The Tab meets Serena Yuen
We chatted about CERN, Brian May and dodgy Jackets (again)
1 . Tell us a bit about yourself, what do you study and why should we vote for you?
I’m a second year Physicist and am the current PhySoc treasurer. My parents are from Hong Kong but I was born and raised in England and it’s great experiencing the different culture when I go back to see family. Outside of physics, I try and get involved in as much as possible in the (limited) free time I have – I play the classical guitar, have been a member of the Rifle and Pistol Club for two years and have recently taken up Muay Thai and Women’s Football!
Why should you vote for me? I am willing to learn from my experiences and unite students in the RCSU (be it through increasing collaboration between DepSocs, Mums and Dads, or Year Abroad schemes), and promise to act with students’ best interests at hearts.
I am open to suggestions and would encourage anyone with ideas or opinions about events to come forward and give feedback that could be worked on in future.
2 . You’ve mentioned being PhySoc Treasurer, how do you feel that experience is relevant?
Having been PhySoc treasure this year, I’ve gained a huge understanding of how DepSocs work and how they interact with each other. DepSocs are, in my opinion, the most important part of the RCSU as they can really have a positive impact on students’ time at Imperial, and I think that without DepSocs, the RCSU would have struggle to give students the events and services they want, purely because of how much time it takes to do the work of five separate DepSocs.
That’s why I would use my insight to make DepSocs even more effective if I were elected. Additionally, even though I haven’t been on the RCSU Executive committee before, my work on the PhySoc committee has given me the experience of organising a range of events through the year, such as careers evenings, skills workshops, trips to research facilities, a tour to CERN and interdepartmental events too.
3 . A Sports Day could be tricky given how everyone’s either doing exams or blowing out after them in Summer Term, would it be better to organise one in February or March when the weather is nice and doom isn’t impending?
That is true, and is something I’ve thought through, but I think in terms of weather, it is a lot more likely to be sunny in April/May time and it can still get pretty cold in March, which could massively affect the turnout to the Sports Day. I’m confident that if the weather is nice enough and the Sports day is held very early on in the term, on the first weekend or Wednesday, for example, then there will be enough people attending from each department to make it a worthwhile event. It would be a nice way for people to get together after the holidays and de-stress one last time before exam season by having a bit of fun competition.
4 . Regarding a buddies system, is this something you’d work towards alongside the Erasmus Society?
Absolutely! It would be great to work alongside the Erasmus Society if they have similar visions to pair up exchange students from a foreign university with Imperial students who are going to that same university. Erasmus students in physics have told me that they’d like to be integrated more with the events PhySoc holds, which I agree with since it helps them make the most of their time at Imperial. I think we should make the most out of our relationship with Erasmus students while they’re here.
Ideally for the Year Abroad buddies system, the Erasmus students and Imperial students returning from a year abroad will be the “parents” and the Imperial students who have yet to go abroad will be the “kids”, who can then meet other students going to the same uni, find out about the social life there, where to go around town or if they need some help.
5 . Mums and Dads more-or-less dies after October, what would you do to address this?
If elected, I’d hold more Mums and Dads specific events through the year, such as pizza nights or pub quizzes, for which individual tickets can be bought, but families attending as a whole would be subsidised. The problem with Mums and Dads is that it can either work really well or not that well at all, depending on the family you’re put in, and I’d really like the scheme to work for everyone like it has for some of the families I know where the parents and kids have become really good friends.
A lot of this lies with the algorithm used to put families together, and I’m not sure how easy it is to change that. However, I think that by holding more specific Mums and Dads events (for the whole RCSU as well as separately DepSocs) and offering the subsidy or incentive for them to turn up as a unit, students from across years will get to know each other and departments won’t have so much separation between year groups.
6 . A trip to CERN is a pretty badass prize, how would you improve on the offerings for the Science Challenge winners?
I agree that what the RCSU have done this year with the Science Challenge prizes is pretty incredible, I know loads of people who would love to visit CERN. However, I’m not sure how much this means to students who aren’t physicists or really interested in physics – the prize probably is less impressive/exciting for biologists than physicists, for example. I’d attempt to better this year’s prizes by trying to give entrants the chance to meet an iconic figure in science.
Personally I think Brian May would be pretty cool, not only is he a physicist but I’d hope that everyone in the RCSU knows who he is and would like to meet him. Alternatively, a more general prize could be a weekend city break to Europe for the winner, but I would work together with the rest of the committee to come up with innovative prizes to suit students from all departments.
7 . You’ve organised an international trip for PhySoc, is this something you’d offer to the wider community in RCSU like Cecile promises to?
I’m more than happy to listen to students’ suggestions, and if there is the demand for a trip to Europe or elsewhere, then of course I’ll work as best I can with the committee to organise this. However, what I learnt from organising the CERN trip this year is that the constraints you’re under when organising such a trip aren’t obvious to some people who want to take part. It was a shame we could only take 35 students from Physics to CERN and it would have been great to take more, but unfortunately PhySoc didn’t have the capacity or resources for this, especially since it was our first venture out of the country.
So even if I were to organise an international trip, I have a feeling that it would be extremely competitive amongst the 3,000 students in the RCSU and of course that would lead to many people being disappointed.
8 . Which pokemon would you describe yourself as and why?
I would describe myself as Mew because I’m a quick learner, adaptable and know when to have a light-hearted approach to things as well.
9 . Quick! The RCSU office is burning down! Do you take the weird jacket with you or leave it to burn?
I would leave it to burn – it was bought using RCSU funds but doesn’t benefit students in the RCSU in anyway, and it can’t really be put to use in the future for RCSU activities.
10 . Why should we vote for you? Tell us in a limerick.
There once was a girl called Serena,
Who was so short that no-one could see her
She got the job done, Was lively and fun,
And everyone was happy to see her