Dimitros Terzis: “I want the Union to be accessible to everyone”

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Dimitros Terzis a third year politics and economics undergraduate from Athens, Greece is running to be the next Vice President Communities.

Asked why he decided to run for the position in the election , Terzis referenced his involvement with the student’s union from his first day at university.

“I know how important it is for our well-being and what role it plays in our daily lives. After a year as International Officer, trying to help international students settle in the time of COVID and Brexit, I want to make student lives better, and I believe I can achieve that.”

Dimitros also referred to one of his campaign points, that the union should run more social events beyond freshers week in his answer.

“I would like to see the Union throwing more social events and parties, which could bring the fun aspect of the Union back and extend it beyond Freshers Week. There was a time when the Students’ Union was more about parties and events, and back then, there was a strong sense of community because of them.

“I would like to see this happening again if COVID allows us. Since a lot of these events will be fundraising, we will be able to support the student community and improve our quality of life, work on sustainability, as well as help our club and societies grow.”

In his manifesto, Dimitros mentions that he wants to organise supportive actions and campaigns, so that “no student is left behind due to Covid-19, from online resources, to general support, our Union will be there for you.”

Expanding on what this campaign pledge Terzis cited two main examples of “supportive actions”, one being when in September due to coronavirus restrictions, international students had to self isolate on arrival.

Terzis describes being able to meet new people as “fundamental for mental health purposes, especially for first-year students,” so he organised virtual social events “to break the loneliness and identify issues” that he could pass to the Students’ Union.

“I also created a Microsoft Teams group for international students to connect with each other, which currently counts more than 395 students”

Offering another example, he said,

“Back in the summer, we had the issue with International students not being able to come back to pick up their stuff from student accommodation due to travel restrictions. The Tenants Union and I tried to push for the University to take action and eventually the issue was resolved.”

Dimitros says that if elected to the position he will take a “similar approach” to that outlined above adding that,

“We have two scenarios in front of us: COVID gets better or doesn’t get better. I want to be ready for both cases, and if students need this kind of support, I want to be there and help them, the same way I did this year.”

Another manifesto point is ensuring that the “right channels are there” for students to contact the students union so that any issues can be resolved promptly.

Dimitros added that he wants the student union to be “accessible to everyone,” because “that is the only way we can identify issues within the community and we can start working on them as soon as possible” .

According to Dimitros “the existing channels are doing this in the correct way,” but need to be promoted more as “many students do not seem to be aware of them.”

Referring to what he would do, if elected Terzis says,

“I want to keep these because I believe in the post-COVID Stirling, essential communication is required, but I would also like to expand them by using certain platforms that could help us strengthen the feeling of the community.”

Terzis says he wants to setup something similar to the Microsoft Teams group for international students that he created in his position as international officer , but “for all students to socialize and also get in touch with us, whether that is through MS Teams or another platform.”

Asked how he would ensure that all the resources requested by societies to operate are available to them and all difficulties are promptly and easily resolved, as stated in his manifesto, The VP communities candidate said:

Credit: Stirling students union

“I want to be there for every society, see their struggles and try to find a solution from the Union to keep each society alive. I would seek to implement this by having regular meetings and checks with societies’ committees, to identify arising issues fast, and start looking for alternative solutions.

“With the social events and parties which I want to organise if COVID-19 restrictions allow next year, I hope to raise the funds of the Students’ Union, which then could be used to fund and support societies in their activities. Obviously, each society is different and requires a different approach.

“I want to listen and act, for every society we lose, our community becomes poorer.”

Providing “Necessary Training” for new committees is another manifesto point of Dimitros’s manifesto.

Dimitros considers the training to have “two parts” and provided examples of what such training may involve.

“The first (part) is the general training that all new committee members of a society should go through. That includes general information on how to run a society, ED&I, accessibility, general motions, mental health support for members, etc.

“The second part is a more specialised training and tailored to each role. For example, if you are elected Treasurer in your society, what are your responsibilities, how do you pay for stuff, etc.”

Dmitros acknowledges that training already exists to a certain extent: “

But not many students are aware of it, and especially committee members who are elected in the middle of the year have a really hard time adjusting to their new roles.”

Asked whether the training would be mandatory, Dimitros emphasised that,

“This training should not be mandatory, but it shall be available and easily accessible to all new committee members if they wish to learn more about their new roles.”

Dimitros also mentions installing more water fountains on campus to “minimise single use plastics on campus” in his manifesto.

Dimitros says the water fountains would “be installed in places that students visit most often (e.g. the entrance of the Cottrell building)” adding that he will “will work closely with the Sustainability Officer to find the most convenient spots to install them, by releasing a student survey that could help us identify these spots.”

In terms of making sure these are COVID safe, Dimitros says,

“I will not proceed with any point that is deemed COVID unsafe. I hope that by September we will have some sense of normality back and we will not have to be so worried about COVID. However, even in that case, these fountains shall meet all the hygiene standards, be cleaned regularly, and have cleaning materials (e.g. antibacterial wipes) around them for students that want to clean them before use.”

Students can read all the candidates manifesto’s and vote on the union website. Voting opens on the 8th March 2021 at 9am and closes the following day at 6;15pm.

Featured image credit: Stirling student union.

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