Sabb Special: Frankie Fry, VP Welfare and Communities
VP Welfare and Communities Frankie Fry tells The Tab why she loved being a Sabb
Frankie’s full manifesto can be seen here, but here is a summary of the main points:
- Housing – Student rights and timing of involvement
- Welfare advice – Advice centre
- Alcohol and Sexual Health advice
- Equal opportunities
- Improving environmental work
- International students interaction
It’s been a busy year for Frankie. Every week there seems to be a different group of people on concourse trying to raise awareness for one cause or another. There have also been some high-profile campaigns which got a lot of the student body involved.
On a missed opportunity front, the timing of the housing campaign was moved to try to avoid students making the same mistakes they make each year. The timing change was good, however in my opinion the campaign was a cop-out, simply repeating the same thing that’s done year in year out. Sometimes SUSU needs to focus on the needs of the majority rather than a campaign that only has a chance of changing something for a small minority. The minority shouldn’t be forgotten, but I feel that sometimes the Sabbs forget about the majority of students who need help fighting the simple causes year on year i.e. housing. However this complaint cannot be directed at Frankie, it’s an intrinsic issue linked to what people think the job description is whenever something says welfare!
However there have been some great motions and campaigns. The safety bus and safety taxi motion, which instantly made it much safer for a student to move around Southampton, was quick, simple and timely when there was an increased threat of attack in Southampton. There has also been the “Blackout” campaign; to investigate how much money would be saved simply if things were turned off for the weekend which identified the huge energy wastage on campus, and recently the recycling campaign which recently raised £1200 for British Heart Foundation by collecting recyclable goods from people’s houses.
VP Welfare and Communities is a hard position to analyse, many of our readers will probably feel I’ve been unduly harsh/lenient, but I don’t have much contact with any departments. I can just say that I’ve been impressed with the campaigns mentioned above, especially the range of student involvement in the Blackout and that in my opinion; there hasn’t been a major mistake.
Next year Chloe needs to be careful, she’s known for having strong opinions on many things, but as I mentioned earlier, VP Welfare is for the whole student body. Nailing a topic like student housing would make life better for 90+% of the student body for a long time into the future.
We interviewed Frankie to get her opinion on how she thinks she’s done over the past year:
What are you happy about achieving as a Sabb this year?
I think I’ve made some real progress with the promotion of safety, with 2 new schemes being introduced (the Student Taxi Scheme and Portswood Safety Bus), personal safety alarms being available for free from behind Reception and the introduction of Police Beat surgeries once a month on campus. I have also created stronger links with the Police and we now work together more on any safety issues. I think our relations with the non-student local community have improved loads this year too, with residents complimenting us on our efforts and residents wanting to get students involved in local community groups. The May Festival this year was a huge success with performances from local schools and students really showing a sense of community (not just students vs. non-students). I’m also really happy with how International Women’s Day went this year, with both events held in SUSU (Women in Theatre: An Evening of Women’s Bits and Celebrating Women: A Night of Creativity and Innovation) seeing over 100 people in attendance and a good mixture of both students and staff. I’m also happy with the housing programme I put on this year, I feel it’s been one of the most comprehensive and though some events were not greatly attended, key messages about housing have been going out throughout the year, not just during a set period of time so students have had key information all year round.
Is there anything you regret doing/ getting involved with?
I don’t think there’s anything I regret doing or getting involved in, but I am aware that I tried to do way too many events and campaigns throughout the year, which potentially meant some of the really key campaigns weren’t as successful as they could have been. I’m happy with the events and campaigns I ran, I just think I could have delegated more effectively so I could have focussed on more things.
What would you love to do if you had another year?
If I had another year I would love to completely re-do SASSH (the accreditation scheme for student housing) and have much tighter controls on landlords and have it so it wasn’t self-accreditation or at least so far more checks are done on the properties. I’d also love to just completely scrap Community Volunteering and start again with a new, exciting volunteering scheme where at least double the amount of students currently engaged get involved!
Are there any bombshells for Chloe Green (your successor) to find on day one?
Haha, hopefully there’s not going to be any bombshells! I’m hoping that with my handover to Chloe, there won’t be too many surprises and that she’ll feel pretty prepared. It’ll be interesting to see where the focus needs to be next year with the £9k fees – I think we’ll need to see way more finance campaigns and top money saving tips. But, this job is so changeable a ‘bombshell’ could occur any minute, I mean on my first day in office I found out about landlords charging students for the excess rubbish left outside their homes following the bin strike and I had to react quickly to that, it was something that couldn’t be predicted and I certainly hadn’t planned for in my manifesto or anything! So, who knows!
Soton Tab or Wessex Scene?
Haha! Well, obviously I like you both equally (though The Tab have been pretty complimentary of my safety schemes this year!)
Would you rather lick the floor of Jesters or be a Sabb for the rest of your life?
Definitely Sabb for the rest of my life – I love it!
Frankie has worked hard this year. Maybe the prevalence of campaigns hasn’t ‘grabbed’ the student mindset as much as fewer big campaigns would, but that’s a hard one to call and you can’t fault anyone for working TOO hard in their year. Frankie has left some big shoes to fill by being a popular Sabb and as such we at The Tab wish her luck as she moves on to studying to become a teacher.
Tab Verdict: Success