Nick LaRue, a third-year politics, philosophy and economics student, is running for co-curricular officer. He is running on a campaign to bolster the awareness of Stirling’s clubs and societies.
According to the student union website, the co-curricular officer is responsible for liaising with clubs and societies, charitable organisations and community projects. They’re also responsible for promoting the “opportunities and skills that being involved in co-curricular activities can bring.”
LaRue believes that there is a lack of awareness surrounding clubs and societies. This, he believes, has “a detrimental effect for both clubs and societies as well as the student body.” He also wants to see more teaching staff engaging with clubs and societies. He says this will “stimulate and add a professional aspect” for the more academically-based societies (for example, law, philosophy or education). This, he believes, will “make our students a lot more prepared for the professional world.”
Listening to committees
LaRue has made these the key points of his campaign, having reflected on his time on the SMIF committee and having spoken to committee members from other societies. This is a point that he is keen to stress.
He told Brig that committee members “know the problems they face. They know what the union needs to improve. So, I knew that by asking them, we would have the best insight into how we can improve the union.”
This is how he formulated his manifesto, he says “a lot of the things I’m advocating for and trying to push forward are just things that committee members have overwhelmingly stated that this is what we need in the student union.”
As mentioned, LaRue’s first priority is to make students more aware of the clubs and societies on offer at Stirling.
He says that, in order to “tackle the awareness issue”, he would like to see a “physical presence as well as a digital presence”. To do this, he proposes setting up a billboard in the atrium with details of what events clubs and societies are holding that week.
He would then also “replicate the physical billboard idea on the website of the students union”. There is an events page on the union website, but LaRue describes it as “small and not very user-friendly”. So, it is something that he wants to improve.
He believes that improving engagement with clubs and societies will also go some way in tackling student loneliness. Improving the visibility of clubs, he says, will encourage people to sign up and interact with other members.
Improving the visibility of clubs and societies will allow them to gain more members, thus “bringing energy to clubs and societies by motivating them to do more things.”
Increasing professional development within clubs and societies
LaRue also wants to see academic staff engaging with clubs and societies. This part of his manifesto is “more tailored towards the academic societies”.
He believes that having academic staff engage more with these societies (such as law, philosophy, or education) would better equip their members to “deal with the world”.
LaRue also takes the view that if there is greater engagement from academic staff, then the societies themselves may attract more members.
Clubs and societies can “enhance professional skills outside of the classroom,” LaRue argues. And, they can do that “very well, if they have the right resources, the personnel, the right people supporting them”.
LaRue’s full manifesto can be found here.
Voting opens in the union elections tomorrow (Tuesday, February 28) at 10am and closes on Thursday, March 2 at 5pm.
Featured Image Credit: Stirling Students’ Union