Meet the candidates: Activities

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The Activities Officer takes on a number of roles, including representing Societies, Enterprise, Skills Training, Joblink and The Bath Award as well as the ethical and environmental aspects of the Union. With such a broad remit they can have a large impact on your time at Bath – from helping you find a new hobby, starting up your own business or even just helping you find part time work.

We asked the candidates a few questions on what they want to achieve in office; here are their answers:

William Bonnell

What manifesto promise is the most important to you?will

I have always thought of university as a time for challenging yourself and opening yourself up to new experiences and ideas. As such I think that increasing student campaigning is vitally important for students as individuals and for society in general. This is why ensuring it is easier to set up campaigns and that there is proper support for these campaigns (funding and training) is my most important promise.

What do you think is going to win the campaign for you?

There are plenty of people who dislike my policies and the changes that they would bring about, most of these people are already heavily entrenched in the SU’s current structures, some going so far as to call me “faux left” and a “nutter”. However I am one of the first students in years to run on a genuinely political platform with genuine policies that I am passionate about. I think it is this strength of will, passion and devotion that will win the students over, many of whom are fed up with the apolitical farce our union has become.

What would you class as a successful year?

Students becoming more engaged with issues such as the environment, gender and LGBTQ+, politics and free education, setting up their own campaigns and getting different societies involved is something I would love to see after a year in office. However if I could get at least one coach to go to a national demo from the SU I would consider that a victory.

If you could change one thing about the Uni, regardless of money, what would you do?

I would change the way the university is run at a fundamental level. Instead of being run like a corporation in a neo-liberal capitalist system, sacrificing everything on the altar of infinite growth, I would see it run as a university should be, an institution of learning, enlightenment and research. The sort of place that encourages blue sky thinking along with the exchange of ideas.

What is your favourite thing about the city of Bath?

The Hobgoblin. It is my favourite pub and I would highly recommend it to anyone. (Cheapish beer, everything made out of wood that’s had a thousand pints spilled on it, a jukebox containing primarily metal/rock/punk and a basement level called the crypt) If you do ever get the chance to pop in, check out the male toilets, it has the most impressive array of graffiti I have ever seen in a toilet ever!

How do you promote activities in the shadow of sports?

I think that part of this issue is the emphasis the university itself puts on sport. I remember on my open day being shown the sports centre (thoroughly unimpressed as an out of shape physicist, more accustomed to spending my spare time playing boardgames or something) but not really being told about the wide variety of great societies that we have at Bath. So I think really pushing it from the very beginning is important.

Laz Cunliffe

What manifesto promise is the most important to you?  laz

Skills training opportunities and awareness! There are so many things out there that people don’t realise. I want students to get the most out of their time here at Bath, because your education is not constrained to the lecture hall.

What do you think is going to win the campaign for you?

I’m hoping that people will recognise that I’m a good listener, approachable and want to give the best to students. I really want people to make the most of our union and I want to implement change that really matters to people. I also have an excellent knowledge of how the Union works, and what changes are feasible and necessary.

What would you class as a successful year?

Happy students is the optimum! However I would love to see the number of recipients of the Bath Award and attendees for skills training sessions double next year.

If you could change one thing about the Uni, regardless of money, what would you do?

Create more skills training options such that every student had the option to learn something new for free.

What is your favourite thing about the city of Bath?

I love the diversity. There is always something going on; comedy festival, fringe festival, literature festival, international music festival, Christmas markets – there’s always something to do or see across the city. Although there will always be a special place in my heart for the Hobgoblin pub.

How do you promote activities in the shadow of sports?

I don’t think that activities are in the “shadow of sports” – even the Bath Award recognises sport as a key skill. Sport is so popular at Bath and I’m not here to contest it. Personally, I have been active in 5 arts societies through performing in, publicising and organising events. I also took part in LGBT’s Desexualisation of Lesbians campaign debate last semester, which was a really good event for the group for both publicity and student awareness of the cause. If elected, I will further support societies in their events, especially newly affiliated societies, improve committee training so that the society can work to its full potential, as well as improve communication with ICIA to get more students using the Edge/Wedge/wedgie/new arts building/that one.

Emma Hendersonemma

What manifesto promise is the most important to you?

The most important manifesto promise to me is to improve the Tier System. From this I believe that we will see the most improvement to what students want to see.

What do you think is going to win the campaign for you?

My honesty. I’m not promising things that are unachievable or already in progress. I’m here because I want to represent the students and bring something new in, not get the spotlight. I want to improve the Activities Area so students arriving in Bath in the future can benefit.

What would you class as a successful year?

A successful year to me is one where I achieve something that improves life at University for as many students as possible.

If you could change one thing about the Uni, regardless of money, what would you do?

More admin assistants in the Activities Office. The staff do amazingly but we could use more help. Having worked closely with the staff from my position on Societies Executive I can see how having more staff will allow more time for individual support and for updating students on the progress of the Activities Officer.

What is your favourite thing about the city of Bath?

Walking down Great Pultney Street. Just gorgeous.

How do you promote activities in the shadow of sports?

I would continue to encourage Societies to attend national events or competitions and prove they are the best in their fields. It’s hard to compete with Sport, when the University offers a Sports degree, but we have some amazingly talented individuals here at Bath who can show off that talent on a national scale.

Nick West

What manifesto promise is the most important to you?

My promise to be a more accountable candidate. It’s your University, it’s your SU therefore it’s your right to know what is being donenick for you and why. I’ll start a weekly blog so anyone can find out what I’m doing and I’ll hold a weekly drop in session because ultimately, it’s wrong for a representative to be elected and then disappear behind closed doors.

What do you think is going to win the campaign for you?

It’s a tie between my poses and the fact that I’m the most approachable candidate. During campaigning I have spoken to so many students and so many have talked to me, it’s really fantastic to see the responses I’ve been getting.

What would you class as a successful year?

I’d consider a successful year as one where I manage to increase participation, societies run the best events they’ve ever run, and every single student feels like they know me and know who I am.

If you could change one thing about the Uni, regardless of money, what would you do?

I’d like to give societies more money. As it stands, socs are doing some really incredible stuff, but if they had more of a budget I’m confident that they could go above and beyond everything we’ve seen before.

What is your favourite thing about the city of Bath?

I think its size. It’s bigger than my home town, but it’s easily small enough for everything to be within walking distance. Obviously London or Bristol have more going on, but Bath is more than enough for me and it’s just perfect.4

How do you promote activities in the shadow of sports?

Obviously this is a very sports-centric university and activities can often be seen as an afterthought, but as it stands currently they aren’t in the shadow of sports so much as they’re complementing eachother. One of the many things I want to do is increase the ties between sports and activities, promoting collaboration (such as Cheerleading and BodySoc who already work together) or even just to co-ordinate workshops, training sessions and events to prevent clashes by creating a universal calendar across sport and socs.

N.B Wadzi Pasipamire was invited to fill out the interview, but declined to do so.

Photo Credits: Hugh Wren

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About Author

Benjamin is the former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of bathimpact and covers stories on University of Bath, University of Bath Students’ Union, Bath politics and student issues

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