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Union President Candidate Euan Stainbank aims to break down barriers

12 mins read

Fourth year Bachelor of Laws LLB student Euan Stainbank aims to break down barriers if he is elected as the next Student Union President at Stirling. 

Over the past year, Euan has been working as the Union’s Engagement Officer and he has also been the President of the Law Society. 

However, this year Euan aim’s to become the Stirling Student Union President. 

Brig asked Euan whether he thought his current roles as President of the Law Society and the Union’s Engagement Officer would give him an advantage if he was elected as the Union President. 

He said: “Yeah, I think that having those leadership experiences is definitely, one has given me the ability to run big teams, even before that in my third year I was the president of the debating society as well.

“So, I think for a lot of the projects that we have put in our manifesto, all of the candidates. I think having the experience of knowing how to: one, prioritise what is most important to the members of the organisation, you can set up as many plans as you want but if people aren’t prepared to engage and buy into what you’re doing. I think it can create a lot of difficulty, and having that experience to know how to get people to buy into, how to talk to people, how to consult and engage with a large membership.

“I believe the law society is one of the biggest societies we have around changes, I think we have got around 150 members right now.

“So obviously consulting with that many people and translating that over to the even larger pool of 14,000 students the Union represent, I think, will be helped by the experiences.

“Having that engagement officer experience, which to the best of my knowledge I am the only one who’s a part-time officer running for my position.

“I think it’s given me a real insight into one: how students are dealing with Covid-19, and that’s definitely shaped my policy when it comes to seeing online engagement is a really positive thing, when it comes to making sure that we’re representing students and talking to staff because, I think that’s the biggest interactive interface that, I think we need to focus on.

“Focus on building a bit more solidarity in that area and it’s why my manifesto, and I think just in building relationships and working with different officers as I have this year. I think that’s something that with me, you’re not going to have a problem with hitting the ground running.

“But in terms of the other candidates, I think that they are excellent and passionate. I do think my experience though does help, but it is about the policy more predominantly and what I want to get achieved. But I think the means of achieving that is going to be much easier with my two society presidencies in my third and fourth year and having been a part-time officer.”

Euan’s manifesto looks at breaking down barriers, while also getting more people engaged and involved. 

Summing up his manifesto he said: “I think the core statement I can sort of give is we are stronger when there’s more of us involved in what we’re doing. We are stronger with help coming from different people in the community.

“I think we’re stronger when the Union is engaged and relevant.”

“I think my three priorities, which is your ‘Your Union, Your say’ bring more accountability and democracy and engagement from the student population.

“Equality and Inclusions making sure that barriers get broken down and Reform, Restore and Revolve about dealing with those issues head on and making the Union relevant on those issues.

“I think we are only as strong as our collective, so I think yeah, in not the most poetic way, but the more people involved in what the Union does, the more people involved in clubs and societies, the stronger and better our projects can be.”

Brig asked Euan to break down his manifesto and sum each point up.

He said: “My first manifesto point is Your Union, Your Say: This is full of policies that take full advantage of digital media in allowing people to engage who might otherwise not have had the chance and to help create a habit of the Union going out of its way to help and engage with work that is being done throughout the community to help in anyway it can.

“My second manifesto point is Equalities and Inclusion: I want to focus on making sure that we set our stall out as a safe place for everyone in our community. Making sure that we advocate to the University for minority communities when students run into problems accessing things like guidance and support by no fault of their own.

“My third manifesto point is Restore, Reform, Resolve: Tackling issues such as housing, mental health, sustainability, and student employment.”

Euan continued to say: “COVID-19 has made a lot of the problems we’ve had worse and I’ve set out several policies to tackle these key issues.”

Euan hopes these policies will break down barriers that prevent people engaging with the Student’s Union. 

Image credit: Stirling Students Union

Brig also asked Euan, what makes him the right choice for the Union President. 

He said: “I think one experience.

“I have an experience at working across the University in everything I have done.

“I have been relatively successful in the tenants Union. I’ve been able to be a part of something that has made such a difference to people’s lives. It’s not just international students in crisis campaign that we did over summer. It’s also making sure we’re there to represent students.

“We’re there as a clear thing within the community.

“That project has had real impacts on people. The debating society back in my third year I was able to get us formally integrated into the Scottish Students Debating Council. We were sort of considered relatively nothing on the Scottish debating circuit and now coming into this year with the new President Jorge, we have set up an Academy.

“We set up an Academy back in 2019 to make sure people could hone their skills. Thinking in new ways and building things that get better engagement, I think is something I’ve done throughout my time here.

“So that experience is relevant directly to how I can implement and think of new ways of actually increasing engagement and performance of things that we do here.

“The Law Society we have been incredibly successful at reaching out and trying to push people towards career motivated programmes, we have set up events which allow people to network. We have managed to put people in touch with different resources, whether it’s meeting, which is sort of fake, not fake, sort of mock trail competitions.

“We have raised a lot of money for charity.

“My experience in being involved and keeping the institutions I represent relevantly has shown, I think that I would be capable of filling that position.

“But then if we come onto my policies I think I have a framework and a clear framework for breaking down institutional barriers which sometimes have left people unable to engage with what we do.

“The Union have done some fantastic work on trying to breakdown those barriers in the past, and I really respect all of the Sabbatical Officers and I have worked with all of them across this year and I have worked with many Sabb officers who have sadly stepped away from the Union in the past.

“I think that this framework that I provide is a clear way of one, allowing us to recover as a community but to also tackle some of the issues that some people have recognised as just part of the fabric here.

“Stirling students care and I think, I have a clear framework of how to engage them more in a better manner to a greater extent. And I think at the end of the day a vote for myself is a vote for that combination of experience and plan to get people engaged and involved.

“A lot of my policies are essentially just how do we get more people involved. How do we make sure there are less barriers. And I think I’ve got a clear idea of how to achieve that.”

Euan is going up against two other candidates in the Union elections, Nela Cadinanos Gonzalez and Julia Dempewolf.

Finally, Brig asked Euan to describe himself in a few words.

He said: “I would say passionate, capable and also sometimes a bit overly obsessed with things.”

You can read Euan’s full manisfesto here.

Voting opens on the March 8 at 9am, and closes on March 9 at 6.15pm.

Image credit: Euan Stainbank

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