Union President hopeful Chloe Whyte wants to be a “voice for the voiceless”

4 mins read

Second-year psychology student Chloe Whyte is one of two candidates in the running to be the next Students’ Union President.

A familiar figure in the world of clubs and societies, she is one of the co-founders of the Disabled Students Association, as well as being involved in Rock and Metal, LGBT and the recently established Sexual Health society.

Originally from Falkirk, Chloe decided to move to campus last year for her first year of university.

Chloe sat as the MSYP for Falkirk East. Credit: Chloe Whyte – Facebook

It is quite rare for a second-year student to run to run for a sabbatical officer postion so early on in their degree programme.

Traditionally, most candidates are either in their third or fourth year of study when they run, but there have been exceptions.

Her opponent, Ryan Peteranna, has five years of experience at the University of Stirling. However, Chloe talks of her experience in other areas.

The 19-year-old hopeful said: “I have a lot of experience in student politics, from all my work in the Scottish Youth Parliament and I’m also a trustee for ALYVE UK, a national charity.”

Mental health is a big talking point in Chloe’s manifesto, which she was keen to elaborate on.

She said: “One of my fellow students was sadly lost to suicide last year, and I feel like nothing has been done since.

“I want to look into the way we talk about mental health on campus and I want concrete policies put in place. I also want actual funding dedicated to a second counsellor.

If elected, Chloe will have to work with the three other sabbatical officers who began their tenure in June.

She said: “I know Josh [VP Communities] quite well, we mixed in the same circles last year.

“I helped him with his campaign because I like what he wanted to bring to the table.

“However, I don’t want to boss anyone around, especially as the new person in the group.”

Chloe identifies as having multiple disabilities and they are all invisible. She says she has become used to the judgements that disabled people’s face.

She has autism, and is also a part-time wheelchair user, so has experienced first hand the difficulties that disabled students currently face just navigating around campus.

Describing herself as having strong leadership qualities, Chloe said: “You can’t be the youngest Scottish woman to speak in the dispatch box by being a wallflower.

“I would pride myself on being able to take control of a situation while also being aware of listening to everyone’s opinions.

“My biggest passion for standing for president is that I want to do it for other people, which is the best quality for a leader.”

In her opponents manifesto, Chloe believes that Ryan has some really good points, such as improving accessibility and student mental wellbeing on campus.

She said: “We are quite similar people, but there are some points [in his manifesto] that have already, or are currently being fullfilled by the sabbatical officers.

In her closing statement, she said: “I’m not coming in with my personal agenda, although I have probably experienced everything that works well and everything that doesn’t in my first year on campus.

“I want to be a voice for the voiceless, and I want to make sure that no student has to go through some of the things I’ve went through while at university.”

Featured image credit: Facebook – Chloe Whyte

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Fourth-year BA (Hons) Journalism Studies student.
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