The Student Leadership Race is nearly upon us and the time has come for students to create manifestos and put themselves forward to become part of the new student exec team. Lippy had the opportunity to chat to Charley Strachan, one of this year’s candidates for Equality and Diversity Officer, about the importance of the leadership race and why we should vote!
L: Can you tell us a little bit about the LUU leadership race and what the candidates are running for?
C: The officer positions that people will be running for are Activities officer, Welfare officer, Equality and Diversity officer, Community officer and Education Officer. Any student can apply and the race is all about people campaigning to represent the student body, become a trustee for the Union and effectively become a part of the executive board for the Union! You really are the main student representative and pass on all the ideas and suggestions from students to the Union.
L: When does the campaigning take place?
C: The race takes place between the 19th February and the 2nd of March 2018. The first week is for campaigning and the second week is when voting starts!
L: What have student execs done in the past for the Union?
C: In the past the Welfare officer and Equality and Diversity officers have worked together to put gender neutral toilets all over the Union. The Union upgrade was put forward by the Affairs officer. There was a BAME conference organised by the current Equality and Diversity officer to help students with their careers. Stuff like increasing disability awareness, the promotion of Black History Month and ‘Why is my Curriculum White?’ were all organised by the student exec.
L: Why do you want to run for exec? What makes you a good candidate?
C: I’ve worked at the Union for about 18 months now in Terrace. I’ve been on a couple of different committees for different societies in my final year as well. I’ve been at the Union long enough to know how it works and I have been made aware of a lot of things that should really be changed and a lot of stuff that is not fair on students. I feel like we really can make this place much more equal and diverse.
L: What policies would you bring to the role of Equality and Diversity officer if you were elected?
C: If I were elected for Equality and Diversity officer I would promote disability awareness week in May and International Women’s Day. Obviously Black History Month is such a great event and the Union really promotes it a lot but I think these other occasions for awareness should be promoted just as much. I want to work to create more safe spaces around the Union because I don’t think Common Ground and Union Square are super effective. I would also hope to do more equality and diversity training for university committee members of societies and make student support more accessible. The waiting lists for Nightline and Student counselling are way too long and people who really need the help aren’t getting it. Also I think mitigating circumstances forms for students should be easier to fill out, making the process less stressful.
L: What will you be doing during campaign week? Where can we find you?
C: I will be all over the Union saying ‘hi’ to people and introducing myself, trying to get more people voting. I will likely have a T-shirt on telling people to vote, maybe doing some singing with the A Cappella Society – I’ll be all over.
L: Why should we vote?
C: It’s a democratic process. The more people that vote increases the accountability of the student exec team within the Union. They are given the power to create change and, at the end of the day, these are the people who represent you and your ideas!
L: Being a general busy body? Where and when can we vote?
C: Voting is from the 26th February until the 1st March. All you have to do is search for the Leadership Race on the LUU website and cast your vote!