A Quick Guide to Your VP Welfare Candidates


The VP Welfare works with the University and SUSU to ensure action on issues which may jeopardise students’ wellbeing, such as housing, mental health and financial issues. The VP Welfare will campaign to protect and enhance student rights and positively promote changes to lifestyle that can improve student well-being. The VP Welfare will also lead on campaigns that promote equality for all our members.

Candidate No. 1

Josh Cox

Name: Josh Cox

Subject: Biomedical Sciences


2013-2014: Wellbeing Officer; 2012-2013: Ethical and Environmental Officer; 2012-2013: Trustee; 2011-2014: Union Councillor; 2011-2012: Glen Eyre JCR – Campaigns Officer; 2011-2012: Course Rep – 1st Year Biomedical Sciences; 2013-2014: Southampton Marrow – Vice President; 2012-2013: Southampton Marrow – Ordinary Member; 2012-2013: National Marrow Exec – Comms Co-ordinator; 2011-2013: Welfare Committee; 2012-2013: Chair of Ethical & Environmental Committee; 2012-2013: RAG Committee; 2013-2014: Student Life Zone; 2013-2014:External Engagement Zone; 2011-2014: Student Ambassador

Main Manifesto Points:

1. Safe Storage – somewhere to store your personal belongings in SUSU!

2. The Job Shop – Advertising part time vacancies across Southampton

3. Stand Up To Your Landlord – knowing your rights and fighting your landlord if they break your contract

4. Hot Water and Heating Facilities at key study spots on all our campuses

5. Special Considerations – a simpler process with better support when you need it

6. Support for students in a financial crisis – advertising sources of financial support if you need it

7. Roof Garden – produce for our catering outlets and an outdoor space to relax

8. The Housing Handbook – all your essential housing information in one place, easily accessible!

9. Greener Housing, Lower Bills – lowering your utility bills while making your private rented housing greener!

10. Your Volunteering Log – giving you recognition for the time you spend volunteering for SUSU/Societies

Is there anything the current Sabb has done that you would have done differently?

I think the main thing I would do differently is go out and talk to students more. I think a lot of Beckie’s ideas have come from herself but what she needed to do was also go out and speak to students to find out what it is they want SUSU to be doing for them. It is very hard to judge the differences that Beckie has made this year and I would therefore be more vocal about the things I have achieved.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I believe I am the best candidate as I have experienced both sides of the role and have the ability to represent both Student Life and Sustainability, something I do not believe the other candidates will be able to do as well. I have also come up with achievable policies that will be beneficial, accessible and relevant to students. My manifesto has come from conversations with students from across the university and I believe my policies will be the most beneficial to the student body.


Candidate No. 2

Gabriela Discenza

Name: Gabriela Discenza

Subject: BA English & History


2013-2014: Co-President, Mental Wealth/Student Minds; 2013-2014: Union Councilor (elected on a position reserved for disabled students); 2013-2014:Sustainability Zone, Committee Member; 2013-2014: Student Life Zone, Committee Member; 2013-2014: Member of SUSU Support Staff (Marketing Crew); 2013-2014: Southampton Radio Lollipop Volunteer (Volunteer on the Children’s Wards at Southampton General Hospital); 2013: Great North Run (raising over £300 for Mind); 2012: Research Volunteer for Study of Educational Differences (study on Dyslexic students)

Main Manifesto Points:

1. Promote long term solutions to problems our students are facing.

2. Empower our students by giving them the information and resources to take care of their welfare and that of others.

3. Encourage inclusivity and diversity by trying to get under-represented groups of people participating in decision making processes.

4. Update facilities where possible to ensure maximum comfort and usability for our students.

5. Continue campaigns on issues such as Housing and start new ones such as Personal Safety and Security.

6. Remove stigma from issues such as mental health and sexual health to encourage treatment and awareness.

7. Increase training to help welfare officers in their posts and get accurate feedback on what our students think.

8. Promote knowledge of issues relating to gender and LGBT rights.

9. A greater focus on environment and sustainability seeing where SUSU can do better.

10. Promote a holistic and well-rounded approach to wellbeing at this University.

Is there anything the current Sabb has done that you would have done differently?

I think the main thing that I want to do differently from Beckie is to get out there more and for example go to different sites and listen to what our students tell us rather than base my actions on my own ideas.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

What also sets me apart is my experience of welfare from a users point of view rather than just as a volunteer or legislator. I think this has given me a unique perspective and made me more determined to help other students who are going through similar situations. I also feel very strongly that its the duty of the sabbs to come to students and publicise services available so that people know where to go if something goes wrong.


Candidate No. 3

Emma White

Name: Emma White

Subject: BSc Psychology


2012-2013: President of the Feminist Society; 2012-2013: Financial Health Officer of the Welfare Committee; 2012-2013: Voluntary Research Assistant in the Psychology Department; 2013-2014: Publicity Officer of the Feminist Society; 2013-2014: Gender Identity Coordinator for the Equality and Diversity Forum; 2013-2014: Surge Radio Presenter for ‘That’s What She Said’

Main Manifesto Points:

1. Run mental health campaigns to focus on overlooked groups of students, specifically men and medical students

2. Expand the publicity and choice of welfare events across all campuses – Winchester, the NOC, and the hospital

3. Work on improving the existing special considerations process to make it easier and less stressful across departments

4. Hold events for Holi Day and Eid, along with other faith festivals to increase interfaith appreciation

5. Hold an inter-cultural week whereby culture societies can network, hold relevant events and engage with students

6. Increase accessibility services for deaf or hard of hearing students with subtitled screens, film screenings and event interpreters

7. Run a sexual health week and lobby the health centre to introduce a weekly drop in clinic

8. Continue the work done on the Sexual Harassment Policy to bring it to campus to make it safer

9. Improve sustainability provisions on campus with a food bank, recycling guides and bottle banks

Is there anything the current Sabb has done that you would have done differently?

I don’t think the diversity we’re lucky enough to have here in Southampton was celebrated enough. For instance, there was barely any scheduled events for Black History Month. In my manifesto I talk about hosting a whole month of interesting events ranging from film screenings, have The Edge write album reviews on prominent black artists, and working with the library to bring art from eminent black artists into the 4th floor Library exhibit. Additionally, I don’t feel like enough outreach was done for other sites. Although a big campaign promise, I feel like not enough effort has been placed into expanding not only publicity, but events to Winchester, the NOC and the Hospital.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

You mean other than my obsession with light bulbs? I think I’ve got the most realistic perspective due to my mix with both SUSU politics and sitting on Society committees. This means I’ve been able to work on policy, whilst concurrently speaking to students about the issues they’re most concerned about. Also, this is my first time campaigning! I’m fresh-faced, and a tiny bit terrified, but mostly unbelievably excited. A few other candidates have done this whole merry-go-round before, and I think it’s in mine and yours benefit to have a new perspective on some old problems.


Candidate No. 4

Beckie Thomas

Name: Beckie Thomas

Subject: BSc Psychology

Experience: Art Society Publicity Officer; Age Concern Volunteer; Student Ambassador & Student Mentor; Fashion & Style Society Events Organiser; Voluntary Research Assistant in Psychology; Student Minds Volunteer; Wessex Scene Imagery Team member; Southampton University Air Squadron member; Photographic Society member.

Main Manifesto Points:

1. WELLBEING WEDNESDAYS – to remind you to look after your wellbeing e.g. yoga, healthy eating tips, massages, sports tasters

2. WELLBEING SURVEY – to find find out the changes you’d like in the support you are provided

3. I will work to get you free HOT WATER on campus, and more WATER FOUNTAINS in the Library

4. Improved SAFETY BUS- More frequent & a system to inform you how long to wait for the next bus.

5. ADVICE VIDEOS- On time management, stress management, housing (on the SUSU website)

6. Equality- Create opportunities for you to discuss INEQUALITY; share experiences, challenges, and solutions.

7. Show you the fun side of SUSTAINABILITY; up-cycling events and recycled clothing events- swapshop, charity shop sales.

8. Online HOUSING COMPLAINTS SYSTEM- Supporting you with next steps when your landlord is treating you unfairly

9. Persuading the WORST RATES LETTING AGENCIES to sign pledges agreeing not to rush you into signing for a house.

10. Advertise PART-TIME JOBS in SUSU & the city, SESSIONS on how to sell yourself in an interview/application.

Is there anything the current Sabb has done that you would have done differently? And since you are the current Sabb, is there anything you want to achieve in particular compared to last year?

Not have broken my back the week after term started in October!! Despite this, I am confident that I will achieve the 3 sabbatical goals that I set myself in the Summer! There is so much that I will be able to achieve next year as a result of the experience I’ve gained as VP Welfare this year! In particular, I will evaluate the welfare information we communicate to freshers during their first two weeks here to make sure they all know where to go for support; both at the university and in SUSU. I will discuss this with Student Services during the summer break to ensure a joint up approach is taken to promote welfare services to all students. Once this combined source of welfare information has been compiled, I will use the data from the Wellbeing Survey I am creating this term to work out the best way to promote welfare services to students who do not hear about it during freshers.

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

1. My ideas are refined and cover a broad array of topics. After being your VP Welfare since July 2013, I have a clear understanding of what can be achieved, and am confident that I can achieve everything I set out to in my manifesto.

2. If I’m re-elected, I can make change from July 1st, having helpful contacts both within SUSU at the University; as opposed to other candidates who will need to spend time making contacts and working out how things work, so they may take several months to start making changes.

3. I understand how it feels to be unaware of what is going on in SUSU after spending my first two years at university focussing on my studies, so am constantly trying to think of new ways to get welfare and sustainability messages out to students who aren’t hearing about SUSU events.

Voting is now open! Head to here to cast your vote.




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