Natalie Dear

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Together we can shape BU to support our communities, our mental health, and the future of our planet.

My name is Natalie, and I’m running to be your Vice-President Welfare and Community.

SUSTAINABLE PRACTICE
More than 80% of young people believe they can make a difference on climate change. At BU we can work together to fight the climate emergency before it becomes too late.

I pledge to:

– Demand BU signs the Fossil Fuel Declaration – a public commitment to never invest in fossil fuels.
– Reduce the amount of single use plastics sold on campus.
Provide more accessible information on sustainability tailored to BU students.
– Plant more greenery on Talbot campus – building rooftop gardens and sedum roofs to reduce negative spaces and benefit the environment.
– Endeavour towards making SUBU Summer Ball carbon neutral.

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS AND SUPPORT
The number of students dropping out due to mental health problems have more than trebled – with one in five students having a current mental health diagnosis.

I pledge to;

Increase ‘mental health awareness day’ to a termly event.
Provide easier access to support for students of all levels – particularly in exam season.
Bring emotional support animals to campus termly and more frequently leading up to exams.

COMMUNITY
Our BU experiences wholly revolve around communities and it’s crucial that we can maintain them.

I pledge to;

Increase housing support – ensuring all students know where and how they can receive free advice year-round.
Continue current liberation campaigns to challenge discrimination, create a sense of belonging and ensure students have a safe space.
Provide free bus services between Talbot and Lansdowne campuses for events.

You won’t find anyone as passionate and dedicated as me.

Vote Natalie for VP Welfare and Community.

Natalie has a well-rounded manifesto targeting all aspects that this VP role will hold.

Firstly, we started by asking how she intended to ensure inclusivity and diversity. Natalie responded by saying: “I know that ethics, inclusivity and diversity are really important in the running of SUBU. BU definitely wouldn’t be the great community it is without a fantastic and diverse variety of students. If elected, I plan on working with the other full and part-time officers and other SUBU staff who already do a fantastic job at tackling diversity and inclusion.”

When asked how Natalie would tackle mental wellbeing, she mentioned operating an “open door policy” in order to support students’ individual needs, with these challenges needing to be bridged to make sure “all students feel safe, supported and happy”.  She then went on to add: “There’s plenty of opportunities to increase student support at BU, particularly with mental health. It’s a very hard topic to criticise due to the complex nature of well-being as everyone’s experiences and opinions will be different.”

She added that student support and wellbeing services “should be advertised more clearly on campus and online…. I also want to work towards reducing the wait times for counselling sessions and increase the availability of drop-in sessions…..there should maybe even be a separate service and shorter waiting times for those in final year or doing a masters, as this could be the difference in student’s final grades.”

Our next job was to question Natalie’s manifesto points, with the first being her plans for Summer Ball: “Making Summer Ball carbon neutral is important because it’s the biggest event in the uni calendar. There’s so many factors that will contribute to the carbon footprint. For example, the amount of electricity used to run the event or the transport of equipment…. I want to look into using green and renewable energy sources to supply the festival, as well as challenging suppliers on their environmental policies.” Her last suggestion on this point is to introduce a “returning cup scheme”  where you reuse the same cup throughout the festival.

Natalie would also like to improve sustainability on campus by lobbying for the selling of less branded water bottles which would reduce the amount sold and allow space for reusable bottles.

Earlier on in her interview, we asked Natalie what makes her stand out for the role compared to the other candidates. Her answer of “well, apart from my bright pink and orange hair, right?” made us chuckle. But on a more serious note, she told us “I think several candidates for this role have some great ideas, but I firmly believe my manifesto represents the key issues facing BU students….it’s so important that we don’t only focus on one issue or group of people, but instead we have to tackle a wide range of problems and ensure we’re making progress as a whole, and that every student benefits from this.”

“Before moving to uni, a lot of people tell you that it’s going to be the best time of your life and that’s the expectation that a lot of people have, but I don’t think this is always the case for students. I’ve experienced both the good and bad sides of uni life, so I understand that when it’s good, it’s great, but when it’s not so good, things can get really bad. I want to ensure that student support is there for every single person regardless of what they’re facing. It’s a huge responsibility to make this happen at the end of the day, and I know that I’m ready to make some really good changes.”