The welfare and diversity VP candidates this year have an emphasis on student representation to try and reflect student opinion. We asked Emily Gough and Kayleigh Taylor how they set themselves apart from the current welfare officer and if they think they should influence student opinion rather than just represent it.

Age: 21
Course: L3 Media Production
Hometown: Exmouth, Devon

What are the two main issues you want to tackle from your manifesto and how would you achieve them?

I think one of the important issues for me to look at next year is the representation of diversity groups. I want to speak to students who are part of the Union’s committees and those who aren’t, about what the union can do to represent and support them throughout their university career on a local and national level. I would also like to work on a drink aware campaign to ensure that when students are drinking they do so in a safe and secure environment. I would like to work with the Engine Shed on this as well as a city-wide campaign to support all students.

How would you set yourself apart from the current welfare VP?

I would be more campaign focused gathering information from all student groups on campaigns they would like the union to take a part in. As well as a more active sexual health week that will reach all campuses.

Do you think you should influence student opinion, or reflect it?

I believe that the Students’ Union should be reflective of students’ opinion, but as a union we should be providing all students with information so that they can form an educated opinion.

Age: 20
Course: L3 English
Hometown: Doncaster, Yorkshire

What are the two main issues you want to tackle from your manifesto and how would you achieve them?

Overall my manifesto is centered on giving unheard students a voice, providing the best welfare around students needs – putting students first.

Diverse Groups – I want to work on giving our diverse groups a voice. Students have told me that they feel that the Union makes assumptions about their needs and support – which happens across the university. An example of this would be the when the ACS weren’t supported during their Black History Month. The Union and university needs to learn to listen to students across all diverse groups and act on what they say, not what they presume is needed. I plan on giving these groups a powerful voice that not only represents but also delivers what they need.

Hall Reps – the best standard of accommodation and service students receive is important. I want an active team of Hall Reps to develop a system that is reliable for students throughout the year, not just freshers’ week. Having established it in courts as a trial, I would also like to roll this out into private accommodation. I need to look at ensuring the correct incentives for those involved to keep students engaged, active and interested.

How would you set yourself apart from the current Welfare VP?

I don’t believe it’s about setting myself apart from the current welfare VP. Steven has done a great job this year, and there is a lot I can learn from him. I’d want to continue through some of the developments made this year, building on top of the current team, as many have done before. Looking at what I have to offer the students of Lincoln – I’m driven to achieve results, place students’ interests at the heart of everything I do and have the creativity to establish my manifesto points.

I believe I should be working and campaigning on what matters to students and issues around them, not what NUS believe is important. I’m a strong believer in students leading the Union, with our dedicated support and drive.

The welfare role is a reactive role, I plan on being accessible, supportive and driven to ensure the best for students. Every student should be entitled to the best student experience – regardless of class, age, gender, sexuality and race.

Do you think you should influence student opinion, or reflect it?

My role if elected as an officer is one of representation; it’s not for me to push the agendas of others on to students. I’ll be working for the needs of students, acting on what they want me to do, guided by Student Council and the various welfare committees. The student voice, is, and should always be, the priority.