Interviewed and transcribed by Maria Linares and Alexandra Oh
Photo courtesy of “AirBDE”
In the two days leading up to Campaign Week, several reporters from the Sundial Press News team interviewed members of all seven campaigning lists. These interviews lasted about 45 minutes each, list members had not seen the questions beforehand and were given five minutes to discuss before answering. For the first four question they were given five minutes to respond and for the last question they were given two minutes. The journalists conducting these interviews were surveilled by a member of the Campaign Committee, and were under oath to keep all information secret until the release of the articles. Finally, these interviews were recorded and then transcribed, everything written below was said by the members of the lists.
Disclaimer: This interview was edited for clarity and concision.
President: Ayesha Veera, Canadien, Euram
Vice-President: Jean Crosetti, French, Euraf
List Name: AirBDE
President: Ayesha Veera, Canadian, Euram
Head of Events: Anna Maurette, French, Euram
Creative Communications: Iker Del Val Suárez, Spanish, Euram
Campus Life: Andréa Kouame, Ivoirienne, Euraf
Question 1: Why is your list running?
Anna Maurette (AM): We are running this year for the BDE because we are all passionate about campus life. We are all involved in associations that are different from the BDE, so we wanted to put all the skills that we learned from these associations together to make people love their life on campus and feel good. We know that it’s not easy when you’re in a new place, don’t know anyone, don’t have your family, and feel quite lost. We think it is important to feel integrated and to have wellbeing on campus – we want to be as inclusive as possible and offer many different events of all kinds to satisfy everyone on campus and to help everyone feel comfortable with their workplace.
Iker Del Val Suárez (IDVS): Our list is running because we have a project for the campus, and our project is to make everybody feel as well and good as possible as they can on campus. When you change everything that is around you and you come to a new place, having a safety net and people to empower and accompany you on your journey is very important, and that’s what we want to do by running for the BDE.
Ayesha Veera (AV): I think as a list we are personally invested in the wellbeing of everyone not only in our list but of everyone on campus. For us, it was really important to shape a list with people that were not only interested in forming an institution that is devoted to students, but who is also interested in building a project that supports students, their wellbeing, and their success.
Andréa Kouame (AK): It was really difficult to arrive on campus and not have my family with me at the start, and we can see posts on Yik Yak about students feeling alone. We want to be an association that is really involved in campus life and in health and mental life as well.
IDVS: To summarize in a single phrase: We are running because we care. We care for the people around us, and we want to make them feel appreciated, empowered, and good while being here on the Reims campus.
Question 2: What do you want students to know about you?
AV: The main thing we want students to know is building off what we’ve said: our list has been created with the sole purpose of being invested in the students that we want to serve. If people are aware that that is our main goal, I think that will encourage them to see that we have a project for them that we are motivated to achieve and that we want them to be a part of.
AM: We are not only a bureau, we are also now a group of friends. We have worked together to prepare for Campaign Week so we have formed really strong ties, and we just want to be a big family on campus. We want people to feel comfortable with us – if they have a problem, they can come and speak to us, ask questions about events and give feedback, and be able to give the students what they want. We want to be as accessible as possible to everyone, and we want to be open to criticism by students, as well as to support them. Students will always have someone who will listen to them in the BDE and that will take care of them.
AK: To sum up, we want the students to enjoy their student life as we have enjoyed it in our respective associations. Being a part of ASPA, I really enjoyed the African Week which was a huge event, and some people in the Euraf program told me that they felt considered because of the event. I think we want a BDE that is more inclusive, thinking not just about Europe but about everyone – that’s one of our main goals.
AV: That’s the reason why we created this list – to create events for people, by people who are aware of the absences of events that would make them feel included and respond to that need. I think that we have such a diversity of parcours in this list with different experiences specific to all kinds of students, that I believe most students will be able to identify to the services that we will provide to them, if elected.
AK: We are not only focused on international students, but on all students. We want them to know new things by creating new events, and we want them to feel good as students of Sciences Po to share their experiences.
AM: Before being Euram or Euraf or Exchange, you are a part of the Reims Campus. We want to have this kind of cohesion that can help everybody. Nearly 50% of the students on campus are international students of different backgrounds, which is very rare for a school. We have to take all of the advantages of this international campus and create a general cohesion for all students to feel included in campus life and events.
Question 3: What do you guys intend to change if you succeed in the elections?
IDVS: First of all, as we’ve mentioned, we intend to address the problem of mental health. This is one of the things we believe has been overlooked by present bureaus. Although we assume and we know that this is not necessarily the responsibility of the students, we do think that creating a safer community for our peers is very important. And this comes in several ways: being accessible, being there for people, caring, and different measures we can apply to have a real impact on people.
AV: That’s one of the main reasons we created Andrea’s pole which is the Campus Health and Wellbeing Pole. We decided there was a big need for someone in charge on a macro level so that there’s an understanding between the administration and the students about the current state of mental health. Also on a micro scale, we want to have one person who is in charge of being there and if you need to communicate anything or if you need mental health resources there’s someone you can talk to.
AK: We thought about the role of communication: talking with people, understanding their problems, and creating events relevant to their needs is super important. We are very focused on listening to people. Even, as Anna said, if we focus on critics, like all the critics on Yik Yak – I don’t think it’s very fair for people who organize it and are involved. We really want to understand and listen to everyone and modify events as needed to make people comfortable and to make events accessible. And if people are super shy and want to meet new people, we want to make people come to them and encourage people to meet new people with events like speed dating to help them.
AV: We also have two more things that we want to change that are really core to our program: student employment and creation of an app and that’s another reason we created another new pole this year which is Creative Communication which is headed by Iker.
IDVS: In CC we are going to do something really cool and launch an app. This is to help accessibility and transparency…
AV: In the app there will be more resources and ways to leave feedback and suggest ideas. And I think that leads into what we want to provide practically: what do students need? And we thought that there was a huge need for student employment opportunities. And we think that through our new partnership pole run by Elie we have found a network of businesses and relationships that we built around Reims that will help incentivize student employment. So for us, that was a big part of that campaign. We kept thinking about what is missing at Sciences Po, how can we improve it, and how can we improve the quality of life for students on campus.
Question 4: What are some events you want to highlight that your list will offer this week?
AM: So we tried to make as many diverse events as we could for this week in order to satisfy everyone and also to show that we can organize parties as well as day events or open mics, so we have some events we want to highlight. The first is a huge Easter hunt on campus. This is divided in three parts. The first in the morning is a surprise, so I invite you to participate to find out more! Then basically tomorrow at noon for students and then a huge Easter hunt on campus all day…It’s not only a hunt, there will be clues to find the eggs and a second surprise in the afternoon. And we want super accessible, free events, but we also want to surprise you and make your life more fun and change up the routine. Even with simple events – sometimes simple is better. And we aren’t trying to make huge events. We are really trying to make high quality events and for the Easter hunt we want to make it as best as possible for students on campus.
AV: that’s another asset we have in our events team this year, which is composed of Anna as head, Charlotte as nightlife, Benoit as trips, Andrea as campus life, and Maxime in event innovation, is that we have composed a team that looks to create events that are simple but still different and unique. And we have that with our first event on Saturday which is an event that takes you along with two other lists to visit apartments in the center…we think that this can show you that our list is fun and innovative so I hope you see that Saturday night. The third event we’re most proud of is our very last event Saturday night where we have a laser game.
AM: Yes for our last event we will have a huge laser game and then a chill night party so that everybody on the last night can…
AV: …sort of reminisce about the week! And I think that sums up the three ideas we have about our campaign, how our bureau would be next year. Because we are very campus centered, but also we want Sciences Po to reach off campus. We want the relationships and bonds you build at our events on campus to lead to events and experiences off campus, and we hope these two interwoven experiences will lead to a more fulfilling and successful time at Sciences Po.
AM: Also, when we think about events we often think of huge parties, but events aren’t limited to parties, and we can have fun at on campus events. We didn’t want to have three huge parties and then nothing for the rest of the days. We want to show students that you can have fun at simple events. It doesn’t have to be a huge 400 person gala. We want to have diverse events for everyone to find what they want and like and I hope that you will like this campaign week.
Question 5: one last thing?
IDVS: You should vote for us because as we said, we care, we work well together, we want to build a big family on campus, and we want you to feel the best that you can here in Reims. That’s why you should vote for us! Sending out much love.
AK: I think that Iker summed up everything! I want to be a BDE representative of the campus. I really want people to see our different personality and they can be what they want to be.
AV: Yeah. I think that’s our main goal. I think our last word is just were here, were accessible, and we want to be completely devoted to you, like Anna said in our song.
AM: If you want more songs, I strongly advise you to vote for AirBDE we are professional but we also want to have fun. We are students and these are the best years of our life, so we want to make them incredible for everyone. By voting for us you won’t be disappointed and you’ll have a lot of surprises all throughout the year, so fly with us!