UnaMarie Darragh, by her own admission, is addicted to running for election. Having served on the Queen Margaret Union (QMU) board as a Current Student Representative this year, and with a previous three years in office at the Students’ Representative Council (SRC), latterly as Vice President Student Support on the executive, she has a formidable list of qualifications.
Running for QMU Vice President for Membership, Clubs and Societies, her aims seem decidedly achievable, if undeniably beige. Her aims to establish an online events calendar and incentivising societies to affiliate, to build on the the student-led initiatives already in place, and offering food deals to members, while sensible, are several miles short of radical.
Life members were addressed in multiple points and the idea of discussing previous tactics with old board members seem sensible, but it arguably over-eggs their importance. As the QMU’s insolvency creeps ever closer, unless she intends to milk the life members for life funds, it seems like she would be better focussed on increasing current student engagement and spending. Her points on meal deals and encouraging more clubs to affiliate, also seems like a stopgap measure in increasing engagement, unless these take off in a way that no one else who attempted them has achieved.
Sadly, whilst her skill in coordinating Freshers’ Week is undoubtable, she does not specify what about Freshers’ Week is going to be so different this year that it will keep people coming back long into the second semester, besides adding additional unspecified events. Darragh’s point on asking for feedback from students who happen to be passing through the union seems to ignore the fact that an overwhelming number of students in the university simply do not come into the building, ever. When consulted on how she will gather feedback from students outside of the union, she cites cross-campus relations with the Glasgow University Union, rather than feedback from non-affiliated students.
She sees her SRC experience as beneficial to the QMU board role, citing good practice and relevant experience, but what remains to be seen is if her experience will trump the loyalty of QMU members to the in-house candidate. “We need to do something, we can’t keep doing the same things we’re doing at the minute”, Darragh says, but then proceeds to base her manifesto overwhelmingly on adjusting previous policies and being very good at organising.