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Zoe Crosher: “It’s not a case of separating career and volunteering for me- this is what I want to do.”

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Ahead of voting opening on Monday, we sat down with Zoe Crosher, who is running uncontested for the position of Health and Wellbeing Officer. She chatted to Brig over Teams about her plans once elected and why you should cast your vote for her.

Zoe is a third-year psychology student who is an active member of the Marine Conservation Society, in which she holds two positions- Publicity Officer and Co. Social Secretary. She has also worked with Reclaim Stirling and is currently in talks (alongside other students) to get the university a sensory room for all students needing a break, in particular neurodivergent students.

The aforementioned society positions and volunteering work Zoe is regularly involved in has prepared her for the role of Health and Wellbeing Officer, she says.

“So much of my experience comes from volunteering. It’s the variety of people that you get to meet, and the situations you get to be involved with. There’s just so much experience to be gained from volunteering and I’m so passionate about it.

“The extensive volunteering has equipped me with the skills to understand and tackle mental health in particular far more. I feel the majority of my volunteering has been within that sphere and as such have training and lots of ideas to facilitate the health and well-being of our students, which is my ultimate goal.

“I’m passionate about helping others improve their well-being and overall health and committed to seeing people achieve to their full potential. It’s about delivering strategies and implementing decisions that actually work to benefit the student to be their best self.

“That is its own reward in itself. I love to see it.”

Zoe talks a little more about how her studies are intrinsically linked with her overall goals.

“Studying psychology obviously helps me further in this capacity. It’s what I want to do, I’m devoting my career to it. It’s not a case of separating career and volunteering for me- this area is the area I want to work in.”

Brig asked Zoe about the main focal points in her manifesto, and what was most important to her to implement. What sort of facilities, activities, or opportunities does she perceive to be of paramount importance to deliver in her time, as again Zoe is running uncontested and is therefore extremely likely to get the opportunity to attempt to act on her manifesto.

“One thing that I am really keen to try and implement is a weekly walking group on campus. From my own experience, sports at the university can feel rather intimidating. Sports aims to be totally inclusive, but some students still struggle with a bit of confidence issues regardless of initiatives designed to encourage them to join in with sports.

“So it can feel rather overwhelming to join a sport. This is especially true for joining up after 1st year, as many students feel they have missed out on not only the actual sporting skill lessons and help, but the social bonding aspect too. They feel behind, or like they will have to catch up, or won’t know anyone.

“You can often feel like it’s too late, or I know I did certainly!

“Exercise is so important when it comes to maintaining good health, mental health, and positive well-being, and I would love to deliver a walking group that is literally for anyone. A very casual, chill and easy walking group that is suitable for all skill levels would be perfect to increase activity and engagement in exercise amongst students who perhaps feel, like I said, a little anxious or left out.

“Anyone would be welcome to join, obviously not just first years. It’s just a great excuse to get out and get some exercise while meeting up with people and fulfilling that social aspect too. Meeting all different kinds of people, perhaps people you wouldn’t normally run into at the university.”

Zoe also elaborated to Brig about her manifesto proposal for a quiet hour at the gym.

“I’ve been to the gym a lot, and I’m very aware of the fact that the music is generally really loud. It can be really overwhelming for some students wishing to exercise but not wanting to have to deal with that sensory overload.

Image Credit: Stirling Students Union

“One thing I want to do is to either keep the music off for that quiet hour or turn it down to a very low volume to facilitate the space for everyone to feel comfortable to exercise.

“Another idea I’m trying for with the quiet hour is to reduce the number of students that are allowed in the building, so reducing the maximum capacity for that hour.

I’m not sure about the logistics of this, and if I will be allowed to do so, but it is something I will strive for. It’s about creating a more accessible environment for everyone, and improving health and well-being at the same time through exercise and socialising. If students feel too overwhelmed to come in, we can’t really say that we are catering to everyone, can we?

“The gym would of course still be open to everyone during that quiet hour, but would just be such an important small change that could improve the lives and habits of a lot of students.

It’s a popular thing for a lot of institutions to implement now.”

Brig asked Zoe more about her plans for skill and craft workshops to be introduced as a way to help with mental health and well-being, by giving students activities to build skills, confidence, and act as a healthy distraction and use of time.

“It’s not well fleshed out yet, but it will be I hope. I want to introduce these things to get away from services that are already offered through the university and other organisations that address generalised elements of mental health, like mindfulness or ways to help.

“I want these to be more practical. Art workshops for example, where you can learn to paint. Cooking workshops where you can learn new skills. That sort of thing. It’s been proven so many times that art and general skill learning or a place for expression can really help with mental health and well-being.

“I want students to have the opportunity to try the things that are suggested to them as ways they could help their well-being. Often there are as I said, guides and advice on what type of things to do, but unaccompanied by the chance to experience it for yourself, to try it.”

To read Zoe’s full manifesto, click here.

Voting opens at 9:00a.m on Monday, March 14 and closes Tuesday, March 15 at 6:10p.m. 

Featured Image Credit: Zoe Crosher

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