Umang Khandelwal is a second year law student at Newnham College, having previously completed a BA in International Relations (HSPS in Cantab terms) at the University of British Columbia. Umang is one of the three people running for the position of University Councillor in the CUSU/GU Election. The Cambridge Student asked each candidate why there were running, and for a comment on their manifesto's key policies.
"I am running because it is essential that students have a strong voice on Council to help ensure our vision is well represented in the future of the university. I have learned so much over the past year as the current Councillor- about university governance, policies and procedures, how to navigate bureaucracy, work effectively in committees and have developed a deeper understanding of issues by gaining more context. I have also felt the struggles and frustration that many students face when trying to push an issue through the complex processes at the University. I want to take the relationships I have built and
respect I have gained this year from Council, and channel them into further improving accountability and facilitating effective policies. My experience has shown me that continuity in this role is crucial and I am keen to continue serving on Council.
Moreover, I am experienced and competent. Since coming to Cambridge, I have served in multiple roles at the Faculty, CUSU and student societies, committed to improving the student experience. I have realistic goals. I am vocal and proactive. I am confident that I am the best person to advocate for the interests of students on University Council and sincerely hope you will trust me again with your support.
My councillor goals are the following:
1. Influencing the agenda:
a. Continue working with student groups to working towards divestment while exploring and implementing strategies targeted at building a sustainable future
b. Building on the momentum gained this past year and putting student well-being at the fore
c. Assisting the student community with getting their issues heard at Council
d. Making EU students a priority
e. Addressing issues of affordability by closely working with Colleges and Senior Tutors (both accommodation and tuition)
a. Advocating for real and effective consultation practises to increase wider student engagement
b. Fighting for transparency
a. Informing the discussion at Council from a student's perspective
4. Values-based decisions:
a. Ensuring diversity and accessibility are addressed on an ongoing basis
b. Scrutinizing university business over ethical standards
5. Relationship building:
a. Staying accessible to the student press
b. Striving to improve the knowledge and relationship between Council and students
c. Working collaboratively with the CUSU and GU President
The most important policies in my view are divestment and student well-being. Having spoken with students and student groups such as Zero Carbon, I have learned that divestment is an issue that many are passionate about and students are not satisfied with the engagement they have received with the University. The issue is not just a moral one.
Divestment changes social norms and helps build support for economy-wide solutions. Divestment is about the values that a University reflects as one of the global leaders in sustainability. It is time that the University makes a real commitment to effective ways of combatting climate change, while upholding its fiduciary duty.
Student well-being is equally as important. I am committed to ensuring that in each policy, woven in is a strong consideration of wholistic well being so students can thrive at University. For example, mental health was one of the key elements in the Sports Strategy that the University released a few weeks ago during my time as Councillor. If re-elected, I will endeavor to continue this approach.
For more details on my experience and why others are supporting me, check out: www.umang4uc.com."
Voting for the election opens at 9am on Tuesday 7 March and closes on Friday 10 March at 5pm.