The newly elected leader of the Union of Jewish Students has set out her key priorities for her year in charge, stressing the importance of creating “bold, tangible change”.
Hannah Rose, a third-year student at the University of Bristol, was elected the union’s next president last Sunday, receiving 519 out of 936 votes at the UJS annual conference.
She will take up the post next summer.
Speaking to the JC, she said she was going to work her “absolute hardest” to achieve the aims set out in her manifesto, which included raising awareness of mental health issues, and producing guidelines and training programmes for universities and student unions on antisemitism.
Ms Rose stressed, however, that a “main priority for next year is truly strengthening cross-communalism in UJS.
“In my opinion, if it takes two or three years for things to change in UJS then that’s a whole student cohort’s experiences lost, so I want to create real, bold, tangible change”.
Ms Rose plans to set up an internal review and taskforce to promote diversity within campus Jewish societies.
“Currently not all students feel that they can get involved in their JSocs, that they’re not catered for,” she said.
“I’ve spoken to Progressive students who feel that JSoc spaces aren’t open to them, they don’t feel like they can express their Judaism. But I’ve also spoken to modern Orthodox students who say ‘well the food isn’t always kosher enough for me, I don’t feel like I can go, so I go to other organisations’.
“There’s a whole range of issues, which is why I think an internal review will deal with these suitably.
“I feel really lucky to have worked and been supported by such a wide variety of Jewish students from a variety of backgrounds, and I’m really invigorated by the fact that, given my success in this campaign, they will all be getting involved next year, and I just can’t wait to see all these diverse students flourish in UJS.”
As UJS’s president-elect, Ms Rose is following in her elder sister’s footsteps. Ella Rose, now national director of the Jewish Labour Movement, was UJS president from 2014-2015.
“In her year as head of UJS she achieved so much. I think she’s really paved the way for women to be in leadership roles in the community,” Hannah said about her sister.
“If I can achieve even half of what she achieved I’d be very proud. She’s my absolute inspiration for everything. I wouldn’t have got involved [with UJS] if it wasn’t for her, so I’m thankful to her for me being able to run and for me being in the position now.
“There’s one piece of advice that she always gives which I absolutely love. She said when she started her year at UJS, she was told two things: the first was to pass the organisation on to a leader even stronger than her, and the second was to leave the movement in a better place than when she started.
“Those are two really valuable lessons, and something I will definitely take with me.”