Post-elections interview: Ondrej Hajda, DoRep-elect

Photo: Maria Faciolince

How did you find campaigning against Ali?

First I’m really glad Ali ran because, let’s face it, if there’s somebody you can compete against you put the energy and the effort into it; like yes, let’s do this, let’s actually make effort. So I’m really glad she did it. We were good friends before and we’re still good friends. We were very friendly, hugs. There were no problems, no complaints between our campaigns.

Loads of people said your campaign was very cuddly.

Yes it was, let’s face it. Even before the results it was like, Ali come here, we need to hug, we need to hug.

Did you enjoy campaign week? What was your favourite bit?

My favourite bit – I didn’t think it would be the hugs, but it was. Random people I have never met before or never seen before just came to me and jumped on me and hugged me. And it just feels so good because when you’re leafleting people you’re just like, oh please take the leaflets. But actually when you’re getting the hug its reciprocal, you actually get the energy from the other person. And it’s so positive. You just see the people created the smiles on their faces. So it was really nice.

Your video was very good. It was very happy, it summarised what you’re like as a person. Where did you get the inspiration for that?

So the original plan was to have three videos, a very short introduction video at the very beginning, then there was the main music video which had the recent lyrics and there was supposed to be a third one to like, encourage people to vote. But then Henry made the montage which just made it not worth it, he did such an amazing job. But the inspiration for it was either doing Happy because I just love the song and like the pole dancing part of it, or doing Let it Go from Frozen. I haven’t seen Frozen but it’s just the song. And I’m like, which one… But then my campaign manager persuaded me to do the Happy one because it reflects me more… I enjoyed it.

So results night last night. How was that for you? Were you nervous or just excited?

I came in completely relaxed. School presidents were fine, I had loads of friends from school presidents and the officers. So school presidents I was still feeling okay but when the SRC officers started I was like, oh my god, I could feel my heart beating. I was like, okay this is actually how nervous feels. I usually don’t stress before exams or anything like that but last night I was actually shaking after the results, like oh my god I actually need to sit down again. Just so many feelings.

How do you feel about the other sabs who were elected? Are you excited to work with them?

I actually really am. Yes… people are experienced, they have clear policies, I’m really glad. I feel like the team is amazing. We were on STAR last night and it was just a friendly chat, everyone was happy. I’m really excited for this.

What are your plans for the next few months before you actually take the job?

Definitely meeting the people. We need to sit down with all the five sabbs, including Sarah from the AU. We need to sit down with all the members of the SRC and SSC officers and just talk to them, find out what their priorities are and what we will focus on together. It’s meeting people, talking to them and actually getting to know each other because we will be working together for the next year. All of us are willing to do that. And that’s actually exciting because everybody accounts to it with so much energy and ideas, just listening to them it sounds so good.

What are your main properties when you first get into office?

It’s hard because lots of the work I need to do will be before July. I’m meeting the proctor very, very soon because there are so many ideas I want to focus on. From July I think it will be focusing on Reading Week and what we will actually do with that. Currently the compromise that Teddy managed to get from the University is that there will be one day free instead of one week free. Just because there has been so much trouble trying to get the 4:3 compromise. I think one day is first just a hassle because all of the classes would have to be arranged that are actually on that one day… So what I would like to focus on during the time between taking office in July and now is doing some focus groups with students and maybe do a quick poll on the Union website.

The other compromise that the proctor suggested is have one week in semester one that is completely deadline free across all the schools. Which can help a lot, but it also can mean that when deadlines right now for example one was in week six and one was in week seven, it can happen that now two deadlines will be in week six. And we just need to find out if it actually makes it better for students or if it will actually make the whole pressure more intense. So this is something I will focus on before July, see what students feel about it.

Is there anything you are looking forward to most about the job?

For me it’s just working with the people. Because people have so many great ideas. So just working with them and making them happen, implementing them. Just meeting new people and working with them, I think it’s the most exciting part of the job. Last year I met so many new people through education officer, through charities campaigns. People are so keen they want to get involved so it’s just like, get them in.

Is there anything you’re not looking forward to?

Sleepless nights. Let’s face it, I know Kelsey, Daniel, Teddy, all of them are like get ready to bear with very little sleep. And even in this period until we take office in July we have to do so many things. And finishing fourth year, for me finishing third year, loads of deadlines but still you need to get ready. And loads of the projects I want to start, I need to start, here, just after the break. Actually start with them so you can get student opinion. Because what we get now we can actually work on over the summer; we actually have the time over the summer to work with it. But then when September starts there are so many meetings, stuff like that so you can’t really think of new ideas if you don’t have them prepared already. So this period until July will be very intense.

I think it’s the first time in a while that we’ve had a third-year sabb. Do you think it will be easy to back into your degree?

I know that for example if I studies chemistry or medicine it would be impossible because they are building blocks, what you learn in module one you need to know in module two. Whereas in IR you can take this module and this module and they’re not really connected. One of the things that might be a bit tricky is actually getting back into a study routine and writing essays. But I’m pretty sure the DoRep job will be more intense than student life. So we will see, we’ll see. It’s like a break but completely different, because you get a completely different experience.

Is there anything else you want to say?

Being excited, for me, I woke up this morning at 7:30 with all the ideas in my head – I need to talk to Courtney, I need to talk to this person or this person. To actually get the ideas together and see what’s happening. So all the ideas are buzzing in my head like meetings, meetings, meetings. But it can wait. We all have deadlines.


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