Candidate Spotlight No. 2: LGBT Officer

Jacob Williams discussions communication, inclusivity, and his plans for LGBT Society.


What do you feel qualifies you to be LGBT Officer?

Being LGBT Officer requires both a passion for LGBT and experience in running a committee that both puts on events and provides welfare support. My passion for LGBT+ goes without saying – since I arrived at the uni I have attended and been involved in most of the events the society has put on.

Experience wise, I have sat on the LGBT committee as part of the welfare team this year so have an understanding about how the committee works, but I also feel that my experience of LGBT events as a regular student in my first year gives me a perspective on what needs to be changed and addressed that is also important.

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What drew you to the LGBT Society?

I was what you’d call a keen fresher – I was eager to attend LGBT events because I saw them as a way to meet a load of people who would understand me and accept me. Whilst I found some of this, I decided to get more involved with the society so that I could help improve the events we put on and because it seemed the natural thing to do – to give back to the community.

How would you facilitate communication between the Union and members of the local LGBT community?

It is important to communicate through all possible avenues to maximise the audience. As such I would utilise our Facebook page and our bulk emai list once it has been rebuilt. For particularly important events and information I also want to work with the Sabbaticals in their weekly email to reach the wider student body. Poster campaigns will also offer a further avenue to communicate with the community.

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What changes do you hope to make to the society, should you be elected president? What would you keep the same?

The LGBT Society has thus fair failed to engage the diverse community that we have in St Andrews, with many people feeling excluded by our current range of events. I therefore want to put on more events for different subsections of LGBT, even if these are smaller more intimate events. As long as at least one person feels an event was beneficial to them then it is worth the effort to put on.

I also want to put on more informal events like bonfires where there is no agenda and where everyone can feel that they can attend, socialise and have a good time. Expanding and better publicising our welfare programs is another key priority.

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LGBT Society throws some of the most popular society events of the year, such as Glitterball and dRAG Walk. What ideas do you have to improve these events?

The key to improving our incredibly popular headline events is to figure out how to improve capacity whilst maintaining the atmosphere and excitement of the night. It is very much evident that Glitterball needs to move on to a bigger venue, and a venue where we are allowed a glitterbombing station.

I want to work with the Glitterball convenor to work out a solution to increasing capacity. With regards to dRAG walk, I admit I am not as well positioned to innovate and improve on this event, but this is why we have a committee and not just a president! Working with the Vice President of Social and the Socials officer to look at the areas to improve this event will be key.

How would you ensure that the LGBT Society remains inclusive to all members of the community?

The way to make LGBT+ more inclusive is two fold. First, as above, putting on more diverse events to target those who currently feel there aren’t events for them. Secondly is listening to feedback from the community, be this anonymous or in person, and acting on this feedback.

I want to set up a system where people can see the committee is listening to their opinions and acting on them though publishing our meeting minutes and personally talking to those who offer feedback to reassure that the diverse needs and wants of the community are being considered.

For more information, you can visit my Facebook page.