Ruaraidh’s manifesto was light and optimistic, focusing mainly on the Queen Margaret Union’s (QMU) image, improvements to facilities, and bringing the Union’s original ethos of activism back. In his interview he stresses the lack of student engagement, emphasising the need to win back students’ trust and push for better representation.
He highlights his experience in the Union, noting that he is the longest sitting board member who is running and has spent the last two and a half years as the QMU’s Events Convenor, organising the likes of Double Denim and Halloween. Despite being a part of the Union for a number of years, in his interview he emphasises that he is not about continuity and the status quo, he wants to make a change which he states is “long overdue”.
However, in his manifesto he was vague on what practical steps he would take to improve on the Union’s current financial crisis, which according to their own strategic report, has seen the QMU in financial decline for the last five consecutive years. He states that the Union is already more financially stable and he would aim to renovate Bar and improve the drinks selection. In his interview, he said he has worked closely with management and financial stability is possible. He notes that the money gained from this academic year, along with extra University funding, means the QMU are on track to break even and potentially earn a profit this year. This would subsidise his plans for renovations.
When talking about the constitution in his manifesto, he says he wants to work with all members, as well as the board, to pass a new constitution. When pressed as to whether he believes life members should continue to have a vote, he didn’t give a straight yes or no answer. He said that he initially didn’t feel like life members were particularly engaged but, more recently, he has seen more engagement and many people are very invested.
A large proportion of his manifesto provides steps to heightening representation and returning to proactively fighting for students’ issues and causes, such as implementing an intersectional activist forum, bi-weekly showcases for student groups, and cutting down food waste through suspended meals and distributing surplus stock. He speaks in his interview about the benefits of the activism forum, which he states would be a good opportunity to bring people together on campus to work collaboratively and inform the Union of what they want and how things can be improved.
On a less serious note, but something that is close to the hearts of many UofG students, are the drinks options in campus unions. Ruaraidh mentions in his manifesto that he wants to “get great pint at great prices back on the menu”, which he promises to try his best to do in his interview. But he does circle back to the QMU’s financial position, stating that the contract they are currently with is good for them but he will look at all options going forward.
Read Ruaraidh’s manifesto here.