Two go head-to-head in battle for UJS presidency

Marcelle Jennings

Marcelle Jennings

Two candidates have started their campaign to become the most important figure in Jewish student politics.

Daniel Grabiner and Marcelle Jennings have been confirmed as the only students standing to become UJS president and follow current incumbent Alex Dwek.

They will go through a rigorous election process, culminating with the result being announced after a final hustings evening in Birmingham on December 1.

The pair will spend the previous week campaigning at JSoc events on campuses including Oxford, Manchester, Leeds and for the first time Durham, where they will spend Shabbat before speaking to students from across the north east and Scotland.

Daniel Grabiner

Daniel Grabiner

Marcelle, who studies at the University of Sussex, said she was standing to challenge the "mainly male, northern JSoc" domination of the president's role and wanted to welcome individual students from all parts of the country into the union.

She said: "Coming from a small JSoc I understand the importance of feeling engaged, appreciated and noticed, but this applies to everyone as individuals, and that is what I aim to do in my time if elected president; make Jewish students feel like individuals."

She pledged to increase communication between JSocs in different parts of the country and reinstate a fortnightly president's newsletter to students if elected.

Former Leeds JSoc president Daniel Grabiner said UJS must tackle the changing demographic of Jewish students in order to remain effective.

The 21-year-old said: "The campaign is really taking off. I am loving travelling around the country and meeting so many Jewish students from a variety of different JSocs. I hope the excitement will continue to build as we get to the election roadshow."

Previous elections have seen four or five students apply for the top job, but Alex Dwek believes there are positives for UJS despite only two candidates coming forward this year.

He said: "It's testament to the UJS development team's work that we have a candidate from a smaller JSoc. More students now feel part of the national union and they want to have a greater say in how it's run. It puts Sussex and Brighton on the path as another developing JSoc."

The campaign aims to reach at least 15 campuses, with videos of the first hustings event in London to be broadcast at JSoc events further afield.

Last updated: 2:26pm, November 15 2010