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An interview with the EUSA Presidential candidate: Eleri Connick

She’s the current Sports Union VP

Current Sports Union VP, Eleri Connick, thinks her experience working with EUSA and the University means that she's the candidate most likely to successfully implement their manifesto. Some of policies include wanting to stand up to estate agents and reducing the prices of Big Cheese pre-sale tickets.

First of all thank you very much for doing the interview. So start off, first question, why are you running?

Why am I running…because I really believe that I can help make a change next year and that’s why the manifesto is very much a manifesto for all students across all campuses. I think I have the experience,from being Sports Union Vice President – I can really hit the ground running and make a change to impact all students.

You like getting involved with making things change so you see this very much as a continuation of that?

Yes 100 per cent. I love change but also things that are good I really want to continue so working with. I was elected working with the next VP of services to continue gender neutral toilets but yes in terms of change I am just a bit of a perfectionist and I really think that the students of Edinburgh deserve a lot more and I just think I really can help make a change and a change that every student will see. It’s not a campaign that’s based at one group of students or one campus, it’s for all students.

So what would you say the two or three biggest things you’d like to change would be?

Biggest thing which would impact all students is obviously naming and shaming bad landlords and bad flat companies. If a student association that represents 40,000 students says that Flat Company B never gives you back your full deposit, they’re going to look into something because they obviously do not want to lose all of their customers and students are customers, but at the moment we are just being exploited so there is that power to name and shame and if anyone says ‘oh no they’re going to lose out on business’, no – this actually allows them to become a better business and students will want to live with them. I think the average flat price this year is £550 per month which is disgusting.

Do you think there is anything you can do about prices?

I’ve been thinking about this – I didn’t want to put anything on my manifesto that I couldn’t do. I didn’t want to say that I’m going to freeze flat prices because I can’t do that but what I can fiercely do is name and shame flat companies.

If those flat companies and landlords want to come and have a sit down and chat about this issue I would 100 per cent hand on heart welcome that. I’m also so happy if we need to create a campaign with the MSPs, MPs and the council to look at this because Edinburgh needs student life as well. It’s not that we just need Edinburgh – Edinburgh needs us and we have the chance to make some change so if we can have a round table and chat about these flat prices then we can do it but I didn’t want to put that on my manifesto and let people down when it can’t happen.

You touched on it briefly – you said you haven’t entirely loved the university, so what about the university have you not loved?

The fact that philosophy put all deadlines on the same day – so as a 4th year now, our dissertation is due, and then two days later all our other essays are due – so bad timing, so if I was elected I would like to work with the VP Education about that.

I know for a fact that in the Engineering School, they had five or six exams over seven days – there’s the whole exam period in semester one yet they shove it all into that period of 7 days – why?

So I haven’t enjoyed that at all. And.. flat hunting… the anxiety that I get when going to a flat viewing. I’m lucky that, although I had to do a horrible one in 2nd year, my friends have gone and I truly absolute hate it (it’s getting worse and worse) it makes me anxious talking about it now, it’s getting worse and worse which is why I think naming and shaming bad flat companies is so important, but no I’ve absolutely hated that.

And so my tag line – my policies are like onions, they have many layers – because student welfare they can’t be solved by one policy.

I’d say, looking at the manifestos, with some exceptions, they’re quite similar. So do you think that the main thing for you is that you’ve got experience in actually getting things done and dealing with people as well?

So the fact that the manifestos are similar shows that people see what the issues are in Edinburgh and probably like other candidates my manifesto has been shaped by other students, so speaking to students and knowing what their issues are, so yeah that is the edge – I have this experience and I know how to make this change.

So do you think that all your policies are feasible , for example, changing the price of the Big Cheese pre-sale tickets, 50p off hot drinks – that’s more the financial side, so would you as President have the scope to change that?

I think there is scope, because the President is on the Trustee Board which is in charge of finance. In terms of the 50p hot drinks, that is something that I’d want to see not just in EUSA cafes but across university cafes. It confuses me why Crystal Macmillan will give you 50p off a hot drink if you have a keep-cup but all of the other cafes are 20p.