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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 Sam Bailey, hoping to become the next Union President.
So Sam, why are you running for the role of President?
Well, over the past year I have been VP Welfare and deputy President and that has been brilliant. I’ve worked with so many passionate students about things they care about and things I care about. It’s given me a good look at what we’re doing well and what we could do better. We have so much potential, we have the right resources and great students doing amazing things. We just need to to bring them together. And make this a union we can be proud of. I believe I have the experience and knowledge to know how we can change things.
How do you feel your year as VP Welfare has prepared you for a potential presidency?
So obviously the jobs are quite different, as VP Welfare I was looking at things like sustainability and welfare and being a support. And focusing on that. The role of president is completely different from that, it’s not about picking out your favourite areas. I feel like I have a broad overview of the entire union. My experience as student leader and leader of a society can put me in good stead to make this one of the best unions in the entire country.
I want every student to leave Southampton with a time they will remember for the rest of their libes. Doing things in the union, going to special events, making great friends in the societies, getting involved in student media. I want every student to have memories like this. If we manage that, we will be one of the best unions in the country. Obviously number one is just a number but what’s important is that we’re putting students first in everything that we’re doing.
What have you seen done this year, or in your two years as a student trustee that you would like to do differently?
I’m not sure about things I would have done differently but I can see lots of areas where we have so much potential. It’s such an exciting time at the moment, with lots of changes coming up, such as the brand review which will ultimately shape how the union will look.
We’ve got lots of work coming coming up at Winchester, too. In terms of our international students, we have completed a research project to see what we can do to support them. So, all the ground work has been done, I want to be the one to lead that out in the role of Union President. There will always be things we can improve on but all that’s important is that we are doing our best for the students and listening to what they want.
What are you offering to the role of President that the other candidates aren’t? Basically, what makes you stand out?
So I think my experience over the past year makes me stand out. I was a student trustee for two years, I was VP Welfare, I’ve been Deputy President. I have always been part of this team. I do have the experience and bredth of knowledge that I know where we can improve and how we can improve it. It will be tough, but I believe I can do the best job for students.
The points in my manifesto have come from discussions with students that I have undertaken in the past year, I have listened to their ideas and responded with plans for actions. It’s all about listening and and improving. Also, it’s clear from my experience that I haven’t just thought about running for this. Ive been working on my manifesto all year and I can show you that I have been working for it.
How well do you think you can handle the stress and responsibilities of such a role?
I think each Sabb position is really stressful at different times of the year. Exam times are stressful for VP Welfare for example, whilst Jamie is currently very stressed with Varsity. What I want to do as President is make sure that all of the team is working together all of the time and supporting one another to do our best for students. Not just the Sabb team, but the entire union is a team. Ultimately we need to do our best for students. I think I have the best skills and experience to be an effective union president.
You talk in your manifesto about making The Student Union our union, how would you ensure that students are put first in this way?
It’s all about the culture that we create. Students need to know as soon as they walk into the union that they are the ones makng the decisions. They are the ones running the clubs and societies, they are the ones deciding where money is spent and they’re the ones behind the campaigns. Students need to know that they can make things change. You can have your say. There is this terrible rumour that goes round saying that SUSU is just here to make money. This has absolutely has to stop. It has to end. You can have your say and you can change things. By knowing the right person to talk to and by seeing change then it can this union can be student led. One of the key things I want to do, is make sure that different evens are run at different sites, for example, we’re running Medsoc events at Southampton general hospital and WSA events in Winchester. We need to listen to students and get feedback from things like this in order to react to what students want.
Thank you for your time, Sam,