Interviews – VP (Activities and Development)

All candidates for Vice President of Activities and Development have been out on campus this week campaigning for your votes

All candidates for Vice President of Activities and Development have been out on campus this week campaigning for your votes. VPAD is responsible for student groups and volunteering opportunities at the Guild of Students. Ryan Jones caught up with them to see how the campaigning is going.

Ollie 'Where's Ollie?' Cosentino

Why did you choose to run for the position of VPAD?
Because I love the fact that there is so much going on in student groups and volunteering. I set my own society up in my first year, and I’ve never looked back really; I’ve just enjoyed my time so much and I want to try and share that great experience with as many people as possible. And I think that being a VPAD you can facilitate the ways to actually make that a reality and I think that’s the best thing about the job.

How has the campaign gone thus far?
I’ve really enjoyed it and I think we’ve all come together, the team has been really strong and we’ve had a good time – had a good laugh also. We’ve had a great time, we’ve loved doing it and I think that is all you can ask for and hope for the best.

Have you had any difficulties or problems during the campaign?
Not really no. Apart from the rain over the weekend which put a damper on stuff, but not really no, we’ve been well organised and I think that has helped us greatly, and we’ve kept positive.

There were reports the campaign material was damaged following Fab ‘n’ Fresh last Saturday – were you personally affected?
No more than anyone else, we all took a hit on the card and the signage. But most of it was due to the rain and wind which is to be expected.

How have your previous roles at the university given you the experience to run for VPAD?
I’ve worked in student development for the last 8 months which has been great fun. It’s just the fact that you can help student groups on a day to day basis, solving problems, making sure that they are running smoothly and student development is the best place for that. And it’s been a great laugh; I’ve worked with some great people; which is another reason why I am running for VPAD, because I want to transfer that over to next year and progress from there.

In brief, why should people vote for you?
I would say because I really want to do something different; I really want to bring something different to the Guild which hasn’t been done before. I’ve got SocietiesFest which is my main policy
and which, if elected, that would turn things on their head in the first couple of weeks. I feel like that I can transfer the passion that I’ve had from my past experiences over the last few years, and I think you need that passion, you need that drive to do something good – and I really feel I can do that.

Chris 'the Master' Bates

Why did you choose to run for the position of VPAD?
Well back in the day, I originally chose to run for Vice President for Welfare because that is what I was involved in as a RA at Pritchatts Park, welfare representation. But after I finished being a RA, I got so much involved in societies, particularly Burn FM. This spurred me on and I realised that is what I loved, that is what I loved about university and the Guild – and I want to share that love and passion with everyone else.

How has the campaign gone thus far?
So far it’s been pretty good, it’s really hard to gauge, people ask how it’s going; but I’ve enjoyed it and I think my team has enjoyed it which is the most important thing. I’ve had a cracking week and a half; it’s been really nice talking to people, last night I went back to Pritchatts Park and sat in the kitchen of my old flat, very weird, but I enjoyed it.

Have you had any difficulties or problems during the campaign?
The only difficulty really was that the Guild decided to close the printing deadline last Wednesday, so we couldn’t get any more publicity printed off after. Obviously it’s difficult to gauge the amount of leaflets and posters you’re going to get through. So that has been a bit difficult, I’ve managed to sort it out, but it was quite annoying.

There were reports the campaign material was damaged following Fab ‘n’ Fresh last Saturday – were you personally affected?
I pulled in all my big stuff; I had a big banner which I brought in and made sure was safe. But yes, little bits and bobs got trashed, but they’d been damaged by the rain and the wear and tear of campaigning anyway, so it wasn’t too great a loss. But I can understand for candidates who lost major stuff that it must have been very annoying.

How have your previous roles at the university given you the experience to run for VPAD?
Obviously I’ve been Pritchatts Park RA which involved looking out for the welfare of 700 students and representing them to the Guild, to the university and housing and accommodation services. So I’ve had a lot of contact and dealings with a wide spectrum of university and guild management people, and I’ve greatly enjoyed working with people and working with a means to an end when it came to student welfare. The most directly relatable one was being Deputy Manager of Burn Fm, that is a 24hr position, so constantly being on call having meeting people meeting you, being able to respond and sort things out and knowing what to do, I would say was the best role to prepare me for VPAD.

In brief, why should people vote for you?
People should vote for me for some of the reasons I’ve outlined already: I’ve got plenty of experience, I’ve got so much passion for this job, I’ve got some great ideas, I want to make sure
that next year student groups are even bigger and better, that there are lots more people getting involved and that student groups are going out of the guild into the community. Also, I think we
should just have a great year.

Anna 'the Polar Bear' Kaisa-Polojärvi

Why did you choose to run for the position of VPAD?

Well it was something I originally found out about in my first year, through the societies fair, Emma Packham was there, then VPAD, she was promoting guild activities, getting involved and running for the offices etc. And I thought that seems like a really good idea, something really interesting. But I didn’t really have the courage to do it before hand, but now I decided with a lot of my friends support saying that I should definitely run, so I decided to and thought that I would regret it if not.

How has the campaign gone thus far?

Well it’s been really positive. Part of the reason why I was doubting on running was that I am a minority candidate in every sense of the word, I’m female which seems to be definitely a minority when looking at the board there, I’m also Finnish, so I’m a foreigner, I’ve got a disability because of my hearing impairment, so in every sense of the word I am pretty much a minority candidate. But then again, when I’ve been talking to people it does seem like my ideas to appeal to the majority, so that has been really positive reinforcement, I’ve really enjoyed campaigning.

Have you had any difficulties or problems during the campaign?

No, I mean I was expecting that it would be challenging, that is normal, I would have hoped that we would have had a better debate between the candidates. I think it really would have been necessary, obviously we had the hustings but I don’t think that it really was a proper debate. And that was definitely something that was missing. So I’ve really enjoyed the fact that individual students have been asking questions, they’ve been challenging my views, so I’ve had the chance to explain my views better. A few doors in Selly Oak have been shut to my face, but I think that was expected.

There were reports the campaign material was damaged following Fab ‘n’ Fresh last Saturday – were you personally affected?

No not really, I’ve gone with the policy, originally I thought about making the placards, but when I saw the campus; the look I got from the campus didn’t really appeal to me, so I decided I’m not going to make anymore placards, but I’ve got a few around and I’m not making anymore. In sports night my banner got lost, apparently it was found in Pritchatts Park on a door, but overall I think my material has been pretty ok.

How have your previous roles at the university given you the experience to run for VPAD?

Well I’ve obviously been working in student development for the last two years, and training that I have got from student development alongside my actual experience working there, has obviously given me a lot of experience of student problems and student group problems. So I really have a sense of the everyday issues that they do face, and I’ve also been in three committees myself, so I’ve been on the other side of the counter so to speak. Obliviously being a student going through all the same issues that every student does go through, I totally understand why Societies Fair for 2 days during Freshers Week is not necessarily the best way to promote our student groups.

In brief, why should people vote for you?

I think my greatest asset is my experience. But I think I would be a good person to work with, I’m very sympathetic when it comes to students groups, as a lot of my committee members can tell you, I feel that I really want to help the student groups to improve the system and allow them to manage their members better; manage their events better and make the guild better.

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Ryan Jones



Published

9th March 2012 at 2:50 pm

Last Updated

9th March 2012 at 2:50 pm



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