VP Engagement candidates attending the debate:
- James Hemingway
- Eleanor Cawthera
- Ross Nation
- Thomas Rogers
To begin with, candidates were asked what they would do differently to their predecessors. Eleanor Cawthera wants to focus on breaking down the barrier between students inside and outside of SUSU. Ross Nation also focused on making sure students stay engaged, but by going out there and listening to what students have to say.
One of the main discussions was centered around RAG and how it could be improved. Jamie Hemingway suggests assigning a RAG officer to each society to allow them to engage with fundraising. Thomas Rogers, however, proposes abolishing RAG. He argued that it is difficult for everyday students to care about the charities that RAG are raising money for. He then suggested that all left over money not spent from student tuition fees should be donated to charity.
A question was then asked by the audience about how candidates will engage with certain groups. Eleanor suggested engaging with students who may not have taken the opportunity to get involved with SUSU in their first year. Ross reiterated that it’s about engaging students and not pressuring them to become part of something that they don’t want to be involved in.
A member of the audience asked how the candidates would improve the reputation of students in the local community. Jamie suggested inviting local residents to student organised events such as Performing Arts. Ross proposed going beyond campus and showing RAG events, such as the Big Give, having a positive impact on the local community.
Candidates were then asked what distinguishes them from other candidates. Thomas stated that he plays into the student niche, proposing 24 hour Stags and the abolition of RAG. Eleanor Cawthera argued that because she is more outside of SUSU, she understands what is confusing for students and how best to communicate SUSU to them.
The question is proposed to Thomas about how he could engage with Winchester better. Jamie Hemingway intercepted by raising the issue that students do not want to be forced to get involved with something half way through the year. They should be engaged from the beginning and their should be an option to set up Southampton based societies in Winchester.
Based on tonight’s debate, who is your favourite for the position? We’ll be releasing articles on the other six debates as they happen. SUSUtv and Surge are also providing live coverage of the debates.