Interview: VP Democracy and Creative Industries

They’re acting up for your votes

We’ve interviewed the candidates for VP Democracy and Creative Industries – Michael Clarke, Bryony Newman and  Cameron Meldrum

Why did you apply for the role?

Michael: I applied because I want to try and fix some of the problems in particular regarding communication within SUSU, I feel like I can make a difference to how people think of SUSU and make it more efficient. In particular getting rid of a lot of bureaucratic processes and make student societies interactions with SUSU easier, which I’ve observed being a problem from being on society committees.

Bryony: I was already passionate about creative industries as I volunteer for Union Films but in the past year I found myself becoming more engaged and interested in democracy and I wanted to show other students how easy it can be to get involved and have their say. I also wanted to make some of the more complicated areas like funding and room booking clearer and easier to understand.

Cameron: I applied because I genuinely feel like I’d be good at it. I’ve got an interest in both sides of the role as I study politics and have engaged with the Creative Industries.

Explain what you think the aim of your role would be.
Michael: The aim of my role would be to generally restore students faith in SUSU, make people proud of their union rather than reacting with cynicism. As mentioned with a particular focus on anti bureaucratic policies and making students feel like SUSU is more accessible to them.
Bryony: My aim would be to help make the new “You make change” system well known and understood by all students. Another aim would be to remove the negative feeling that societies have when it comes to SUSU and give them a reason to change their mind by giving them more support where they need it. Also providing a more tailored CI training week.
Cameron: I guess the aim of my role will be to engage more people with democracy at SUSU by making it simpler and easier to engage with. I want to ensure each part of Creative Industries has an equal say within the CI zone, and to provide more opportunities for them to increase their employability and skills. I also aim to help the media departments plan better for the year ahead by creating start-of-year strategies.

What would be your main objective for the year?

Michael: My main objective would be following through with the changes both to union council and the society banking system which are currently not very accessible to students in general, and establish a forum for inter society interaction for planning of events and sharing of members.

Bryony: My main Democracy objective is to encourage under-represented groups (e.g. post grads) to play a bigger role within union council so their views are taken into consideration. My main Creative Industries aim is to make Performing Arts a union group so they can have better funding and increased visibility.

Cameron: There are so many objectives outlined in my manifesto it’s so difficult to nail it down to one main objective! But I would certainly like to work out a solution to the PA rehearsal space problem as that’s been an issue for them for a while now. Working out a solution would impact a lot of students.

What problems do you see in SUSU that need to be solved?

Michael: My top priority is resolving the issues of communication within SUSU, including both permanent and support staff as well as associated parties, such as society committees. At the moment miscommunication leads to mistakes being made and actions that people want implemented not being passed which only leads to frustration for everyone. I would like to act as a conduit by which long term issues can be resolved, rather than making change simply for the sake of change.

Bryony:  I think the main problem is the perception of SUSU, I think SUSU needs to communicate better with students and find out what they want.

Cameron: It depends perspective you approach this from. A lot of people would say that SUSU is too business-like and too often not on the side of the student, so that needs to be addressed. A lot of people I have spoken to say that there needs to be better communication between SUSU and their respective areas. Union Council also needs to change as students find it unengaging and daunting. Group funding needs to be taken a look at, students find the guidelines confusing – hopefully with change students will find it easier to apply for funding.

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done whilst at University?

Michael: I’d probably say when I mistakenly walked into the wrong lecture and sat down but realised it was too late to leave so I sat there for the whole hour learning about psychology even though I know nothing about it.

Bryony: One time when working for Union Films, I was at the door checking tickets for the red carpet event of The Second Best Marigold Hotel when a well dressed woman came up to me and went to go straight in, I then asked to see her ticket to which she replied “Do I look like I need a ticket?” I was later informed that it was the mayor and she was a guest to the event! I felt so bad that I’d tried to stop her going in!!

Cameron: Most embarrassing time for me was when I was drunk last year after the Surge Awards was when I hit my friend’s boyfriend with flowers and kept telling him to “live the life”. Thankfully there were no hard feelings. I had no recollection of it until the morning after when people told me about it .

You’ve been shipwrecked. What one item would you take on a desert island and why?

Michael: I’d probably bring a book that has a lot of rereadable value like the last Harry Potter book or skulduggery pleasant. That way I’d at least have some entertainment that doesn’t need recharging!

Bryony: Oh that’s an easy one! Nail polish! I love painting my nails and I’m trying to work out a way to incorporate nail art into my campaign, might be hard though!

Cameron: This is going to sound really boring, but probably my iPod. I’m really into my music – when i’m not doing something productive I’m probably listening to music. What better way to be stranded on a desert island than with your favourite music, right?