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. News Editor Zélie Seddon interviews VP Democracy and Creative Industries candidate Evie Reilly.
Hello Evie, firstly why are you running for the position?
I have been active in the union since my first year when I became involved in Union Films and since then, now in my third year and a student leader in my role as Union Films Manager, I have learnt a lot about the internal running of the union. I think there are lots of areas to be improved upon and want the opportunity to work on making these improvements in a sabbatical position. There is so much talent within the creative zone, in performing arts and in student media, and I would really like to showcase this talent as VP DCI.
What experience do you have that makes you suited for the role?
As Union Films Manager I am already an elected student leader in the Creative Industries zone. In this role, I have sat in on a lot of meetings and learnt a lot about how the union works and I have become really passionate it. As a politics student, I naturally think it’s really interesting and unique how student politics works and want to explore this further.
What are the main problems you identify with the role, and how do you plan to fix them?
Visibility is a key issue. It is an ongoing problem. We need to advertise how decisions are made to all students and let students know how things work. We need to make this really clear and offer as much support as possible for students to get involved in democracy and policy making. A lot of the time student groups don’t know who to contact or where to go for advice. We need to promote zone meetings more to tackle this. I also want to work on engaging students who aren’t in elected roles but still want to have an input on decision making. Decision making at the union should be inclusive and accessible for all.
You said in your manifesto that you wanted to give the student media groups (Surge, SUSUtv, Wessex Scene, the Edge and Union Films) more freedom to run their groups. What do you mean by that?
Not necessarily more freedom as the student media groups should have as much or as little freedom as they like but I don’t want to impose any grand plans for other groups as their leaders are elected and have their own ideas. They know how best to run their groups and how best their groups can grow. I want to let them ‘steer the ship’ but I want to be there as DCI to help and support them in any way I can.
You said in your manifesto that you want to make students more aware of the union’s decision-making process and more aware of how they can get involved. How do you plan to do this?
Advertising is key. We don’t currently shout about it enough. We need to increase promotion of decision making on the Union Southampton website and on social media. A lot of people this year have enjoyed President Alex Hovden’s Facebook posts about what he’s up to each day and I think using social media is a really great way to engage students in union politics. I want to work on lots of little things, like keeping students up to date with social media posts, to make students feel more welcome and involved in the running of the union. Additionally, how the union decision-making structure works needs to be made clearer on the Union Southampton website; a student might hear about a great idea and not know what happens to it, if it happens or not, and if it doesn’t happen why that is. I feel I am very approachable so feel that students will feel comfortable asking me these questions.
And finally, can you sum up in 30 seconds why students should vote for you, Evie Reilly, to be their next VP Democracy and Creative Industries?
I have loved my work as a student leader this year. I have an understanding of how both creative industries and the democracy process works within the union and I’m really passionate about it. We have got such amazing talent within performing arts and the creative industries’ student groups and I want to showcase this and encourage students to make the most of the opportunities on offer. The union is about students and student groups and the focus needs to be on this. I want to continue the good work and make Creative Industries and democracy even bigger and better!
Evie Reilly, thank you.