The candidates running for VP Communities: Oli Coles (left), and Tom Rogers

INTERVIEW: VP Communities Candidates

As part of our Elections 2014 coverage, the Soton Tab has been catching up with all the sabbatical candidates and hitting them with our own brand of questioning. This instalment […]


As part of our Elections 2014 coverage, the Soton Tab has been catching up with all the sabbatical candidates and hitting them with our own brand of questioning. This instalment features Oli Coles and Tom Rogers, who are contesting for VP Communities.

The candidates running for VP Communities: Oli Coles (left), and Tom Rogers

The candidates running for VP Communities: Oli Coles (left), and Tom Rogers

Why are you the best candidate for VP Communities?

Oli Coles: I think I’m the best person for the role, as I’ve already done it for 6 months. This gives me the experience to able to build on the foundations I’ve begun to establish this year. We’ve never really spoken to these students in years gone by, and now I have, I know what’s wrong, and how to fix it. I can ensure that all our under-represented communities get their voice heard, and are supported within SUSU.

Tom Rogers: I’m the best candidate because I have no ulterior motives or bias towards any particular community because I don’t have a large background in any of them. I can listen to them all equally and fairly so that they can get the same representation as all the other groups involved in the union.

How do you plan to improve the ‘halls experience’ for students?

OC: At the moment I think across all the Halls, the experience is about average. Committees are beginning to become more representative of their residents, through the events and campaigns they are running. One of my big aims for next year, will be to make sure that all halls are value for money. This means re-furbished common areas, decent working utilities e.g washing machines, and kitchen areas that are suitable for the number of students in a flat.

TR: One thing that the JCRs could be criticised on is that a lot of their events are very dependent on drinking and as such this could isolate some students who aren’t interested in getting drunk all the time. So I would like to encourage more non-drinking activities within halls, but ultimately I think this is the JCRs decision and I want to give them more control next year.

What support do you intend to provide to post-graduate students?

OC: This year I’ve tried to support postgrads social needs, through setting up a PGR Society, and a social calendar of events. At the moment, there is little to no information for PGs on the website, and i will change this, to make sure there is a dedicated online portal for all postgraduates. I also want to make sure there is a dedicated physical space on campus for them, and to increase the support for arriving PG students to be all year round.

TR: Welfare support is key for the average overworked postgrad, and a lot of activities are already in place for them but they just don’t know about them. I want to promote these events much more and encourage the postgraduate students to get involved and more engaged.

What are you going to do differently from last year?

OC: For me, this year has been very focused on researching issues our communities face, and making our representation structure for each community more effective. I think next year will be a lot more of acting on the research that I’ve gathered, and creating the change that is needed to get the communities of students more involved with everything SUSU does.

TR: Focus more on supporting the different campuses and sites, but mostly I don’t want to micro-manage everyone, I want to listen to what they have to say and what they want to do since the student leaders will have more understanding of the wants of all the different communities than any Sabb ever will.

What freebies will you be promising to voters?

OC: I’ve actually got a few campaigns lined up for the rest of the year, with some goodies like pens, coffee mugs and mouse mats on offer! However, for something less specific, if you’ve ever come to see me in the office this year, I’ve always got some form of chocolate to give away. Last week it was Milky Bar! (Requests can be made!)

TR: This question sounds very close to bribery! But I’ll try to increase the funding to Medsoc so they can give cheaper (if not free) membership. I’ll also try and get the safety bus to go to more places such as Avenue campus so that the students can feel safe leaving any campus and not just Highfield.

You’re on ITV’s Take Me Out. What’s your entrance song?

OC: Everyone who knows me will tell you my taste in music is abysmal, so I feel like I have to match their expectations with my Take Me Out song. I would have to choose: Bryan Adams – The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You (followed by everyone turning their lights off).

TR: I campaigned as Thomas the Tank Engine in my second year and I found a great remix of the theme song with 50 cent’s In Da Club. I can’t imagine that many women will keep their lights on for me but it doesn’t matter – I will do it in the name of art.

Jesticle or Juicy Lucy?

OC: I’d have to go with the Mango Jesticle…or if I have to stick to the original, then a Juicy Lucy, I mean who doesn’t like a bright green drink?

TR: I don’t think I’ve ever had a Juicy Lucy actually, so I’d have to go with the infamous Jesticle! The ratio between alcohol and deliciousness in a Jesticle seems like it should be impossible to achieve, which is why I think the devil himself made it.

Finally, if you could get rid of one club in Southampton, which would it be and why?

OC: I’ve been here a few years now, and very rarely travel further South than Manzils. I would have to say Vodka Revs, but only as I’ve been to one at home, and it wasn’t the best, so here’s figuring Southampton’s is the same!

TR: There’s a club in the city centre called Kelly’s near Junk which is a pit like Jesters but without the charisma. I’ve only been once but the amount of creepy gentleman and aggressive individuals that place attracts has just put me off going for life!