- Candidate Interview: Samuel Dedman, VP Education
- Candidate Interview: Simon Pinney, Union President
- Candidate Interview: Thomas Gravatt, VP Engagement
- Candidate Interviews: Greg Williams, VP Democracy and Creative Industries
- Candidate Interview: Dan Varley, VP Engagement
- Candidate Interview: Sam Higman, VP Welfare
- Candidate Interview: Kirby Moore, Union President
- Candidate Interview: Ben Parker, VP Sports Development
- Candidate Interviews: Flora Noble, Union President
- Candidate Interviews: Stephen Gore, VP Sports Development
- Candidates Interviews: Alex Hovden, Union President
- Candidate Interview: Amelia Ng, VP Democracy and Creative Industries
- Candidate Interview: Arun Aggarwal, VP Student Communities
- Candidate Interview: Leyla Elsey, VP Welfare
- Candidate Interview: Henry Lane, Union President
- Candidate Interview: Evie Reilly, VP Democracy and Creative Industries
- Candidate Interview: Liam St Dennis, VP Welfare
- Union Election: Rumoured Candidates
- Union Elections 2017: Who’s Running?
- Union Elections: Candidate Interviews with Wessex Scene Published
- Voting for Union Elections is Now Open
- Voting For Union Elections Closes Today
- Union Elections: Meet the Candidates 1 – Liveblog
- Union Elections: Meet The Candidates 2 – Liveblog
- Union Elections 2017: Post-Election Analysis
- Union Elections 2017: Exit Poll Results
With Candidates for both full-time Sabbatical Roles and Students Leader roles in the midst of campaigning, we interviewed each candidate running for full-time sabbatical roles to find out why they wanted the role and what they planned to do if elected. Politics Editor Kieran Hyland interviews Amelia Ng who is running for VP Democracy and Creative Industries.
Hi Amelia, so why are you running for Democracy and Creative Industries?
I’m running for DCI because, first of all, Winchester has never really had a voice in the Union. We’ve had a Union voice in Winchester; but not necessarily the other way around. Being creative myself, I feel like I’ve got industry connections and I’ve got the know-how in order to help our creative societies and to help all the people in Southampton who don’t even know we have a Winchester campus; which is pretty much kitted out for all of their needs. As they are students at the University of Southampton, they can even use it! The democracy part of the role is getting Winchester more involved, in addition to the other campuses, for instance Avenue and Boldrewood. Although, they’re in Southampton, I think these campuses get pushed aside quite a lot because they’re relatively small ones comparatively to Highfield. I want to get more people involved, interact with more students and get them interested with union events. Students are aware it’s Union events happening a lot of the time, but they choose not to engage in it. It’s saddening this is the case because I know other university’s with a lot stronger unions, and I want to make that happen here.
How do you plan on fixing this disconnect between students and the union?
Predominantly, through social media interaction. People will be able to follow up responses from social media and ask questions, receiving immediate feedback if they’re confused about something in particular. Similarly, I plan on having an office hours where people can come in and see me with any concerns. I plan on travelling around, engaging with students and asking what they want to see, and how they want to see it being done, whilst also making sure that they understand what the union wants to do and that they agree with it.
What experience do you have that makes you fit the role?
I’ve been a course rep for years one and two of my games design course. I have, also, been doing all of the open days, and because I’m the first year of graduates from my course, I’ve had to take a really proactive role in getting more people interested in my course (essentially selling my course to prospective students, and encouraging them to apply to our University). Because, I am already in the creative industries department, I’ve got several contacts interested in talking to people who aren’t necessarily doing a creative course; but who are interested in creative elements like graphics, drama and design. They always want to come in to do talks and workshops and my previous experiences makes me feel I’d excel at organising events for people interested, in order to engage with both these connections and the wider student population.
What are the main problems you identify within the boundaries of the current DCI role?
At the moment, you have one DCI and their officers; but there is usually only so much you can do when you’re just in Southampton. I know the current DCI Cameron has come to us [Winchester] a couple of times, but the only time I’ve ever seen him properly was when I went to have my interview for SUSUtv. I think because there just aren’t so many people, it’s hard to get the outreach and accessibility that you want in Winchester. I’m not saying that we need to get more people to help support the DCI; but it’s about working together more actively to try to reach as many people as we can. I also think that because I’m from Winchester, from an arts campus, I think I can help the creatives a lot more on their level than previous DCI’s have. Although, I hasten to add previous DCI’s have certainly not done a bad job, there are just more things that I’m able to offer to these people to make their union time more fun.
How do you plan to help union media and performing arts continue to grow?
Being from the Winchester campus, I very much have a filtered down view of all the union media. I know about Surge and I know about Susutv, but I rarely see either advertised. I guess it’s something that doesn’t really need to happen around Highfield, as most people already know about it, but its stuff like making sure all campuses know about these student medias, and how to get involved in them. I’m certain there are societies that would like to come up to Winchester to perform, but I never see any advertisements to do that, even if it’s just on social media. I guess the Wessex Scene will obviously have its list of events; but it’s just accessibility. Even if the publication just comes down to Winchester more often it would certainly attract a wider readership.
What is your opinion on the way that the Union has conducted student votes and referendums this year? How would you change it, if at all?
Again, I have very much a filtered down view of Southampton Union voting. The last time I voted in an election, it appeared in the café one day out of the blue. It was essentially ‘here, look at all these manifestos and vote for the one you like the most’. I decided to vote; but a lot of people in Winchester, at least, were simply walking past and appeared not to care. I don’t know precisely how different that it in Southampton; but a couple of Highfield campus friends that I have weren’t particularly enthusiastic about how they voted. I think it’s because they didn’t really know what was going on. Because, I took the time to look at what the Union is doing, I was able to have an informed vote. I think the voting in referendums is fine; but it just needs greater communication with the student body to get more people involved, which I think would make the union a lot more informed about what students actually want and vice versa.
Can you give a 30 second closing pitch as to why students should vote for you to be DCI?
I firstly want to get the Winchester and the Southampton campuses more connected. I want more frequent connections between them both to better integrate students together and make it closer. I want students to become more informed to what’s going on in the union. I want creative students to know that they have far more facilities than they thought they did (not simply on Highfield, but also in Winchester as well); which I’d love to encourage them to use more as there are always people there to discuss subjects with there.
Amelia Ng, thank you