New University of Sunderland Presidential Team

The roles for the future Student Union’s Sabbatical Officers were announced last Friday night at the Bonded Warehouse by the previous President Chloe Jackson.

After a week’s build up, the announcement of the next president, Bilal Ali Raja, was made for the upcoming academic year, beating two other candidates David Metcalfe and Siliviya Katetakova.

It was a very stressful week for all the candidates working long hours promoting themselves through various forms including, pamphlets, leaflets and posters.

But the work paid off after Camille ‘Millie’ Thomas, Kirsty Paterson, Abraham Obinna and Daniel Punch all won the places of Vice Presidents.

Each Vice President has a different role; Camille ‘Millie’ Thomas as Education Officer, Kirsty Paterson as Community and Events Officer, Abraham Obinna as Wellbeing and Engagement Officer, and Daniel Punch as Societies and Sports Officer.

Millie was once the Well-Being and Engagement Vice President but she has now won the vote to be the Education Vice President.

She said how exciting the change in roles will be: “I’m most excited about the challenge of changing roles from Wellbeing to Education, as well as a shift in focus on my priorities.

“I feel really optimistic about the year ahead. However I mostly feel extremely grateful to every student who voted for me, and cannot wait to start.”

Her top priorities are: Listening to students and gaining as much feedback as possible, with an increased focus on London Campus students, working closely with student reps and try to develop a head rep system, and follow up on many of the requests and problems students face and see what difference she can make to their student experience.

However becoming a Vice President is new to Daniel but he said: “It’s a great honour to actually become Vice President of Sports and Societies! I’ve worked very hard to get into this position.”

“I have always wanted to get the job and I finally have it! I cannot describe in words how happy I actually am! It’s ideal as I am currently doing a sports coaching degree and with the experience I get with this job, I can finally drive for future jobs that are involved in sport.”

As these officers have the power to make a positive change to student’s lives in all areas and improve the student life, Daniel’s aim is to provide help to all the societies as he said: “My first plan of action is to listen to the current presidents of all societies and gather as much information to individually help them. I believe if the idea is reasonable and achievable I will work my hardest for them, I understand there is a budget but I will work my best to make sure all societies get the most help possible.”

He is eager to take on his new role as Vice President: “My ultimate priority is that all societies have equal chances and drive for the win. I believe there is enough talent across this university to win major events.”

Millie is just as eager as she added: “The first thing I am going to do once in post is set up weekly ‘visit your VP’ sessions, where students are welcome and encouraged to come and speak to me about any Education focus issues, this will be across all campus’s rotating as fairly as possible.”

Abraham was lost for words: “Words cannot be used to express how I felt after I was announced as the winner of Vice President of Wellbeing and Engagement.

“The first thing I intend to do is to thank the students. I appreciate every single one of them.”

These elections offered the chance to really dedicate yourself to a role and to be heard by your voters to become a voice of the students.

Kirsty Paterson is privileged that she has been given the chance to represent the students: “The first thing I plan to do is talk to as many students as possible, obviously I am only one person with one viewpoint which I would like to expand to ensure I represent the whole of the student body.”

As there are more than 16,000 students at the University of Sunderland they will have to work hard especially since the total voter turnout increased by 60 per cent which were the highest votes since this election started.

For more information on the new Sunderland University Student’s Union team go to Or to see the final voting tally go to

Ends (746 words)

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