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- Interview with Harry Bull: Union President Candidate
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- Interview with Selin Moustafa: VP Welfare and Community Candidate
- Interview with Ruby Turner: VP Welfare and Community Candidate
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- Interview with VP Sports Candidate: Casie Osbourne
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- SUSU Spring Elections 2022 Liveblog
Wessex Scene were able to interview Zoe Chapple about their campaign to be the next VP Activities.
Zoe elected to answer these questions during an interview.
Why did you apply for the role of VP Activities?
This year I’ve been RAG President, as many of you know, and there’s just been so many things this year that have just made my life extremely difficult being in a presidency role. It’s just so many things that can just be easily changed by someone in a position of VP Activities. Just to make people and committees’ lives easier.
It’s got to a point now where I’m just like, ‘why haven’t these changes been made?’. It’s something as simple as (it is on my manifesto) an easy booking system. I, for example, literally had a charity event this week cancelled this week because of a room booking problem. And that just shouldn’t happen. It shouldn’t be a problem. I want to make positive changes within the union to benefit all societies, and I think I had a vision of what I wanted to do, what I wanted to achieve. That’s why I applied for the role.
I also got told by quite a few people that I’m quite a good leader this year and that I’d be really, really good at a Vice President or Presidency role. It kind of was like, ‘Oh God, I’ll apply.’ I didn’t get nominated. I just nominated myself, but I had a few people who were just like, ‘You should definitely apply. You should do it, you should do it’. So that’s what kind of pushed me to do it.
What’s something that SUSU provides that you like, and something you would like to change or make better?
I mean, thinking back to my manifesto, they [SUSU] do have opportunities for people to join societies, but I think I just want to increase that, especially as we’re still looking at a backlash due to COVID. I think the whole year of not having anything face to face and then this whole year with Freshers and second years, there’s just been a lack of engagement. And I think as much as SUSU has tried, I don’t think they’ve actually sat there and asked the students, ‘What do you want?’ I think that’s something that I would do next year. Also, I would provide methods to show the ways that students can get involved in societies.
A little something that came into my head while I was campaigning was, ‘why isn’t there a list of available committee positions?’. I definitely know that not all committees are filled. I can tell that just from RAG. So if people could actually see and just look at a big old list and be like, ‘what could I get involved with?’, it would make societies’ lives easier. It continues to be a case of ‘what does SUSU have to offer?’. They need to express that in a better way than just bunfight. That’s something that I think I want to bring to the table and be like, ‘Actually, here’s a chance for you to show the whole student population what your society has to offer’.
It’s a way that I can go out and coach them through that and be like, ‘This is what has worked for me in the past. This is what absolutely tanked and didn’t work. Learn from it, and try to adapt that way’. Obviously, we’re more of an online generation as we move forward. Everything is online, so it is one of those things that are increasing society engagement. You do need to know how to market your society. You need to know how to promote. You need to know what works and what doesn’t.
You do not want to know the extent I’ve looked into Instagram algorithms to see what gets more engagement and what it doesn’t. It’s something me and my Marketing Officer with RAG had to look into: ‘Why are we getting no reacts? No likes?’. And it’s just because it was checking people’s feeds. So we just thought, ‘How do we do that?’. It’s exactly the same with all other societies – they need to learn how to do that. Learn how to market, learn how to promote their societies, especially if there’s a niche society. Something like SURGETV, SURGE Radio. How do you get people interested?
What would you bring to the table if you were elected?
If I was elected, I would want people to learn how to do these things and how to actually make their society successful. I had a question on my manifesto about looking to start up a new society, I’d really liked to coach people on how to do it. There’s no right or wrong way of starting a society. Even running any society, even if you’re affiliated, you can kind of do what you want within reason. That’s something that I think I could offer that SUSU doesn’t already offer: actually teaching people how to market their society properly.
I think that is a big issue and I think it’s one of the reasons why we haven’t had as much engagement this year, which is something I’d like to bring back. I don’t want to see societies diminish, essentially. Lots of societies at the moment are struggling and it literally breaks my heart to see the fact that they might not have committees next year or the year after, because everyone is graduating. We need to get freshers and second-years more involved.
Even in terms of RAG, if you look at it two years ago, we’ve had to condense our committees because we just haven’t had the people step forward and run for committee. It’s not a scary thing. It should be really, really fun to do. I felt really overwhelmed at points because I’ve been trying to do as much as I would’ve done two years ago and, actually, if I’ve got a smaller committee, I can’t do that.
Societies and Wellbeing
I just think general wellbeing within societies is quite often overlooked. We’ve got a Welfare Officer, which I think they tackle like the big issues, but what about just little issues? What if someone’s just feeling a little bit overwhelmed? They might just need some advice to tackle certain issues in their society. How can I make this better? How can I run this more efficiently?’ I whole point of my campaign is I don’t want people to feel the way that I felt this year in terms stress and feeling overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had points where I’ve had so much fun. Like this week, I’ve had a few events and it’s just been incredible. Incredible. But leading up to it, I felt very, very stressed because I’ve had X, Y, and Z go wrong. SUSU could actually step in and help.
You’ve got a million things to deal with. You’ve got your degree to deal with, you’ve got to try and maintain a social life. You’ve got to try and do X, Y and Z. Let alone if you’ve got any issues outside of that, it can get really hard to balance. I feel like the role of VP Activities should just be a friendly face that you can come to me like, ‘Actually, I’m really struggling to do this. Like, do you have any advice for me?’ And that would be something that I want to give to people. At RAG this year, so many people have referred to me as being their uni mom and yes, I will adopt my children! So that’s my goal as VP Activities. I want to look after you all.
Don’t forget, voting opens on the 2nd to the 4th of March. Vote Zoe VP Activities if you want a uni mom!
Wessex Scene attempted to contact John Galbraith and Sachin Choudhary but unfortunately were not able to set up an interview.