SU Officer Interviews: Why Should You Vote?

THE 2014 Students’ Union spring elections are now underway, with the 7-day campaign period beginning today. To start off ASM’s election coverage, we’re bringing you interviews with a few of the incumbent full time officers to talk us through why their roles are relevant to students, and why students should vote. Voting will open at 8am on the 4th March.

At the last Students’ Union elections, voter turnout was the lowest ever recorded, including votes in elections for the previous Guild of Students. The clearest example of this was in autumn last year, where only 0.97% of eligible voters took part in the Seafront Halls Representative elections. Since then, the Students’ Union has looked to increase student engagement in democracy, which you can read more about here.

Firstly, we spoke to current SU President Ioan Rhys Evans who passionately expressed the need for students to engage with the election process and cast their vote next Tuesday. Evans was adamant that student voting is the key to a strong Students’ Union, and that if people feel strongly about issues within the university, then voting, and taking an active part in Union elections is the best thing to do.

Evans listed several times that the Union had helped him personally whilst he was a student. He cited their support as vital in helping him finish his degree, and representing him in disputes with the University. It was only his ready involvement with the Union that made this support available to him and he implored students to take a more active role in their SU.

We also spoke to Laura Dickens, the incumbent Welfare Officer, about how important her role is to students. She cites housing as the biggest issue during her time in office and has been pleased to see an improvement in the issues surrounding student accommodation, she told us: “we’ve gone from having queues outside estate agents to having students getting the facts they need”.

nominations-symbol-editFurther to this, Dickens echoed Evans’ earlier sentiment, saying that by exercising one’s right to vote, a real difference can be made to the lives of students. From a welfare perspective, Laura told us that she represents student views on University committees and thus directly influences policy and regulations.

Mared Ifan, Welsh Affairs Officer and UMCA President, told us that her role was vital to Welsh students across the University. The organisation of the recent protests against the transfer of the Welsh community from Pantycelyn to Penglais Farm stuck out as a time that her work has had a deep effect on students’ lives. She also insisted that her role was relevant to non-Welsh students as well, saying that Welsh affairs should be a part of every officer’s mandate.

For a breakdown of what the roles entail and how this is relevant to you, click here, you can also hear the full interviews via the player below.