Dean, the final year Mechanical Engineeing student dressed as ‘Dean Giant,’ took a break from campaigning to talk to the Scene about his involvement in the Union and his various sporting achievements to explain why he thinks he is the best man for the VP Sports Development role.
Why have you decided to run for this position?
I really want to make a positive contribution to our Union. I’ve been at Southampton for quite a while now and I’ve had lots of different roles in the Union, both within the Athletic Union and within SUSU as a whole and I think I’ve got a really rounded experience which is what sets me apart from the other candidates and sets me apart from the normal sort of candidate that runs for this position.
Why is this position important to you, personally?
It’s important to me, personally because my involvement with sport and also my way into SUSU has been mainly through small clubs.
I have experienced first-hand how these smaller clubs sometimes struggle with particular issues.
I have sat on the AU committee for three years and seen all the different issues that affect different clubs and I just want to make a positive difference because a lot of the problems seem relatively easy to fix. I’m the President of Modern Wushu club, I’m also a member of the tchoukball club, I also did caving for a year, generally quite small clubs but I did do triathlon for a year and also did a bit of ice and inline hockey before.
What can you give to this position that other nominees can’t?
Generally people who run for the VP Sports position are really successful in their own sport and tend to have quite a narrow view of the Union as a whole. I’ve sat on the trustee board as an executive officer and have also sat on the Union Council for the past two years and have been on the AU committee in three different roles, so I think I have a rounded experience of the Union. Sport particularly the AU seems to be a subset of the Union but I think I can really be the one to integrate it properly.
How will you build on the work already done by Jonny?
Jonny’s done some great stuff this year and I’ve been working closely with him as Sport and Health Officer this year. I’ve also worked closely with the previous two AU Presidents, I think that’s also important, to get a sense of continuity because you can’t reinvent the AU every single year. I’m looking to continue widening participation and I really want to publicise the fact that there is now funding for a gym at Wide Lane. I’d really like to make use of this facility encouraging clubs to book training times and would also like to make a women’s only session in off-peak periods.
What is your main election strategy?
I’m going to try and speak to as many people as I possibly can, lots of lecture shout-outs, speak to people in halls and try to speak to as many individuals as I can. From there they can tell their friends and housemates, that’s where I’m going.
Have you any previous experience working or volunteering for SUSU run organisations?
My first involvement was as Treasurer of Modern Wushu Club of which I am now the President. I’ve also been the social secretary of Tchoukball club after that I was AU officer, last year and from that I was on various committees involving the Union Management Board and Union Council which gave me a broader view of the Union.
This year I’ve also sat on the Welfare Committee as the Sport and Health Officer which is actually really interesting.
What do you feel this position will bring to your future career prospects?
I’m planning on doing a PGCE after this, whether I win or lose. So I’ve got something planned out anyway in the fact that I’m hoping to become a teacher afterwards. I suppose that it will help me to get promoted sooner but I know this probably sounds quite fake modest but I’m doing this not completely for me, I am doing it because I want to change the things that I have seen wrong in the Union. Hopefully it will help my leadership skills and things like that.
If you could hold office for one day, what would you do?
Only one day? That’s really hard because a lot of the policies take so long to implement. The most important thing to me though is making sport accessible throughout the whole year but I guess you could make some way towards it in one day.
My whole manifesto is built around a constant promotion of sport.