An Interview with Charlene Batchelor

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Charlene is the Winchester School of Arts President, and therefore, has to spend most of her dedicated time in Winchester. As a result, she was unable to come for an interview during Freshers’ Week, as you can tell she was heavily inundated with other priorities. However, she did me the courtesy of writing the following statement:

What have I been up to: The first exciting change at the WSA this summer, was employing a full time Manager, Leigh Moore. Leigh is our first full time permanent member of staff based at the WSA and his presence this summer has been invaluable. He was helped me see my “vision” for the WSA become a reality and made the freshers fortnight be a complete success!

The first thing on our to-do list was the venue itself. The WSA was in desperate need of a face lift and with a lot of paint and a new floor and a few small tweaks, the venue was instantly transformed. Student involvement in this was the key, enabling them to be creative with the space and giving them something they could call their own. The new look of the students union feels more welcoming and serves two different purposes. It can be used as an Art gallery by day and a club venue by night. The Lighting and Sound was also something we invested in this year, and has made a massive change to the club nights like Fat Panda and Wear the Wild Things. Our freshers fortnight has been packed with lots of various events, involving both home and international students.

As well as employing Leigh this summer, we have also employed some new bar staff and implemented new procedures. Winchester is a very different community of students and engaging them in a different way was something we have been working hard at.
I worked with some of the Social Organizers this summer, who were in charge of the Pre-sessional Students down in Winchester. This was a really rewarding process and even the smallest things like, providing a Microwave and kettle and helping the students move in, helped me understand the process a lot more.

What haven’t I been able to do yet?: Equality and comparisons of equality between Southampton and Winchester students is something that I think everyone should be looking into. I would have loved to build a students union this summer that offers exactly what the Cube does, but for obvious financial reasons and without a pot of unlimited time, this wouldn’t have happened this summer. There is however plans in the pipe line to transform this venue into an amazing space and I’m really excited to get involved in pushing this for next year.

Transport and the link between campuses is something I haven’t managed to resolve this summer. I firmly believe without this, our students miss out on everything Southampton has to offer and makes it a lot harder for our students to join societies and just generally enjoy Southampton. I intend to keep working on this problem as all the Sabbs are working on bridging the gap between all sites and I think this is a very important topic that we all should be looking into.

What do I want to do with the rest of my year: In the next term I intend to work with the Sabbs, to bridge this gap between Southampton and Winchester. Whilst there established Clubs and Societies in Southampton prove increasingly popular I believe it is important for us in Winchester to look closely at finding ways for our students to take part in activities closely a lined with the courses we study. Whilst we do not want to duplicate societies there are obvious resources and facilities at our disposal here that would make Winchester based activity more logical.

International student involvement is something we all want to happen. We have some exciting events to plan with some international students this term which are for both Home and International students. I think these events will be very successful and by catering for both home and international students, we start to bring people together.

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Afternoon! Welcome to my political world, reporting on all things studenty and politics-like. I do most of my writing whilst browsing the Internet when I should be doing other things, and I do love a good stat, so do expect links and numbers that are meaningless yet informative. Enjoy!

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