Interview and analysis: Louise O’Neill – GUSA President

Published

Laurie Clarke
Editor

Louise O’Neill is one of three contenders for this year’s hotly-contested GUSA Presidency, going up against Shereif Kholeif and current President Paddy Everingham.

Though Louise commended the work Paddy has put into the role, she pointed to her two years on GUSA council, serving first as Health and Fitness Convenor and then as this year’s GUSA Secretary as sufficient experience to “mirror” Paddy’s ability so far. Louise claimed that this experience has given her much needed perspective on the areas in which GUSA can improve, such as increasing accessibility to new members.

When pressed on the topic of financial accessibility, Louise seemed open to change, such as the introduction of a monthly payment scheme rather than the current £125 lump sum, but lacked more practical knowledge on how this could be achieved. This is particularly evident in comparison with her rival candidate Paddy, whose familiarity with the GUSA budget has indicated financial challenges as yet unacknowledged by Louise.

Louise’s manifesto, however, does have clear, actionable goals, such as the inclusion of a beginners’ initiative to encourage new members. Louise is also championing the freeing of Wednesday afternoons from academic timetables to allow more time for sport, in particular the BUCS Wednesdays.

Louise indicated an enthusiasm to collaborate more with the other student bodies, particularly to accommodate such campaign points as Sexual Violence Prevention training within GUSA and an emphasis on making GUSA an LGBTQ+ friendly space.

Louise clearly has her heart in the right place and enthusiasm to spare. It’s clear that were she to take on the presidency she would make inclusivity a core value of GUSA in an effort to make all students feel welcome. The main obstacle Louise faces,however, is the practical know-how of seeing these aims through to fruition.

Read Louise’s manifesto here.