The annual Alternative Hustings took place on March 10, 2022 in the A3 Lecture Hall in the Cottrell building at the University of Stirling.
The event was a face-to-face activity after a long break of two years due to the pandemic. The debate is supposed to give the union election candidates the opportunity to answer questions and explain how they want to put their words into action.
The sabbatical positions are the main ones to fill. These include the Union President, Sports President, Vice President (VP) Education and Vice President (VP) Communities.
Calum Brown, Tash Miller and Anastasia Mendini were the attendees for the role of Union President while Jess Reid was there to defend her chance as VP Communities.
After a short introduction of each candidate the hosts of the Politics Society, Lauri Meriläinen and Amy McMillan asked them critical questions.
When asked about the free bus travels that she wants to enact Anastasia answered “I want all the students to enjoy bus travels for free. The current scheme only supports this until the age of 22. Travel costs are a big part of student poverty as well, so I hope to work on that”.
All the candidates agreed that the accessibility on campus would have to be improved. Another topic that has gotten answers in unison are sustainability, transparency and diversity.
Jess stressed that a support system for student accommodation and more communication through the union for the students would have to be provided. “Disabled students shouldn´t have to pay as much before current accessibility issues are resolved”, she said.
Calum Brown explained his plans of removing job vacancies from fossil fuel companies. “I am open to consult anyone that will be struggling with this. Everyone has the right to work wherever they want. Our goal is to be as sustainable as possible while supporting students at the same time”.
Tash also said that she wants to unite the sports union and the rest of the campus. Uniting campus and speak for all the students are important for her, she underlines.
“I want to hold the management and the people in power accountable. It is not acceptable that the university management is not connected enough.”
The obligatory question “Do you consider yourself to be a big name on campus?” got positive answers. While the candidates last year decided to stay humble, the ones this year were open about their networking talents and participation in clubs and societies.
The candidates that were not able to attend the meeting submitted their videos to present their manifesto. Louis Utieyin, as Union President candidate and Murray Bushell, as Sports President candidate each submitted a video of two minutes that got played.
The audience participation and the organisation through the Politics Society ensured a student led environment.
The voting for the union elections opens on March 14 and close on March 15 at 18:15 pm. The results will be available from March 15 at 19:30 pm and will be taking place in the Venue at the University of Stirling.
Feature image credit: Aysun Bora