MCR General Election 2016 Candidates
I am pleased to announce the nominations for the MCR committee election 2016.
Please scroll down to find the manifestos of candidates running for an executive role or contested position. The online voting will open on the 8th March at midnight for 72 hours.
- Olly McMillan
(nominated and seconded by Isobel Hambleton, Jac Davis)
- Toby Roeder
(nominated and seconded by Rebecca Fell, Steven Lowe)
- Ana Gonzalez-Hernandez
(nominated and seconded by Julia Kelsoe, Christian Coppa)
- Richard Gunning
(nominated and seconded by Dominika Wolanska, Joe Thompson)
- Rebecca Fell
(nominated and seconded by Dominika Wolanska, Jac Davis)
- Jonathan Griffiths:
(nominated and seconded by Olly McMillan, Fabrizio Ticchiarelli)
- Martijn Lutgen
(nominated and seconded by Toby Roeder, Pascale de Raemy)
- Richard Gunning
(nominated and seconded by Dominika Wolanska, Joe Thompson)
- Ran Huo
(nominated and seconded by Andrés Bustamente, Jing Jin)
- Dominika Wolanska
(nominated and seconded by Jac Davis, Yasmin Begum)
First year/Master’s Officer
- Yasmin Begum
(nominated and seconded by Jiho Han, Dominika Wolanska)
- Andrés Bustamente
(nominated and seconded by Magda Sznurkowska, Jing Jin)
- Nicolas Valenzuela
(nominated and seconded by Yara El-Siwi, Felix Kreis)
- Tamsin (Tami) Bell
(nominated and seconded by Ann-Sofie Thorsen, Ana Gonzalez Hernandez)
- Edyth Parker
(nominated and seconded by Jordan Sandberg, Bennett Ostdiek)
Mature Students Officer
- Yasmin Begum
(nominated and seconded by Jiho Han, Dominika Wolanska)
- Olly McMillan running for President
- Hey, my name is Olly McMillan and I’m a second year PhD student in Environmental Engineering. Over the past 18 months I have been proud to call Clare College my home and it is a great privilege to have been nominated for President of the MCR; I love staying involved in the MCR and am excited at the idea of representing the community for the next year.During my current role as Bar Manager I have worked to ensure the MCR remains a communal and accessible space, both as a bar and as a common area for use by all Clare students. I’ve kept clear and transparent financial records of how we spent the MCR members’ money and have worked with Toby to widen the range of drinks provided to make sure the all MCR members can feel comfortable popping in for a drink. While the issues in the upcoming year probably won’t be as problematic as whether to buy the Belgian or the Dutch pale ale, I’ll be building off great existing relationships with college and the committee that have been built over the past year to resolve them in the way that best represents the MCR students.
I see the planning of the redevelopment of St Regis as one of the major issues of the upcoming year, and will work with college to ensure that all Clare students have living options that are affordable, clean, and the appropriate temperature throughout the year. I’ll continue to work towards the goal of ensuring Clare has the most accessible and friendly MCR community in Cambridge by furthering Anne’s great work of promoting a wide range of activities, including non-drinking events in the MCR. I’ll also develop my own work with the Clare Environmental Committee to ensure that Clare continues to win well-deserved awards for its sustainability policies and collaborate with all committee members to ensure that student welfare is given the highest priority.
I look forward to sharing the challenges, opportunities and successes of the upcoming year with you all.
- Toby Roeder running for Vice President
- My name is Toby Roeder. I am a 2nd year PhD student in History, working on “The Professional Identity of Army Officers in Britain and Austria 1740-90.” Since May 2015 I have been MCR Bar Manager together with Olly McMillan and Joe Thompson, taking care of the best whisky collection that exists between London and the Scottish border! During this time, I have accomplished the goals set out in my previous manifesto: improving working conditions for the bar staff, keeping the Bar hospitable as well as solvent and, most notably, acquiring an ice machine for the MCR Bar, an idea launched by my illustrious predecessors.
Building on this experience of managing a centrepiece of MCR social life, I am now running for the position of MCR Committee Vice President. As ‘second-in-command’ of the committee I would do my utmost to support the President in the demanding job of taking care of our great inclusive and diverse community. I think I embody the stereotype of the ‘efficient German’, in so far as I like to get things done quickly and thoroughly. Nonetheless as a Cambridge PhD student, I assure you that I also realise the importance of taking time for careful reflection, consultation and discussion.
Apart from the wonderful but also demanding job of the MCR Bar Manager, I have gained some experience in leadership as spokesperson for my final year group at school and in the German Army (conscription and later reserve officer training). I have also participated in committee work for a German political party and as a member of the Faculty Council of the Philosophical Faculty at the University of Freiburg as well as on the MCR Committee of Trinity Hall (my former college, where I was Internal Entertainments Officer). As part of the Clare MCR Executive Committee, I have gained valuable insight into the challenges I would face as VP.
Now for some policy commitments:
- I want to ensure that the MCR stays the friendly place it is: an oasis in the desert of academic stress but, at the same time, a forum for intellectual conversation and discussion. This might sound a bit grandiose but we are in Cambridge, after all. The MCR should be a home to those who like to have a lively debate over tea as well as those who like a joyful night over some whisky; or those (like me) who indulge in both.
- Keeping the actual room that is the MCR. The groundwork has been laid by the present committee and we have been told that we will retain our current position in the face of the Old Court refurbishment. We must continue to remind college of this. In addition to that, we have to do everything in our power to also keep our MCR Bar, a great privilege, with only a few of those remaining in Cambridge. For this, a constant and healthy two-way dialogue with the college authorities is necessary and I would like to support my successors as Bar Managers in that.
- Getting more mugs for the MCR (see the above comment about tea). This might seem like a joke, but I also see the VP job as someone who has an eye for everyday details and possible improvements in the MCR that are not clearly in the remit of the responsibility of any other committee member.
- But there is also the question of the bigger picture. Together with the rest of the Committee, the VP needs to stand up for the MCR as an integral part of the college community and communicate and represent the contribution that graduate students bring to this community.
- We should increase our cooperation with other colleges. Exchange Officers and Social Secs have already done a great job offering MCR members formal swaps as well as college bar crawls and port nights. And while we obviously all love our college, visiting the ‘younger’ ones adds very much to the Cambridge experience.
- Organising some events outside Cambridge. We have already had an MCR trip to Westminster Abbey offered by our Dean. The United Kingdom offers a lot for people interested in culture and history. I think it would be great if the MCR could organise some more excursions of this kind.
If you give me your vote, I would be honoured to serve you and all our MCR members as Vice President and I would keep an open ear to input from the whole graduate community. Those who have encountered me as Bar Manager know that I take my duties very seriously, and that I always strive to ensure that everyone feels welcome and has a good time in our wonderful MCR.
Thanks for considering me for VP and do drop me a line on email@example.com if you would like to ask me any questions about my candidacy.
- Ana Gonzalez-Hernandez running for Vice President
- I am Ana Gonzalez, a second year engineering PhD student. Advertising yourself is a surprisingly puzzling exercise, but here is my attempt to do it…
This year, I’ve gained valuable experience working on behalf of the Clare community on the Clare May Ball Design Committee. This has allowed my creativity to be unleashed and materialised in the making of an innocuous (and extremely enjoyable) act of extravagance. Perhaps more relevant to my suitability as VP, is the great and continuous commitment that this role demanded: 3 to 4 hours a week of idea-developing, along with weekly meetings with eight other undergraduate designers. This also allowed me to be on a first-name basis with college staff, to whom I am comfortable to voice your concerns! However, following this party organisational experience, I now want to deal with issues that really have an impact on the daily lives of our postgraduate community.
Have you heard of the “six thinking hats”? The purpose of the different hats is to exploit the various ways in which the brain can be challenged during group exercises. Running the MCR, in essence, is a group exercise composed of seventeen members. Looking back at Jiho’s role this year, I came to the conclusion that a VP’s job needs someone that has the ability to wear all these hats at different moments.
The white hat (factual thinking) is necessary when compiling the facts required to make informed decisions. An example is the discussion of the rent increase this year, which required a lot of information gathering to drive the MCR’s arguments. Unfortunately, having been trained as an engineer makes me think this way most of the time. The yellow hat (optimistic thinking) needs to be worn almost at all times – at the end of the day, the MCR is about ensuring that postgraduates have a great experience here, and there’s no place for pessimism (so no black hat). And I am ready to be optimistic! Following Jiho’s suggestions from last year, I want to continue ensuring that the MCR committee is as transparent as possible when it comes to making decisions and reporting back to the MCR community. For this I would need to wear my blue hat (managerial thinking). The red hat- emotions and gut feelings- is what makes the MCR committee more human: we voice your concerns to our College and develop relationships with other colleges. For better or worse, I am apparently pretty familiar with this hat- some of my friends blame my Spanish roots, others just say it’s in my own nature. The green hat is my favourite one: lateral thinking. Having spoken to some of you, I feel like our MCR does not provide us with quite enough opportunities to unearth our sometimes hidden creativity. I want to organise photography workshops, printmaking, painting and life drawing sessions, cooking and pottery lessons. I would like to facilitate and encourage our musical MCR members to organise music concerts and our amateur actors and designers to put together inventive theatrical plays.
Talking about green, as part of my PhD I spend my day looking at ways in which big industrial plants can reduce their CO2 emissions. But my commitment to climate change doesn’t stop there. I try to bring it to my daily life, and for all of you who do too, you will know that it is damn hard. To help us all take part in this necessary mentality shift, I am determined to engrave “green” thinking into the MCR philosophy. As a starting point, I helped organise the first ever second-hand clothing market. To continue from this, I would love to have a proper recycling scheme for leaving students to pass on their unwanted items; to have experts giving you ideas of how to reduce your carbon footprint; to help our green officers engage with you, and; to organise repair workshops to prevent people from throwing away damaged items.
My mission is simple: I want to be a fresh and stimulating member of the committee, who gives the president a hard-working and trustworthy right-hand; who ensures MCR events are recasted from good to remarkable, and; who listens to any concern that you raise. It goes without saying that as part of the MCR committee, I will endeavour to truly represent your concerns as Clare’s MCR members.
Thanks for considering my candidacy, and please email me with any questions: ag816
Your Hats Manager, Ana G.
- Rebecca Fell running for Treasurer
- I have already completed 2 out of 3 terms of 2015/16 year as MCR Treasurer, having taken over from Megan Stanley in the middle of Michaelmas Term. So now I have thoroughly got the ropes. And I’d like to take things up a gear, following in Megan and Ridhwaan’s valiant footsteps (Treasurers in 2014/15), so that we create an accounting system that runs automatically from year to year, with documentation that includes robust records of important debates regarding costs directly affecting MCR Members’ pockets (rent increases, formal prices etc.) so that future committees don’t always have to ‘start’ with a blank sheet of paper or Excel. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW). To become a Fellow you have to have 10 years of experience post qualification; yes I am that old and have that much EXPERIENCE. But I can carry off a 1980s haircut, yes really, and I think fancy dress Formals are the best thing since sliced bread. Vote Becks! No, that’s not the German Bremen beer variety; that’s the ‘born only a stone’s throw away in deepest, darkest Essex’ variety. Vote Becks! ‘Becks’ means SAFE BUCKS!
- Jonathan Griffiths running for Bar Manager
- I have three key goals for running the bar next year:
- Beer: We have enjoyed a great variety of delicious beers this year thanks to Olly. I look to continue and improve the variety of our stock while making it more accessible for people new to beer, as we have done for whiskey.
- Purchase monitoring: As it stands we have a difficult time tracking the details of the bar finances as well as following what has sold well or poorly. I intend to institute a method for doing this, perhaps with a simple cash register, or a Raspberry Pi with a touchscreen.
- Maintain the status of the bar: The college has recently increased pressure on our behaviour on Friday nights. We know that the bar is situated in a residential area and that if we want to maintain the bar’s location or even existence we must respect this.
- Richard Gunning running for Secretary (and Computing Officer)
- Hello all! My name is Richard Gunning, and I am a second year bioinformatics PhD student. I have been at Clare for three years, and it has been an enjoyable experience. I have been on the committee for two years now, first as Computing officer and then as MCR Secretary with the additional role of computing officer. This year I am back again for both MCR secretary and Computing Officer because I really enjoy making the committee better for all MCR members.
Over the course of my two years on the committee, I have been at the forefront of many of the committee’s achievements. I was responsible for the MCR website redesign, the movement of the MCR bulletin to the website and the re-write of the MCR constitution. Much of the work I have done has increased the transparency of the MCR committee, by putting the minutes of MCR meetings and the MCR constitution online.
Most recently, I worked with Anne to compile a history of the MCR, which helped re-establish our relationship with previous MCR presidents and alumni. These changes I hope will serve to raise the profile of the Clare MCR. Over the coming year I plan to redevelop the MCR events booker, it is starting to crack after years of tweaks by various people. It needs a huge overhaul, and I have the skills and expertise needed. I will also continue developing the MCR history and engaging with the MCR alumni.
My experience on the committee and knowledge of the MCR constitution should also streamline the handover process between committees. Overall, I am a hard worker and motivated to helping make the MCR a better place for its members. All the events run by the MCR are great, and I wish to be a part of it again next year. Thank you for reading my manifesto!
- Ran Huo running for Exchange Officer
- Hi everyone!
I’m Ran (also known as San San) and I would love to be your Exchange Officer in the Clare MCR Committee!
I’m currently doing a PhD in Spanish and this is my sixth year in the bubble, since I already did my undergrad and master’s in Cambridge.
As a committee member of the CU German Society, I have gained much experience in organising Formal Swaps. Plus, I’m a big foodie in general and I’ve been to *all* the Formal Dinners at *all* the 31 colleges in Cambridge, so trust me, I definitely know where the good food is! Now, I would like to offer you my wisdom and take you to the best Formal Dinners in town (including Superhalls and themed Formals of course!).
Please vote for me and I promise that I will show you the hidden gems in Cambridge and that you will get to enjoy the best food, see the prettiest Dining Halls, and have the most fun nights out!
- Dominika Wolanska running for Exchange Officer
- My name’s Dominika and I’m doing a PhD in biochemistry and microbiology (currently 2nd year). You probably all know me as “Dom” or “D” from the social secretary emails, cause this was my job on the Committee until now – organising college events and fun! Time has now come to change the perspective and focus on intercollegiate relations, and to do that, I need you to support my run for Exchange Officer! As a social sec I tried to organise as many intercollegiate events as possible (bar crawls in the Fresher Week, BOPs and joint events with Caius, a bar swap with Trinity Hall), therefore I’d be more than happy to continue doing this as your Exchange Officer. Additionally, my time as the social sec allowed me to build a useful network of contacts, so organising formal swaps with colleges (even the snobby hard-to-get-into ones) should prove easy ;). I will also organise a poll and see which college the MCR members would like to visit the most, and try to fulfil that wish. I want to make Clare the most fun and sociable college, and I can’t do it without you!
- Nicolas Valenzuela running for Clareity President
- Hi MCR community. I will try to very briefly explain my motivation to be Clareity President, why I think I could do a good job, and my main ideas for next year. I would like you to understand my proposal as one simple concept: build a strong, interesting and entertaining academic network in Clare. So…
First, I want to be in this position because I think Clareity is a great place to mix the social experience we have in Clare with the main reason that brought us to Cambridge: the opportunity to learn and be part of a community that produces part of the most advanced knowledge in our planet. I enjoyed enormously assisting to Clareity Matters’ events, and having the chance to present my research and discuss among people with such heterogeneous disciplinary backgrounds in Clareity Matters was one of the most interesting experiences I have ever had. Secondly, because I have been involved in this type of events and discussions during my undergrad, graduate and professor practice back in Chile for more than 10 years ago (yeah, I am that old). I believe that self-organised and informal spaces are as important as the formal ones provided by our courses. That’s why, at the end of my first term in Cambridge, I organised two discussions on Local Governments (a topic which fascinates me), to which some of you attended. That’s also why I so much admire initiatives like the Cambridge Society for Economic Pluralism and their Paper 0, where I have been learning a lot (if you don’t know it, I really recommend to check their website).
I studied architecture and then a master in Urban Development in the Catholic University of Chile, where I was doing classes to undergrads and master students before moving to Cambridge last September. I also was working in a city hall as Director of Planning for the last 3 years (www.providencia.cl). Currently I am studying an MPhil in Development Studies and was accepted for a PhD in Land Economy, for starting in October. In general, I have considerable experience organising different projects and mixing academic and other types of perspectives. I was Secretary General of the Catholic University Student Union (www.feuc.cl), I started an NGO named Reconstruye (you can see some of our work here https://vimeo.com/13710718) after 2010’s earthquake in Chile that won an award as “Best Practices” by UN Habitat in 2012, and was campaign manager in a successful municipal election at the end of that same year. Before that, I organised at least three semminars in my faculty every year as one of the directors of the Cientodiez Magazine (www.cientodiez.cl), and got involved in promoting academic and public policy discussions for over 4 years as editor in Plataforma Urbana (www.plataformaurbana.cl). In general, my experiences have always mixed academic and other fields, and involved lots of teamwork. I think I can use this background to be a good Clareity President.
I think that having the Clareity Matters events and the Clareity Symposium is awesome, and also that Magda did an excellent work this year (actually, probably that’s why me and the other candidates became interested in this election). But I think we could keep them and also go beyond if we imagine the potential that building a strong, interesting and entertaining academic network in Clare can have. For doing so, I propose to add two mini-projects to the Clareity President’s work, focusing on the Michaelmas term:
- Invite all interested into a social-participatory event at the beginning of Michaelmas, for brainstorming about how to make the idea of an academic network something real and visible inside the MCR. In my previous work I organised lots of participatory planning processes, and I believe that’s the best way to help a community to see themselves as a collective, make people feel ownership of what goes on and get the most creative ideas from out of the box.
- Do a Clareity Survey among the MCR members to help us to know what do we think about the opportunities for building this academic network in the MCR. I believe it can be a very powerful tool if we combine it with the participatory planning session.The planning for Michaelmas, Lent and Easter 2016-2017 would come (apart from Clareity Matters and the Symposium) from these two mini-projects. I have some specific ideas, that I would like to discuss, especially regarding us getting more involved with audiences outside Clare. For example, the students from one of the colleges in the other place organise an annual “Human Welfare Conference”, open to even other universities (http://hwc.gtc.ox.ac.uk/). I ask myself: are we interested maybe in organising something on a specific subject that we consider interesting and/or important this year? Wouldn’t be interesting for a network inside Clare to get involved and exchange with people in other colleges and even other universities?I think all this questions are powerful. Also that next year’s work should try to explore the potential of anybody interested in seeing Clareity as the cornerstone of an academic network inside our MCR, and that with my experience and motivation I can help to make things happen in a participatory, efficient and fun way.
- Andrés Bustamente running for Clareity President
- Friends make the best teachers. Anyone who has spent an afternoon drinking tea in the MCR or chatting after a formal can attest to the fact that our college is abuzz with great ideas. Through Clareity Matters evenings I have been exposed to such diverse fields as developmental psychology, American history, and international monetary policy, and I have learned just as much from these talks as from seminars in my department. These moments of informal learning embody Clareity’s motto of “fruitful discussing and sharing ideas,” and are what I would strive to achieve as Clareity President.
As an undergraduate I organized my college’s bi-weekly ‘Commonplace Society,’ a series of dinners where graduating students shared their thesis research with classmates and advisors. It was one of the most rewarding experiences, and I would love to build on that to enhance the Clareity evenings. In addition to balancing the representation of the sciences and humanities, it would be wonderful to hear two presentations focusing on a similar theme, like sound or movement, but approached from different disciplines, like music and engineering. The goal should be not only to highlight the diversity of our interests, but also to find areas ripe for collaboration. These nights could also incorporate new styles of presentation, for example showcasing performances from students in the arts. We could also rotate the foods available each evening to add variety to the nights. Clareity is the ideal mix of social setting and intellectual exchange that brings the MCR community together and highlights the best of what Clare, and Cambridge, has to offer.
- Tamsin (Tami) Bell running for Clareity President
- For those of you that don’t know me, I am a second year chemical engineering PhD student and I completed my first year at the University of Bath. You may have seen me (or joined me) dancing around the MCR like a lunatic on Friday nights. I love playing most sports (although rugby is not really for me) and I currently represent Clare in Netball (Ladies) and Rowing (W2).
Since starting my PhD I have had the opportunity to present my research at various national and international conferences, most recently in Russia, as well as presenting at science festivals. These experiences have improved my confidence presenting to a range of audiences.
During my time at Clare, I have attended all the Clareity Matters evenings where possible and I enjoy expanding my knowledge about topics unrelated to my research. During the Clareity Matters evening last November I presented my PhD research on catalysts. Presenting at this event is challenging as the talk needs to be targeted to an audience with a wide range of expertise. I was overwhelmed with the positive feedback I received after my talk and I even had a historian suggest how to improve the efficiency of the overall process, highlighting the level of comprehension
Furthermore, in previous institutions I have been a committee member of the Erasmus (University of Bristol) and Public Engagement (University of Bath) societies. I believe that these former roles, my presenting experience to date, my participation in Clareity events as well as my organisational skills and enthusiasm make me a strong candidate for to the role of Clareity President. My general curiosity as a scientist and thirst for knowledge outside the domain of science will help to ensure a well-balanced and diverse mix of talks for not only the Clareity Matters evenings but also for the Clareity Symposium. So, please vote for me!