We asked everyone running for Sheffield SU president what makes them different
So you don’t have to just vote for whoever has the best slogan
The Sheffield Students’ Union elections: it’s that time again. You’ve probably been bombarded on Instagram by various accounts campaigning, and that massive Facebook group chat you haven’t used since freshers is suddenly active with people asking you to vote for their mates.
Some argue this is one of the most important Sheffield student elections ever, and with uni issues in the spotlight like never before, how do you decide who to vote for?
Instead of just going for the person with the funniest election campaign, we asked every candidate what makes them different – so you can decide who gets your precious vote.
“All the candidates this year have urgently needed policies and experience to change the SU into a more radical student body that stands up for students. A main role of SU Pres is to externally lobby on students’ behalf – me currently leading on the Safer Parks After Dark campaign in Our Bodies Our Streets shows this ability and drive to actively unite voices together to forge and lobby change when the system says you can’t.
“I will use this drive to ensure students stop paying for the crisis and collectively lobby the government with SUs and grassroots groups at a national scale for the compensation students deserve.”
“I am the only candidate with a real plan to change our power structure – to empower our officers as the leaders they are. To ensure the university can’t get away with running ideas past one person and calling it a consultation. To ensure every voice is heard, where they need to be heard.
“With over a decade of campaigning successfully on student, welfare, and environmental issues, I have the experience needed to be an effective, and last-ever president for our SU. From lobbying for the union to take sexual assault more seriously, to campaigning against fracking, to standing up at the NUS to champion our mature, working, and trans students, I’ve learned to be an effective speaker and one who is not afraid to speak truth to power.
“No one person can truly understand the experiences of the entire student body, and as a union, we need to address that.”
“I’m the only candidate proposing a radical change to our relationship with the university and our very identity as a Students’ Union.
“Whilst things like Pop Tarts and coffee revs are great, they have begun to define what the union is and my belief is that the emphasis and identity of the union should be a political one, the union was set up with the goal of protecting and advocating for student interest against the university and I feel we’ve lost sight of that.
“The SU has become more or less a lapdog for the university and I’d like to push a drive to politicise campus and increase student political engagement to create a more militant and adversarial union that dictates to the university as opposed to the other way around.”
“I am the only candidate tackling huge societal issues including both climate justice and racism, as well as ensuring students have a Covid recovery that is just in fighting for tuition fee refunds and supporting the welfare of our entire student population.
“My plans have been built with a huge support network of a lot of voices and my experience as Chair of the Sustainability Committee and organising an international conference puts me in a unique position to bring real and important change that students want.”
“As the only candidate of colour and as a queer brown woman, I truly understand what it’s like to be underrepresented and ignored in my institution. I have the experience as a student, working with the uni as Chair of the BME Committee doing vital policy work behind the scenes and within the SU as an Entertainments Project Manager running commercial and internal events.
“If you want something done effectively, quickly, and fairly, I’m the person for the job.”
“I’m the only candidate whose manifesto touches upon such a wide range of issues within student life. Ranging from improving night time safety and fighting the university’s mistakes this year, to revitalising the social life around the SU and making sure our societies and sports clubs get the support and facilities they need to keep Sheffield as number one.
“I like to think I’m somewhat of a diplomat. I have plenty of experience getting people with opposing views to reach a positive outcome. Having said that, I’m not afraid to challenge others when appropriate.”
“I’m different because I don’t think making your voice loud over others is the way to move forward. It’s through joining with others and working together to ruffle some feathers, but with absolute respect to other people’s situations, because I believe you don’t get respect if you don’t give it, and how can you make change without being respected?
“I’m not associated with the SU on the same levels that some of the other candidates are, but my experience volunteering and working for charities has given me valuable insight into the inequalities impacting our community and the resilience it takes to change its impacts.”
Chris Olwicz has been contacted. Check out his manifesto here.