Tuna Kunt caused quite the reaction in this years Leadership Elections, receiving a record number of votes at City SU (ever!) not to mention going viral on twitter…
We caught up with your new VP Education for 2018/19 to get the low down on her campaign and find out what’s happened since!
So Tuna, how did you find campaigning? Was it what you expected or was it different?
I think it was different to how I expected. I expected it to be very draining. Which it was but it was also very entertaining. I got to meet a lot of people, especially because I made my campaign very funny. There was a lot of laughing, a lot of interaction. It was very fun for me, especially voting week.
I mean, if you can make water fountains funny you’re set for life really – here’s Tuna in action
Do you have any funny stories?
A lot of people were like “I voted for this girl Tuna” and I was like “yeah that’s me!” I got a lot of responses on social media from the things I posted. My dad loves Paul Smith’s menswear and he follows the brand on Instagram. He saw this little tuna and mackerel line and sent it to me saying you have to use this in your campaign, so I went with it! Paul Smith is a British designer and he did a Tuna design on menswear with ties and belts and womenswear with t-shirts. Everything had little Tuna on it!
Tuna on your tie. Tuna on your t-shirt. Tuna on your keyring…Tuna in your Union!
I also posted what my name actually means and there were a lot of Tuna jokes. A lot of my friends were coming back to me and saying “we just heard people talking about you” which was exciting.
Wondering where the name’s from? Tuna is Turkish for the River Danube
Is there anything that you learnt from campaigning which you’ll use in the role?
Something that a lot of students who play Sports brought up was that they really want a bit more representation and support from the Union. Societies are unhappy about certain things as well. Societies are the people who are the most active in this University and Sports people represent the Uni at matches, so I think it’s really crucial to support them.
Another thing that came up a lot was the Programme Rep system. It was in my manifesto but I didn’t realise how much of an issue it was. A lot of students don’t know who their Programme Reps are, which is very disappointing because there are Programme Reps on every single course for every single year. Those people are your first contact when you have an issue about your course, or your lecture, or your assessment or feedback. If you don’t know that person and you don’t know that system exists, that means that the feedback doesn’t reach the Union, or the course, or the lecturers. I think we really need to work on that system. I observed great improvement over the years in the Students’ Union carried out by sabbatical officers, however I did talk to many students during the elections and I understand that there is still a lot to do!
Was this the first time you ran in an election?
No. I ran for Law School Councillor in my second year, Law Society Finance Officer in my second year, Law Society President in my third year and Feminist Society Finance Officer in my third year.
When does this girl sleep?! It’s pretty clear Tuna’s already been busy at the SU from her manifesto
How did you find the reaction after being elected?
I felt so much love. During the elections and after the results. My family and my friends have been totally supportive and it made me really happy. I woke up to a lot of messages and calls the next day.
So about the twitter thing... for a moment I really liked the attention and I thought it was great that the SU was getting so much attention through me. There were some very negative comments and offensive remarks that I wasn’t happy about but I learnt to push that aside and focus on the people who were supportive through social media.
It's safe to say we didn’t expect Tuna to hit 1.9k retweets…
There were people commenting who I didn’t know from the Netherlands and the US saying very supportive and sweet things. That was great! I had a lot of people who came up to me and said “we love your comebacks and we like the way you reply to people” which I think is how I’d like to handle the whole thing.
Tuna shares her name with this adorable internet sensation too - Tuna the dog aka Tuna Melts My Heart!
Tell us something about you that we might not expect
A lot of people don’t know that I’m Turkish. I get a lot of “oh, you don’t look Turkish.”
Another thing is that little blue fish.. I found it online and just plastered all my posters and flyers with it and I promised people that I would get a tattoo of it if I ever won the elections so I might actually do that next year!
So how many matching Tuna tattoos can we expect to see on campus next year? That fishy is famous now!
When did you start dying your hair blue?
I think three years ago, when I was in foundation. I love it, it really stands out. My Grandma really, really doesn’t like it. I can’t imagine myself without it now!
What do you think will be your biggest priorities once you start at the SU?
My biggest priority is to make sure that students know me, that I’m appearing at events, that I’m at CityBar talking to people, I’m in the cafeteria and I say “hi” to people. They need to know that they can come up and talk to me. I want them to know that I’m doing stuff, that I affect their life, that I’m pushing for them and I’m rooting for them. That’s the first goal.
Is there anything you’d like students to know about you which they might not already?
During the whole campaign my approach was funny and memorable, “Tuna in your salad” etc. But I want people to know that I will be there for them and that I have the experience. I have probably more experience within the Students’ Union than most students at City. I know the process, I know how to be influential, especially because my position is education. I want people to know that I will listen to them and put forward what they say. I want them to know that I will push the Union and the University. It’s not joking work. I used that for the elections but I want people to know that I’m very serious about it.
Great to hear from you Tuna! You’ll be hearing more from Tuna Kunt when she takes Office from July 2018. She’ll represent you as Vice President Education for the next academic year!