Credit: GUSRC

SRC autumn elections: what happened at hustings?

By Athina Bohner, Kimberley Mannion, and Lucy Dunn

SRC autumn election voting is now open! Here’s the overview of last night’s hustings…

The Glasgow Guardian covered last night’s SRC autumn election hustings, which saw students competing for a variety of committee positions have their say on what changes they would bring to help their fellow students at the University. Voting is now open, and can be accessed here or via the UofG Life app.

Postgraduate Convenor MVLS:

There were four applicants to the role of postgraduate convenor MVLS, and each appeared to have a thorough knowledge of the role, and the changes they would implement if successful. 

Kris Abhiseck Beharee is a qualified doctor and current master’s student in Public Health. Eager to promote the power of communication and listening, his approach was calm and comforting. He emphasised his potential role in “addressing [the impact of] issues related to Covid-19 on our studies”, and was keen to highlight the “element[s] of trust and respect” that students should have for one another in order to work together productively. 

Annu Jojo was keen to push her networking skills and emphasised that she wanted to improve the level of transparency between the University, lecturers, and students. She cited her international student background as a means for her to better understand and support the needs of postgraduate students and iterated the importance of reaching out to different unions and societies to improve the interconnectedness of students. 

Final year PhD student Joanna Wotjus was a strong candidate who discussed the importance of being prepared for life post-university. Joanna presented an organised approach to her possible tenure, placing an emphasis on the creation of feedback loops between students and staff. She came with prior experience, following two years as a student representative.

Andrew Armstrong Enumah had a slightly impeded connection on Zoom, however he presented an organised manifesto, with clear aims and objectives. He used the acronym “NEW” – networking, education, and welfare – to lay out his proposals, which include increasing communication between students and industry experts, promoting postgraduate access to extracurricular activities, and improving access to “digital and online academic resources”. 

Postgraduate Convenor Science and Engineering:

Even though the position of Postgraduate Convenor for Science and Engineering is being contested by three candidates, only one attended yesterday’s hustings.

Diksha Choudhary clearly expressed her aim of supporting international students who are experiencing linguistic barriers, as well as passionately advocating against gender and structural discrimination. After highlighting the importance of networking for postgraduate students, Diksha concluded her speech with a wholesome quote which deeply resonates with her: “The struggles that we have today will develop the strength that we need for tomorrow”.

School of Chemistry:

Grace Cleasby, a third-year chemistry student, eloquently demonstrated her profound leadership experience by employing a proactive approach to improving the School of Chemistry’s student experience. By campaigning for the introduction of “chemistry families”, as well as further promoting the Alchemist Society, Grace aims to encourage more students to become involved with university life. When asked about her engagement with UofG’s Understanding Racism report, she asserted that the SRC must implement sustained action and provide students with a safe space to hold such sensitive conversations.

School of Law:

As the only candidate running for School of Law Representative, Miko Mojsiej, spoke confidently about the importance of supporting law students as we gradually move out of the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing particularly on students’ financial struggles and the ongoing housing crisis. In addition to campaigning for online examinations and the standardisation of course delivery within the School of Law, Miko also pledged to get in touch with students directly in order to encourage more student involvement.

School of Humanities:

The sole contender in the election to become the School of Humanities Rep, Reece Paul was unable to attend the hustings live due to other commitments, but sent a video to pitch his ideas for the role. After volunteering as an SRC freshers helper this year, Reece was inspired to use the platform to bring about changes he thinks are needed in the college, including more community spirit by promoting socials, bridging the gap between junior and senior students with mentorship sessions, and making more past papers available for study. 

First Year Representative:

Two freshers are standing to represent their year group on the SRC, both of whom provided the hustings with enthusiastic discussion and eagerness to contribute to their new community at the University.

Tony Anderson is campaigning on three pillars: transparency, approachability and availability. With past experience on the Scottish Youth Parliament, Dundee Youth Council and as President of his college, Tony emphasised the adaptability skills he developed in responding to students’ needs during the pandemic. He also committed to not shying away from difficult issues and always speaking up for students to the best of his ability. He spoke passionately about what an honour it is to serve as a representative and conveyed a real eagerness to serve in the role. 

At the heart of Isaac Gilbert’s pitch was community, and promoting the building of relationships between freshers in a year where they are deprived of many of the normal opportunities to do so. Isaac stressed the importance he places on listening to the views of others as a representative and then thinking what can be done to improve things, which was how he came to construct his manifesto which boasts 11 ideas on how to improve first year students’ experience. In order to engage more fellow first years with the SRC, Isaac would seek to create practical change as evidence of the merit of getting involved in the University community.

General Representative:

There were 11 applicants for the general representative position, and after News Editor Luke Chafer’s analysis of their manifestos, the hustings overview follows.

Fraser Innes was energetic and enthusiastic. He emphasised that instead of being overly idealistic, it is important to work within realistic aims, with his slogan “let’s make do” summing this up. 

Pak Su is a first-year medical student with a large focus on mental health. Amongst other aims, he showed his organisation with already having reached out to the James McCune Smith (JMS) Learning Hub to enquire about setting up regular study groups – online and in-person – to help students connect, saying: “It’s the perfect opportunity to make friends and also catch up with lectures.” 

Vivian Zhang is a postgraduate student who completed her undergraduate degree in New Zealand, and she was keen to promote her plans of connecting with different minority groups across campus to amplify the voices of those who may not usually be heard.

Rita McGonigle is a third-year politics student, and placed her emphasis on increasing and improving access to support for students. Rita also listed statistics relating to safety on campus, highlighting that this was one of the key areas that she wanted to focus on. 

Ellie Wood had a mix of small and large goals, from increasing the number of plug points in the JMS building, to ensuring that all clubs and societies have to undergo mandatory SRC training to enable them to deal with issues around consent, and increase participation in the “pronoun pledge”. She also wanted to increase support for first-year students who had been placed in halls off campus.

Ross Whip discussed his experience as a home student, which would provide him with a unique perspective as a representative. A group of students which is often underrepresented, Ross would aim to relaunch the home student network which is not functioning well at the minute, as well as creating a new role of home student officer within the SRC.

Lewis Trundle also highlighted the need to include more home students, and students who can’t be on campus this year, advocating for the promotion of more online events, suggesting an online murder mystery night for students to socialise. Making students more aware of the SRC’s advice centre was also an important part of Lewis’ pitch.

Keshav Jhawar wants to make life simpler for students, and allow them all to utilise the resources available to them. He also discussed the importance of mental health amongst students and suggested an event where students can open up about mental health.

Rita McGonigle advocates for better action on serious issues affecting students such as women’s safety and violence on campus, such as better lighting in the streets. In addition, Rita discussed the need for better support for first years to have awareness of student drinking culture. 


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