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Brig talks to current VP Education and Union President candidate Amy Smith

5 mins read

Amy Smith may be a familiar face and name to the students of Stirling, as she’s held the role of Vice President of Education for the past year. But this time, she’s trying her luck in a different role: Union President.

When asked what made her decide to switch positions and run, Smith told Brig: “It’s been such a great year representing people as VP for Education, and it’s been a very rewarding and informative experience.

“When thinking about what else I wanted to achieve, I noticed those things didn’t suit the VP role, they’re more related to the role of a president.

“After speaking to both Union staff and my friends, I decided to go for it.”

She acknowledged how developments she had made this year, such as tackling equality monitoring and the university’s response to the climate crisis, would only be furthered by becoming President, giving her ‘free reign’ to achieve her main aims to the fullest extent.

Amy has enjoyed her position as VP of Education this year, though it hasn’t been without its struggles.

She believes this experience is relevant to the President role and will give her a greater insight into the inner workings of the student body and the Union:

“Being able to represent students and their academic interests, while witnessing the different barriers and issues for different people, allows you to fully understand the issues and importance surrounding equality.

“I can see both sides and listen to what should be addressed, which would then inform my role as President.”

Amy Smith. Credit: Stirling Students’ Union

If elected, Amy has some core issues she wants to tackle within the university:

“A big one for me is the environment and climate change, as well as understanding where the university fits into that.

“We have a lot of intellectual capital at Stirling and a student body who is really interested, so we need to find a way to match them together.

“I want to get a commitment from the University to net-zero emissions, so we can match other universities, while increasing student engagement.

“Moving towards a plastic free campus, with less food waste and more vegetarian and vegan options would definitely help move us towards net-zero, which would be amazing.”

Smith also talks about COP26 (The United Nations Climate Change Conference), saying “all eyes will be on Scotland, and if we could become frontrunners in that through implementing these changes, then that would be great for the university and the environment.”

Outside of climate issues, Smith once again acknowledges her commitment to including equality within the university, ensuring the Union champions the reform of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) through listening to and learning from trans students, while training our student body to be the best trans allies possible.

She would also lobby the university to sign up to the Race Equality Charter, showing their commitment to protecting BAME students and preventing discrimination on campus.

In light of recent student activism, such as the case with the ‘Stirling 13’, Smith notes she wants to build a relationship with activists before the point of conflict and discipline, which would ‘hopefully lead to a greater conversation about student issues and their needs’.

You can read her manifesto in full here.

Finally, when asked to describe herself, Amy states she is motivated, resilient and happy. She believes she has proven her ability to ‘bounce back’ from difficult times, and that her approachable persona makes it easier to work with students and represent them.

Amy is one of two students running for Union President, with the other candidate being Morgan ‘Mo’ Wilson, who’s manifesto you can read here.

You can also read Brig’s full breakdown of candidates and the positions they’re standing for. Polls open at 9am on Monday 9th, and close Tuesday 10th at 6:15pm. Make sure you vote, and have your say on how you want your Union to be for the upcoming academic season.

Featured image credit: Amy Smith

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