by Ratmir Izmailov
Question: What inspired you to apply for student representative?
Nora: Growing up, I’ve always had people to look up to, and now I’d love to become this person for others.
Edoardo: I think that this role is prestigious, especially in such an establishment as Sciences Po. I’ve always been a student representative throughout my school years, so it feels like a logical thing for me to do now.
Georges: I’ve been a student representative for 5 years in my highschool, as well as a school representative for international competitions such as Model UN. I do it, because I enjoy representing my peers and helping them achieve goals by being a bridge between the students and administration.
Elia: I’ve been a student representative for 5 years in my highschool, as well as a school representative for international competitions such as Model UN. I do it, because I enjoy representing my peers and helping them achieve goals by being a bridge between the students and administration.
Elodie: Coming to France for the first time, I’ve had a lot of culture shocks. And I think that at Sciences Po, which is such an international school, these problems could be dealt with a lot better. I’m talking about sexual assault and harrassment, for example. Also, I feel as though demands of the students are not taken seriously enough . And that’s why we need a responsible student rep, who would have more power and more solidarity.
Doriana: The main thing that inspired me was actually my friends. I have loved meeting new people since my first day here. And this experience made me realize that I want to represent the student body as well as meet even more people.
Question: Do you think you’ll be capable of managing the student rep’s duties alongside ScPo workload?
Nora: For sure! My school was always academically rigorous. Being in a student council for all 5 years of high school and a student body representative in my final year, I did not have too many issues keeping up with workload. I find it easy to delegate tasks for myself, so I think I’ll manage.
Edoardo: Absolutely! It’s not my first time doing this. I’ve been managing my Sciences Po work quite well this month. I think I’ll be quite good at balancing out my school work and the duties of a student rep.
Georges: Oh, yeah! In highschool, I was actually busier than I am now, so I’m able and willing to dedicate a lot of my free time to this position.
Elia: Oh, it’s tough, but first of all I won’t be alone. We’ll be a team. We’ll have 2A-s to help us, to share their knowledge. So I’m very hopeful of this.
Elodie: Yes, actually during my campaign I got to practice balancing the things for student rep and posting on instagram and school work, which this week was particularly busy for me. It’s not always easy, but I realized after this campaign that I can actually manage
Doriana: I think I will. At least, I’m going to try. I’ve always been busy throughout my school. And I think that my previous experience will be valuable here. I know how to deal with that amount of work.
Question: What makes you different from other candidates?
Nora: I loved all the other letters, a lot of them had really good ideas that we could implement. To be honest, I was kind of insecure about mine after that, because I wrote a literal letter, while others were more structured and formal. But I’ve talked to a lot of people about this and they told me it was fine, that it makes me seem more approachable. And I want everyone to consider me as their friend. So I think this is the most evident thing that stands out, especially in the letters.
Edoardo: I ask people to vote for me as for the person, the idea behind my campaign, rather than a list of bullet points. I want to establish a system of better communication. Obviously, we can’t yet know all the issues, so I try to be more flexible, and solve the problems as they come, as the year goes by.
Georges: I’ve noticed that most of the other candidates don’t have concrete measures they want to implement. I can do it, instead of waiting for people to complain. I already have some options and plans, coming from students themselves.
Elia: The most important aspect is that I didn’t write any specific program. Because in any case, it will change throughout the year, so I must be flexible. My main task here is to preserve and strengthen the heritage of Sciences Po.
Elodie: I would say I have very concrete propositions, such as dealing with problems regarding environmentalism, CROUS, sexual violence, creating support groups and so on. And generally I think my program is very precise and it’s based on the feedback I receive from the students.
Doriana: I believe that my letter was very organized, which is something that represents me. I like taking complicated things and making them simple for others.
Question: How’s your campaign going?
Nora: I think it’s going really well! The amount of support I’m getting is so overwhelming and heartwarming! Like, for example, my friends, who helped me with the stickers and posters, and who explained to me how Canva works for my instagram posts. And so many people come up to me saying they are so glad that I’m running. I feel very happy and supported. And the outcome of all this support makes me hopeful, as it shows how united the Sciences Po community is. And because we are so united, I believe it means that every change we want to make is possible.
Edoardo: It’s great! I’ve already received good feedback. When I was handing out the leaflets, I heard a lot of positive comments. And absolutely, I feel the support of my fellows.
Georges: I’ve talked to my peers and they like all the videos and posts. We have a form, which is a good way to receive opinions, we already got around 100 answers. We got some people write their concerns on paper and got 20-30 responses. So I am very positive about where this is going.
Elia: Yeah, everyone who finds out that I’m running is happy for me. This is the atmosphere of Sciences Po. So I’m not feeling such pressure. I think I will receive a lot of support.
Elodie: My campaign has been so amazing, it’s such a fun experience. Like, I got to learn how to make proper social media graphics. I met so many people, with many of whom I’ll probably be friends with, no matter what happens.
Doriana: I really enjoyed campaigning. I found out a lot of problems people had discovered, that I didn’t know about.
Question: Who would you like to be elected with you?
Nora: That is a wonderful question. Honestly, I can find such good things about everybody, their platforms, their campaigns, that no one is really standing above anyone. Also, I do love the idea of implementing composts, and I think we generally have similar ideas, so regardless of what happens, I think everyone can bring about a good change.
Edoardo: I’ve seen the letters of other candidates, who have really good points. In my opinion, working with Nora and Elia would be a great collaboration.
Georges: I think it’s not a surprise that I’d choose Elodie, as she is running with me, our campaigns are very similar. Together, I believe, we can do more than separately. Also Nora and Doriana seem very knowledgeable and experienced in this sphere.
Elia: I’m linked with Edoardo Pani for obvious reasons, we’re compatriots. However, other candidates are also more than valid. And I will be happy to work with all of them.
Elodie: It’s a pretty easy question. Georges and I are basically campaigning together, our ideas are very similar. We’ve been working as a team through and through.
Doriana: Obviously, I would choose Nora. We were the only two who ran from the beginning.* And I truly believe we’ll make a great team. I’m pragmatic, while Nora is creative, in the best way possible, and as she said herself, she is exuberant. When it comes to the third person, it’s really hard for me to put a finger on someone, as I don’t know much about the other candidates.
*Elia’s application was also submitted before the application deadline was extended.
Question: Who would you choose if you weren’t a candidate?
Nora: People I usually vote for have the same qualities that I try to reflect, such as doing what you’re saying and saying what you’re doing, keeping everyone accountable, being straightforward and honest and highly approachable. So if I weren’t a candidate, I would watch the debate and base my opinion off of that.
Edoardo: That is a good question. For me, Nora and Elia are the two main options. I don’t know other candidates that well, so the upcoming debate will be a good time for me to make my mind about everybody.
Georges: That would be Elodie, because we represent the same values.
Elia: Definitely Nora, because she is really determined, she was first to start campaigning. This determination earns her a place on the team. I think with her, the rep team will be in good hands.
Elodie: Everybody deserves to be in this position. I’ll be happy with any outcome, as I’m friends with everybody.
Doriana: I feel like Elodie and Georges have done such a great job. Their stance is clear, they were very involved in their campaign. And Nora again, because she can balance the pragmatism Elodie and Georges will bring.
Question: 3 main qualities of a perfect student rep team?
Nora: I think there are a lot of important qualities to have. But I would say communication, empathy and being able to recognize that you’re just one person, who cannot possibly solve every problem, therefore you will need feedback and collaboration.
Edoardo: Firstly, communication, which is super important. Secondly, charisma is a quality that helps to be more compelling. And finally, good management. We’re here not for a long time, the first semester is half-done, so we have to be able to make decisions quickly.
Georges: I think we should be able to hear each other out. Everybody has the same importance, there’s no hierarchy. Plus, we should be proactive and active, as we are the ones to transmit the information to the administrative body.
Elia: Ooh. I’d say the sharing of ideas is pretty important. The teammates should not be frightened to express the idea. Also, of course, sharing duties is another huge point. And lastly, the quality a rep should have is sincerity.
Elodie: People that are good at communication, obviously. Then, being able to delegate duties. And the third quality is teamwork.
Doriana: The first one would be communication. The second one would be good listening skills. Sometimes listening is more important than talking. The third is kindness, it’s a very necessary quality to be able to comfort and support people.
Question: Are there things that scare you about this post?
Nora: There definitely will be challenges, situations that are completely foreign and new to me. This is why there should be a notion of adaptability, because the peoples’ issues are going to be so variable. But what is interesting and fantastic about this is that not only will I get to learn about people’s struggles, but also I surely will gain skills and have tools to deal with such problems in the future.
Edoardo: I don’t see struggles as something negative, but rather an opportunity to improve. I’m excited for myself and the rest of the team to face struggles and especially overcome them. I’m thrilled to meet these challenges. I’m not scared of them.
Georges: I wouldn’t be able to solve the issues regarding the university system. For example, two absences equal to a student being in default. This works like this in every university in France, so I will not be able to change it in any way.
Elia: I don’t think so. The heritage we have is a very big one. Also, there is this warm environment here that helps relax. But I think the most difficult thing will be coordinating with student associations.
Elodie: The kinds of problems that I would find difficult to solve… The only restriction, I think, is anything that has to do with the French government. However, there’s nothing stopping us from writing petitions and getting the attention to the issues that worry us.
Doriana: Um, no. There isn’t anything I’m scared of. Definitely, there will be problems that I won’t be able to solve. However, I’m a very courageous person. And if it’s really necessary, I will go to the administration and do the best I can to solve an issue.
Question: How do you feel in general?
Nora: My mood right now is that it seems like I know everyone here, I love all of the candidates, some of them are in my triplette, or we just talk. Going into this I feel very at ease, and everyone seems so nice. Basically, we all ultimately have the same goal: it’s not about winning but reaching the same conclusion. And the thought of all the people watching and supporting me warms my heart, And I hope others are also not about the competition, but the general experience of it all.
Edoardo: I’m quite positive about this. The event is well-organized, so I’m very excited. Obviously, I do this for fun, but more importantly I’ll try to achieve cooperation, because this is what the school needs and what the student reps should give back.
Georges: It’s a really fun thing to do, all the debates, the competition, I think it represents the spirit of Sciences Po. Even though I’ve been doing this for quite some time, I’ll still learn from this experience, improve my debate and communication skills.
Elia: When I decided to apply I was thinking that it would be a good opportunity for me. At the end of the day, I have nothing to lose. I believe it will be a nice task for me. I feel very good in any case, because during my campaign I got convinced that this school has so many nice people.
Elodie: Honestly, this can sound very docile, but I’ve just been having fun meeting everybody. But if I’m elected, I’ll be happy with this decision and take my job seriously.
Doriana: I’m a very competitive person. I like participating in debates and stuff like that. But here I’m having even more fun than I expected. I got to talk to people, to the other candidates, to learn how everyone experiences their lives at Sciences Po so far. And it’s definitely very fun.
Question: You would associate yourself with what symbol?
Nora: That’s a difficult question. If I were a flower, I’d be a sunflower, because they are so positive and radiant. And I think of myself as a summer-early autumn kind of girl. And if I were an animal, even though my perception of myself is only mine, I would probably be a bumblebee. You know, the fuzzy ones. Because they work so hard and are probably tired and I relate to this feeling. They make honey and are generally useful and seem friendly. Everybody just vibes with them.
Edoardo: If I had to pick a quote for myself, it would be one of Eleonore Anna Roosevelt’s: ‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Georges: It’s really cliché, but if I were an animal it would be a lion or a fox, just like the Science Po logo. Lion, because I’m active, I want to be the strong candidate, I can express my opinions clearly. Fox, because I think I’m smart enough, I have the qualities to convince people to achieve our common goals.
Elia: I would be an owl. And not because they are considered wise, but for their eyes. They are wide-open and curious, just as I am. And it could also mean that I’m open-minded.
Elodie: I’d say… this is so stupid, but I would be a lilypad. I just drift along, when the current’s in my way I just try to go with the flow and balance around.
Doriana: Well… I’d associate myself with an arrow. I always liked the idea of being an archer. You don’t need a lot of strength for it, but strategy. And yes, I’m brave and I’ll shoot ahead if I want, but also I have to have a plan.
Note: Answers have been edited for clarity.