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Alyson Mackay: “I care about our uni and want to help make it better for all students”

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Alyson Mackay is hoping to use what she’s learned from her four years at Stirling to help build a better student experience.

The fourth-year student talked to BRIG about her candidacy for VP Communities: “running as VP Comms is something that appealed to me since my first year, I care about our uni and want to help make it better for all students.

“Being able to focus on working towards a better student experience after I graduate seems like the perfect opportunity to take what I’ve learned in my university experience and put it to good use!”

Part of Alyson’s manifesto is collaborations between clubs and societies. She believes collaborations have a number of benefits to making the student body feel like a community:

“As clubs and societies are one of the main ways students interact with each other, they are therefore the ideal way of increasing an overall sense of student community.”

She also explains that clubs and societies are an important aspect of student life. They are the “logical place for non-academic learning to take place.”

“… by providing training through committees, who can then use the resources to train their members, we can work towards making that a reality.”

The fourth-year events management student also highlighted accommodation on her manifesto.

Alyson wants to ensure students living in university accommodation are fully aware of any decisions being made about their home:

“If elected I plan to start up a ‘house rep’ system… students will have a group of students within their building who can pass on information and be a direct point of contact.”

She is also planning for her proposed ‘house reps’ to provide a friendly face around accommodation buildings and for the scheme to be a good leadership opportunity for students in their home away from home.

“The aim is that this can go on students transcripts while allowing a greater sense of community for students in halls.”

Alyson is also hoping the ‘house rep’ system will allow students to have someone to turn to and be able to form close connections with fellow students to ensure they are receiving any advice or support they may need, including tips on how to look after themselves:

“If the scheme goes well, I also hope it can be expanded to include house socials and skills workshops, such as cooking classes to ensure students are able to look after themselves.”

As like most candidates this year, sustainability is a key point on Alyson’s manifesto: “We need to work towards a better tomorrow, today.”

“The Union has already been successful in divesting from fossil fuels but has every potential to also become carbon negative in years to come.”

The 21-year-old also plans to continue the current VP Communications travel plans by ensuring prices for buses do not rise any higher and hopes to implement supported rail cards for commuting students.

Alyson also has plans to have more committee training to ensure clubs and societies are able to support mental health, first aid and other supportive training such as gender-based violence.

The Highland-native also wants to include more publicity for the universities NightLine service, STEER opportunities and sports union classes, and counselling and mental health mentor services.

“I will always be on the lookout for new campaigns that would benefit our student body, and will host regular Q&A/chat sessions for students to ask questions and propose new ideas.”

In a final say, Alyson encourages: “whoever you vote for in the elections as VP Comms will do their best for our students, just make sure you use your vote!

“I’d like to say a big thank you to my supportive friends, all the clubs and societies that have hosted candidate talks, PolSoc for running the alternative hustings, the Union staff and Brig for publishing these interviews!”

Alyson’s manifesto can be found on the Union website.

Voting opens March 8 at 9am and closes March 9 at 6:15pm.

Feature Image Credit: Alyson MacKay

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