Meet the Candidates: Coverage of the Student Union Election (2018)

By Elle Haywood & Hanushka Karnani

On Thursday the 1st of March, ‘Meet the Candidates’ was held at The Academy, in the heart of the ARU Cambridge Campus. An enjoyable event where a number of people from all faculties of the University came together to meet the eligible candidates of this year’s Anglia Ruskin University Student Union Election. After some light-hearted conversation with the other attendees including our current President Jaime Smith at the bar, the assembly took off by introducing the prospective candidates running for the position of Vice President of the four different faculties; Arts Law and Social Sciences, Lord Ashcroft International Business School, Science & Technology and Health, Social Care, Education / Medical Science. Then the position of President rounded off the evening. Despite the event starting half an hour late and overrunning, everyone in attendance appeared to be in high spirits talking to and about the other candidates.

Candidacy for the Vice Presidency of Science and Technology

To kick start the evening, the candidates for the position of Vice President for the Faculty of Science and Technology presented themselves to the crowd, giving a little insight into their manifestos and taking on the spot questions. The VP position for Science and Technology Faculty had the most candidates running for office, and there was a fierce sense of competition between them. We will go briefly through each candidate, summarising their talk and presenting points from their manifesto, which you can read in detail here: 

Leon Staffa began the evening talking about his vision for the department which was highly student-focused and made a point to talk about the importance of accountability with the faculty board. He is part of the #AllStars team in collaboration with other students, and pressed on the issues of mental health and inclusivity. Leon’s thoughts during questioning on mental health, prompted the response from him saying the university needs to be more visible, honest and open about the subject, and wanting to get more FST trained in using faculty equipment when asked about equipment access. Read his manifesto here:

Zinnia Thorpe was next up, and her wealth of experience as a course rep and as a society president meant that she had clearly invested time, passion and effort into her studies and the student experience. She is a second-year Marine Biology with Biodiversity and Conservation student and has teamed up with #SU4U. Her focus was on the biodiversity and sustainability of the university, which if she were to become VP of the faculty, and help to get students involved in these projects. She also mentioned wanting to provide free environmentally friendly menstrual and contraceptive products to students. During questioning, her responses to faculty equipment access included wanting more computer rooms for FST students, out of hour access and more application software, and the ARU words about herself were: Ambitious, Realistic and Unity.. This is her manifesto:

The next candidate to the stage was David Cheeseman, 3rd-year biomedical sciences student, who focused on course-based networking, pushing for Student social spaces and ensuring there are enough resources in the faculty. His previous experience in a society shows his student involvement, clear competence and has education at the forefront of his plans. David spoke about mental health being interested in courses to prevent people from slipping through the net, and described his ARU words as being Agile, Resourceful and Understanding. His manifesto can be found here:

The energetic Alexander Towey took to the stage next with a fresh bout of confidence, speaking about his plans for student engagement / involvement and cooperation in and around the faculty. Alexander is currently in his 3rd year studying Electronic Engineering. His manifesto talks about having fair and equal opportunities for all students. When asked about facility equipment, he agreed about there being more software access for FST students, and when asked to describe himself in the letters ARU, he responded: Articulate, Resourceful and Uncanny. You can read more about his manifesto here:

And finally for the position of Vice President (Science & Technology) was Matt Hayes, who studies Audio and Music Technology, and who was vibrantly passionate about society coordination and integration. His time working with the AMT society meant that he’s worked closely with other students in the faculty providing external skill practice alongside his duties as Course Rep. He spoke consistently about mental health awareness and focus; a very topical current issue, and wanted to push for more faculty forums. During questioning, he said that ARU and the SU must push to decrease weekday service waiting time for appointments, pressing for Compass House to have 24/7 access and have FST related software in the library. He is also part of #TeamSUpreme, and his ARU words were: Amazing (at listening), Really (bad at thinking on the spot) and Unimaginably (proud). Here is his manifesto:

People attending the event chilled at the bar for a few drinks in-between speeches

Candidacy for the Vice Presidency of Health, Social Care and Education / Medical Science

The next faculty in line for their speeches and question time was the Faculty of Health, Social Care, Education and Medical Science. This was the lowest contested position with only two candidates: current VP Eliza Torres and MA in Education student Fraser Luther-Yarwood. Only Fraser attended the Cambridge MTC evening, but we have some details from Eliza’s questioning in Chelmsford earlier that week.

Fraser spoke about his hopes to campaign to reduce funding and course fees, increase communication in the department and for students to have more access to important resources. He is a Masters Education Studies student and has been at ARU for 4 years, and for the election is part of the #AllStars team. It was mentioned that many students based in Cambridge in the FHSCE Department felt isolated from the university – and his response was that there should be more video conferences, better feedback process and more resources shared across campuses. He also responded that there should be more extended mental health sessions and for the faculty to have a new identity with creative branding and be proud of the faculty. In his manifesto he also speaks about being part of 3/4 SU & sports societies and is an advocate for international student and LGBTQ+ rights. This is his manifesto:

In Eliza’s online manifesto, her key points are: 1) Mature student space, 2) Continued Cultural GIAG and minority group representation. Also, 3) More lobbying against cuts to the NHS and fighting for bursaries for paramedic students; nursing students and 4) Continued FREE cross-campus Monthly De-stress events. She has also successfully carried out 4 campaigns in her current role. During the Chelmsford MTC event, when asked about contact with students on placement, Eliza responded stating that she needs to re-think hours and the definition of 9-5, whilst also doing evening work to fit in with students. She has teamed up with #SU4U. This is her manifesto:

An introduction to the intense and lively evening 

Candidacy for the Vice Presidency of the Lord Ashcroft International Business School 

The runners for the LAIBS faculty, were the third group of candidates to present themselves to the audience. Three of the candidates; Mary Corpsey, Michael Graham and Jamie Hall were at the event however the fourth candidate for this position, Tammy Redersdorf- Marquis was unable to attend. Each individual was given the chance to demonstrate their ideas from their manifestos and attempted to give solutions to the problems they felt the need of bringing to the table.

Michael Graham member of the #AllStars team and is a third-year student in Business Management who has not only been his course rep but his entire faculty rep too. His manifesto indicates how student diversity is key to his ambitions as VP as well as describing how he will ‘collaborate with course-based societies’ within the LAIBS faculty to ensure students make the most of their degree. Graham also seemed determined to bring upon issues such as living costs and teaching excellence if he were voted in as a VP. His manifesto and personal profile can be read here:

Human Resource post-grad student Mary Corpsey – also a volunteer and student ambassador- brought upon a number of distinct issues compared to that of Graham. In her manifesto as well as her speech at last Thursday’s ‘Meet the Candidates’, she described how she will introduce new ventures such as more Career Awareness and Internship opportunities for prospective graduates, as well as creating a Support Package as an alternative to Books Plus for international students. She is also on #TeamSUpreme for this election. You can read her manifesto here on the SU website:

Similar to Graham’s collaboration of coursed based societies – Jamie Hall is aiming to increase the number them and have more societies related to the subjects of Business and Management. His manifesto also states on ‘improving employment and networking opportunities’ as well as creating stronger relationships with other local companies to introduce more internship and placement opportunities for students at ARU. Hall has been Course Rep for the last three years and is currently the president of the International Business Society, whilst being on the team #SU4U Jamie’s manifesto can be read here:

Fourth runner for VP LAIBS, Tammy Redersdorf- Marquis a second-year Marketing Student had not made an appearance at the Academy this last Thursday, however after reading through her manifesto, it is clear that she, just like the rest of her opponents have introduced practical matters that need attention and is willing to work on them if she is elected the new VP of her faculty. Here is Tammy’s manifesto:

The campaign design for the SU election is a mixture of fun-loving childhood figures and a bold colour palette, which could suggest the diversity and range of candidates running

Candidacy for the Vice Presidency of Arts, Law and Social Sciences

After a short interval and some refreshments, the participants running for VP for the faculty of ALSS were brought to the stage to inform the crowd on what they can provide to the students at ARU. The prospective candidates for this position are; Amanda Campbell White, Chizoba Isu- Omo, James Morgans, Ryan Price, Demi Smith and Lars Woolnough of which only three were present at the affair and were able to deliver their speeches first hand to the assemblage.

#TeamSUpreme’s Amanda Campbell White, delivers a positive message through her manifestos, describing the many ways she will help in improving the ‘university and student experience’. By doing so she aims to begin the progress for a permanent student bar on the Cambridge Campus in addition to ‘improving social space and this being accessible to all students and societies.’ Campbell also describes how if she were elected she would enforce more ‘managing stress’ workshops and provide more creative outlets for stress relief.’ Campbell was not able to attend the MTC. This is her manifesto:

Chizoba Isu- Omo is a Media Studies student from Nigeria, with a ‘desire to inspire others in a higher cause through being cooperative, considerate and sympathetic.’ Isu-Omo’s focus is to improve the sites of the ALSS department in addition to ‘encourage co-operation and robust leadership amongst students and the department.’  Chizoba was not present at the MTC, and you can read her manifesto here:

The next candidate to make their case as to why they should become the next Vice President for the faculty of ALSS is third-year Politics student James Morgan. The student was delegated course rep in his first year and is currently the representative for the LGBT society at Cambridge Campus. Morgan affirmed during his speech this past Thursday at the Academy that if he were to be elected for this role he would take upon matters relating to Societies, Representation, Student Health on Campus and The Academy. Morgan also stated he would look into issues in relation to the Library and Canteen as well as collaborating with the SU. This is his manifesto:

Demi Smith, a Masters student in English Literature and course representative aims to improve societies and collaboration of all students. Smith’s ‘Think Pink’ manifesto which she discussed throughout her time on stage, also stated she will focus on improving well-fare, sustainability and student representation. She also spoke about reaching out to employers and having a larger graduate job presence for ALSS students. She is clearly devoted to the welfare of students as well as their academic studies. You can read more about Demi’s plans here:

Ryan Price is a 3rd Year BA Drama student, who was not able to attend the MTC either. HE speaks about wanting everyone’s voices to be heard at the university and to encourage democracy in voting. His policies include cutting the costs of printing, moving graduation to summer and encouraging creative/chill-out zones in the university for each campus. His manifesto can be read in detail here:

The final participant to be running for this position for this year’s Students’ Union is second-year Graphic Design Student Lars Woolnough. The student’s manifesto pinpoints the areas he would focus on changing if he were to be voted as the upcoming Vice President for the ALSS Faculty; Societies, Accessibility of Resources, Mental Health and Teamwork. Woolnough’s speech at the ‘Meet the Candidates’ also discussed Unity at the university and the ways in which he will enforce this in the student community that exists in ARU. His manifesto can be read here:

The evening was filled with close discussions between friends, the layout of the room splitting the rivals apart into teams to discuss their strategies for campaigning, and also giving a moral support to each other in this close election

Candidacy for President of the Student Union

Last but not least, it was time for the candidates running for President to take the centre stage and showcase their individuality and share their personal reasons as to why he or she should be nominated as President of Anglia Ruskin’s Student Union. The six candidates have brought upon a diverse range of matters to the public interest. Kaileb Bryant, Laura Douds, Randolph Fields, Wambui Gitau, Johanna Korhonen and Christopher Manson are the six prospective candidates for this position.

Third-year English Literature student Kaileb Bryant, also a course rep for three years demonstrated her aims and ambitions if she were to become the new representative of the Student Body. Throughout her discussion on stage, Bryant focuses on creating more destress events and hopes to build a stronger relationship between the University and the Student’s Union. She recognizes that students have different needs and for the SU to make more of an effort to connect with harder to reach students. She is on #TeamSUpreme and promotes the slogan, Kaileb Cares. One pledge that she would include that she hasn’t is the idea of student blogs and more involvement of students projects. This is her manifesto:

‘I will encourage and foster pride within our community’, says Laura Douds our current VP representing Science & Technology. Douds’ manifesto touches upon interesting issues such as ‘campaigning for affordable rent prices and investigate other housing issues’, as well as managing events during the Winter Break for students who aren’t able to go back to their homes over the holidays. Mental Health was once again brought the table in her talk at the Academy last Thursday evening stating she will help in making ‘improvements on counselling services’ on campus. She hopes to keep up her campaigning, keep an open ear to part-time student queries and support student societies/community. She also works with many societies and faculty boards at the moment which gives her additional experience for the role. She is also running with the #AllStars Team this election. You can read more about Laura’s plans here:

Randolph Fields, 3rd-year Politics student, Course rep, and National Conference Delegate for ARU describes how if he were to be elected as President, his primary focus would be to empower the future students of this ever-growing university. At the event, he also implied how he would like to create more societies to target all everyone’s tastes and encourage a stronger bond between the SU and Anglia Ruskin University. He suggested there should be more cross-faculty cooperation and use his power as President to influence what happens to students. Randolph is also a National Conference Delegate for ARU. This is his manifesto:

The 4th candidate, as listed on the SU website, Wambui Gitau was not present at the event last Thursday, however, her key focuses are well- illustrated on her manifesto. Gitau aims to ‘collaborate with other universities to create more activities as she feels it could enhance the student experience. She also hopes to work with the university to provide more internships and work placements, organise more course trips and incorporate a Reading Week throughout the semester. Her manifesto can be accessed here:

Christopher Mason is next up on the list of potential candidates, he is currently doing a postgraduate in cybersecurity and has been at ARU for 4 years. Mason spoke about keeping up the university and student union relationship by being friendly, polite and helping to push through policies for the benefit of students. He appears keen to keep pushing for events for students, a potential student bar and stop the top-down filtration of management, whilst working closely with reps. He hopes to increase the productivity of students and making even the smallest voices heard within the university. You can read about Christopher’s plans in his manifesto:

Finally, the last candidate for this role is the current ALSS Vice President Johanna Kohornen. Johanna spoke about her ambitions to carry on successful campaigns as she has done in her current role in the SU, and to keep in touch with students on a regular basis. She previously studied Media Studies for 3 years at ARU. She spoke about wanting to negotiate all submissions to being online, a better-renting guide for students and honour rep help and society pledges. One unique idea is having an SU blog and regular drop-in sessions for students, as well as pushing for inclusivity and efficiency. One pledge she would include that she did not would be more mental health awareness and highlighting the student experience. This is her manifesto in detail:

So with a large number of student and post-graduate candidates for roles across all sectors, it looks to be an exciting week of electing to campaign! Voting opened on Monday 5th March and will close on Friday 9th March. You can read more about the candidates, their personal reasons for running and their manifesto pledges here:

Keep up to date with election coverage on the Ruskin Journal and on the ARU SU website!

A snapshot from our Instagram story about the evening

One thought on “Meet the Candidates: Coverage of the Student Union Election (2018)”

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