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‘Don’t complain, make a change!’: The Sussex Tab talks to Ally Goldberg

Ally already has Presidential experience with as the founder and former President of DragSoc

Ally Goldberg is a third year Business Management student who aspires to make a change by improving mental health services and nightlife at Sussex.

Ally was previously President – as well as founder – of DragSoc, and now the non-binary student hopes to do the LGBT community proud by representing their voice as SU President.

Why do you see the points listed in your manifesto as a priority within the university?

Ally tells the Sussex Tab "my number one manifesto point is about improving mental health services. 73 per cent of freshers are now declaring mental illness on arrival."

Following the recent conversation surrounding the mental health facilities at Sussex, tackling mental health is a priority for Ally. "It could save someone's degree – as well as their life."

Another one of Ally's manifesto points was to improve nightlife facilities on campus.

Ally also tells us the importance of tackling discrimination and hate speech on campus: "We never see the uni do anything about it or what has happened to the perpetrators of the incident – that absolutely has to change. We need to focus on education of different lifestyles and cultures."

Her final point focuses on textbooks, one of the biggest hidden fees for students. They propose to go about any means possible to make core or essential textbooks accessible to students: "I think if you consider a textbook essential to passing a course, it should be included in the course fees."

What inspired you to campaign for president?

Ally tells us that their experience running and founding DragSoc was a main motivator for their decision to run as President.

"The amount of people I got from so many different cultures and backgrounds coming to me and saying I'd created a space where they felt so comfortable, safe, included, and able to be themselves – that meant a lot to me that people felt that way."

"I felt that maybe I could take this further; maybe I could bring this feeling of safety and inclusivity and fun to the rest of Sussex," she tells the Sussex Tab.

What are your intentions towards improving nightlife on campus?

Ally also spoke to us about the current lack of nightlife events on campus for students – particularly first year students who may feel isolated living on campus. "I felt like there should be more things available for us to do here, especially if you're not part of a specific society."

To combat the current lack of nightlife, she plans to set up an entertainment committee which would be an elected group of students, chaired by the activities officer.

Ally proposes "a weekly club night held in Mandala Hall as that's a really nice venue."

She also wants to focus on non-alcoholic events too: "Perhaps a gig by a local band, or if we have the budget, maybe a bigger band potentially. Alternatively something like a stand-up comedy night – there are just so many options we could implement in terms of the night life in terms of students living on campus."

Ally's plans to improve nightlife also focus on making it safer for students: "The way to improve that is through real practical solutions – things like rape prevention kits, nail varnish that changes if drinks have been drugged."

In terms of helping students get home safely, she tells us: "There are measures already in place if people lose their phone or wallet. They just aren't advertised enough – we need to change marketing around services we already have in place."

What can you uniquely offer the university as president?

When we spoke about what makes Ally uniquely qualified to be the University of Sussex President, she tells us that her role within running societies has given her a vast amount of experience in leadership.

"I know how to run a group, I know how to run a committee, I know how to create a good space which puts on great events and promotes and does activism for really important causes."

Although Ally is part of several minority groups, they don't think that should be the sole reason to gain votes from students. "I don't think that should be a reason why people vote for me," she tells us.

"I think I've done a huge amount of work for my community – and hope to continue doing so."