Redbrick interviews Jack Mably and Ed Sainsbury, two of the four candidates for Guild President. 

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Images by Layne Cooper

[Editor’s note: Suleiman Suleiman is also running for the role, however, was not available for interview. His manifesto can be seen online. Re-Open Nominations is also a candidate in this election]

State your name, age and course.

Jack Mably: I’m 20 years old, your current Vice President of Housing and Community.

Ed Sainsbury: I’m 21, I study Political Science.

You’re running to be our next Guild President. What does this role entail? What impact does the work of the President have upon the life of students here at Birmingham?

Jack: As President, you’re there to lead the Sabbatical Officer team and represent the 30,000 students here at Birmingham. It’s a big role and I’m excited for the campaign.

Ed: The role is quite varied. They support the rest of the Officers in their respective roles and represent the students to their university. They meet with the Vice Chancellor and local people such as the council. The President can have a lot of impact leading on campaigns about specific issues.

Tell me about your time here at the University, your involvement with the Guild and the journey that’s led you to entering the race to become our next President

Ed: In my first term, I nearly dropped out of university. Then I got involved with the Guild through my Residents Association, and never looked back. That network has been what’s kept me in university. I want to make sure the Guild is there to support other students.

Jack: It all started when an RA [Residents’ Associate] told me I should run to be an RA for Mason Halls. From there I got involved in Guild Council, Carnival RAG and was then elected to a Vice President position. It’s been a fun this year, but there’s more I want to do outside of Housing and Community.

What would you like to achieve as Guild President if you are indeed successful?

Jack: My three main policies are: bigger and better events for campus – it’s not enough to have Freshers and Gradball, we need more in between. Secondly, I’d like to ensure that the new developments on campus are centred around students – more plugs, better Wi-Fi and more study spaces. Thirdly, I’d like to develop the Joe’s card and reward you for the amount you spend at your student union, and bring Meal Plan into the Guild for First Year students.

Ed: I’d like to see the University extend 24 hour opening times. I also want to run a more varied social scene, and secure funding to do this – things such as showing sports on the TVs at Joe’s. I’d also like to see the Guild develop stronger relationships with alumni. I want to see us take a stronger stand against the rise of fascism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on campus. I want Officers to be more accountable to students.

Why are you the best candidate for this position?

Ed: I’ve been fortunate to be involved with the Guild at a number of different levels, working with staff at the Guild and University as well as students. I have experience of getting things done on campus.

Jack: I have experience of being a Sabbatical Officer – experience is invaluable, and I hope to hit the ground running and get started with these manifesto points immediately.

How do you think your time in office will compare to that of Poppy Wilkinson the current Guild President? What do you think has been her biggest achievement and biggest challenge this year so far?

Jack: It’s been a pleasure to work with her. Her biggest achievement is definitely the Not On campaign – I’m hoping to carry on this work next year. Her biggest challenge this year has been people getting involved in very personal attacks. This has unfortunately been the case for the past two years, but she has handled it very well.

Ed: I think it will be quite different, there will be a new government after the General Election, so it’s a fresh opportunity for students try and have an impact on the government’s stance on education. I think this year we’ve managed to move on from the in-fighting. Poppy’s Not On campaign could prove to be successful over the coming years. Biggest challenge? The Democratic Structures Review.

For more information on the Guild Elections, follow #GuildElections on twitter.