Earlier this week Nerve News offered all the election hopefuls in this years SUBU Elections interviews as part of the fair coverage policy of the Union.
Combined with their manifestos and the hustings at Talbot Campus, Nerve News is able to bring you a broad coverage of the various views of the different Candidates.
NOTE: Nerve News offered ALL candidates an interview however not all candidates responded.
The candidates for VP Activities, Anthony Willis, Alex Woodland and Alys Penfold with Shannon Kurle, Jonathon Leung and Chloe Bradley not attending an interview, due to – according to Jonathon – SUBU arranging the hustings on the days in which he was working in the Union owned Dylans Bar.
It must be noted that Jonathan Leung has pledged for more FM time for Nerve Radio – only to oppose it being played in the Student Bar and shop at a Student Shout event earlier this year.
What new clubs and societies would you like to see at Bournemouth University?
Special Interest Societies, akin to the Harry Potter Society and Disney Society, are the sorts of groups that Anthony would like to develop, and see more of, as different franchises exist which garner large fan bases – something which he feels is often overlooked by the Union.
Alys on the other hand wishes to see an increase in Political Societies, notably ‘Only main ones’ which would surely ignite debate when UKIP and the Greens start asking for their society.
Alex is a supporter of as many as students can do themselves, unlike Anthony who would also be looking to foster more Academic Societies within the different faculties.
How would you increase activities @ Lansdowne?
One of the biggest issues that will surely effect the incoming VP Activities is going to be increasing the involvement of students at Lansdowne in the Activities of the Student Union. Describing Lansdowne as a major focus for his campaign, Alex Woodland argued that it is poor promotion that has lead to people not knowing about the Union and this being unable to get involved.
Alys approached this issue from another angle however, saying that speaking to individual students would be more important that mass marketing, with Anthony suggesting that SUBU had to take the first step, taking events to the students of Lansdowne, and making sure it was easier for these students to book out places like the engine rooms.
How would you encourage more funding for societies?
An ever present issue for societies at Bournemouth University is funding – or the lack thereof – a situation which Alys admitted to not knowing about, Alys suggested that she would pitch funding needs to the clubs administrator, saying nothing about attempting to secure more funding for the department that, should she win the election, she will head up.
Anthony on the other hand shifted his focus more toward increasing fundraising opportunities for societies to raise money for themselves, and supported an increase in membership intake so as to see an improvement in the income from fees, with Alex suggesting that lobbying the University would be preferable.
The candidates for VP Activities have one more question to answer, tailored to their personal policies and statements across the week.
Alex, when challenged on how he would improve promotion for societies when the conventional means already employed are not working, responded by saying that he would encourage more one to one talks with presidents of groups, as well as talks to new students, with society presidents leading these talks.
With one of the Candidates – Anthony Willis – having mentioned that he helped set up over six societies since being at University, Nerve News inquired as to how these societies had been getting on since then. As it transpired, one of these societies has since disbanded, with another about to – whilst one – the Whovian Society, is up for ‘Best Club’ at the activities awards night.
Alys however was challenged on her policy to increase green activities, without making this political. Alys argued that she had never made any part of her role as Environment Officer, with events such as ‘Green Week’ under her belt, slightly political – we leave the reader to draw their own conclusions.
Normally at this stage, we would have interviewed the Candidates for VP Welfare next, however neither of the candidates responded, so we moved on to the role of the VP Education.
How would you improve the Rep System?
Anniek, a current member of the education and self professed newcomer to the SUBU scene offers a breath of fresh air to the somewhat stagnant pool of policies we see bandied around in the education department of the Union, with Anniek wanting to push for more support for the final year Student Reps, as the students in final year often find themselves under great pressure from the course they are on.
Shannon and Ellie – the only other candidates for this role to respond to an interview request – adopt a more populist approach however, suggesting that students ought to know what the rep scheme is before applying for it, as well as ensuring that there is continued training for them as the year goes on.
How would you improve student employability for when they leave University?
An issue which dominates many courses across campus, employability is at the forefront of students’ minds throughout their time at BU. Shannon describes the rep system as being perfect for this, as it allows for so many opportunities for students to set themselves apart from others, something which Ellie and Anniek did not comment on, focusing instead on working with the careers department at BU to promote workshops as well as placements across all courses at BU.
If there was another lecturers strike over pay this year, how would you respond?
Once again another issue which cropped up recently, when the lecturers at BU brought a halt to several lectures over a 1% pay cut. All three of the candidates argued that the solution was not to take a side, but simply to ensure that students understood why the strike was happening, and also had a say in whether or not it did.
Anniek was asked as to how she would improve assignment feedback when other people have failed, to which she replied that she would be looking to get an online comments system attached to Turnitin so as to help with these feedback.
Shannon however, when asked why she was running against Ellie, who she campaigned for last year, stated that there was ‘No competition at all’ between her and Ellie, something reflected by Ellie herself in her interview, in which she admitted to failing to increase the size of the rep system, despite last years promise to do so being central to her campaign.
The Presidential candidates are up for interview are Gary and Chloe, the only two turning up.
Do you like and support the current councils system?
As some people may be aware, SUBU is run by a group of councils covering the various different areas of the Union, something which Gary thinks needs to be looked at as it stops a lot of ideas from the student body from being acted upon. Chloe agrees that the councils, whilst good, are still a work in progress. Gary however would like to see a Lansdowne presence on any future council.
How do you see the role of President in relation to the other positions?
This year with the removal of the role of VP Lansdowne, the role of President will be changing once again, something that Chloe sees as good, as the President should focus on democracy issues, with the other VP’s focusing on their specified areas, whilst Gary sees the role as one of leadership, especially working with the Lansdowne Campus to improve SUBU’s involvement down there.
How would you improve the image of SUBU in the community?
Gary opened with a call to hold a frequent meeting with members of the local community, with Chloe simply echoing what she has already done, and informing Nerve that ”Not everyone in Winton wants to listen to students’ music” before moving onto answer our manifesto question by saying that – despite campaigning to improve funding for societies last year – this has only just gone to a vote, with funding expected to happen when she leaves office. However, in response to whether dressing as batman was belittling the elections, Gary responded with a well thought out argument, saying that he was simply breaking the ice, something he feels SUBU could learn a lot from.
Elections draw to a close later today, so, do not forget to vote at: http://subu.studentvoting.co.uk/login.php