year PhD student in the Department of Politics and International Studies and I previously did an MPhil at Clare 2010-12. I did my first degree at Robinson College in 2000-4. Having experienced life in another Cambridge college, I know first hand what a unique, fantastic and welcoming place Clare MCR is to all graduate students.
I’m determined to keep it that way, which is why I’m running for Vice President. I would like to use my previous experience to work with the President and next year’s Committee to keep our community the vibrant, relaxed, fun and open place that it is. But I also think we can achieve even more and provide more services to more members of the MCR.
Why I’m standing for Vice President:
I’m an experienced candidate who knows the value of teamwork and who can get on with and work well with anybody. Furthermore, my time as MCR Treasurer and also as Co-Bar Manager in 2011-12 means that I understand both the money-earning and the money-management aspects of the MCR. This means I can be a useful extra pair of hands to support other committee members. If elected, I’d work hard on your behalf to support the President and the rest of the Committee in achieving these goals:
• Fighting to keep accommodation costs as low as possible.
• Ensuring that Clare MCR remains an open, friendly and inclusive place for everyone, whatever their background and interests.
• Helping to set up a new bar sub-committee to ensure quality of service, choice of drinks, maintain revenue, increase choice and make for an even more inclusive MCR.
• Assisting the social secretaries in doing even more to reach out to our overseas students.
• Continuing the well-established programme of Formal Halls, themed parties and movie nights. Trying new events for people with different tastes and preferences.
• Protecting the MCR’s status and location in college, as this is by no means guaranteed.
My experience and relevant achievements:
As Treasurer, I reviewed the MCR’s income and proposed a number of measures that increased our income by 300%. This helped pay for the £30,000 expansion and refurbishment of the MCR and the construction of the new bar last summer, which was put into action by the 2012-13 committee and overseen by that of 2013-14. I recognise the importance of long-term, collaborative planning and believe that all the past MCR Committee members who contributed to the bar refurbishment deserve credit and recognition for their hard work.
I’ve certainly learned from the some of the challenges we faced back in 2011-12, and I particularly think there is room for improvement during the transition process between Committees, so if elected I will aim to help make the transition from this and last year’s excellent achievements as smooth as possible. What evidence can I give of past achievements? With my Co-Bar Manager, I dramatically raised the amount of revenue that the bar brings in on a Friday night. I also re-wrote the whisky menu to ensure it featured a more diverse range of options from different parts of Scotland and overseas, as well as expanding the wider drinks menu. These are all enduring changes that I’m happy are still in place today. I hope I can contribute to more such positive changes on your behalf as Vice President in 2014-15. Thank you for your consideration.
CANDIDATE FOR MCR SECRETARY: CLARE THAKKER
Hello my fellow Clareites,
I’m currently a 5th year medic and the MCR Green Officer (although you may have also seen me working the bar) and I would love it if you would all take the time to vote for me as next year’s MCR secretary so that I can continue to be part the team that has made this year one of my favourite years at Clare.
I believe an important role of the secretary is to act as a point of contact with the MCR for people both inside and outside of college. My aim would be to make the MCR as approachable as possible, both so that members feel involved and so that the MCR continues to foster links with other colleges and organisations in Cambridge. Having been part of the MCR committee this year I would be well placed to help provide a smooth transition to the next year’s committee and to help continue the progress that has been set in motion by the current committee.
In terms of experience, 5 years of medical training has given me the organisational and time management skills need to be an efficient secretary and asset to the committee (not to mention the ability to take super-fast notes!). I believe that a secretary should also be able to assist other team members. My positions on other committees over the years (such as boat club social secretary, the may ball committee and editorial committees) have given me a wide exposure to working as part of complex teams and a wide set of skills that I will be able to use to support the other members of the MCR committee in their roles.
Most of all, I think it is the people of the Clare MCR that make it the vibrant and fun place it is. This year I have really enjoyed having an active role in such a group and would love the chance to do so again next year!
CANDIDATE FOR MCR TREASURER: RIDHWAAN SULIMAN
Dear fellow Clareites,
My name is Ridhwaan Suliman and I’m a PhD student in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. Since arriving at Clare in October 2013, I have loved every second of my time at this beautiful college. The current MCR committee has done an incredible job over the past year, making Clare one of the most active and vibrant graduate communities. This has been a major contributing factor to my happiness at Cambridge. I’ve participated in many of the events and activities and, having enjoyed them so much, I’ve decided to get further involved and accept the nomination for the position of MCR Treasurer in the upcoming committee election.
If elected as MCR Treasurer, I would focus my attention on the following objectives for the 2014-15 year:
• The Treasurer must facilitate the activities of the MCR. I will strive to manage accounts efficiently, and by working closely with all committee members, ensure that a diverse range of events are funded whilst keeping expenses and membership fees to a minimum. I will liaise with the bar managers to manage our primary source of income optimally, whilst maintaining current drink prices.
• I will maintain and improve upon our current facilities. In addition to the wonderful tea and coffee already available in the MCR, many members have expressed a desire for a microwave. There have also been demands for a permanently mounted screen and projector within the MCR, to be used for presentations or to showcase major events like the Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, Commonwealth Games, \&c. I am committed to supporting the needs of my fellow MCR members, and am amenable to the acquisition of these or any other items that will improve our MCR facilities.
• I will build on the MCR-College relationship by means of regular interaction and transparent communication. Further, I will look into maximising the resources available to MCR members, such as improving the funding opportunities available to graduate students by providing more graduate bursaries. This is something that will be addressed in the Clare College Telephone Campaign 2014 and partly my motive for getting involved in that.
As a hard-working, organised, meticulous and reliable (insomniac) individual with good numeracy skills (imaginary numbers) and having served on three executive committees during my employment history prior to arriving in Cambridge, I believe that I possess the skills and experience necessary not only to fulfill the duties of MCR Treasurer but, with the committee, to maintain and improve graduate life at Clare.
Thank you for reading my manifesto!
CANDIDATE FOR MCR SOCIAL SECRETARY: STEVEN LOWE
Dear MCR members,
For those of you who don’t know me, first a little about me. My name is Steve. I’m a Londoner and a first year PhD student in Engineering. I’m a Tottenham Hotspur fan, I play jazz piano and can cook a great spaghetti alla bolognese (if I do say so myself).
Now on to the more important stuff: why I want to be your social secretary and what I can bring to the table. Georgie and Jiho set the bar high this year; I know I could never aspire to Jiho’s dance moves. Thus, my fundamental aim as social sec will be to provide continuity in retaining and building on what works, whilst adding a fresh twist to the lives of the current and future MCR members. The MCR committee must be at the centre of creating a community. Students should feel at home in the MCR, whether they’re chilling out with a coffee or boozing it up on a Friday after a long week. Together, we can create this community by hosting a diverse array of events that cater to all students’ talents and interests.
One of the greatest advantages of being a member of Clare is the opportunity to make friends from all over the world in an open, engaging atmosphere. We should celebrate that diversity by putting on more cultural events! The Burns night formal was clearly a very popular one; let’s extend that to Chinese New Year, St. Patrick’s day, Thanksgiving, Canada day etc. I want to know what cultural themes YOU like to use as an excuse for a party!! I feel this will encourage members to get involved and take an active role in creating a fun, inclusive and exciting social setting where everyone can feel that little bit closer to home.
Also, our newly refurbished MCR bar provides an excellent space to view big sporting events. We’ve seen the Sochi Olympics and the Six Nations rugby fly by, but fear not, the World Cup is only a few months away! I hope to see us invest in making the matches social occasions — as well as safe spaces where we can all cry together if England gets battered by Germany (again). I feel that Wednesdays at the MCR could also benefit from harnessing the many talents we have at Clare. More opportunities for recitals, performances etc. will help incentivize members to take advantage of Wednesday evenings.
Finally, I’d like to add that taking on the role of social secretary isn’t just about organizing events. At the root of my desire to join the committee is my passion for making people feel welcome. My experience over the past two terms living in St. Regis (D floor love!) has been one of the best times of my life, and I can think of few things more enjoyable than bringing this experience to the rest of the MCR community.
Thank you for taking the time to read my manifesto. If you have any questions, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR MCR SOCIAL SECRETARY: AOIBHEANN MCNALLY
Hey!! My name is Aoibheann (not as hard to say as it is to spell) and I’m doing a PhD in Oncology. This is my first year in Cambridge, but already I’ve had a great time in the MCR and would love to become more involved next year. I think my personality is as stereotypically Irish as my name, meaning I’m friendly, outgoing and yes…partial to the odd drink or two. Hence I would love to take on the role of social sec next year to ensure the MCR remains a stress free, banterful haven for all Clare graduates. Soooooo why should you vote for me as social sec…?
Cultural Festivals: We’re fortunate at Clare to have a diverse graduate population, which is why I would love to draw attention to cultural events celebrated outside of the UK. From an Irish perspective this means St Patrick’s Day (expect Guinness, leprechauns, riverdance…maybe even Bono? Or more realistically Jedward…) but I’d also love to celebrate Oktoberfest, Mardi Gras, Holi etc etc. I think this would be a great way to keep things interesting in the MCR while also taking some of the emphasis away from other alcohol driven events.
World Cup: Simple really…the World Cup is on this summer…I plan to show as many matches as possible in the MCR. I also plan to provide snacks, lots of snacks.
Garden Parties: I’m yet to experience it but I’ve heard summers in Cambridge can be a bit dull…for those of you not overly keen on the “beautiful game” I also plan on making full use of Clare’s gardens and organizing garden parties…think BOUNCY CASTLES along with other games and of course Pimms…because well it’s Cambridge.
Bops: While most people seem to love formals I’d also like to organize more themed bops to keep things interesting, either in the JCR or even an MCR RAVE on a Sat night, speaking of which….
…Choonage: While the bar is always buzzing on a Fri night, sometimes it can take a while before someone sacrifices their phone and throws on some choons. I would love to have a dedicated music device and a shared Spotify playlist that all MCR members can edit to make sure the choons are always pumping on a Friday night.
Basically as well as organizing events, I want to be social sec to be just that…social. I love meeting new people and found everyone in Clare so friendly and welcoming when I arrived. I want that to continue next year and to ensure Clare maintains it’s reputation as the “friendly college”.
CANDIDATES FOR MCR BAR MANAGER: FREDDIE DUDBRIDGE AND NATHANIEL ZELINSKY
We are Freddie and Nathaniel, and we want to be your MCR bar managers next year. You can usually find one of us behind the bar on a Friday or Wednesday night, and we can think of nothing that would be more fun than continuing to make the bar a great place to grab a whiskey or a beer, hang out with friends, and unwind from a long week.
We want to continue the amazing work done by Callum and Laura. We promise to keep the whiskey list exciting next year, by bringing in new whiskeys for everyone to try on a weekly basis.
We also hope to introduce a specialty, locally brewed MCR ale. Right now, we always have a grab bag of ales behind the counter, and you often don’t know what you are getting. Our own brew would both increase quality and reliability, so you know that great ale awaits in the MCR.
Finally, we will revamp the training for bar staff so that you can always be sure of getting the best cocktails. As it stands right now, some of the bartenders don’t know how to make every drink — we hope we can improve to the point where delicious drinks can be had any night the bar is open.
We are strongly committed to keeping prices low, without sacrificing the quality of our drinks available. The Clare MCR is the only place in Cambridge you can find a £3 double whiskey or an incredibly cheap cider. And that’s gonna stay that way.
Finally, we know we’ve had some trouble with the college administration this past term because of noise on Friday nights. We all like to party, and the lovely, refurbished bar is a perfect space for it. We promise to work alongside the MCR president to liaise with the college and smooth over any difficulties that arise.
Freddie brings a unique experience in wine and food, while Nathaniel is the friendly face you can always come to chat (and will probably chat with you anyway even if you don’t want to.) We believe the bar is the home of the Clare MCR — it is the unique institution that brings us as a community together at least once a week and provides a social space next to none in Cambridge. We hope you give us the opportunity to maintain this great institution for another year.
The ballot itself will open at 12.00pm today and will close and 12.00pm on Thursday 24th April. The ballot can be accessed below:
The election results will released soon thereafter. Needless to say, please read the instructions carefully before submitting your vote. Thank you.