In the run up to the 2016 SUSU elections, the Wessex Scene team have been interviewing the candidates running for sabbatical positions. Here, I interview Flora Noble, hoping to be your new Vice President Communities.
Why are you running for this role?
I’ve been within the Student Communities zone for quite a long time – basically the last two and a half years. I feel like I’ve got so much more that I want to so and the only way I can do that is by running for VP communities and really making some serious change to the zone that I love and spend far too much time being involved with. This role really really suits me – it suits all my experience and things that my personality allow me for, things like public speaking and interacting with other people. Hopefully it will give me an opportunity to carry on doing what I’m doing.
This role covers a lot of areas and student groups: which do you think is the most important element of this role?
That’s a really tough question. I think every area has that thing that really brings them to the foremost. But I think the three most populous are the halls committees, international students and postgraduates. I think those are three areas that are really big within SUSU. But there are also smaller areas that should be having a lot more attention paid to them – things like student parents and mature students. I couldn’t name it down to one, and I think it would be a bad idea to. If you approach the role thinking one area is more important than another you’re not going to do the role as effectively as you want to.
Your manifesto doesn’t mention the Malaysian or Chinese campuses – what are you doing to do to reach out to them?
Personally, I don’t know a huge amount the Malaysian or Chinese campuses. If I was elected, I would start my term of with the satellite site survey. My idea is to encompass that across all satellite sites and establish how they want to have their relationship with SUSU; whether they want to have a more devolved students union or whether they want to be more integrated into what we do here in Southampton. I really want to establish where they want to stand in the University as a while.
Most of your experience lies in halls as Glen Eyre President and JCR/Halls officer. What is your experience outside of halls?
My experience in halls is extensive, I’ve been doing it a long time and I know what I’m doing and I know how to solve problems. Because of the breadth of students within halls and private rented accommodation I’ve had the opportunity to pretty much work with every single group that operates within halls committees. I personally was responsible for operating the new community officer role within the new halls committees structure – and the idea is this will integrate everybody in halls, – international students, mature students, post graduate students, student parents – and create a much more cohesive communities. Through working on student communities zone, I’ve been really lucky to work closely with the International Officer, with the PGR officer and the PGT officer. I’ve really had an opportunity to start working with these groups that I wouldn’t have necessarily had contact with before. It’s really lovely to see how diverse the student population is, I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’m willing to put in 110% to make sure I can represent everybody – no matter where they come from.
Anjit (the current VP Communities) said something that could have gone better in his role is Black History Month, what would you do to improve on any of the work Anjit has done?
We have a lot of history months in SUSU, which I think is a great think. It means we can be diverse and bring attention to people’s pasts and cultures. For Black History Month, I would ensure that the planning starts really early on. I know that a wider issue within SUSU is that events don’t get planned early enough – then we have issues with space bookings. I’d really hit the ground running, and make sure we’ve got speakers in and lots planned, and make is very accesible to the whole student body and get everyone involved – make it as big and amazing as it should be.
In your manifesto you talk about SUSU taking a stance on junior doctors contracts – beyond just declaring they are pro/against the proposed changes, what can SUSU actually and practically do to help student medics?
SUSUs role in this should be that they can provide a support system for those striking and those protesting these changes. At the movement, I think SUSU’s lack of official stance means that the support thats being offered to the people that are contesting this is a little bit generic. I would love to see some specified support from SUSU to help people working with the legal challenges around it to challenge what is really an incredibly unfair and unthought-out piece of legalisation. I think for SUSU to take such a stance is a big departure from what SUSU usually do, but it seems ridiculous not to. We have so many medical students in this University – we should be supporting them in every way we possibly can.