Meet Hollie Cooke, Cardiff University’s next SU President
Her favourite takeaway is Family Fish Bar
Hollie Cooke, Cardiff’s current VP Welfare, has recently been elected as the University’s next Students’ Union President.
As the 21-year-old Law LLB student will soon be taking over from Sophie Timbers, we decided to ask her a few questions about her hobbies, achievements and, of course, favourite VK flavours.
Below we’ve compiled a list of some serious questions. The rest are a bit sillier but still on a need to know basis (such as an enquiry into which is Lidl’s best baked good).
So where are you from originally?
I grew up in Newbury, and then moved to a village near Cirencester during my A-levels. My parents now live by Worcester so we have moved around a lot as a family.
Why did you choose to go Cardiff University?
I chose Cardiff because of the city. It wasn’t too far away from home and has everything that a city needs but is small enough that it can feel like home.
Where’s your favourite place to go out in the capital city?
Which is your favourite VK flavour to drink on a typical Saturday in the SU?
Got to be the classic orange.
What’s your favourite song to hear in the lash?
Angels because you know you have almost made it to the end of the night.
Nightlife aside, what do you enjoy most about university?
What have you done so far for the uni (as VP Welfare)?
I’ve managed to make significant progress on many of my manifesto points, whilst also running numerous campaigns. 7 out of 9 of my manifesto points are actually being actioned, which means they are in the process of being implemented. Some elected officers get a straight no or have to spend the majority of the year lobby to get their manifesto started, but I have 7 happening!
Overall, what was your biggest achievement as VP Welfare?
My biggest achievement has to be Mind Your Head Week. This is a week dedicated to breaking down the stigma of mental health, and this year I tried to change it up a bit by having the theme ‘let’s talk about the elephant in the room’. We ran numerous events throughout the week and had people going around dressed up as an elephant. As the week happens just after Freshers’ Week it is chaos trying to get everything ready. It was great when everything came together.
So what would you say you’d hope to achieve as SU President?
I hope to create a more inclusive environment within the Students’ Union by creating more of an open door policy. If a student wants to talk to me then I want to make time in and around all the meetings to make sure that conversation can happen.
If you had to pick one major thing to change, what would it be?
I want to change how we communicate. At the moment we do so much but only shout about it within the Students’ Union. I want us to do more outreach work by getting us to go out and about on campus spreading the messages.
What’s frustrating about working in the SU?
The confidential nature of the work that we do. It’s so frustrating when we can’t tell people the ins and outs of what we have to do on a day to day basis. Sometimes we will have a big win but because it involves confidential information we can’t tell students about it.
Throwing in quite a random question here, but, what baked good would you choose in LIDL bakery?
The pizza swirl things, not sure what their official title is.
Okay awesome, returning from that little detour, did you always aspire to become SU president?
No not at all. When I started getting involved in Welfare related stuff in second year, the idea of becoming VP Welfare was definitely something I aspired to. I wanted to make a real difference for students and ensure they could get the best out of their university experience no matter what challenges they faced. However, as the VP Welfare I realised I really enjoyed the work and that actually you can make an even greater impact as the SU President. At this point I aspired to become SU President.
When exactly was that point?
I started to properly think about it in November time, however I hadn’t made my mind up until January.
So which part of your manifesto are you most looking forward to attempting, and why?
I’m most excited about trying to implement a fresher planning team. The idea behind this is that another elections would be done in October time where a group of students run on a Freshers’ Week idea. Students would then vote for the group and theme they like the most. The group of students that are elected will then work for us over the summer period in order to implement this freshers idea. This will hopefully make freshers 10x better as the week will actually planned by students.
If you were stuck on a desert island, what one luxury would you take with you?
My iPhone, so then I can listen to all my downloaded Spotify music.
Sensible decision. Lastly, and perhaps most controversially, which is your favourite Cathays takeaway?
Has to be Family Fish Bar, but I don’t live by it anymore so I only make it there if I am on a mission.