Tom, currently in his seventh year at Southampton has been President, Captain or Treasurer of the Snooker and Pool Club for the last six years. He took a break from competing at the BUCS 8-ball Championships, which removed him from campus for the first few days of campaigning, to tells the Scene how his seven years experience, frustration and determination make him a contender for the VP Sports Development position.
Why have you decided to run for this position?
I have had a long, hard battle with our AU and SUSU to improve the snooker club, and I want to take that grit and determination I’ve needed to improve the club and apply it to every club in the AU.
Why is this position important to you?
This position is important to me for the very reason I have already mentioned:I have spent six years improving the snooker club and it was a real battle to get things done.
It shouldn’t take the length of two degrees to get any changes implemented.
I suppose the snooker club got lucky that I stayed about for a postgrad degree – without that, all the efforts I put in my first few years would have essentially gone to waste. To that end, I understand completely (a) how to affect and improve a club from the ground up, and (b) how a poor reception from the AU or SUSU can impede that improvement. I think my experiences have prepared me well for the challenge of helping every club improve.
What can you give to this position that other nominees can’t?
Again, I think what I give to the position is my experience of being frustrated with our union – how that affects a club or person who is trying to bring about some sort of change or improvement to their club.It’s very easy to try and create a strategy from the top-down. It’s much tougher to be humble and say, “I need your input and knowledge to work out how we’re going to improve your club.”
The best thing VP Sports can do is make themselves open to suggestions and information from club reps themselves and try and work with their ideas.
How will you build on the work already done by Jonny?
I think Jonny has made some good progress this year, particularly with trying to rescue the competitive funding problems the AU has had. I’ve already announced my dissatisfaction with this year’s “one size fits all approach”. Jonny did the best he could at the time, but really the biggest thing he’s done recently is surveying all clubs to assess the *true* cost of running the AU. The next VP Sports will then have proper data to work on, which I think will make it easier to go to the University or the Union and appeal for more funding.
What is your main election strategy?
My main election strategy is a little forced on me, truth be told.
I had to go away to represent the University at the BUCS 8-ball Championships until Sunday evening, so have not been able to campaign in person. In my absence I’ve organised a team of helpers who have been putting my posters up. I also plan on going to Winchester and targeting that campus too. Once I’m back in Southampton I’ll be campaigning in person by talking to students before their lectures and club meetings. I’ll also assess how my spending so far has worked and exhaust the rest of my budget, probably on adverts.
Have you any previous experience working or volunteering for SUSU run organisations?
As I alluded to above, my main experience of working for SUSU organisations revolves around the snooker club. I’ve been on the club’s committee in the role of president, captain or treasurer for the past six years. I’ve been recognised for my contributions to the club by receiving my Club Colours in 2010 and being the runner up for the Vice Chancellor’s Award in 2011.
What do you feel this position will bring to your future career prospects?
I haven’t considered what impact holding this position will have on any future career I might have. I’m not running to improve my CV, I’m running because I want to improve our Athletic Union. That is my first priority.
If you could hold office for one day what would you do?
Well, I suppose from my manifesto, the easiest change to implement is to prominently publicise the minutes.susu.org website and initiate the policy of recording all committee meetings (such as AUC) and get the communications department publishing them as part of the minutes website.
I think ensuring the level of transparency our AU (and SUSU too, frankly) be high is crucial in promoting a level of trust between clubs and the union.