Interviews with Yulia Odynets, Ivan Baranenko, and Yevheniia Symakova
Writer: Elina Tin
Editor: Gabriele Malukaite
Photographers: Firuza Karshiga, Vera Dubuoskaya & Mariia Kovalchuk
First-year and full of fresh ideas, the first-ever freshmen candidates in the history of LCC elections gave us an exclusive insight into their Freshmen Representative campaigns.
Yulia Odynets, International Relations Development major from Ukraine says, “I’m not claiming excellency… evidently, since I’ve only been here for a month, there will be things that I don't know, but I will learn”.
In 2019, Yuliya was the leader of the Regional Youth Leaders Association.
“I’ve been the president of my school and I also was the main editor of a youth newspaper - Poltava Times in my hometown in Ukraine”, she added.
Improving Communication Between Freshmen and LCC Management
When campaigning, Odynets stated she plans to provide qualitative communication between staff, faculty, and students.
She said, “I would encourage all the freshmen to just come up to me and bring me their concerns and their ideas”.
Odynets noted that the LCC International University structure is “very complicated”.
“There are a lot of departments and you may not always know who to address”, she continued.
“I'm someone who has to be knowledgeable about how the LCC departments work in order to re-address the freshmen’s problems to the necessary management,” said Yuliya.
She proposed another option, to create a google form strictly for freshmen.
“It will always be on LCC’s website for freshmen’s ideas, suggestions for events that could be organized, and problems that they might have,” Odynets clarified.
Yuliya also suggested creating a physical box for students to communicate their concerns and organizing monthly meetings to raise issues over a cup of tea.
She was then told about a similar already existing idea: Questions for StuCo box and Coffee with StuCo.
She replied, “I didn't even know that there was such a box because these opportunities are not that much promoted. I think that StuCo members just have to reach out and let people know that if you have any questions, you're always welcome to ask”.
Making Off-Site Students Feel More Involved in the LCC Community
If elected, Yuliya promised to create video sessions, weekly online events, game nights, and webinars to discuss things going on campus in order to include the off-site LCC community.
She elaborated, “I think we could get them involved into making presentations about their LCC experience in their countries”.
She explained that this would be a mutualist benefit as off-site freshmen would be involved in activities and it would be an opportunity for more people to hear about LCC.
“I'm ready to respect what has already been done before me, and to choose and explore new opportunities”, concluded Odynets.
Ivan Baranenko, an International business administration major from Ukraine, says he’s looking forward to representing his class as “it’s one of the biggest classes at LCC”.
“In Ukraine, I was the leader of my grade for three years. I would not say it is a huge experience but I liked helping people,” Baranenko noted.
Friendly Environment Between All Freshmen
One of the things Ivan promised to do is to keep all the freshmen together and to create a friendly environment for all freshmen students.
“My plan is to create different activities and gatherings outside because the weather is nice so far and because of the coronavirus restrictions,” he said.
Baranenko suggested a freshmen picnic on the beach or creating a social media page for discussing issues and proposing changes
In his campaign, Baranenko promised to focus on volunteering opportunities for freshmen.
“It could be beneficial to clean the LCC territory because the sidewalks are not so clean and I hope that there will be volunteers who would be excited about this idea,” he said.
Ivan also proposed reaching further to the Klaipeda community, “I know that our university is tightly connected to different places in the city and different universities,” he said.
Improving LCC Relations
As a freshman, Ivan sees a huge gap between freshmen students and upperclassmen.
“Older students think that freshmen can’t apply for any StuCo position, they don’t have enough experience and power,” he said.
If elected, Ivan pledged to focus on improving relations between all the students at LCC.
“I want freshmen to show to others that they are adults too and they could do important things in our community,” Baranenko added.
Goals and Outcomes
When asked about what outcomes Ivan hopes to achieve this year as freshman rep, he emphasized, “I want to give all the freshmen the opportunities”.
“To make this year better, it is not about the gatherings with friends in the kitchen and room, when you have a community in all the LCC,” said Baranenko.
Ivan noted that the quarter system is hard, so students can approach him and he will address their concerns to professors in order to make improvements.
“I talk to a lot of students in Neumann lobby, I give my socials, I am open to connections and talking, I want people not to be scared to talk, I don’t want people to feel judged, I want them to express their thoughts and concerns,” he concluded.
Last but not least, the final freshmen rep candidate is Yevheniia Symakova, a Contemporary communication major from Ukraine.
Skills and Previous Experience
“When I found out that I could implement the skills that I already earned from being a president of student government at my school in Ukraine and going to the USA for the FLEX program, I thought to myself that I could make something significant for this community and I can use my knowledge and experience in this position,” said Symakova.
Yevheniia says that she is a very social person with great networking skills.
“My other skill is that I am very responsible and flexible in terms of international relationships,” she continued, “I know how it might be hard to build communication channels between people from all around the world, I love supporting people and their ideas,” said Symakova.
Goals and Outcomes
The first thing that Yevheniia is planning to create is strictly an only freshmen communication channel because “a lot of freshmen don’t even know each other face to face”, said Symakova.
“For example, a Facebook group or Telegram chat for Freshmen to get connected with each other,” proposed Symakova.
Yevheniia explained that she is also thinking about holding open table conferences where all Freshmen could gather and discuss up to date questions, ideas, and concerns.
“I would be a channel that would resolve the problem or direct the person to someone who is qualified in the matter,” she clarified.
Symakova says she is running because she wants this experience.
Though even if she won’t get elected, she is planning to implement her ideas either way.
“I will look for the ways to get my ideas through, to make them alive even if I am not elected. I will contact the person who is elected and suggest my ideas,” she concluded.
All 3 freshmen are honorable candidates, who will you choose to represent you and your student’s voice?