Having spent time on both the QMU’s Board of Management and as the SRC’s School Of Biological and Earth Science Rep, Walker is well placed in terms of campus support. This plays out in the amount of support he’s received on facebook and appears to give him the slight edge in the run up to polling. Walker’s manifesto is concerned mostly with the importance of class representatives and improving the SRC’s volunteering services.
Guardian: You talk about the Class Reps a lot in your manifesto and they feature prominently in your plan to increase the representation on the SRC but the election process for them is far from transparent and competitive can you increase the burden on them or expect to see different results from the top down?
Walker: Class Reps are largely undervalued and underused by both staff and students. My main aim is to have a collaborative effort between the SRC and as many staff as possible,principally by utilising the School Reps and College Convenors, to emphasise how important Class Reps are. I want to see staff highlighting more strongly how the input of Class Reps is fundamental to the improvement of their courses and, more widely, Glasgow University as a whole. Students do not always see the immediate benefit of representation, so I also want to see a bigger push coming from the SRC to promote this aspect of their academic experience. Additionally, I want to support them by providing the best training that we can, so that they are confident enough to take on the role and to do it well. I am under no illusions that this would be an overnight change but, in terms of seeing change “from the top down”, I hope that an enormous push for improving the Class Rep system will see students recognising how valued their input is for the University and taking a more active role in their learning.
Guardian: You mention the university recognizing extra curricular activities. Do you see this being used as contributing to student degree credit ie 20 credits in involvement in the Glasgow Guardian or in the form of additional recognition on top of the degree like university blues in sport at Oxford or Cambridge?
Walker: The main point I tried to touch on by mentioning that was, again, increasing awareness of what you can do at this University to stand out and develop aspects of your character – it is perhaps unclear from my manifesto but my grand vision, if you like, is for more people to recognise these opportunities. The activities to which I was referring were things like being on the Board of Management at the Unions, decision-making roles within Clubs & Societies and so on. Inevitably, most people will improve their transferable skills by taking part in these areas and, although they can be mentioned on a C.V. I feel that having participation acknowledged by the University in some shape or form stresses the benefits of having taken part.
An early lead for Walker bodes well for the rest of his campaign but in a race with a candidate who narrowly lost out last year, things are all to play for.