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Union President Candidate Interview: Emily Dawes

Here’s what she has to say


What made you want to run for a Saab position?

In my first and second year, my halls committees and sabbs were always so supportive and helpful whenever I had questions or concerns about uni. It made me feel like a part of a close community in a way I didn't imagine would happen at uni. I think that really inspired me to want to be able to give that to someone else, or even a whole union of people.

What’s your favourite point in your manifesto?

My favourite point in the manifesto is the push for sexual consent/assault awareness. Having just heard a constant stream of stories from friends these last few years, it's clear that the issue is much larger than anyone cares to think. There's still so much stigma and ignorance around the topic that it feels impossible to tackle such a big task from out of nowhere, hence why education should come first. I'd like to work with VP welfare and SCA to help them with their campaigns and events, as well as making sure that this union is at the forefront of the fight against sexual assault. Most importantly, we need to make sure our resources for victims are clear and helpful by providing training where possible and getting local bars/clubs involved in the movement.

Why are you the best person for this role?

I've had a lot of people ask me why I'm running for President instead of welfare, as my manifesto reads a lot more like that of VP welfare, and I think this highlights why I'd be the best for the job. I have every single student and their individual experience at the heart of my campaign and have the most passion for what I do. The president should advocate for student welfare because without it they'd barely have a job! I think the union has moved further away from its basic job of being a supportive body for our students, and I am ready to bring welfare and student wellbeing back to the heart of the job. I want students to feel valid, safe and prioritised, and that's what I hope to achieve.

What do you think is currently the weakest area of SUSU?

I think "transparency" has been the real buzzword of this election because we feel, as students, as though the union has become a separate entity entirely, as opposed to a representation of us. This is obvious in the fact that not every student knows what SUSU is, even though technically we are all SUSU. I think engagement has really taken a step back, though I do recognize the not-so-easy task of engaging 23,000 students! Plus, once we have student's attention, we can keep everyone clued in with what's going on week to week at the union. I'd like to expand our social media beyond just the big platforms and into areas that could engage students of different cultures, languages and preferences.

What are you least looking forward to during your election campaign?

How annoyed my friends are going to be with my non-stop election talk. I have an amazing campaign team that are already excited to help out and I have already asked them about 101 favors, so I've got to remind them daily that I love and support them all. But I think I'll need to take them all out for a drink after all of this.

Snog, marry and avoid: Theresa May, Boris Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn?

Snog May, marry Jezza and avoid Boris. Politics totally aside, we all know Corbyn would support me in all my endeavors, and as for the cheeky snog, I feel like Boris is the kind to catch feelings whereas with May you can't catch what you've never had.

What is your favourite Soton night out?

Ok, so had you asked me in first year I hands down would have said Sobar Tuesday, but that was back when I could somehow make my lectures hungover the next day and stay out past 1am without getting too tired. Honestly, at the moment my favourite night out is Oceana Wednesday because I would happily spend all night in the cheese room banging out some S Club. But I’d choose take out and Gossip Girl any night of the week.

Who is your dream dinner date?

Hands down Nicki Minaj. Talk about a badass, feminist, strong, empowering, talented, driven, beautiful, smart woman. My gay is showing so hard here but I couldn't choose a dinner date with anyone else and I am willing to fight my case on that.