March has dawned, the sun is shining (sometimes), and spring creeping out from behind winter’s shadow. That only means one thing: The Union elections are looming.
Yes, the embodiment of university democracy is rearing its head again.
The candidates are declared, the nominations have been begged for, and it’s time to test out the patience of the student body as we attempt to traverse a slalom of desperate figures vying for your vote, and praying not to be RON’d.
Before casting your ballot, you should know what you’re voting for. So sit back, relax, and let us break down the manifestos that you would never look at otherwise.
The ‘Big 4’ paid positions are all contested, and hotly at that. There are four candidates for both the Sports President and VP Communities position. There’s also an uphill task for Natalie Smith, running against incumbent Matt Adie for VP Education.
The rest of the unpaid positions are uncontested, but we look forward to giving them a good grilling anyway at hustings and any other opportunity that we get. Could be the line in Underground, at the bar in Studio, in the Dusk toilets – Brig never rests.
We’ve given you some points on each manifesto, but please have a look at the Union website to see them in full.
Astrid Smallenbroek – We can do it!
- International student from the Netherlands;
- Current Union Equalities Officer;
- Fix electric doors and expand disabled parking;
- Pressure the Stirling Council to make the buses run on time;
- Expand student bus routes beyond Stirling to Alloa and Clackmannanshire, and maybe to the fabled Cowie;
- Hire a new counsellor to reduce waiting times;
- Extend financial support of Dave Keenan’s Accommodation Enhancement Fund;
- Offer more food options in Venue, and expand the healthy options across the university.
Séarlas Mac Thoirdealbhaigh – Use YOUR voice. Make YOUR choice. Vote Séarlas.
- Enter the Union into a campaign alliance with trade unions who represent uni staff and the wider trade union movement;
- Assess the waiting times for mental health services and fight for more resources in this area;
- Pledge to build on past presidents’ rent deals and move the rent campaign forward;
- Work with First to fix late bus services, as well as introduce more late night bus services;
- Support for students who take part in protests;
- Work for multi party solidarity in the University so we will be represented at protests;
- Hold late night events in the Union for major events, such as the UFC;
- Support for gender neutral bathrooms as well as refugee students.
James Fitzsimons – I am better at leading than I am at slogans
- Inaugural winner of the Brig ‘Best Slogan’ Award that I just created.
- Current Station Manager for Air3 Radio.
- Will create career opportunities out of Clubs and Societies.
- Create greater support structure for club presidents.
- Encourage students to get involved with Union events.
- Promotion of environmentally friendly initiatives
- Reduce number of members need to start a society from 10 to 5-7
Jamie Grant – #GrantYourVote
- Current President of the Politics Society.
- Commission a Housing Report to be prepared for 2018.
- Explore links with Stirling Council to explore a long term housing strategy for the University.
- Advocate for greater financial transparency in the Union.
- Push the University to exploit the expertise of the Media Societies and hire internally.
- Reduce University’s carbon footprint.
- Promote Student Support Services and explore more ways to help student wellbeing.
- Start the OPEN programme, which aims to get students more involved in Union matters.
Alasdair Ibbotson – A HAT YOU CAN TRUST
- Creating a branch of the Living Rent campaign in Stirling to target dodgy landlords;
- Making housing a budget priority for the Union;
- Working to support students most vulnerable to landlord harassment;
- Proposes that the Union should take over the running of Student Services;
- Always uphold Union policy when it comes to campaigning;
- Begin regular ‘know your rights’ sessions for rookie protesters;
- Train legal observers who will attend protests;
- Cut paperwork for Clubs and Socs in half;
- Remove the obligation to attend Communities Zone meetings;
- Will not introduce any new programmes that are unwanted by members, and will instead focus on housing issues.
Scott Mackay – #MackaysTheGuy
- Inaugural winner of the Brig ‘Best Pet Name’ award for a candidate, for Lorenzo the rabbit;
- Former Clubs and Societies Officer, for which he won “Best Contribution to the Student Body”;
- Hold meetings for committees after Communities Zone meetings;
- Implementing live streaming for GM and Communities meetings;
- Work with media societies to create a Union content platform;
- Waive Clubs and Societies card fee for postgrad students, and allow clubs to waive their fees for postgrad students;
- Set up a student safety fund to promote safe activity in clubs and societies;
- Create links with charities that could support students with housing issues aside for the Hardship fund;
- Work with the Stirling Council to improve recycling provisions in city centre accommodation;
- Lobby the University to switch lighting to LED to save money.
Matt Adie – #Matt2Festo
- Winner of the inaugural ‘Worst Hashtag Pun’ award;
- Current VP Education;
- Push the university to increase the amount and quality of the study space on campus;
- Make the university develop a long term plan on car parking, as the student body is proposed to expand;
- Conduct an efficiency review of timetabling, to reduce the amount of wasted time;
- Push for faculties to keep Wednesday afternoons free, so students can participate in sport;
- Begin a review into the cost effectiveness of graduation fees, and reduce the amount of money paid by students for the pleasure of a piece of paper.
Natalie Smith – #SelectSmith
- Will work towards academic support for survivors of sexual violence, including making sure survivors do not have to be in seminars with the perpetrators;
- Push to eliminate hidden costs for expensive materials and mandatory field trips;
- Creation of dissertation specific study spaces;
- Ensure that empty rooms are available at flexible hours;
- Emphasise the importance of room maintenance;
- Continue to work with faculty officers and course reps, as well as engaging with pstgraduate students;
- Work to engage international students to ensure their voices are heard, and create teaching support specifically for international students.
Craig Bathgate – Back Bathgate
- Is planning to do something with bananas during the campaign, exactly what is yet to be discovered;
- Current Triathlon President;
- Will build upon the links between the Sports Union and the Sports Development Services to develop nutrition, coaching and management;
- Support clubs to create a development plan;
- Make clubs aware of funding opportunities;
- Making more funding available for students who wish to undertake officiating and coaching courses;
- Make sure that any facilities redevelopment take into account students and clubs;
- Making sure that clubs, regardless of size, are represented equally within the Sports Union;
- Working closely with media societies to spread publicity of clubs;
- Will work under an open door policy, allowing you to yell abuse the next time someone doesn’t wipe down the rowing machine in the gym;
- Make intramural sports more accessible to all students.
Rebecca Blair – RB 4 SPORTS P
- Current captain of the Ladies 1st Football team, and member of the Sports Union Executive Committee;
- Winner of inaugural award for ‘Best Use of Caps Lock in a Manifesto’;
- Aims to ensure students’ voices are heard when it comes to the redevelopment of the sports facilities;
- Reassess the ALLOCATION OF TRAINING TIMES [sic] to ensure that a more effective process is in place;
- Ensure sport is accessible for all;
- Look for more cost effective transportation for clubs, as well as looking for alternatives such as MPVs;
- Work with National Governing Bodies to allow access to match officials, as well as allowing students to undertake refereeing qualifications;
- Create and ‘Opportunity For All’ campaign that will increase engagement across all sports;
- Ensure that the Union receives funding from the university for coaching training, allowing students to become coaches.
Alex Duke – Don’t be a rookie, vote for Dukey!
- Current president of the Golf Club;
- Aims to have 20% of the student body as member of the Sports Union;
- Encourage the Sports Union and wider University to come together by continuing Jess Morris’ #BleedGreen campaign;
- To engage all clubs to find out their kit needs, due to the dissatisfaction with the Kukri deal;
- Encourage teams to use the same supplier for kits to increase the appeal of Stirling as a brand, as well as working to reduce the financial burden on clubs who cannot meet the new specifications.
- Will seek approval from all clubs before agreeing any redevelopment of sports facilities.
Lindsay MacDonald – Be a pal, vote for this gal!
- Inaugural winner of ‘Best/Worst use of rhyming’;
- Be the key point of contact for students in the Sports Union, so that students voices are heard;
- Work with the Communications Officer to ensure that club achievements – even of small clubs – are highlighted;
- Work closely with clubs to organise fundraisers, for those who have been affected by cuts to the Sports Union budget;
- Ensuring clubs are aware of coaching courses, as well as fully utilising the coaching budget so clubs have accredited courses;
- Organise interclub activities and encourage sports clubs to go and support each other to foster a more positive atmosphere in the Union.
So, there you have it, ladies and gentleman, your sabbatical candidates. Vote for them, vote for their opponents – either way, just vote.
There will be two hustings events: the regular one, on Tuesday March 7 at 12pm in the Atrium; and the more fun version, Alternative Hustings (where there will be alcohol) March 9 at 6pm in Venue. Open bar. Alcohol. Be there.
Voting opens on Monday March 13 at 9am on the Union website, and closes the following day at 6.15pm.
The all important announcement will be made on March 14, again in Venue, and again, there will be alcohol available for celebrations and commiserations.
Stay frosty out there kids, you never know when you might get attacked by a leaflet.
Featured image credit: Stirling Students Union