Over the next few week, we'll be releasing profiles on our six new Executive Officers. Kicking things off is one of our newly-introduced roles, Vice Preisdent Communities, with Tiana sitting down with us and chatting about her experiences at Queen Mary, along with her advice for new students starting this year;
Tell us a bit about your journey here at Queen Mary so far?
I have had a good journey here, so far! I’ve just finished a four-year joint honours degree of Hispanic Studies and Film Studies, with a year abroad in Buenos Aires. In my first two years of university I was involved in a few societies and served on the committee for Unite, as Head of Drama, which was basically just me writing silly jokes for each of our showcases and was a lot of fun! In my fourth year, I began as an intern for the Student Engagement team of the Students’ Union, which allowed me to understand the behind the scenes of the students union and to work with a wider range of societies which helped to inspire me to run for this position!
What’s your go-to order for Drapers or The Griff?
This isn’t really a go-to because it was a one-time thing, but can I just say the pancakes at The Griff on pancake day were absolutely amazing.
Favourite spot on any of our campuses?
I really like the area by the canals in the Mile End campus. It’s so chill and pretty by the water, especially to sit out on a bench or the grass on a sunny day!
If you could start again, what would be the first society you’d join?
I think I would join Black Girl Book Club because I really want to read more books and they seem so cool there!
What’s your favourite non-campus place in East London?
I love Victoria Park! I love parks in general and sitting out in the sun (pree my earlier answer) and Victoria Park, in particular, is so nice with the lake and the space and the sun - when it’s out!
If you could tell the incoming students one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would say to put yourself out there and try not to care too much of what other people think of you – easier said than done, right? I’m not necessarily a very outgoing person and I found the start of first year a bit difficult trying to make new friends. I was told it would be easy because everyone was in the same boat but everyone else in my first year flat already had friends (so not in my boat lol) so it was harder to connect. I could have tried harder to invite myself to things and get to know more people but feared coming across badly so my advice would be don’t do that! Just give it all a go – and even if you are finding it hard at first, especially with Covid-19 changing things this year, just know that it will eventually get better and of course you can talk to me or to the support networks available if you need to! You’ll eventually find your people ??
As one of the new Executive Officer positions, what do you plan to do with the communities here at QMUL in order to improve student experience?
I want to combat discrimination and prejudice across our campuses and help create a university where everybody is respected and well represented. I plan to lobby the University to increase the amount BAME staff to better represent the diversity of the students who come from so many different backgrounds and countries. I also would like to do work to decolonise the curriculum and the institution itself to be more inclusive, diverse, and actively anti-racist. On a more cheery note, I am really looking forward to working on the liberation campaigns such as Black History Month and LGBT+ History Month to celebrate and educate on all these different communities.