6.52pm: And that’s it! Shout out for Tooters tonight with Swansea University’s finest DJ’s and a massive well done to the candidates!
6.49pm: What do you feel is the main responsibilty of the President?
Tom Upton: Twofold: need to be the man at the forefront and the man at the door. Politics is part of being a President but there’s also a necessity to be incredibly good at networking. Need to know people to get things done. Needs work. Would take pride in doing the hard work required.
Mitch Theaker: Primarily to guide the Union. Political in the sense that you need the ability to help people make decisions that benefit students themselves. About being a leader, inspiring people to grow. Believes his experience will achieve this.
6.47pm: What would you do to improve engagement and involvement by students in the Union?
Mitch Theaker: Union has a weird culture of blame. If students don’t come to Student Forums the students are blamed. Was responsible for the introduction of student voting. Encourage student voting. Need to look at the core problems or we will never tackle the issue.
Tom Upton: Student forums. One of his manifesto points is that motions should be able to be voted for 24 hours after the motion has been put forward. Officers need to be student and forward facing. Each officer would be out during fresher’s week, representing students. Students need to know who their officers are.
6.45pm: Questions: What is the role of a Students’ Union?
Mitch Theaker: “The Union is a campaigning organisation, protecting degrees, the future of students and everything that they stand for.” “We cannot do without services and we should be about the students and for the students.”
Tom Upton: “We are everything extra-curricular. We are who you come and see if you have a course problem. We’re not here to be exclusive, we’re here to be inclusive. Here to represent everyone and fight for what our students want.”
6.42pm: Tom Upton: Currently Societies and Services Officer. Discusses the large number of societies. Reason for his desire to progress to President. “Pride”, students and Union members need to be proud of their achievement. Students’ Union will be changing- space where Spar will have moved from needs to be used. Alumni: card will be created for lifetime members of the Union. Careers: progression from the Union. Need for more careers advisors.
6.40pm: Mitch Theaker up for his introductory speech. Discusses his campaign, “putting students back in the Students’ Union”. Getting students back as the single most important thing at the university. Has a passion for making change. Has been the General Secretary for the past year. Has fought to provide for staff members at the university. Choosing the right person will result in that person getting the best deal for students. “So much to be optimistic about”.
6.40pm: Presidential candidates are up!
6.16pm: Short break being taken before the final group of candidates (Presidential) answer their questions.
6.11pm: What would you do to ensure all sports teams get equal representation?
Zak: Main point on his manifesto is equality. Regardless of how good the club is- everyone deserves the same amount of time. Training will be given to captains and extra training for captains. AU management meetings need to be made more relevant.
Dan: Management team ensures that each team gets two votes. Keep promoting the independent voice of all clubs. Believes that some clubs have larger demands- some need transport, equipment, etc. Encourages clubs to talk to him to ensure they get the representation they deserve.
Imogen: Many teams feel they are not represented enough. Smaller teams could be given more support to bring them up to the standards of hockey, football, etc.
6.09pm: How would you build and further the University’s reputation as a centre of sporting excellence?
Dan: Putting volunteers into the local community. Need to look both “bigger and smaller”. Encouraging news to be spread. AU Media gets hits from around the world. Brilliant facilities including the watersports centre.
Imogen: Has “a history of sporting excellence”. Can bring this to the Union. Sports facilities need improvement. Watersports centre will promote sports at Swansea.
Zak: Wants to build on the reputation on a technical/social media. Incorporating sport into the student experience. Hopes that all clubs can play at the highest level to put Swansea on the map.
Questions: With the changeover of sports to the Students’ Union, how would you get sports teams to cross over effectively and engage with the Union?
Imogen: Currently sport is very isolated from the Students’ Union. Wants to use the skills she has as an AU exec to work with officers to promote different elements of sport. Main thing is “to work together”.
Zak: With the merger happening this year he says he is aware of the struggle to implement a smooth changeover. Wants sports at Swansea to take off.
Dan “Flash”: Already making changes to improve this. Worked with the current officers to implement the changeover. Wants to be here next year to improve even further.
6.08pm: Imogen Stanley: Can relate “to all sports at Swansea”. Active involvement in sports. Five main points- AU/SU merger: opportunity to use the expertise of current officers. Will use regular office hours. Improve accessibility for transport. Finance: big issue that can be fixed by visibility of account ballots. Plan the growth of small clubs. One to one meetings would be held. Captains: privileges would remain and a “captain’s handbook” would be introduced.
6.04pm: Zak “Shaylerman” Shayler: Promises to promote and protect sport at Swansea University, regardless of membership size and base. “Focus needs to be on needs not wants, self-sufficiency is the key.” Using social media to promote events and news. Making the sports centre more available for everyone.
6.02pm: Dan “Flash” Ryan-Lowes: Currently the AU President, saw through the new position of Sports Officer. Overseeing Varsity. Creation of AU Media. Celebrating Swansea’s many successes. Manifesto has seven clear points: bring in new clubs and social groups, taster lessons, sub-committees to the management, etc. Promoting sponsorship- looking for non alcohol-based sponsorship. Campaigning against racism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination.
6pm: Bit of shuffling around and we’re on to the introductory speeches.
5.58pm: Sport Officer candidates are taking to the stage!
5.29pm: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing societies and services in Swansea University?
Owain: Spacing and funding. Dining Room A will be under threat. Rooms need to be kept. Funding- “money doesn’t grow on trees”- societies would be the last thing to get funding cuts.
Tom: Biggest challenge is funding. Many societies who can’t afford to do what they want to do. Get initiative and the backing of the university. Should see more from societies and services with increased tuition fees.
Dave: Advertising- “stand proud and be loud”.
Hamish: Increasing awareness about societies and the benefit of joining those societies.
Steve: Concern that has been raised is how societies have felt left out. Running a society is difficult. Need to have someone who will listen.
Martha: Key issue is that there isn’t enough communication. Multicultural festival, etc, benefit students and the university in general.
Josh: Biggest challenge is the lack of available space. If elected he would look at converting the Waterfront space into a room for societies and student activities.
5.25pm: What new service or idea would you like to implement?
Tom: Not so much anything new- wants to reform the services they already offer. Most valuable service we offer is our societies.
Dave: “Serious one”- they’ve had to turn away student parents, wants to correct this.
Hamish: “Likes food”- would increase the flow of money into food services and “get everyone to eat more”.
Steve: Forum where people can discuss any issue they have with a society or a service.
Martha: Chance to try out societies and not have to pay- everyone should have a chance to join societies.
Josh: Student job fair- students struggle to pay to live at university. By having better opportunities the student experience can be improved.
Owain: Travel shop- better opportunities for travel.
5.22pm: Questions: Not all students are aware of where money from Union services is used. How would you change this?
Dave “Mr T” Townsend: “T for transparency, boom.”
Hamish Simmie: Need to tell students who they can talk to and where they can find the information.
Steve Ralph: Whether online or through posters, students need to know what’s going on.
Martha Kiff: Showing students where the money comes from and what it’s being spent on.
Josh Hayman: Most important thing is showing students how the money is spent. Creating wall charts.
Owain Harries: Show the students where the money is spent. Need quarterly account updates. Make sure that people know about the website and how to get access to the accounts.
Tom Gifford: Matter of communication between the Union and students. Putting charts online. Should be the decision of students about what to spend money on.
5.20pm: Dave “Mr T” Townsend: Heavy involvement in societies. Secretary and Social Secretary for society. Involved in “The Hitch” and date auctions. Involvement in martial arts societies. Swansea has a long history of helping the community. Wants to start a review of the nursery unit. As a student parent Townsend says this is what he feels most strongly about.
5.18pm: Hamish Simmie: Regular user/member of available societies on campus. Hopes to promote the benefit of joining societies as part of the fundamental student experience. Promote skills that look good on the CV. Issues that need to be dealt with in terms of services.
5.16pm: Steve Ralph: Standing for his love of the Union- strong involvement in societies including the English Society. Says there are problems with societies- he wants to create an environment where students can come forward with any issues they may have. Need more publicity for the work made by employers. Need Twitter feeds and other ways to connect the officers with the people they represent. Downloadable forms needed to prevent students having to run back and forwards.
5.14pm: Martha Kiff: Worked with many different societies. Wants to make the student experience as good as how she remembers. Better looking system. Making socials as good as they can be. Societies evenings- working with other societies. Extra Give it a Go week.
5.12pm: Josh Hayman: Worked in the Students’ Union, in societies, for X-treme radio and RAG. Knows how societies work. Built good relationships with the staff and others in the university. Turn Divas from just being a nightclub into a better space for societies. Noise complaints in halls- hold a silent disco to discourage excessive noise during exam season. Student job fairs: help students who have no experience- encourage local businesses to employ students.
5.10pm: Owain Harries: Calls himself passionate, hard-working and loud. Has worked with societies over the years and seen them grow. Involvement with Varsity, Waterfront, etc. “The smart candidate”. Will work on society events, news, anything to make students aware of what goes on in their Union. Advertising- get promoting out across the campus. Renovation- making space available- rooms used by students. Creating an online travel shop.
5.09pm: Tom Gifford: Three things- renovate Divas, (increase capacity, etc), lead a campaign to decrease pricing in Spar, and represent students.
5.08pm: Introductory speeches.
5.07pm: Candidates finally taking to the stage…
5.06pm: They’ve found the candidate!
4.58pm: Simmo would like to plug the rugby/St Patrick’s Day event taking place on campus tomorrow!
4.56pm: Maybe not! Waiting for one more candidate…
4.52pm: Candidates for Societies and Services are taking to the stage.
4.37pm: Currently on a 30 minute break before we reconvene for Societies and Services hustings.
4.20pm: What do you think are the biggest issues facing women students on campus?
Pearl: “Loads to choose from”. New tuition fee policy is mentioned. 80% of women being unable to pay off their tuition fees loan because they reach a job market where there is a gender pay gap. Give financial advice. Issue that she’s had personally is with her landlord, wishes to improve services.
Becca: Employability after university, especially for single mothers. Engineering students (women) are not supported as much as they could be. Would help them as much as possible to get them employed.
Millie: Doesn’t believe that “just women” should be protected from discrimination. Highlight issues and bring everyone together.
Izzie: Thinks it’s more about giving women the chance to believe they “can do anything they put their minds to”. Conference groups for minority groups- get people to go for jobs they might not go for.
4.16pm: What do you plan to do to support liberation campaigns if elected?
Izzie: More training needed to raise awareness. Wants to open up groups around the university. Make students proud of what they want to do.
Pearl: Involvement in women’s campaigns- travelling to spread the word. Has involvement in Reclaim the Night campaigns as well as working closely with committees. Would support the exec committee.
Becca: Would make sure that the committees were supported. Explain about resources and make sure the committee members knew each other.
Millie: Intends to bring national scale campaigns to Swansea. Everything would be brought to campus. Get students involved.
4.12pm: Name the first change you would make for women students if elected.
Millie Balkan: Change the position to “equalities officer”, wants the university to be a “celebration of diversity”. Make the university a more liberated place.
Izzy Granville: Doesn’t want to say what changes she would make without suggestions from other students. Would implement new changes, says that some things could be “tweaked”. Include a few groups in a few different societies.
Pearl Sangha: First change she would implement would be the priority ballot. Amazing way to empower women students. Way to reach out and bring the Union “to you as women students”. Encourage other Full-Time Officers to do similar things.
Becca Warrilow: Would ensure that all staff are trained for Zero Tolerance. Would make sure that everyone knew who the Women’s Officer was and that they could approach said officer.
4.10pm: Becca Warrilow: Discusses her involvement in the Students’ Union. Wishes to maintain and improve the “amazing work” that has been part of the Union. Wishes to educate people on feminism and challenge the misconceptions of sexism and what defines as sexual harassment. Says that there has been no training for SU staff and this needs to change. Discusses the need for more female taxi drivers. Raise awareness for eating disorders and would restart the student-led support group.
4.07pm: Pearl Sangha: Says that liberation campaigns are her passion. Union would run campaigns that would be created by and run for students. Work with the Waterfront to introduce a specific page to inform students of what the officer has been doing. Says that 1 in 7 women students have experience unwanted sexual attention. 67% of the public sector are women. 9/10 teachers experience homophobic abuse. Wants to tackle problems for disabled and black students. 80% of women students will not be able to pay back their student loans.
4.05pm: Izzy Granville: Tells audience to read everyone’s manifestos. Promises to do liberation campaigns and help all students. Says that the position is not just about women and she wants to help all different groups of students. Wants to make change. Wishes to keep self-defence classes, etc, but also make the position clearer and more transparent.
4.03pm: Millie Balkan is up first. Introduces herself and discusses misconceptions of feminism. Says that feminism is about equality. Says that there will never be true inequality and that people deserve the same opportunities. Wishes to update the role to Equalities Officer because she believes that the role of Women’s Officer is outdated.
4.02pm: Women’s Officer candidates are up and about to make their opening speeches.
3.41pm: Education candidates are finished, another ten minute break is being taken before the Women’s Officer candidates step up to the platform.
3.38pm: How would you help Swansea students boost their employability in a competitive market?
Ian: Employability is one of my main targets. We keep saying we need to challenge the university however if they won’t do it we cannot let our students now. We need to start working with the careers service to get those improvements now.
Zahid: Will be applying for graduate course in Medicine- knows what the issues are in employability. Discusses new employability academy and how this is not enough- students deserve better.
3.36pm: What are the big issues affecting higher education in Wales today and how would you address these issues?
Zahid: Sat on a committee dealing with these issues. Swansea University needs to winb the arguments of students. Student need to approach officers as well.
Ian: I’ve also sat on NUS Wales NEC. Fees is one thing but it’s also the mentality of education that needs to be changed in Wales. Need to get the government to realise that education matters.
3.34pm: How will you improve the university mechanisms for feedback and exam results as well as general course materials and information?
Ian Morgan: “One of my priorities would be feedback. One piece of paper is not enough. There are so many different ways the departments can go. A lot of Arts and Humanities is essay work and so more feedback is required to tell students where exactly they went want. Cutting down and giving more detailed feedback.
Zahid Raja: “Feedback is something I’ve looked very carefully at. If the feedback is under par that department needs to be investigated. Course materials need to be put online 24 hours before lectures.
3.32pm: Zahid Raja says he has had four years experience in education. Discusses the impact he has made during these years. Says the Students’ Union should accept responsibilty for mistakes, wants the Union to improve. Resolving issues and moving forward with education. Would introduce more key texts to the library, computer updates, and transferring current awards. Would expand careers services, promises to campaign- “manifesto of action”.
3.30pm: Ian Morgan says he has made a difference- involvement in the MFL campaign. LGBT Officer for the Union and tackled awareness, supporting students who need him most. Was recognised by a student who told him that he was the reason the student decided to come to Swansea. Improvements required for feedback. Career services need improvements- Ian Morgan wishes to work with the careers service. Degree changes- personal tutors who are not aware of the students they work with are “not acceptable”.
3.29pm: Ian Morgan and Zahid Raja stepping up to give their opening speeches.
3.21pm: The Siren team are refuelling on Haribo and Minstrels.
3.17pm: Education candidates are up next but a ten minute break is being taken. Writers on either side are doing well at note taking, thanks guys!
3.14: What is highest on your agenda for student welfare?
Charlotte: Housing- which is still a massive problem for students who have to live in poor conditions. Highest thing on manifesto is food- we (students) spend a lot of time on campus and meals need to improved.
Ceejay: One of my highest agenda points is students permit issues. Students struggle to get support and they can’t find it so I would work the university to ensure that they would get the support they need.
3.13pm: How do you plan to tackle the welfare issues that face today’s students?
Ceejay: Organising seminars that would help students to overcome issues like stress, communication, positive thinking, etc.
Charlotte: Says that it depends on the issue in question. In terms of housing some students just need information, with money students might need to sit and discuss. Mentions that students aren’t just 18-21, there’s a wider spectrum.
3.10pm: How would you communicate with students to make them aware of the support services provided by the Union?
Charlotte Britton: Ran with the position because she wanted to help other students with the issues she faced herself. “Can’t just run campaigns that are awareness campaigns because you can’t know if they’ve worked.” Discusses housing advice week, designed to give students specific advice.
Ceejay John King: Would try to make students aware of the services that are available to them. Would work hand in hand with the university to make sure that disabled students would be provided for.
3.09pm: Ceejay John King gives opening speech. Discusses how his life as a student is full of challenges. Assist with accommodation issues.
3.07pm: Charlotte Britton gives her opening speech. Details of her role as current Welfare Officer- housing survey, housing advice week. Survey has been reported as going national. She says she has lobbied hard to increase security in the student village and worked with police to combat crime. Wishes to improve the food for next year and deal with pricing. Improve surveys and encourage response from students. Improve resources. Protect students and work with the money advice centre to ensure that budgeting is publicised.
3.06pm: Welfare Officer candidates are up.
3.05pm: How would you encourage international students to engage further with sports and societies?
Mahaboob: Next year there will be specific spaces for international students. Regarding Societies and Services, we will have 4 more international societies.
Kayla: I think it’s really important that international students are made aware of what’s going on, firstly of what they can and can’t be involved in. They are students and I will be there to support and encourage everyone involve.
3.01pm: What ideas do you have for providing fair representation to all international students?
Kayla Bates: Provide and open and approachable place for multicultural students on campus.
Mahaboob Basha: I started the international student forum and we have several workshops that are ongoing. Students can also bring their issues to us. We will try to sort out the problems with the forum to improve it.
2.59pm: Questions: If elected, how would you engage with International students are made aware of events on campus?
Mahaboob Basha says: The university has been very open and inclusive. Today we have 39 international societies. If you ask the campus they would say 83% of students are aware of what’s going on on campus.
Kayla Bates says: Something I struggled with when I was a student: I wasn’t very aware of what the Union did. I think International students should be required to meet perhaps once a term to be made aware of what’s going on.
2.57pm: Kayla Bates speaking. “I am aware of the excitement and diversity at university.” She believes that every student should have the same opportunities. Seeks to improve advisory services and maintain current duties of International Officer. Deal with immigration issues. Promises to keep students informed about any fee changes, etc. Encourage involvement with Societies and Services and work with other officers to ensure that the student voice is heard. Provide helpful and approachable forum, bringing a fresh perspective to the university.
2.55pm: Mahaboob Basha giving his introduction. Promises to give his time to ensure students enjoy themselves at the university. “Improvements can be made.” Many int. students are coming into a new culture which can be confusing. Say that he has made improvements over his year in office. If elected he promises to dedicate himself to encourage integration on campus and campaign/lobby for the reconsideration of the current situation with UK visas.
2.54pm: International candidates are up!
2.42pm: In case you forgot the order of the individual hustings, here it is:
2.45pm: International Officer
3pm: Welfare Officer
3.30pm: Education Officer
4pm: Women’s Officer
5pm: Societies and Services
6pm: Sports Officer
2.34pm: Running a bit late, everyone’s still getting set up! Here with writers Harry Thurston and Rachel Hodgson.