Interview conducted by Liam Cassidy, news editor, @casdee
Why have you decided to run for VP Welfare?
As a final year student, and coming towards the end of the year I was reflecting on my time at the university and as much as I’ve had a blast, there are parts when I have been severely stressed. And after talking to other students, I was like, oh my goodness there are so many issues and stresses acting on us all the time, and if they weren’t there, life would be so much better. Being VP Welfare would give me the chance to change those things and help.
What would you bring to role of VP Welfare?
Well, I think I’ve had personal experience of all kinds of issues. For example I’m paying two rents for two places at the minute and have had horrible time with landlords, so I think I’ve got that basic experience. I work two jobs and manage my finances really well and still manage my time, studies and have a good social life.
So do you think you can share these experiences with students to perform the role of VP Welfare?
Yeah I feel like I represent your average student because I’ve dabbled in a lot of activities during my time in Queen’s and got involved with so much, and that’s all on my manifesto, so I think I can speak to students on more of an equal level. I suppose everyone’s kind of like ‘been there, done that’, but I think I can use my experience to represent students well.
Do you feel at a disadvantage given your opponent, Chloe Patterson’s experience of a year in office as VP Community?
Chloe maybe does have an advantage, but she was in a different role. Although she may have more of an understanding of the ins and outs of how things work in the union and policy at Queen’s, we’re both still going to need to train for the role of VP Welfare and be trained in the different disciplinary procedures for example. It’s a different role, so we’ll see. And as well, Chloe has had a year not living as a student so that would be my advantage I think.
There are a few current sabbatical officers running for election again; do you think freshness would be a good thing to bring in?
Yeah I think in an ideal situation, I’d like a bit of a balance. I feel like if you brought in a whole wave of new people it would be hard to build on what they’ve done, whereas if it were a bit of a mix then you’d have some fresh ideas that are coming in with new candidates to build on their work. Like this year with the campaigns against the [DEL] cuts, it would be good to have some people carrying on in office to next year.
Your ‘Contact Couch’ seems to be a key part of your manifesto, how do you hope to implement this around campus?
That’s definitely one of my main points because [as a sabbatical officer] you need to be way more accessible. So I need to make myself more available around campus so students can recognise me and say, ‘oh, there’s that girl that can help me with this problem’. It’s slightly based on the idea of the Pop-Up SU campaign this year, I thought that was great because the sabbatical officers were out on campus all the time and moved around the key buildings. If I do get elected I’ll make it a thing throughout the year, once a month, just to remind people, ‘I am you welfare officer and this is what I can do for you’. Pop-Up SU has been great this year at making the SU more accessible, I feel that needs to be done more and developed.