Everything you need to know about the candidates running for RUSU President

One of them did a naked lap of Stenton and Childs

It’s election week and six students are standing for the role of RUSU President. One of them has a Pikachu tattoo, while another once had a romantic dinner with the Vice Chancellor.

Among all the on campus campaigning and facebook pleas for votes though it can get pretty confusing. To help you make your decision we’ve asked all the presidential candidates some very important questions.

Ben Cooper 



I’m Ben Cooper and I am currently the Community and Development officer at RUSU. Before that I studied Politics and International Relations. 

Top three policies: 

1. More study space on campus: with student numbers increasing by 25% over the next few years we need more study, sport, and leisure space.

2. Reduce student costs, especially halls, and build more affordable halls. 

3.Get more students involved with RUSU, sharing their views, ideas and policies on what should change at University. Also renovate Union and 360 nightclub bringing it up to date.

What makes you stand out from the other candidates?   

Firstly, I  have the experience of how the Union and University works. Secondly I am also the only presidential candidate to make music videos ( I can’t sing or dance so enjoy!)

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you while at university?

Probably being elected as Community and Development officer and then getting to experience RUSU and Uni as an employee rather than a student.

Lauren Moses



I’m a BA Fine Art finalist! This year I was President of the Swing Dance Society, a role in which I enhanced the Society’s relationship with the local community, including the Reading Borough Council.

Top three policies:

1. Equality – Reinforce the Zero Tolerance on harassment.

2. Environment – Transition all campus vehicles to electric or hybrid.

3. Enterprise – Improve the resources for graduate employability.

What makes you stand out from the other candidates?

Reading’s green campus was the deciding factor in my choice of University, that’s why I plan to raise Reading’s Green ranking nationwide. Passion for the environment is what makes me stand out from the other candidates.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you while at university?

The most challenging moment of my University life was my Study Abroad in Kansas. I experienced a new culture, and worked with materials that were unavailable on-campus like liquid metal in a foundry. I believe all students should have similar relative experiences during their degrees.

Check out Lauren’s campaign page here

Alex Powell



I’m a third-year law student,  I’m currently on two society committees, as Vice-president of LGBT + society and a supporting director of ELSA.

Top three policies:

1. Bring an end to card minimums within RUSU buildings, including  restoring student’s ability to use card’s on a night out. Card minimums are an outdated and unnecessary limitation on students enjoyment of the great union services on offer.

2. Lobby to cap Hall price rises. The cost of living for students is going up, this is an increasing issue following  the cutting of the student grant. It’s a priority of mine to ensure all students can afford a place in halls.

3. Work to protect student’s living in private housing. While the Rate your Landlord website has been positive, student’s need more. I would set up an arbitration service, so students can get advice on housing issues, this is needed even more as government cuts have impacted citizens advice bureau services.

What makes you stand out from the other candidates?

All of the candidates would make a fantastic President,  but what  sets me apart is my policy on allowing the use of cards in the union because no one else has made such a promise. Also, my passion for the role. I have been interested in politics for a long time  and  to have the chance to represent the needs and interests of Reading students is something I would approach with passion and enthusiasm.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you while at university?

This question is just making me think how tame my uni life has been compared to some people.The craziest moment actually happened a couple of weeks back, essentially we had the world’s smallest house fire… my housemate lit a candle and for some reason it just went up, we were so stereotypically British that we took the time to knock on doors before announcing “there’s umm a fire”,  anyway, in the end, we called the fire brigade and they came, but the fire was so small he simply snuffed it out.  It’s  very hard to do this story justice but it was honestly one of the most surreal and funniest moments of my life.

Check out Alex’s Facebook campaign page here

Daniel Shaw



I’m a second year Business & Management student, and Childs Hall JCR President.

Top three policies:

1. Opportunities: Increase student accessibility to engage in academic and non-academic activities.

2. Communication: Ensure transparent communication between Student Officers and students, enabling students to hold the Officers accountable for their decisions.

3. Community: Create a community culture across the University, encouraging inclusivity for students of all backgrounds

What makes you stand out from the other candidates?

What makes me different from other candidates is my understanding of University culture at universities other than Reading. Having attended Durham University prior to Reading, I’ve been able to experience two culturally different unis. This enables me to have a greater and more well rounded understanding of how two successful, but very different Universities operate.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you while at university?

The craziest thing I’ve probably done whilst at uni was in my Freshers year, after a night out I thought it would be a great idea to do a full lap of Stenton and Childs completely naked. Unfortunately, I trusted my friends a little too much and they locked me out of the building, leaving me without my campus card and without any clothing.

Check out Daniel’s Facebook campaign page here

Jon Gilbert 



I’m Jon Gilbert. I’m a third year Real Estate and Town Planning student. I am currently your Environment and Ethics Part Time Student Officer having been elected a year ago. In this role I have set up the Halls Environmental Ambassadors Programme. I also am a supervisor behind the bar in the Student Union so have probably served you all a few snakebites! So I know a lot about how RUSU works. I have also previously been involved with student media with The Tab Reading where you may have read about my experience living of food waste and foraged food from around campus, if not you can read about it here. I have also been involved with the Athletics club, Kayaking club and Student Eats project during my time at university.

Top three policies:

1. To create a union which engages all student groups and improve communication and accountability.

2. To implement a system of control over accommodation fees and international tuition fees. Additionally to make the Union, including Campus Central, cheaper.

3. To improve facilities for fitness and wellbeing and improve union nights.

What makes you stand out from the other candidates?

I’ve got the imagination to create a better SU and a better student experience, and the people skills which allow me to connect with anyone. Plus my dad dancing is pretty awesome.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you while at university?

Craziest thing that has ever happened to me at university was having a romantic three course meal with the Vice Chancellor Sir David at his house. Pretty cool thing to get the chance to do as a student.

Check out Jon’s Facebook campaign page here

Tarran Sanders



I’m a third year Business student, founder of Reading Uni Business Society and have always been involved in everything RUSU does.

Top three policies:

1. Bring Reading Uni into the Modern Era with new apps for Sports societies to timetable their events and A “Rate My Module” app for students to provide weekly feedback on the quality and structure of modules.

2. Refurbish/transform 3Sixty into a modern professional multi-use venue so that it is able to cope with the 25% increase in number of students Reading will see over the next few years and the effect that will have on relevant societies.

3. Invest in societies and sports team, using a little more of our £950,000 grant from the university to invest in the universities students, cutting the costs of sports equipment and space hire, improving the quality of coaching and lowering the joining fees for societies, opening them up to more students.

What makes you stand out from the other candidates?

It isn’t just the fact I have been involved with everything that RUSU does, including being Social Sec for Mackinder, Course Rep and Faculty Rep, founding Reading Uni Business Society, and running the largest collaborative JCR events the university has seen, including The Safer Sex Ball. What makes me unique, is the way that I look at the possibilities that my role offers. I want to make huge changes to RUSU that will increase engagement and open up our services to ALL students! (Also, I have a Pikachu tattoo and am currently doing a sober February to raise money for the polar bears with WWF.)

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you while at university?

Hard to say, but recently we may have had a party in our tiny terrace house, which I managed to get supported by four companies: Red Bull, Spotify, Deliveroo and Outgoing Weekend Tours. The party may (hypothetically) have held over 300 of Reading’s finest students over the course of the night and featured bouncers, marquees and even a room-sized ball pit. Even local legend Ian Hills made an appearance! All this was done in a few weeks with nothing but a dream and student loan.. Imagine what I could do with a summer ball.


Check out Tarran’s Facebook campaign page here

Voting is currently open and closes on Friday at 3pm. You can cast your votes here.