Trio hit campaign trail to secure Union of Jewish Students top job

By Marcus Dysch, November 29, 2012
UJS presidential candidate Joe Tarsh

UJS presidential candidate Joe Tarsh

Three contenders are vying for the top role in Jewish student politics.

Adam Charlton, Abigail Kay and Joe Tarsh will battle to be elected president of the Union of Jewish Students during a series of campus tours and hustings.

The winner will take on the one-year paid sabbatical post in the summer of 2013, with a mandate to represent Jewish students nationally.

The candidates, all aged 21, have produced campaign videos and launched Facebook and Twitter sites to promote their manifestos.

Voting began on Monday and runs until December 7, with the winner to be announced at the UJS annual conference in London on December 16.

A former Nottingham JSoc campaigns director, Mr Charlton is a politics student and currently holds a seat on UJS’ national council.

If elected, Mr Charlton, from Pinner, Middlesex, will set up national groups to work on specific policy areas including social action, interfaith work and events for students.

Visits to campuses in Leeds, Manchester, London and Birmingham form part of his campaign.

Ms Kay has a lengthy track-record of student leadership roles. She co-founded Heythrop College’s JSoc, was interfaith officer at Imperial College, set up the UJS blood drive scheme which has been expanded across the country, and represents UJS at the Board of Deputies.

She said: “I believe we need to maximise the empowerment of Jewish students by making sure that they are all aware of the opportunities and skills training available to them. Only this way can we unlock their potential.”

Abigail Kay hopes to be elected

Abigail Kay hopes to be elected

If elected, Reading-born Ms Kay has promised to consult every JSoc about how it can best work with UJS, develop partnerships with groups including Beyond Images and One Voice, and strengthen relationships with non-Orthodox groups such as Marom and Jeneration.

Former Manchester Met JSoc chairman Joe Tarsh was a nominee at this year’s UJS student awards in the communications category. He has drawn up a four point action plan, targeting a “culture of inclusivity” and an increase in services for union members.

Mr Tarsh, from Radlett, Hertfordshire, said: “New committees must focus on inclusivity, welfare and publicity, ensuring that everyone knows what is going on at JSoc and UJS. And that means everyone: it isn’t just about the big Jewniversities. UJS needs to support smaller societies as well.”

A national UJS fundraising week and an expansion of Ms Kay’s blood drive will also be on his to-do list, along with a campaign centred on Valentine’s Day which would support an Israeli children’s heart centre.

Mr Tarsh also hopes to launch a JSoc ambassador scheme, training students to carry out school visits.

Last updated: 11:04am, November 29 2012