What are your thoughts as the campaign kicks off? Mark Williams Very excited, ya its all about to kick off, I’ve got a team of people ready to meet me in Selly Oak to get started. Poppy Wilkinson I think it has been going really well so far. We have put a lot of preparation […]
What are your thoughts as the campaign kicks off?
Very excited, ya its all about to kick off, I’ve got a team of people ready to meet me in Selly Oak to get started.
I think it has been going really well so far. We have put a lot of preparation into this morning and I don’t think we could have done much more to get everything sorted for this morning and feeling good, like have had good responses from people so far so ya its been good fun.
Quite excited. It’s good to see so many people enthusiastic and getting involved. Obviously it’s always difficult though because its quite a stressful period. But so far, so good.
Just amazing, I’m having so much fun! It’s been quite tiring getting all the stuff out and preparing it, it’s been quite a relief to get everything going now. So yeah, I’m just really excited, I’m sort of buzzing and our campaign is really enjoying it-we are having a good laugh. It’s quite weird, it’s quite an emotional time but so much fun.
I think its been going quite well. My policies have been getting across quite well, quite popular with the students. Its hard work, tiring, not had much sleep, hopefully worth it in the end. Probably going to step it up a lot more over the next few days.
If there was one part of your platform that you could chose for all students to know, the most important part of your platform?
Based on what I’m running on? The most important thing I think I am running on is working to improve the relationship between the guild and the student body.
Would have to be value for money. With the 9k fees coming in, or even for people who pay 3K fees its getting value for money for course, we need to make sure there are no discrepancies from one course to the next say one course has 3 credits and another doesn’t we really need to sort out those discrepancies to get value for money.
I think I would remind students when the last time was that they were approached by their Guild. Whether it’s on a personal level or even via an email asking them what are their issues, what can we do for you, what’s going on? And I would answer that I’d be solving that and breaking down the barriers to have the direct engagement and to open up communication channels so that they are able to feel as comfortable approaching us with minor or what they may consider to be minor issues or kind of the more pressing and critical ones.
To increase awareness of the sabbatical team because I reckon a lot of first years came onto campus today and did not have a clue to what was going on with all the cardboard so I want to make sure that all the first years know exactly who the sabbatical team are and I think that way we can ensure that people are using the sabbatical team to their advantage when they need help and things like that.
The most important thing to me personally is my zero tolerance to discrimination policy. Mainly at the top of my agenda is breaking down barriers that students face to getting involved in the Guild, the Guild isn’t, in all honesty the Guild isn’t representative of the student body. For one there is an estimated a third of students here who are ethnic minorities and if you look at the sabbatical team year after year it is a very small percentage, it’s the same with Guild council as well. So its something that I would really like to tackle and something I have experience in, in getting ethnic minorities students involved, I think that are a lot involved this year is probably connected to the work we have done with BEMA this year, really pushing ethnic minorities on the agenda. Personally to me that’s my top priority.
And how would you do that?
I will do that through making Guild politics a lot more relevant to students and
that’s through various forms of transparency, through uniting an officer team that would be the strongest officer team we would ever had.
So through various policies that I think everyone can get involved with. That’s an improved library service; I want to look into making short term loans up until midday or 1pm, because I think 11am is just too early for some students. I want to look at increasing the number of core textbooks in the library because I have spoke to a lot of courses, for example politics, where you might have a lecture with over one hundred students and there are six textbooks in the library. I’m aware there is a lack of space in the library so maybe we could look into expand the e-library service which is very much under-sort of-supplied at the moment. On top of that I want to improve food across campus in terms of making it cheaper and higher quality and healthier which I think a lot of students would get on board with, at least the ones I’ve spoken to.
So the student union cant really control that but what we do have is a relationship with the university and we also sit on various committees so in order to find out the poor value for money courses we can talk to students and also we can go to the university and ask for that information. In terms of actually getting that changed? We can lobby the university in the highest level with the vice-chancellor and then, failing that we can go to sub-committees that actually control the university and if we’ve got influence on those we can get that value for money.
So it would include for example having more open forums and drop in sessions. Really looking to campaigns to directly engage students where we approach them. Whether it includes lots of volunteer teams or reps who are just there to disperse information to like the wider student collective from fresher’s period, but not just directly linked at fresher’s but the wider student population. Yes the forums, the drop in sessions as well, liberation groups that would have their own specific drop in sessions and forms of autonomous complaints as well, process where they are free to kind of air all their various problems to their various autonomous representatives and this would work across the board.
I want to do things such as making sure the sabbs hold office hours so that people can just pop in and talk to them in their office; do things like Twitter hours where people can just tweet in asking the sabbs (hashtag ‘ask the sabbs’); things like making the sabbs on campus morel; things like fresher’s weeks get them in halls helping move first years in, things like that.
Potentially making the Guild-ties into my other point of making the Guild inclusive to all students. First impressions students get of the Guild is in fresher’s week for example and it is catered to one group of students, I’m not saying it shouldn’t be there, but for example on every night there is an alcoholic event, I want there to be a non-alcoholic event as well and I want it to be properly publicized as well as student group events aren’t really publicized that well by the Guild, we have some great events put on by student groups, I want to see the Guild really push promotion of for those events through social media, email. Ya maybe look at having ethnic minority Guild councilors, really look at ways to encourage students to get involved not just ethnic minorities but also women, LGBTQ, home students, stuff like that. We shouldn’t have any tolerance for discrimination inthe Guild, it should be open to all.