In the run up to the 2016 SUSU elections, the Wessex Scene team have been interviewing the sabbatical officers of the last year. Here, I interview Kerry Slater, the current VP DCI.
What is your achievement you’re most proud of this year in your role?
The democracy review is a good’un. It hasn’t been passed yet but all of the feedback we’ve had so far has been overwhelmingly positive, I think this is going to be the biggest change that will affect a lot of students.
What changes can students expect to see from the media and democracy review?
— Wessex Scene (@WessexScene) February 1, 2016
We had a focus group about that the other day and from what it seemed like, people are really keen to get a media committee going. Basically have a bit more of a joined up and strategic approach to the media, so sit down at the start of the year highlight the key projects and make sure there are some great training opportunities across the board. We also need to do a lot that will be attention to detail stuff in terms of functions. Putting together a sort of ‘bible’ of SUSU media of who to go to for what and how to do the simple things that people don’t necessarily know to hand over.
— Kerry Sclater (@KerrySclater) February 8, 2016
The democracy review, this is massive, a big overhaul of every way we make decisions here. So, Union Council, the go-to-body to make things happen will be gone. All ideas will come in online, everyone will get online feedback straight away and any student can get involved with that and the zones which we currently have which are basically groups which group together different activities within the union, they be the ones with the power. So it won’t be the same forty people in Union Council talking about things that people sometimes find irrelevant or too complicated the way it’s discussed.
Have you faced any difficulties this year, if so what were they and do they have any long term consequences for next year’s Sabbs?
One of the difficulties is as a student before you’re elected you don’t know what it’s like to have to work on these massive projects, most people haven’t had a full time job before this. So it has been frustrating at times where certain projects have taken longer than I would have wanted or haven’t received the best feedback all the time. But that is okay, we should be putting things out there and accepting the constructive criticism and working on that.
How has the creative industries zone developed over the past year?
There’s not been any major changes YET. We’ve been focusing a lot on employability and we’ve had a careers season and something that is ongoing is that we’ve got an intern now who is compiling loads of resources so that we can put a package out there, maybe an app or a website, so that any student can get employability tips for the creative industries throughout the year. I hope as well hat we’ve just been working on a bit more unity among the zones, its not just media and PA, there are over seventy societies in total. So we’ve had a great laser tag social in the induction and well hopefully see some more events coming up soon.
What is one thing you didn’t achieve this year that you would like to see the next years Sabb candidates continue with?
That would definitely be the performing arts revue, something we’ve only just started collecting data on but there is so much to do because the performing arts are growing , we’ve got the most performing arts societies of any university in the country, but we just don’t have enough space for the for rehearsals so we need to reach out beyond ourselves and look at partnerships.
All of the Sabbs candidates at the debates suggested that DCI should be split into 2 separate zones, would you support such a change?
I know that I have a lot of work to do, so from that perspective it would be good to split them so that you can focus all your attention on one of those areas, because they’re both massive and really important areas. I think it’s a good point that democracy should be a part of all the Sabbs work as well.
SUSU attracted a lot of criticism over the library referendum, looking back with hindsight how do you feel about that?
There was a vocal minority so it can feel like there was a lot of criticism but we actually got a record breaking turnout, so I would say it was overwhelmingly positive in its entirety. We do need to take the criticism on board, people had valid points, they didn’t like the wording of referendum so with the proposed change in the democracy view they will be known as mass student votes, and of course the cost of the T-shirts, which I have learnt from. Never buy t-shirts!