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What degree are you undertaking?
I am currently undertaking a Bachelor of Communications and Laws.
What made you want to run in the 2022 UNSA election?
I wanted to get involved in the student community here at uni and felt I recognised many issues students find important. I thought it would be a great way to get involved with the student community at UoN to try and improve everyone’s overall experience at university. Running as a candidate in the SRC also seemed like a great way to gain some first-hand experience in teamwork, problem solving, and management skills.
What about the position you applied for appealed to you?
The position of Newcastle Campuses Committee Convenoris about making sure that the opinions and needs of Newcastle students are given a platform, and I’m a very approachable person who would be able to do just that. I’m also an excellent communicator and enjoy thinking up creative solutions to problems, so those aspects of the role very much appealed to me.
Why do you think it’s important for students to get involved in leadership roles, societies and clubs, and engagement events?
It’s incredibly important for students to get involved with leadership roles, societies, and engagement events. These offer great experiences, such as improving your interpersonal skills, better leadership skills, or better professional skills. While students are at university to learn in a classroom, we are also there to learn from the experiences offered to us in leadership roles, societies, and engagement events, to become more well-rounded people who have skills that will benefit us in our day to day lives.
Who is a leader you admire and why?
Teddy Roosevelt always stood out to me when he said, “speak softly and carry a big stick,” and really has influenced how I think about leadership. From this, I think you should always work to find a diplomatic and mutually beneficial solution, but you should also never be afraid to stick up for what you believe in. I think this also feeds into the most important lesson my Great-Grandfather taught me. While he is not a leader in a traditional sense, he certainly was to me. He taught me not to raise your voice during a conflict, and to always keep a level head.
How do you manage conflicts or deal with problems?
I think the most important aspect about managing conflicts is understanding that conflicts occur because people have different ideas and views. In To Kill A Mockingbird,Atticus Finch says, “you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” That’s the approach that I take, considering everything from each party’s perspective. Once you’ve done that, you can work on finding the best solution to the conflict. I think the way I deal with problems is quite similar; that being, you need to look at the issue that CAUSED the problem. I like knowing why something happened, and all of the individual elements to that effect. You cannot understand how to deal with a problem without knowing what caused it. Then once you know why it happened, you can put plans in place to stop those individual elements.
What are your interests at university and outside of university that make you a great candidate?
I’m very keen on getting to know people and having a conversation. This means I’m quite good at being able to understand what issues are important to students and how I might be able to help them with those issues. I’m always keen to learn and gain new experience, and those are two traits you really need in a campus convener.
What’s one issue you would bring to light, or one student engagement activity you would pitch, as a student leader?
One issue that I’ve found to be quite relevant at the moment is that there are various pieces of software that are incredibly important for students’ degrees that can be only accessed on university campus. For example, communications students get access to the Adobe app suite, but it can only be accessed on campus which is, of course, a problem when we are doing online learning. I would very much like to raise this issue on the SRC, especially if the University is going to continue with online classes, as online students should get access to the same materials as on-campus ones.
What would you tell your younger self if you could go back in time?
When I was younger, I really was always wishing my time away. Now I look back and realise that I should have spent more enjoying what was going on then, instead of looking forward to what I would get to do. I’ve gotten much better at it in the past 12 months; I think leaving school definitely gave me a perspective on that, but there are still times when I don’t strike the balance quite right. I know this makes it appear like I’m 80 years old, but if you ask some people who know me, they’ll probably tell you I am!
Tell us an interesting fact we should know about you:
I enjoy drone flying and photography.
Finally, why should students vote for you?
I’m someone who doesn’t wait around for a problem to solve itself, I’m (probably) sane and I’m authentic. With me, what you see is what you’re getting. I’m not going to make overly elaborate promises that I’d never be able to keep, I just want to serve YOU, the student, and also get a bit of first-hand leadership experience myself along the way. So, Tick the Box for Samuel Cox!
The answers above reflect the unedited opinions of the running candidates. These attitudes do not necessarily reflect the values of UNSA, Opus, or the University of Newcastle as a whole. We wish all the candidates the best of luck and ask all readers to use their vote wisely. Not all candidates listed may appear on your election ballot if they have not fulfilled all pre-election criteria set by the University of Newcastle.