Interview by Jacob Hartley and Aurore Laborie
President: Zakir Kassam
Vice President: Clémence Poetschke
Click here to see their Facebook page
What do you want students to know?
Our motto when in terms of our platform is “redefining student life.” What this means is we want to tackle the common conception of student life at the Reims Campus, and expand it so it is more accessible and appealing to everyone. There are 3 key points we want to focus on in the upcoming year beyond the classic party platform of partying harder, integrating better so on and so forth.
The first area we want to focus on is communication, and more particularly how can we ensure that all students have easy access to the information needed in order to participate in student life. Our comm team has several solutions to this for next year, the first would be having a proper website for the BDE, so when facebook becomes overwhelming there is a centralized and organized source of information for everyone to rely on. The second solution we plan on implementing is a common google calendar, this not only will be useful for other associations on campus as they will be able to upload their events on this calendar, to bolster outreach, but for the student body as well. Considering many of us rely on google calendar anyways, instead of having to crawl through our campus facebook groups to find the information, it will be directly transmitted to us in a coordinated fashion.
The second area we want to focus on is how we currently define student life. At the end of the week, the go to move is a club night or a bar night, and while this is a staple in the culture of our campus, it is important to recognize that it is not universally appealing. This is where “redefining student life” becomes incredibly important because not everyone has the same conception of a relaxing night. As the BDE it will be important for us to explore what else we can do to help the student body unwind. Of course we will always work towards having bigger and better parties for those of us who enjoy them, but we also want to focus on those who don’t so we can ensure that they have an equally appealing option. The first important step to achieving this, was having a list that was very diverse in terms of composition. We aimed to create a group of people, with whom we would have never traditionally worked, to create a microcosm of the campus and its needs. For us, regardless of pole, everyone’s input is important as we should be representing the desires of all students. The BDE often gets the reputation of being the party bureau, for us it is time to become the student life bureau.
Finally, we want to be accessible both financially and personally. Financial accessibility, of course, is a platform of all BDE lists, however we want to stress how important this is for us. Our executive team worked very hard to make our events during campaign week as accessible as possible (and if you come to one of our paying events, the only reason you have to pay if because we are legally not allowed to give you free alcohol) and we want to continue this theme throughout the following year. Whether you are a French student on scholarship, or an international student who has financial difficulties, even if they are not reflected in your tuition payment, as you come from outside the EU, we are committed to helping you reach all of our events. Galas, trips, integration events, no matter what we will provide you with support. For all of this to be possible, it is essential for us to also be personally accessible. We want to foster a rapport with the student body, so that we can be more of a go to friend rather than a bureau. During our events this week, whether you have made up your mind already to vote for our list, made up your mind already to vote for the other list or completely undecided, we challenge you to come strike up conversation with us, and we promise we won’t robotically regurgitate our platform. We are just a group of average joes, with the goal of doing something extraordinary, but the emphasis here is that we are regular people, we enjoy meeting new people from everywhere and win or lose, we want to use this week as a catalyst to become closer together.
What do you intend to change, if you were to succeed in the elections?
The changes we want to make are mostly covered in our platform mentioned above, however there is still the matter of integration to tackle. Integration has become a buzzword when considering campaigns, everyone vows to do it, but what does it actually entail? For us, the biggest discrepancy lies in the isolation of the exchanges. Primarily during integration week, it will be important for us not to simply organize events targeted to the incoming students and simply invite the exchanges in hopes of integrating. Again we fall back on our motto of “redefining student life,” being that it will be important to work from an exchange perspective as well. For us it will be important to have more events that are universal or allow for exchanges to meet their fellow students during integration week.
We also intend to develop the trip aspect of the BDE. Zakir now has a firm grasp on how those work as he was responsible for trips as a baby BDE 2017 member. Although they pose numerous constraints in terms of budget, we want to make sure that the BDE gives the opportunity to students, specifically exchanges and international students, to travel through France and Europe.
What are some events you want to highlight that your list will offer this week?
We’re organizing on Monday, from noon till 3PM, a silent disco in the old cafeteria. This is one of our key events, as it corresponds to our motto of going with the flow and our more general aim of redefining student life. We will provide each person with a set of bluetooth headphones and they will be able to dance to the music of their choice.
On Wednesday evening, our “win and wine” chill bar night at the gin pamp will also give a preview of what we mean by being more inclusive of all student needs and wants. If you’re looking for just a few drinks and board games with your friends, you’ve got it.
But we’re not letting go of those big parties either – and our “international bonanza” event aims to merge exactly that, and integration of exchanges. Hosted at the loft, an exchange apartment, we aim to bring the traditional Sciences Po parties to the other part of the campus that is too easily forgotten.