SU Elections 2015: Meet the winners

The four SU sabbatical officers for 2015/16

The sabbatical officers for 2015/16 are, clockwise from top right: Hayley Jayne Wilkinson, SU President; Nyasha Takawira, VP Academic Affairs; Sammi Storey, VP Activities; Wade Baverstock, VP Welfare & Community. (Photo: Åsmund Løvdal)

As the seasons change and winter turns to spring, the Students’ Union sabbatical officers also turn over a new leaf as four blossoming representatives get their chance to bloom. What’s much less flowery, though, is when The Linc caught some quick interviews with them in the sweaty heat of the election results night.

Wade Baverstock was elected VP Welfare & Community in the first round of voting, with an overwhelming 1,800 votes. Dressed as a Roman legionary who wanted to defend the students of Lincoln, Wade told The Linc what his main defensive strategies would be.

Wade, how do you feel?

I don’t know! I’m overjoyed, because now I can set up the support centre that I’ve been wanting to do for so long. I desperately wanted this system where anyone can get help, because I needed that last year. I’ve been working with some lovely people, and all the community reps have been jumping on me like, “yeah!” I can’t believe it! I hope that I can do the job!

What’s going to be your top priority?

At the moment, it’s between housing and this support centre. I’m hoping I can do both at the same time, but in my personal view, it’s the support centre. But in the students’ point of view, I think they want housing more, so if students want the housing sorted out, then that’s going to be my focus. That’s a long term project, so hopefully I can do that as well as the support centre.


 

Sammi Storey landed the VP Activities role in what we rightly predicted was the closest race of this year’s SU elections. The current Sports Officer has taken the step up to be responsible for the entirety of the SU’s Activities division. But what does that role mean for her?

Sammi, how do you feel now?

Overwhelmed. People keep telling me to be happy on my face and I’m trying hard to realise that it’s actually happened! But I’m so happy; I couldn’t be happier.

What’s going to be your top priority?

My top priority is what I’ve been telling the students all along: it’s to make the university stand up and take notice of the amazing things sports and societies are doing; I’m going to really push that.

I also do Events Management as a degree, so I plan to make bigger and better events and increase that experience that people are having at university. But my immediate, first thing to do? It’s to go and celebrate with the wonderful people who helped me get to this position.


 

Nyasha Takawira retained her position as the Students’ Union’s VP Academic Affairs – we did an interview with her for our December 2014 print edition, and she told The Linc she wants to maintain those aims and ambitions for another academic year.

Nyasha, what do you think of the result?

I’m really excited and ecstatic about what happened tonight. I just couldn’t believe it; the fact that people trust me to carry on in this role is such an honour. I feel so proud of my team as well for getting me to do this, and everyone else who believes in me to actually carry on in this role. That consistency is going to be vital for the university, and I can’t wait to get stuck in! Working with Hayley Jayne, Wade, and Sammi is going to be a really good job; I’ve got such a good feeling about this and I hope that next year will be bigger and better for all of us. Go team!

You’ve already done one term and now you’re moving into year two. Why did you run again?

I ran again because I still have a passion for the job, and because there’s something I can gain from this job myself as well. A year just didn’t feel long enough so I could accomplish what really needed to be done, so I need that extra bit to make sure that what I’ve started already gets finished with me riding on it.

I’ve invested so much of myself in the past year that I just can’t quit yet, and I just enjoy my job – seeing people get better academic results and helping them out. The love is still there, so why should I quit when I still love it? Let’s try it again and see if people think I can still carry on. They did, so happy days!


 

Hayley Jayne Wilkinson became SU President after an election campaign that saw her song played on BBC Radio 1. But The Linc asked her if she felt she was leaving a few loose ends at her current role as VP Activities.

Hayley, how do you feel now?

I feel very proud of all the students in Lincoln that have voted. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be elected as President for next year.

What’ll be your top priority for next year?

My top priority is just maintaining what the Students’ Union has done this year, and as I said in my manifesto points, to open an SU shop, open an advice centre, launch a Students’ Union magazine, support academic societies more, and improve employability, because that’s one of the main things everybody comes to uni for.

The SU used to publish a magazine called Bullet, but that was withdrawn a few years ago – why are you trying to relaunch it?

The Union wasn’t where it was a few years ago, and I think that’s why Bullet wasn’t supported enough – it wasn’t a Students’ Union magazine anyway, and I feel that, now the union has developed so much, we’re in a different place and an SU magazine could really take off this time.

This year’s refreshers’ fayre had a low turnout. What do you have to say about that?

It wasn’t a low turnout; it was one of our most successful refreshers’ fayres due to the interactivity between the students and the stallholders. So, we felt it was a really successful fayre.

You’ve tried to arrange a societies’ showcase [instead of refreshers’ fayre for some societies]

Yep! That takes place on 15 March. We’ve got over 20 societies that are interested in taking part, everything’s planned and ready to go, we just need to do our rehearsal.

The date was pushed back quite a while, wasn’t it?

Yeah, the date was pushed back due to the fact I didn’t want societies being overlooked by all our sporting events, by the elections, and by many other events that were happening in February. I moved it because I wanted them to be the biggest limelight of March.

Some have accused you of trying to censor student media, including Brayford Radio and The Linc, by telling them not to publish the results of Varsity?

Varsity’s a big event and we try to make the evening event as big as possible. If The Linc were posting the results, everybody would work them out, and the evening would have fallen flat. We were trying to create a buzz to make the event successful and enjoyable for everybody.

What do you think about the state of the SU that you’re inheriting?

I think it’s absolutely fantastic. I think it’s developed, we’re Student Union of the Year [according to the NUS], a couple of years ago there were less than 30 SU staff and now we employ over 180 staff including student staff, so we’ve grown massively. We’ve made so many changes within the university, we’ve enhanced the student experience, we’ve had more events than ever before, and more engaged students than ever. I think we’re doing exceptionally well at the minute, and I’m looking forward to being President of a very successful organisation.

The interviews for this piece were conducted and filmed by The Linc’s,  Åsmund Løvdal.

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