Live Programme: Questions to Candidates – Activities and Community 2019

Check back here by refreshing the page to get updates on the first Questions To Candidates 2019!

14.12: Media shouldn’t be a society followup: Should Backstage be a society? Arron says it’s their decision, Francesco thinks changing structure would change how BTS delivers their service altogether.

14.10: The candidates are asked on excess funding for societies. Both candidates mention Backstage in high regard. Francesco doesn’t think it’s excessive, but doesn’t want funding to compromise quality.

14:08 What’s lacking from the SU website? Francesco wants to encourage more collaboration between societies

14:07 …we’re still going with the question and Arron brings up ‘Buzzfeed style quizzes’ for students to find the right society.

14:05 Francesco discusses collaboration between smaller and larger societies, with examples of good practice, and the need for ‘the SU to find you’ by matching your given interests with potential societies, through a website which is easier to navigate.

14:03 How can we support societies struggling to maintain members? Arron wants to support committees much more strongly, and like a true consultant, he stresses the importance of a ‘top-down approach’ to implementing more effective approaches to retaining members…

14:01 Should media be a society? Francesco gives a firm ‘no’ and cites a need to be independent from the societies space, taking on ‘something of everything’. Arron agrees and reiterates his work of increasing collaboration between societies and volunteering, retaining different expertise for different groups.

14:00 Francesco is grilled about his lack of engagement in previous policy rounds and admits he didn’t vote in the previous policy round. He states that he would be significantly more engaged if elected.

13:59 …whilst Francesco has less of a defined stance, and says he needs to look closer if elected to make a properly informed choice rather than a knee-jerk reaction.

13:58 The candidates are asked about divesting from Barclays. Arron mentions his pledge to go carbon neutral like other universities…even Bath Spa!

13:57 Francesco is quizzed on his switch from applying for community officer last year to activities. He mentions a change of heart and his previous work heavily informing his activities strategy.

13:55 Arron is questioned as to the similarities with manifestoes in previous years. He cites his extensive experience in committees as a reason for picking these points up…and keeps citing.

13:55 Things are getting spicy as they continue to disagree about The Edge…at length.

13:52 The candidates are pushed on their differences here. Arron states the lack of student consultation so far, and talks about sushi bars. Neither want The Edge to have too much power.

13:49 The sale of Edge tickets going to the SU is discussed – Arron claims that these concerns are being addressed and that the SU should have an influence, whilst Francesco believes that the system last year worked, with individual seating. He would lobby to reinstate the previous ticketing system. We get a nice pep talk about accounts too.

13:48 Arron states that the societies bringing the most to the student experience are those which retain members the best (as well as the quieter societies! He’s chair of VegSoc…). Francesco cites the collaborators, and Fine Arts in particular – collaborating with not only other societies but also other student groups.

Now onto Activities! Francesco cites his extensive experience as the activities society administrator and environmental rep, whilst Arron brings up his success in a variety of roles across the activities space.

13:41 If there’s one thing Beth wants us to do, it’s watch her music video! Alisha just wants to have this year all over again…

13:40 The perception of students by locals is brought up; Beth mentions promoting volunteering to present a more positive aspect of student life, and Alisha brings up the possibility of greater civic engagement by sitting on more local bodies and groups.

13:39 What is the biggest issue facing student welfare? Beth states stress due to living conditions on top of work, whilst Alisha claims that the coverage on mental health falls short for students.

13:37 In reply to a question about extortionate fees, especially with international students, both candidates feel this is a tactic by the university to target certain ‘cash cow’ areas of the world. Both mention giving a voice to all minorities.

13:36 Candidates are asked how to make student groups more inclusive. The inclusivity award is rolled out but both candidates agree that a more intensive, in-depth look at individual groups to see how they can improve would be beneficial.

13:34 Beth is questioned about the balance between capping numbers and the threat of adverse financial conditions. She stresses the need for the university to take the lead, whilst Alisha disagrees – she sees it as a matter of increasing postgrad numbers and promoting distance learning.

13:32 The candidates are asked about off-campus halls. Alisha cites the widening of representation from hall reps. Beth underlines the need to bring these students up to campus as much as possible during fresher’s week.

13:31 Alisha asks Beth about her policies and her legacy regarding making meetings on the topic of student welfare more accessible.

13:29 Beth asks Alisha around her policy on voluntourism. Alisha points out the need for a greater level of rigour and ethics around promoting such events in the future.

13:28 In answer to a question around sufficient support for the student body by the university. Both recognise that the university is currently not doing enough to cater for the diversity and number of students.

13:27 The candidates are asked how they would ensure sufficient diversity post-Brexit. Alisha focuses on the celebration and integration of more cultural events throughout the year. Beth points out that this may not be an issue for a couple of years, and that she has included pre-induction sessions as a point in her manifesto.

13.24: asked on extension of accessibility in clubs, and whether VOLT events should be stopped in favour of accessibility. Beth promotes Komedia as first partner. Alisha says she would start with more effective marketing strategies and ideas as the SU has fallen short in the past.

13.24: Alisha is asked about funding for International Students – wants to raise awareness because currently, not enough students are tapping into it sufficiently.

13.23: Beth asked on drug testing policy augmenting drug use – she refers to NUS study saying students feel reluctant to address drug addition because of the stigma surrounding it.

13.22: asked on housing prices – Beth says priority is quality of housing, they can afford it. Alisha would prioritise cheaper Houses of Multiple Occupancy.

13.21 – Question on budgeting: Alisha budgeting round has passed, but not worried about wider participation because there’s funding elsewhere.

13.20 — What to improve: Beth integrating disabled students more wholly into university life, Alisha engaging with mature students.

13:19 — First question on Peer Mentor Schemes and why they didn’t mention it in their manifesto; Alisha says she’s happy with it and Beth claims her manifesto mentioning ‘welfare’ covers her demands for it.

13:18 — Candidates introduce themselves.

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