Candidate Interview: Sam Higman, 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. Wessex Scene Elections Correspondent Ivan Morris-Poxton interviews Sam Higman, who is hoping to be elected VP Welfare.

Hi Sam, firstly why are you running for the position of VP Welfare?

I’ve been involved in Halls Committees and I’m currently Halls Officer, so I work with the Welfare Officers and Wellbeing Officers for Halls quite often. Also, we’ve been doing a Sexual Consent Awareness campaign recently, which I’ve been heavily involved with and it’s something that we want to develop and that I want to be involved in, in the future. I’ve got a lot of ideas in my manifesto that I’d like to see happen at the Union.

What experience do you have that makes you fit the role of VP Welfare?

I was in Mayflower Halls Committee in my first and second year and I worked as a team as their social media officer. Leadership skills are prevalent in the fact I was Halls Officer, which I was elected to last year, and my participation in the Sexual Campaign Awareness group.

Sexual Consent Awareness was totally student-led. It was an idea we kind of bounced off each other at Freshers 2016. We decided that something needed to be done as there were too many stories we were hearing and we wanted to do something about it. Other universities have now contacted us about this, which is really exciting.

What are the main problems you identify within the remits of the role and how do you plan to fix them?

Obviously, I’ve got my manifesto points, which show what I’d like to improve and implement, but I think there needs to be a big focus on sexual consent awareness. Other than our student-led campaign, especially in my first and second years, it didn’t seem to be a thing and there didn’t seem to be any kind of awareness about sexual consent or the stigma around mental health, which is quite close to me personally. I think a lot of people at university do struggle with mental health problems and they’re sort of brushed under the carpet – that’s something I’d like to de-stigmatize.

You said in your manifesto you wanted to provide more events for student parents – so what do you mean by that, what events would you offer exactly?

I think in the Equality and Diversity realm of the role there’s a lot of different people and groups of people that need a VP Welfare’s help and I think student parents and their children are one of those groups. Last year, there was a Christmas lights switch on for students ourselves and a separate event for student families and their children. It was a separate date because I think it’s way less intimidating for parents to bring their children to and it’s a nicer environment for people, because you don’t want a combination of children running around and people drinking… it doesn’t go well. I think they need to be separate and more of a focus on them.

So, the Christmas light switch on,where they had activities and events going on for children, and Teddy Bear’s picnics, have worked quite well and I think that’s a really sweet idea.

What are Teddy Bear’s Picnics?

It’s where student parents and their children can meet other student parents and other children. It’s an event for that community to come together when they don’t tend to get the opportunity to.

You also say in your manifesto that you want to set up a regular, ‘pop-up’ food stall. How will you implement this/pay for it?

So, the idea initially was to make students aware of the different kind of cultures, foods and diets that are available and I think it worked well in Culture Week. Also, I said raw vegan in my manifesto just as an example, but I think something like that is really, really difficult for students to be able to go about doing themselves.

I think the way I’d want to implement it, as a trial, would be to contact Union outlets and see if they can provide a menu, or the pop-up food stall themselves. I think that would be the most economic way of going about that.

Finally, could you give us a 30-second closing pitch as to why students should vote for you for VP Welfare?

I am heavily involved with lots of projects within the Union, Halls Committees, SCA and I’m really, really passionate about all projects I embark on at the Union. I’ve got lots of ideas I want to implement and I’m keen to implement as many as I possibly can, to develop the Union!

Sam Higman, thank you.

More articles in Union Elections 2017
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  2. Candidate Interview: Simon Pinney, Union President
  3. Candidate Interview: Thomas Gravatt, VP Engagement
  4. Candidate Interviews: Greg Williams, VP Democracy and Creative Industries
  5. Candidate Interview: Dan Varley, VP Engagement
  6. Candidate Interview: Sam Higman, VP Welfare
  7. Candidate Interview: Kirby Moore, Union President
  8. Candidate Interview: Ben Parker, VP Sports Development
  9. Candidate Interviews: Flora Noble, Union President
  10. Candidate Interviews: Stephen Gore, VP Sports Development
  11. Candidates Interviews: Alex Hovden, Union President
  12. Candidate Interview: Amelia Ng, VP Democracy and Creative Industries
  13. Candidate Interview: Arun Aggarwal, VP Student Communities
  14. Candidate Interview: Leyla Elsey, VP Welfare
  15. Candidate Interview: Henry Lane, Union President
  16. Candidate Interview: Evie Reilly, VP Democracy and Creative Industries
  17. Candidate Interview: Liam St Dennis, VP Welfare
  18. Union Election: Rumoured Candidates
  19. Union Elections 2017: Who’s Running?
  20. Union Elections: Candidate Interviews with Wessex Scene Published
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  25. Union Elections 2017: Post-Election Analysis
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International Editor 2017/18. Second year Modern History and Politics student from Bedford. Interested in British and International Politics, and Sport, particularly Rugby Union. Drinks far too much tea for his own good

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