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Union News

Interview: NUS Delegate Candidate, Mohammad Alatoum

Where are you originally from?
Jordan

What originally drew you to the University of Portsmouth?
I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was little and came to the UK to both pursue my Bachelor’s and expand my business. I’ve owned a web design company since I was 15 so I’m in Portsmouth for both education and business purposes.

What is your favourite thing about the city of Portsmouth?
I actually like how quiet Portsmouth is compared to other cities. I’ve been to London multiple times and it’s really cool but it’s very busy. So it’s nice to be living in an environment that’s quiet sometimes but still busy at the weekends.

Who is your idol and why?
That’s a really tough question, but I would say Elon Musk for multiple reasons. He’s launched multiple companies like Paypal and SpaceX to Tesla. Whenever he has an idea he believes in it and I feel like I have this feature in my personality too. I always try to do my best and believe in my ideas and this is an aspect of Elon Musk that I really admire.

What is your dream job and why?
Well I’ve been the CEO of my company since I was little but if I see myself working in an organisation in the future, it would definitely be a team leader position in one of the top five companies.

If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing that you would buy?
More lottery tickets maybe haha. It’s hard to decide – maybe ask me again when I win the lottery haha.

What was the primary reason for you running in the student elections?
As I mentioned, as a social entrepreneur I have learned the diplomatic and leadership qualities over a long period of time. The key part of this is delivering the voices of the people around me, whether that’s the students, my colleagues, or other aspiring entrepreneurs. The thing is we all go through the university experience once in a lifetime and making this an enhanced experience, and a more fruitful one, is a challenge I would like to take on. I’ve already been the course representative for my course, so delivering the voice of the students is something that I’ve already been doing for the past few months. But now the students need their voices to be heard on a national scale. So I feel like this is an opportunity to contribute more and be a part of the university, delivering the voices of the student at NUS level.

If you could change one thing that would instantly improve everyday life for students at the university, what would it be and why?
I like how the university tries to put on projects with students at the centre but I still feel like it is not 100% complete when it comes to putting on events for students who have unique skills or interests. Also, I feel like the really accomplished students at the university deserve more recognition from the university and organisations that the university works with. So one of the things I actually want to raise at the NUS conference is a greater and more frequent recognition of those accomplished students and give them a better push towards success.

Sum up your manifesto in roughly 10-15 seconds
We all go to university once in a lifetime and it’s since very unique, these students deserve a national organisation to represent their voices and this is a challenge I am motivated to take to deliver the voices of the students at this NUS conference. Raise the issues, deliver their voices, and have them heard.

Why do you think you’re the best person for this role?
Well to be honest, I’ve read the manifestos for all of the other candidates and they’re all great. I wouldn’t say that I’m the best but I can say I can represent the students and be good enough to represent the students. There are other great candidates, and some of them have been to the NUS conference multiple times. But I believe that the NUS deserves to have a variety of students from different backgrounds, different years, from different origins to represent students and their own diverse topics. So due to my experience as course rep and frequent conversations I’ve had with students on my course and other courses and the feedback I’ve collected from students across campus for coursework, I have a great picture of the challenges students are going through, especially in first year, and what can be done to improve this at different levels throughout university. I deserve to be one of the NUS delegate candidates and maybe there are other candidates that are better than me but we’ll see what happens.

How would you raise awareness of how students can use the NUS to their benefit?
The students need a national organisation that delivers their voices. The NUS is made up of students from different universities that all gather together to discuss feedback from their universities and discuss matters that involve their universities. But the students, they are not aware enough of the NUS. I believe that it is a brilliant thing to see the NUS delegates share these words and to raise awareness to the students that there is this conference where their voices can be delivered. So as an NUS delegate candidate, I believe that this is a duty for all of the delegates to bring and if they get elected they have to raise awareness and get the students involved as much as possible.

What values and ideas do you hold close to your heart that you will be pursuing should be elected?
I think they can all revolve around the same topic which is creating an enhanced experience of university life. But the thing is, I have been involved with a lot of discussions with students at the university and we’ve all discussed how we only get this experience once in a lifetime and that when you graduate, you’re going to remember those years. And you want to make that as fruitful as possible. And when you leave university you want to know you’ve had an impact and the work that you’ve contributed will lead to accomplishments that will impact the future.

How would you promote the NUS to less engaged students?
I’ve been in the marketing field for quite some time now and I strongly believe in the power of social media. Of course there are the traditional ways of raising awareness of the NUS but the power of social media and the digital marketing can be used to reach out to students on social media platforms and via emails with one click, letting them know that their voices are heard and with one click they can send their feedback or their ideas or any issues they’re having and we can gather them and discuss them with the NUS.

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