VP Activities Candidate Interview with Corin Holloway

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Wessex Scene interview with Corin Holloway, who is running for the role of VP Activities in the 2020 SUSU Spring Elections.

Why have you decided to run for the role of Vice President Activities?

I’m in, like, 20 societies or something like that (I’ve not actually counted) – and I just want to make all the societies happy and I really like being in societies and I want everyone to be in societies, so I want that to happen.

That links to the next question: what experience do you have that would make you an excellent fit for the role?

Well, I’m on 7 committees for societies, which is a lot of fun, a lot of work, and most other free societies that don’t take up a lot of time. I’m also currently a Union Senator and I was Clubs and Societies Officer so that’s very relevant to societies. Underneath activities, there’s also volunteering and outreach and performing arts type sections as well, so most of my free time I spend volunteering, so I’m in lots of volunteering societies and quite a few of them are annoyed that they don’t get recognition, so there’s like Excellence for Volunteering awards but it’s mostly to the big, fancy societies and a lot of the societies don’t get things. We also recently got discount cards for volunteers and I want them to go to all the volunteers. So, if you’re on a committee you get one, but there’s a lot of volunteers who are in volunteering societies but they don’t get them and that would be good – to have more of those.

So, you’re on committees – what sort of roles do you have in them? Are you president? What do you have there that would help you do things?

Well, this year I made an effort not to be on- not be president of anything, because I did that last year and I was also on seven committees last year, and that with presidentship is a lot. So, mostly I’m like an ordinary member or publicity or task manager type things.

But quite a varied amount, so you’ve got a lot of knowledge about how to do lots of different things?

So, again, in my first and second year I was president and secretary of a bunch of things but now I’m just a member of several ordinary things instead of in charge of things. So, it means I can just sort of pick and choose what I want to do. I’m on the committee for Crack and Soc Steampunk Society and they have a masquerade ball every year but I was hoping other committees would do things and then they didn’t and so I then decided to make it happen, so I did a masquerade ball outside Bar Two, or in Bar Two, a few weeks ago with Folk Society, Tea Society and Cycle Society, which was really fun. I’m on the committee for most of those so I can make things happen and I like making things happen.

In your manifesto, you say that certain pledges might be difficult to implement. Do you reckon that would make you sound a bit unreliable? For example, you wanted to remove the Box Office fee – you said that might be difficult to implement. Do you think that would make you be seen as an unreliable candidate?

Well I want to be honest mostly, so I put asterisks next to the ones which I wasn’t sure if they were possible or not. I just wanted to make sure what I was saying was what I could promise because otherwise, I could just say ‘I’m gonna give all the societies more money’, which I would love to do but I don’t think I’d be able to do that, so I want to be realistic.

What are the main problems you identify with the current role of VP Activities and how would you fix those?

Well, I actually think Fiona [current VP Activites]has been decent. Unfortunately, I like her and she’s campaigning again and I feel like if I don’t win, she will still be good at the job, but… she… I’m trying to think of things that she doesn’t do, or I’m trying to think of things that Fiona does do as well. It’s kind of hard to see what sabbatical officers do, so I think a difference is that I’ll still be attending twenty different societies and new ones that I’m not in at the moment as well so I can see what people want and people can talk to me more easily. That’s kind of the main difference and then I’ll obviously be able to get things happening. Mostly I just want to advertise society events and try to encourage people to join societies so we’ll have screens and we have the ability to talk with university departments and try to get things on their screens… lots of outreach with all the tools we have available that we don’t use optimally. Yeah, I just want to shove societies down everyone’s throat, if they want it.

For media societies, editorial independence is important, especially when it comes to holding SUSU to account – do you agree? And then a followup, given that there have been renewed concerns about censorship this year, how will you work with media heads to ensure the principle of the freedom of the press is upheld?

I put in my manifesto that I want societies to have freedom because I know a lot of societies think that SUSU tells them what to do too much and I spoke to a couple of committee members for media societies about what they want: mostly, more money and not being told by SUSU to do everything. So, I think not telling us to do everything is quite an easy thing to do and I definitely feel annoyed and I know other societies are annoyed by all the small things you have to do to be able to kind of exist and continue being in a society. Well, it’s not too bad but it’s just like small, tedious things that make it annoying. I would like to get rid of that, and, like, general bureaucracy –  I feel like there’s a lot of that, I’d like to get rid of that but I don’t know how easy that is because… it exists for a reason, it’s to make it not be abused but having to wait two weeks for something to happen is annoying.

What is it about the current SUSU process that makes it ‘bureaucratic’, as you said in your manifesto?

Oh, did you read my thing and then write that based on that, or?

Well, there are two personal questions – the rest are general, but there are two about your manifesto in there.

Okay, mostly… when you try to book spaces it takes ages, and I understand the reasons for it but I know people have tried to do things on the Redbrick and been told that they have to leave because they haven’t booked it. Being on the lots of society committees – you have to submit a load of documents and stuff, which I also understand, but it’s annoying. The main thing that I get annoyed by when I try to book spaces is that it takes ages.

So is that something you either want to speed up or just help people out doing?

Yeah…

The role of VP Activities involves a lot of responsibilities. There’s at least 214 plus societies – how will you balance the different elements of this role to ensure nothing is neglected?

Well, I’m already on seven different committees and I take part in twenty-something societies so I managed to that. Because I’m in many it means I’m not fully doted towards any of them, that’s why I’m not the president of anything this year. For things that just affect myself I usually just ignore them but if it’s someone else being hurt by negligence then I will feel really bad and I will force myself to do it. I do loads of volunteering and stuff because I want to make everyone happy.

So you know how to be a part of loads of different things and if one bit’s struggling you’ll be able to go over to it and see if it’s okay? So you’ve already got experience in managing lots of different societies and things like that?

Yeah, and I’m good at improvising and making things up as I go along, so if I suddenly get given something I can just do it. I also get quite bored easily so I can do everything, which is also a bad thing but it means that I’ll do… I don’t like doing nothing, so I’ll do things.

How will you support and develop employability for students? So changing from fun activities to ones that will be useful for later life.

I’m not really an expert on this one because I’ve not had a job myself really, so I don’t really know loads about employability.

But that usually links to volunteering as well…

Yeah, I know that we have the badge system, which I think is quite good. I’ve not done that for myself yet because I feel like I’ll do it just before I graduate. So, I like the badges, I like to be on LinkedIn with people and say ‘look, this person volunteered’, so they can have Vice President approval, but that’s something that Fiona could do as well.

I’m not an expert in this question, so I’d be happy to give references and give badges but I don’t really know what else I would do at the moment.

But there’s also the thing that you won’t know everything you can do before you’re able to do it, so it’s accepting that you don’t know what you would do but given the role, there would be a lot that you would feel like you would be able to do? 

Yeah, in my head that was kind of an Education and Democracy thing so I didn’t really think about that, but a lot of the things that I want to do involves asking students what they want, because if I’m going to societies and talking to everyone then I’ll get an idea of what people want. Although most people don’t talk about employability, they talk about ‘wooo!’ and fun stuff.

But usually having lots of different skills is something that puts up your employability…

Yeah, I think I’m a bit flawed in regards to this question because I’ve mostly just been a student and because I’ve wanted to do all the societies and things I’ve not bothered getting a job and instead just spent no money and do volunteering instead of actual employment.

With many societies and union groups expressing concerns about the impact of SUSU budget cuts, will you ensure resources are allocated fairly across societies, and how do you reckon you’ll be able to do that?

So, ignoring the ‘and how?’: yes.

Would you do it on a system where everyone gets the same amount or would it be depending on what they need?

Depending on what they need. With the current system, you have people applying for funds, and then it’s reviewed. I feel like changing that is going to be a lot of effort so I’ll probably just keep it how it is. This is probably somewhere where you do need bureaucracy because you want to have it approved by a bunch of people to make sure this is fair, this is fair, this is fair. I don’t think there’s much I would change about that other than to help people understand how to apply for budgets and possibly how talk and meet sessions on how to apply and be ordered. I think that also affects people who aren’t great at writing so I’m not fully sure on how to make that fair. I think you can only do as best as you can because giving all the societies the same amount is somewhat good but they don’t have the same amount of members. Quite a few societies I’m in don’t actually need that much and when they do need things they can apply but most of the time they just run and do their own thing. So societies that need things can have things, and societies that don’t need things can have things when they need things.

The last question: if you were elected, what would be your top three areas of focus? Three, no more, no less.

Probably advertising societies and events, trying not to interfere with societies and letting them have freedom, and trying to recognise and reward volunteers better.

To find out more about Corin Holloway’s policies, read their manifesto here.

Editor’s Note: Wessex Scene repeatedly attempted to contact Hao You for interview, but they never responded. You can read their manifesto here.

More articles in SUSU Spring Elections 2020
  1. Student Candidate Spotlight: Sites Officers & Trustees
  2. Student Candidate Spotlight: Academic Officers
  3. VP Activities Candidate Interview with Corin Holloway
  4. VP Activities Candidate Interview with Fiona Sunderland
  5. Student Candidate Spotlight: Liberation and Student Life Officers
  6. SUSU Spring Elections Exit Poll
  7. Student Candidate Spotlight: Creative Industries
  8. VP Sports Candidate Interview with Kiera Spencer-Hayles
  9. VP Sports Candidate Interview with Luke Jefferies
  10. VP Welfare and Community Candidate Interview with Nicole Akuezumba
  11. VP Sports Candidate Interview with Samuel Tweedle
  12. VP Welfare and Community Candidate Interview with Kayleigh Littlemore
  13. Union President Candidate Interview with Olivia Reed
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  15. Rumour Has It… 2020 Union Elections Rumoured Sabbatical Officer Candidates
  16. SUSU Spring Elections Exit Poll: The Results
  17. Election Night Live 2020 Liveblog
  18. SUSU Spring Elections: Sabbatical Officer Winners & Voting Breakdown
  19. SUSU Spring Elections: Student Officer Winners
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A philosophy student with a penchant for uncertain puns. Pause Editor 20/21, i.e. funny sausage

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