KCL History Society Election Manifestos

President/ Vice President

Daniel Bowles

Here is my three-point vision for the society:

1) Firstly, there are a number of elements from the committee of 2016-17 that I am very keen to continue with and promote further within the society. The position of Freshers’ Officer is a role that I would like to expand if I were to win the Presidency, with perhaps having two first-years in the society. This would hopefully get more first-years involved with a variety of aspects, in addition to the society reaching out more to first-years. Speaking from my own experience in this role, I feel it is a way of uniting the society and having a greater sense of interaction between the year groups. In addition, I would like to match the variety of events that took place in the academic year 2016-17, in order to deliver academic and social events to the wide range of members.

2) Secondly, as President, I would like to give the society a much more tangible presence, both within the History Department and elsewhere. One of the key ways I would like to promote this is through encouraging greater interaction with both other societies and the Department, in both academic and social events, to expand our membership, as well as providing members with a greater variety of events. This would be part of the committee’s plan to give the society a much more tangible presence, both within the History Department and elsewhere.

3) Finally, after consultation with the next year’s committee, as President I would propose to introduce some new forms of academic social events, such as a reading or discussion groups, for each year group, if this was something that some members would wish to do. This would be in addition to the variety of talks, screenings and drop-in sessions that the society would continue to hold. Furthermore, I would like to hold socials, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, on a more regular basis, so that members have a greater opportunity to interact with each other.

 

Zulehka Butt

1) The history society should be the central pillar of the course, creating a community feel whilst encouraging active participation from students. Social events are a key way of ensuring this. Whilst the history society puts on many successful social events, in particular, the pub-crawls, it has come to my attention that the turnout throughout the year to other events, such as the Valentines Day tea, and various exhibitions are inconsistent and often very low. This becomes especially apparent when looking at other courses; history seems to lack the community feel that others share. Whilst this may be down to the sheer amount of students on the course, which cannot be helped, in my opinion, there are various ways in which this can be rectified.  The first of these would be to improve the way in which these events are advertised. Whilst the events are sometimes mentioned in history department bulletin emails, these correspondences are often long lists with social events getting lost in the midst; thus, students do not always notice them. Furthermore, the main platform for promoting these events appears to be Facebook. This is problematic in that not all students have Facebook and even if they do, it is not guaranteed that the posts will appear on their feed. Therefore, an email from history society with a clear subject matter advertising the events is one way I feel the poor turnout situation could be improved. As well as this, if possible, perhaps asking lecturers to include a brief announcement at the beginning of sessions could to boost attendance. Advertising is not the only issue in regards to social events. Whilst events such as the pub crawls and pub quizzes have proved to be popular, and must be maintained, an increase in similar but non-alcoholic events may help to encourage a community feel in the course. For example, quiz nights in the open space, rather than at the waterfront bar, may help to include students that for whatever reason cannot be around alcohol. Or advertising the annual Christmas party, without mulled wine as the centre focus. Finally, I feel that the timing of events should be reviewed. Due to the lack of contact hours on the course, history receives a lot of stay at home students, so events in the evening (as most of them are) may not reflect the needs of all students. I understand this is difficult due the time constraints of lectures; however, even a shift from late evening to early afternoon may help this situation. Following such improvements, I feel that the student body as a whole will have a more active role in the history society and there will be an increasing sense of community about the course.

2) As well as instilling a community feel in the course, I feel tht the history society should do more in terms of providing support for students on the course. The jump from A-levels to university is a huge one, particularly with courses such as history. The level of independent work is more so than many students would have ever expected. What is more, even with so few contact hours, many students are confused with how to make the most out of this time, and how to approach the huge amount of reading require for the course. For this reason, I feel that the history society should consider starting a new programme, similar to that in Oxford and Cambridge in which first year students have ‘parents’ from the year above who can advise them and answer questions about the course as well as university life in general. Furthermore, financial burdens and issues such as applying for bursaries could also be discussed. Whilst personal tutors are the ones to offer advise on this, it may be reassuring for students to discuss this with people who have recently to been through this process. Whist this is not something that can be brought around quickly, I feel that it should be seriously considered and a start made to implement it. I believe the existing system of student buddies in the older years to be insufficient, as there are too few and not all first years are aware of contact details for these individuals. If the history society were to consider starting a scheme like this, volunteers could be recruited and then if first year students feel they are in need of this, they could sign themselves up. This would help ensure the health and wellbeing of students on the course, and help first year students to understand what this course entails. This is something I feel is in part the responsibility of the history society.

3) My final vision for the history society is in relation to the history outreach programme. This is an amazing initiative and is the first student led initiative of this kind therefore much effort should be put into maintaining this. Whilst there are enough participants to warrant fortnightly seminars, I feel that this is something that could be improved on. Again, in my view, this is something that comes down to advertising, I myself was not aware of this programmed until hearing about it from a friend, I then found out more about it from viewing the history society website, but by this point, was too late to apply. This is a fantastic opportunity both or Kings students and the schools involved therefore I feel this should be advertised better amongst the history department. As was the case for the social events, information about this programme seems to be part of a long email, meaning it can get lost amidst other information. What is more, detailed information about it is available only via the history society website, which many students are not made aware of. To that end, I feel that in terms of improving participation from first year students, this is something that should be included and discussed in the introductory day that occurs for the course during fresher’s week. Part of this day involves a talk from the history society President and other committee members, thus, this would be a great opportunity to introduce the programme and make students aware of how they can become a part of it. If this were successful, the KCL student to school pupil ratio (currently 2 to 14) could be improved, allowing even more focused help with things such as essay writing.

Lucia Blackmore

  1. more direct representation for students views to the department
  2. organise more academic/social events
  3. more effective promotion of said events

 

Vice President

Mazzarine Studer

History society has been a way for me to meet friends and discuss history in a non-seminar setting. Therefore, I am committed to continuing this welcoming environment next year through a number of ideas. In my high school I was the class representative and student representative, so I am aware of how to incorporate feedback and ideas. I believe it is important for us, as students, to see history in different perspectives. Even more as I think our generation is experiencing an important benchmark in history.

However, I also believe that university life should be balanced academically and socially!

If elected, I plan to:

1) Not only organising some museums trips but trying to have access to the archives of certain museums. In addition, I believe meeting with museum staff in order to share their experience will allow us to have a look behind the scenes.

2) Creating links with our joint departments such as the War studies, Classics, German, and French department, making the society bigger and more diverse.

3) Encouraging parties/socials with specific themes such as Greek, Medieval, or the Cold War

4) Strengthening the exams preparations and the tutorial system for first years.

Daniel Bowles – SEE PRESIDENT SECTION

Lucia Blackmore – SEE PRESIDENT SECTION

Social Secretary

Aaliysha Power

  1. Increase the number of social events, big or small. As students with so few contact hours I believe it may benefit we historians with more opportunities to actually talk to one another. It also provides students who are perhaps not as involved with other societies the opportunity to social in this big ol’ lonely town.
  2. Make the society more interactive and give students the opportunity to suggest the type of social events
  3. Attempt to create a social environment in which people feel they can speak to students across the years. As a fresher I know I would have loved to speak to students from all years.

Treasurer

Matthew Guertler

1)   Establishing new relationships with corporate sponsors for the society in order to raise additional funds, while maintaining strong relationships with existing sponsors.

2)   Increasing the number and quality of events that the society hosts with the additional funds raised.

3)  Coordinating with other members of the committee, such as the Marketing Officer and Social Secretaries to spread the word about events taking place and get more students from every year group involved (including master’s and exchange students).

I believe that I have the team-work, organisation and communication skills required to serve as an effective Treasurer and coordinate with other committee members. I have prior experience in dealing with large sums of money and budgets (involved in fundraising for Habitat for Humanity at my school) and believe that these skills could be used for the benefit of the society and the History student-body as a whole.

 

Muse Editor

Jonathon Ng

1) More active promotion – so far we rarely see any information about the magazine on the most commonly used social platforms.

2) Encourage more writers – currently there are just a few writers. One reason is that student simply don’t know what to write about! An old but effective solution for this is to provide topics for them regularly. Furthermore, we can specifically encourage international students to share about their home country!

3) Types of work – the current types of works are great, but in general the magazine seems really formal. It could attract more readers if casual contents are introduced, e.g. study guide/tips for history students, Q&A columns, quiz, etc. 

Marketing Officer

Ivan Khokhlov

 1) My main vision for the society is developing a coherent, recognisable and professional style for all the promotional material that History Society offers across its website, multiple social media platforms and in print. Simply coming up with a single font, colour scheme and recurring visual motifs will make a great difference with little to no investment in expensive production values. Having a recognisable style of its own will help KCLHS advertisements to stand out and be immediately recognisable as well as look much more professional. I can see possibility for keeping much of the colours and aesthetics set out in the current logo and using them in the rest of promotional material to build upon the existing tradition. King’s College has a strong visual style that I would wish to incorporate it into the society’s image to highlight our connection and links to the institution rather than looking like an unrelated foreign entity. For this ambitious changes to be possible the society requires a marketing officer with solid experience in the field. Over the summer I will be completing a marketing placement with my part-time employer – J. Sainsbury’s and I am currently working on securing another 8 weeks internship abroad. By the start of the next academic year I will have extensive experience of marketing industry sector that I will be able to apply for the benefit of the History Society.

 

2) My second key point is making the promotional material original and engaging. The current logo is a combination of an emblem of a liberal arts school in New York and a stock jpg of a crown. Similarly majority of the event covers are products of google image search. I want to step up our game and create original graphic visuals and pictures for each event. This ties in with the first point regarding having an original style. We can only be recognisable and professional when we take control over the images we use. I personally possess quite good illustrators skills and can step in whenever needed, for example starting with making the logo more like our own Reggie the Lion. But I want to emphasise that I do not wish to make the promotional material a showcase of my own work. I want to allow as many students as possible to showcase their talents in photography and art and will just ensure it is kept in a good taste and presents our society in the best possible light. I believe my artistic appreciation and criticism can be relied upon as I worked hard to build them on such programmes as Courtauld Institute of Art Summer Programme and the Roche Court Educational Trust’ ARTiculation.

3) My final key point is improving all the various platforms that we use for marketing and committing to keeping constantly updated. The history society has very high standards for social media presence and I am a great fan of our society’s website telling about the history of King’s College and the surrounding places of interest. Nonetheless some important adjustments need to be made. The website has the potential to tie the whole campaign together and make the information more accessible than the Facebook page that takes the spotlight at the moment, but doesn’t have all the content.  There is more work to be done to get all the platforms up to date such as King’s societies catalogue and KCLHS page on the university’s domain and many others. I possess the required organisational skills to commit to this vision. I have 3 years of experience in managing and editing a weekly school newspaper and I am also constantly developing necessary transferrable skills in my current leadership role in Sainsbury’s, where I am heavily involved in running two separate departments. As I already mentioned I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses, so I understand that certain ambitious tasks might need to be delegated. For instance I have enough IT knowledge to create the logo and graphics on Adobe vector tools to allow enlargement without pixilation, but making changes to the website will require someone with much greater computer skills. As the marketing officer I will take it upon myself to find the talents we need to make this vision possible and that is where my organisational and team leadership skills will be particularly valuable.

Academic Officer

Aaron Wilkins

‘A wise man once said the true history of the world is the history of great conversations in elegant rooms’ (Tyrion Lannister, the wise man). It’s always good to start with a quote!

Hi, my name is Aaron Wilkins; I am a second year student in the department and am running for Academic Officer for the coming year. I am interested in this role in particular because, though there are many reasons to study at university, we are first and foremost students and as such what we study is fundamentally important to our university experience. Therefore it is my aim to ensure that our department offers as diverse, engaging and thought-provoking academic content, events and activities as possible. It is with this in mind that I will outline a few propositions (not an exhaustive list) of things that I would like to achieve in this position:

 

1) Continuation and expansion of collaborative Liberation Month academic panels and events– The History Society has already undertaken great work in events such as Black History month and I would seek to continue and expand upon such important work. I would endeavour to achieve this by promoting greater collaboration between KCL societies and our own with the aim of creating collaborative and themed activities and events to celebrate the historical contributions, achievements and experiences of groups throughout history. History is a subject of great and interesting stories of diverse groups and their struggles, tribulations and victories and I would like to help the society tell them.

2) Greater communication with students about ways to expand their academic experience

One of the aims of the society is to improve aspects of students’ academic experience of studying at King’s. One way to achieve this is by encouraging current students to give informal feedback, using social media, on areas of the department that they feel are good and those they believe should be improved; I will then seek to communicate this feedback, both positive and negative to the society and to the department as a whole so we can discuss meaningful solutions and further improvement.

3) More guest speaker panels and lecture events

A valuable and important step in broadening the academic experience of students is for them to hear about new topics and areas of history from leading historians themselves. I would seek to communicate regularly between historians, academics and the department to increase the quantity and diversity of guest speaker events on offer. This will allow students to engage with a wider range of historical ideas and topics than what is exclusively available through King’s. As a fervent medievalist at heart I would in particular like to see a greater variety of speaker events outside the bounds of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 

4)Reading groups –

Our subject requires us to read through reams of text and often, despite the value of the material we are reading, we don’t have the opportunity to discuss the ideas they present us with. That is why I would like to create discussion groups for important texts to promote academic participation and greater interest in historical texts, the materials to be discussed will be derived by popular request via social media. 

These are a few of the ideas I had regarding the role of Academic Officer, thanks a lot for taking the time to give this a read, I can answer any and all queries if and when they crop up!

Tash Sice

I wish to run for the position of Academic Officer 2017/18 within the History Society. My ideas for the upcoming year include:

1) Better relations between the students and the department – personal feedback for GTA’s and seminar leaders along with feedback for the module as a whole

2) Encourage members of the department to run sessions in their respective research areas for the History Society and the wider King’s Community

3) Aim to increase relations with other student societies through joint academic activities and talks

4) Have a greater History Society presence at Open Days and Post-Applicant Days highlighting all aspects of the society, both academic and social – some form of interactivity e.g. quiz

5) Greater promotion of minority month events, both those held by the History Society and within the wider King’s Community

Now you have read the manifestos, it is time to vote. Follow this link to place your votes:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSchn_2PxwyFjNu7XjxZhdOOwL3TAmxoMM8N-gNqU-9KlGXG4A/viewform?usp=sf_link

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