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- 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
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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. Liam St Denis is hoping his status as the underdog will win him support in his campaign to become elected as the next VP Welfare.
Tell me about the main aim of your campaign.
I hope to enhance the welfare of the individual student ‘en mass’, by improving their sense of safety and security and also by raising the importance of mental health support within the University.
This is interesting as I noticed you don’t really mention mental health in your manifesto, is it something that is a focus for you?
Yes definitely, mental health is extremely important. I want to make sure students, whether they are suffering from a previously diagnosed condition or struggling day to day, have the ability to find help and are aware of the help available within the Union.
Would you want to change anything about how the Union’s approach to mental health?
Not really at the moment, I’m more focused on building awareness about the help available.
Your manifesto talks quite a bit about supporting first year students, is this a focus for you?
Yes, demographically first year students are going to be the most effected by the next administration.
In you manifesto, you say you intend to ‘reinstate lost confidence in the Union’, how do you intend to do that?
I really want to show the students the changes that are being made, being out amongst people is something that I think is really important. I want to move out of the office and really work with the students.
So, would you say approachability is something that’s important to you?
Yes definitely, I’m happy to meet people and have people come up and interrogate me about my manifesto.
Would you aim to bring this approachability to your office if you became VP Welfare?
Yes, my door would always be open, I’d be happy to share information, so long as it was appropriate.
In your manifesto, you mention your intention to improve the lighting in Lovers Walk, how conceivable is this?
I’ve made that walk myself both at day and in the dark and I know in the dark it isn’t nice. I think making this visual improvement would be popular with students; but that makes it sound as though this is a superficial change, which it is not.
So, are you aiming to make students feel more secure in their environment?
Yes, safety is very important.
Do you think you would actually be successful in installing more lighting in Lovers Walk?
I think installing streetlights would be a fairly small project and it would be relatively inexpensive for the council. Even if I only managed to improve the existing lighting or begin talks with the council about improving lighting I think this would be important.
So, you talked about making students more aware of current systems of support, what kinds of support already exists within the University?
I know there is the advice centre and peer support groups as well as the GPs and group therapy.
You talk about tackling drug and alcohol dependency in your manifesto, how would you go about that?
I’ve known students who have suffered from this in the past and often they don’t realise that it’s happening or they don’t want to talk about it. I know Student Services is available and in my experience it can be easier to talk to a stranger sometimes.
Finally, could you give a 30 seconds closing speech about why students would vote for you, Liam St Dennis, to be their next VP Welfare?
I know I may come across somewhat as a bull in a china shop; but I’m a candidate that really cares about individual students on a mass scale. Safety is incredibly important to me and I would put in a lot of effort into the role. I can guarantee I would try my hardest.
Liam St Dennis, thank you.