University of Southampton

Union President Candidate Interview: Matt Cowley

Here's what he had to say

What made you want to run for Union President?

I’ve been involved in the Students’ Union pretty much since I came to Southampton, and I’ve become increasingly frustrated with changes that have done nothing to fix the structural problems that the Union has, which are preventing it from engaging students as efficiently as it should be. I think the Union could be a really useful organisation and could do loads of good things, but I think it also needs fundamental changes for it to realise its potential. I’m running for Union President because I’d really like to be the person that makes that happen.

What’s your favourite point in your manifesto?
This might not come as a surprise, given my last answer, but my favourite point is to make SUSU the most student-run Union in the world. I fully believe that a SUSU which puts students at the heart of the decision-making process and allows them to drive the Union forward is one that will thrive. We also have some great researchers at the uni working on this kind of innovative stuff, so it’ll be a really great opportunity to bring in some exciting new ideas.
Why are you the best person for this role?

That’s really for voters to decide! I’ve experienced the Union from nearly every angle as a former Society President, a Part Time Officer, a member of two Zone Committees, a two-term Course Rep and a whole bunch of other roles, and that means I’d be able to hit the ground running from day one. I also think we need a President who’ll fight the university’s planned cuts, make big structural changes to make SUSU the most student-run Union in the world, and support our great societies, and that’s what I’ll do if elected.

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

I think that the weakest part of SUSU is the way it engages with students. There’s been a lot of work on the window dressing of engaging with students, but not enough done to change the structural problems that we have and really create a culture of a Union which puts students at the heart of decision-making. Too often, SUSU relies on students coming to it to contribute, rather than actively going out to students to find out what they think.

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

I’m looking forward to most of my campaign but I could definitely live without the early mornings and all the stress – I’m really not a morning person so I’ll be looking forward to a nice lie-in on Saturday 3rd whatever happens!

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

 I’m going to have to say marry Theresa May, because the prospect of living in Downing Street is just too good to turn down as a politics geek. The next bit’s a tough one – I’m going for: snog Corbyn, avoid Boris; because that way whatever happens I stand a chance of staying in Downing Street after 2022!

What is your favourite Soton night out?

I don’t think anything can beat a trip to the all-you-can-eat buffet in Marlands and a (rare) Southampton home win whenever we have an evening game!

Who is your dream dinner date?

Rachel Riley – I’m a big fan of Cats Does Countdown, plus she’s funny and would probably have lots of good stories.