Priya Khindria, last year’s QMU Convenor of Student Representatives, begins her manifesto by talking about what is sure to be a hot topic in this union’s elections: its finances. She emphasises the union taking control of its own finances and being self-reliant. For example, if elected, she would conduct a review of the union’s finances with the VPs over the summer and make cuts where necessary. She would also invest money only in events that have previously shown to be profitable, such as the whisky night and film festival. This would mean dropping less successful events, like the union’s repeated attempts to host a club night on the same night as Daft Friday. The practical solutions that Khindria offers are promising, and her time as President could see the union doing well financially if elected.
A major focus of her campaign is the need for the QMU to retain interest and student engagement beyond Freshers Week. She intends to hold events shortly following Freshers Week while their Freshers events are still fresh in the minds of first-year students. Despite the decreasing interest in Freshers Week events across campus, it still includes some of the QMU’s more successful events so this could be a good move. Her idea to decide on all of the union’s events at the beginning of the year to increase promotion time may also help with this. Getting a professional in to revamp the union’s website would also be a priority, which may potentially throw up problems in terms of finance, but could prove to be a worthwhile investment if it contributes towards increased student engagement.
Her idea to run careers events and an accommodation fair during the year may be somewhat redundant given that similar events are run by other organisations, and shows a desire to expand the scope of the QMU rather than focus on what they can do well. She told The Glasgow Guardian during her interview that she would discuss what kinds of events to hold with the Careers Service and the SRC, however, which may help to avoid overlap as they are unlikely to make suggestions for services that are already provided elsewhere.
Khindria also responded to the issues that the QMU has had with clubs and societies in the past considerately and with a view to repairing any broken relationships. She suggested asking clubs and societies what has bothered them about their treatment by the union in the past so as to ensure that similar issues do not occur again. She would also implement an online booking system that would prevent double booking, actively promoting society events taking place in the union, and work collaboratively with societies to organise these events.
She also shows a commitment to getting a wider range of students involved in QMU committees by running a QMU fair which showcases all of the committees during Freshers Week instead of having separate coffee mornings for each, which does have the potential to be more accessible in that it will be less time-consuming for students to attend. It may be unlikely first-year year students, who will probably make up the majority of attendees, will wish to become involved in committees so early in their university careers, though, and so holding a fair later in the year might prove to be more beneficial.
On the whole, Priya Khindria looks to be a strong candidate for President with a range of practical solutions to problems facing the QMU. But is it enough?