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Interview with Carolina Hall-Rodriguez, LUU Education Officer Candidate

By Chloe Vialou-Clark

I spoke to Carolina Hall-Rodriguez about her campaign for Education Officer for #LeadLUU. Voting is open until Thursday 5thMarch…

Hey Carolina, can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself? What degree are you doing, what other interests do you have outside your degree, and can you give 3 words to describe yourself!

I am from London and I am studying English Literature! Unsurprisingly I am quite the book worm, but I also love to spend my time painting, rock climbing and watching films. Last year my friends and I founded LUU’s first Pan-African Society which has been such a great experience so far and I’m really excited to see where the rest of the year takes us! If I had to choose 3 words to describe myself, they would be organised, compassionate and friendly!

So, you’re applying for Education Officer! Why are you interested in this post? And what are the key things that you would hope to change at Leeds Uni?

Since becoming School Rep for English, I have had the chance to learn more about the way that the University and LUU work together and have seen first-hand the importance of student-led change. Everyone should have the chance to get the most out of their education and I believe that I am the right woman for the job. If I become Education Officer, some of the big changes I would like to make are abolishing resit costs (because everyone deserves a second chance!), improving support offered for students on their year abroad and/or placement year (both before they go and while they’re away), increasing informal study spaces and bridging the gap between students and staff (particularly but not limited to international, BAME, LGBT+ and disabled students). If these points interest you, please do have a read of my manifesto which you can find on the LUU website or on Instagram and Facebook @carolina4education!

Why should people vote for you? What makes you stand out? What experiences have you had that could bring your personal touch to the job?

People should vote for me because I am committed to creating real student-led change at a university-wide level and my manifesto points directly impact your education. My experience as School Rep has given me a great understanding of the way LUU and the schools system work and this along with my being a committed team player means I know exactly how changes can be achieved. A vote for me is a vote for an educational experience that is accessible, fulfilling and enjoyable for all!

I’ve been on a year abroad myself and definitely can relate to some of the challenges! I think that your proposal to give more support to those out of Leeds is so important. Have you been on a year abroad, and how do you propose to create this support network?

I myself have not been on a year abroad but believe strongly in fighting for everyone’s right to a fulfilling educational experience, whether or not I am directly affected by certain issues. After all, having an empowered and equal academic community is in every single student’s best interest! I think that it is extremely important that students on their year abroad are given adequate support and I feel that this is an issue that doesn’t often receive the attention it deserves. In order to combat this, as Education Officer I want to ensure that students are regularly supported from the moment they decide to take a year out and start looking for universities/ jobs to the moment they return (and of course onwards!). This includes everything from providing help with finding accommodation and wellbeing services in the student’s new city, to helping them find community networks that they feel comfortable in (for example specific cultural or LGBT+ communities that will make students feel at home).

Your idea about secondary work spaces is a great one – we all know the struggle of finding a solitary seat in Eddy B! How do you propose to tackle this next year?

Thank you! I realise that it can be very difficult for some students to work from home, be that because they have caring responsibilities, can’t concentrate, or simply have noisy neighbours! Therefore, it is important that every student has that space that they can dedicate to studying. I want to increase these spaces by having schools open up their seminar rooms during exam periods and provide timetables of booking times so that students can utilise these spaces outside of seminars. I am hoping that this will also encourage students in the same school or even course to work together and build a more united academic community!

What would you like to say to your prospective voters!

Vote! Whoever you feel will put in the work to give you the education you deserve is who you should vote for. I am hoping that this will be me, but above all it is so important that as many people vote as possible so that your union is reflective of you! Also, I’d like to remind voters that whilst you have the option to vote for #1 and #1 only, you can also rank the candidates in order of preference if you wish. Finally, I just want to say that if you vote Carolina #1 for Education, you can be sure that I will put in the work and dedication to make changes that I truly believe in, in an aim to create an equal educational experience for everyone!

The campaign for #LeadLUU is open now until Thursday 5 March. You can vote online from the Leeds University Union website: