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. Our Wessex Scene Correspondent, Damian Meaden, interviewed Greg Williams to find out why students should vote for him to be their next VP Democracy and Creative Industries.
So why are you running for the position?
I have been involved in Creative Industries since first year. I originally started in Surge, and then I joined SUSUtv. The Creative Industries are where I have had the most fun. Where I can do my degree and then chill with some people and make some like-minded content. I live with people who are not as involved in the Union as I am and they think that the only way they can influence a decision is by going through me. I am really interested in trying to open up the democratic process. I would like to make people more aware of the democratic structure, and how they can influence decisions in the Union.
What experience do you have that makes you a good fit for the role?
I have been involved in media since first year. I have been Head of Events for SUSUtv and in first year I was on the committee for Monte Halls. In that, I learned a lot of skills so leading a team for instance. Really fortunate to lead Highfield Freshers as well. I don’t feel that just because you are involved in the Union, that makes you a good candidate but think that having experience in the Union will help me.
What are the main problems you’ve identified in the role, and how would you fix them?
I think the biggest problem that a lot of people have told me are that they feel that the Union does not listen to them. They are unsure and confused as to how they can influence decisions. I have a few initiatives to make this more involved. ‘You Make Change On Tour’ which will allow for the Union to be brought to people in making decisions. The Union is there for students, but I feel that this might have got confused in recent years. I want to also give Freshers a democracy starter pack so that our newest members can get their voices heard from the get-go. I also aim to build on the democratic reforms that Cameron Meldrum, the current VP DCI, has brought in this year. I am hoping to make them more successful.
You said in your manifesto about groups applying for funding for projects off the ground, how will that be implemented, especially when considering the funding?
I think it is important that know we are just here to facilitate student activities. I think it is important that students have more of an influence on their budget. Performing Arts have a PA card for their activities, I will use my contacts to expand these and also see whether other groups would like to have this. I am also open to sponsorship of societies, so SUSUtv were considering sponsorship and people were very excited about that. In the end it didn’t happen, but it is important for societies to seek other commercial benefits but not be ripped off.
You talk strongly about student media, are your ideas from your own analysis or through consultation with the student media groups?
I think that being in a position of knowing all the media heads and taken their views on board when writing the manifesto. The main issue with print media was readership and trying to get people to access it. I want to come up with a better distribution for these societies. I also think that the Edge and the Wessex Scene should be able to express and maintain their individuality, but also I feel that Wessex Scene should feel like they should hold the Sabbatical officers accountable. Because yes you are funded by the Union, but I think that you take away their right to hold the Union accountable is the minute you remove the point in having a student run newspaper.
You mentioned getting more people interested and active in democracy, how will you encourage people to do that?
My plan for ‘You Make Change on Tour’ involves going out to all the campuses so that people feel aware of the electoral process. The Union are quite complacent, but at the end of the day a lot of people don’t feel they have the time to do that. We want to be in there faces but not annoy them. The minute we have to send an angry email, it is too late.
Methods such as ‘You Make Change on Tour’, Freshers Union starter pack, and making sure people know how to influence Union decisions are important to achieve this. I would also target under-represented groups like international students and entering into other forms of student media.
Finally, could you give us a 30 second closing pitch as to why students should vote for you, Greg Williams, to be their next VP Democracy and Creative Industries?
I am very experience in this area, I have really enjoyed the Creative Industries and I actually only got involved because I say yes to everything, but I don’t feel like you have to be. I would be there to facilitate student media activities to make it as easy as possible to build and achieve their aims. I want to make sure that everyone feels involved in democracy. Ultimately, it is your Union and you should feel like the one who can implement these changes. If you want to have your Union back then vote for Greg and Make SUSU Greg Again.
Greg Williams, thank you.