We run our Student Union. Or do we? Student life is getting harder; we can all feel it in our pockets, our mental wellbeing and our workload. Our union should be there to support us, but so often it fails, often making our experience worse. SUBU is often broken, but together – we can fix it.
To help make a change, Vote Owen for SUBU President; If I’m not your first choice, put me as your second.
How Can We Make BU Better?
- Make YOUR Study Evenings Easier Working on campus overnight is a pain. I will introduce more vending machines around campus to enable you to get easy access to food; which will also shorten the food queues during the day. Alongside lengthening SUBU’s opening times, making sure paths off-campus are lit and extending the duration of the revision bus so you can use it a week before exams start.
- Make SUBU Events Relevant SUBU wastes thousands on events you don’t care about, while it cuts and poorly supports student-led ones. I will ensure all events have a student focus not commercial and that student-run events get the support they need. • Improve Democracy SUBU democracy is broken. Every election, many complaints get made, yet students don’t feel like they get properly investigated. Alongside this Lansdown no longer has any elected representation. I will ensure that elections are as transparent as possible and re-introduce Lansdowne representation. Quickfire Policies
- Invest in Student Media • Reform Activity Funding
- Improve Communication I’ve held an active role in SUBU for over two years, within Nerve and on other Committees.
I have seen both the best and the worse of SUBU, help me make it better for you, Vote Owen or Tweet me to find out more @Owen4President_.
Together, we can fix SUBU – Vote Owen Cranston.
“In my roles, both on the committee of the society, and also at Nerve itself, I’ve seen those different ways in which SUBU can do better, because a lot of the time, it is failing students, whether it be with the support it gives or, quite frankly, in how it sometimes treats students,” says Owen Cranston. “So I want to be able to change that and reform into a better organisation for the future, because currently I think it is a little bit stuck.”
Owen is running for SUBU president. In his manifesto, Owen is critical towards the Student Union. In it, he writes, quite dramatically, “SUBU is often broken, but together – we can fix it.”
To explain SUBU’s flaws, Owen mentions comments that people have said to him over the years. He says: “You’ve got one department that sends whispers off to other departments, but they don’t fully interact.” He says that merging the roles of VP Communities and VP Activities and creating VP Student Opportunities is a step in the right direction, but he wants to go further.
Owen goes on to say that he’s previously discussed with an ex student that, “SUBU will often see a problem coming, but they do not consider it a problem until it is unavoidable. And even at that point, they try to kick it down the road.” If elected, Owen wants to make sure that SUBU has the ability to realize problems facing the Union and deal with them in advance, “before it slaps us in the face.”
Owen was asked what he could bring to the role of SUBU President. “Well, a level of cynicism,” he answers. “I can see which things need to be improved, I know where they can be. I try to see the other side of every issue, which means I can think about things level headed. I try not to do a knee jerk reaction.” Moreover, Owen claims to have “a lot of SUBU knowledge, because [he has] been dealing with SUBU for two and a half years.”
Owen includes so-called quickfire policies in his manifesto. The first quickfire policy is to improve communication. “I won’t lie,” he says, “I am a computer student, so I’m not the best person for that bed, but I can see where it has gone wrong and how we can do things about it.” Owen says that SUBU communications are very fragmented. “Every department has its own social media accounts, so you need to follow five different accounts just to know what is happening. But also, the communication is very corporate.” SUBU’s communications, he says, are entirely lacking in personality, which “doesn’t make it feel like a Student Union.” He also takes issue with how the sabbatical officers communicate and believes they should use twitter to keep students up to date so they are aware of their activities.
Owen’s second quickfire policy is a reformation of activities funding. His proposals include spreading out the funding over the semesters to prevent running out of funding again. “Say, the total funding is 60K, they get a budget of 30K to spend in the first semester, second semester, they get 20K to spend, final semester, they get 10K to spend. That ensures that the funding will last all through the year to prevent running out of funding again.” Owen also suggests a cap on how much different societies can request. “You’ve got some societies which are only requesting, say, £500, which is fair and can help them to engage students. But there are societies at the other end of the spectrum, which are asking for £14.000, which isn’t fair for anyone.”
The third quickfire policy relates to one of Owen’s primary policy issues, but he believes that democracy within SUBU is “broken” and has to be improved. Owen believes there are a few points which need to be fixed, one is how the officers communicate what they are doing. The other is fixing the election processes. If elected, he wants to introduce a “transparency report” which would include all complaints that arise during an election period, and how these complaints were dealt with. Owen also wants to increase transparency to ensure that students are fully aware of their options, such as calling a referendum or extraordinary BSM.
Owen believes that a combination of a free press and transparent internal processes are the best ways to hold elected officials accountable and would enable students to be aware of the officers activities.