Results Night: Your new Sabbatical Officers

If you didn’t already know, Sabbatical Officers play a huge role in the enrichment of your student experience at the University of Portsmouth. Sabbatical Officers are the leaders of the Students’ Union and they work tirelessly to represent your voice. Results night saw the announcement of next years Sabbatical Officers and Pugwash were there to get the reactions of the winning candidates.

VP Education and Democracy:  Angel Layer

PUGWASH: Congratulations! Is there anything you would like to say to your fellow candidates?

ANGEL: I literally love them all! That sounds absolutely cringe but I do love them all.  Every morning we’d get there [campaigning] and they were like “morning, how are you?’ and sharing stories.  And everyone is so nice, it’s so sweet.  I couldn’t have gone up against anyone better and as for everyone’s manifesto and policy ideas I now want to do them with their help.

PUGWASH: Are you going to interact with them?

ANGEL: Absolutely! One point of my manifesto was to create a diversity panel and I want them to help me start it up, cos they would be literally amazing.  So if they’re happy to help.

PUGWASH: How else are you going to represent the student community?

ANGEL: There’s a big gap between activities and education.  But I want to interact with students through their societies.  The societies are where they fully feel involved and that’s where I’m going to try and target.  Students have so many ideas, but they don’t tell it because they think it’s just Uni.  But this is where they pay money to, so if I can enlist people through their activities that would be the best thing.

PUGWASH: You’re so enthusiastic!

ANGEL: Thank you!

PUGWASH: If you were a meme, which would you be?

ANGEL: Catch me outside.  I’m not a meme girl though.

VP Welfare and Community: Anita McMahon

PUGWASH: Congratulations! Is there anything that you’d like to say to your fellow candidates?

ANITA: Genuinely, I can’t express how nice everyone was! We came into it and expected there to be animosity due to it being an election, but every single person has been wonderful! Everyone had wonderful ideas and it’s almost like were all friends now. I can’t express enough how honoured I am to have run against them and the fact that the vote was so close just goes to show how good everyone was in this category.

PUGWASH: How do you plan to implement your manifesto?

ANITA: I really want to be approachable in this role and my first thing is to get out there and start talking to students. I want to get their opinion on my manifesto points and what they expect from that, and then building it from there. I also want to talk to the local community. One of my manifesto points was to put on friendly games with AU teams and community teams, so I’ll be working with VP Sport for that. Also, getting into the community and getting a feel for that.

PUGWASH: This year, the student elections have observed an unprecedented number of candidates for each position. Why do you think this is and what do you think it means for the future of student elections at the uni?

ANITA: I think it’s because Beth (the current VP Welfare and Community) has been so good at the role over the last year, it’s inspired other people to go for it, I know it inspired me! It’s quite nice to see that a lot of people have gone for that.

PUGWASH: Before this year’s student elections, what was your greatest achievement involving the union?

ANITA: There are so many things! I joined the women’s rugby team in my second year and I’ve never looked back! Especially when you’re talking about welfare, sports are key to helping with stress relief, and those girls have become my support group. They’re basically my campaign team.

PUGWASH: If you were a meme, what would you be?

ANITA: Ain’t nobody got time for that – because I have no time for homophobia, xenophobia or anything like that. So probably that one because I don’t tolerate anyone’s horribleness.

VP Activities: Amber Mathurin

PUGWASH: Congratulations! Is there anything that you’d like to say to your fellow candidates?

AMBER: I would like to say it’s been a pleasure working with both and I have had a great time working with Sam and Chris! It was hard going against Chris, as he’s a good friend of mine. Once I saw he was running, I was really nervous about having to compete against him! They have both been such strong candidates that I really thought I did not have a chance compared to them. They just worked so hard, they were out there every day, giving it all they got and I’m so glad that all the hard work has paid off!

PUGWASH: How do you plan to implement your manifesto?

AMBER: The main point of my manifesto is that I want to make sure that the idea of the social mixer goes through. I want to create a separate event, like Purple Wednesday, for those that are a bit more introverted, and that maybe don’t want to party or go out drinking. I do understand that there’s a whole other side to uni, that doesn’t appreciate that lad culture of getting drunk to have a good time. It would be nice for all of us to mix together so I just think it would be appreciated to mix with different kinds of people with different backgrounds, to make the most out of the university experience.

PUGWASH: This year, the student elections have observed an unprecedented number of candidates for each position. Why do you think this is and what do you think it means for the future of student elections at the uni?

AMBER: I feel that this job is such a great opportunity. I didn’t take a placement, and I just wanted to have that time to work in the university environment and still be a part of the community, as I’ve had the best 3 years of my life! I think that’s why a lot of third years have applied as they don’t want to leave Portsmouth. Portsmouth is an amazing place and I’ve had the best time of my life and I don’t want that to end. I’m fortunate that I’ve been lucky enough to win this position.

PUGWASH: Before this year’s student elections, what was your greatest achievement involving the union?

AMBER: It’s hard! There was a question during the Union’s Question Time event, ‘what activities or charities have you been involved in?’ and I’ve taken part in a lot of activities and charities outside of university, but I haven’t been involved in much at uni! I was a part of Swim team for a little while, and I’m on American football this year, but I haven’t stretched myself as much as I should. It’s more that I didn’t realise the opportunities that were available to me until this year, and I want to change that for someone who’s coming here next year! I want to help people from every year, and show them the opportunities that are available, which is something I really care about.

PUGWASH: If you were a meme, what would you be?

AMBER: This is a good one because throughout my campaign I used memes! My best friend created several memes to release over the week. At first I was Bob Ross who has a painting show on Netflix, I was the cash me ousside girl, and the new Jayden Smith one. They were a big part of the campaign as I didn’t have a video, so I feel like the memes were a great way to get across my personality!

VP Sports: Campo

PUGWASH: Congratulations! Is there anything that you’d like to say to your fellow candidates?

CAMPO: I fought against absolutely fantastic competition and I was just amazed at how big the competition is and how seriously everyone took it. They pushed me every step of the way.

PUGWASH: How do you plan to represent the student voice at the university?

CAMPO: I’m all about driving autonomy, I’m very much concerned with listening to people, listening to what they have to say and finding out how they want to improve and I want to be able to facilitate that. That’s how I want to work things through, by listening to people and that’s how I’m going to represent them.

PUGWASH: What was the highlight of your campaign week?  

CAMPO: I was really amazed by the Baywatch social! So my video was kind of based around Baywatch and I had rugby, hockey, and cricket dress up as Baywatch and I managed to get about a hundred people dress up and it was just a wicked feeling to look round knowing that these people are all supporting you and that they’ve got your back, so that was probably the highlight for me.

PUGWASH: If you could be a meme, which would you be and why?

CAMPO: You’ve caught me off guard, I’m a massive fan of the little kid with the fist-bump so that would be it for sure. It’s motivating and a little bit if fun as well.

President: James Thompson

PUGWASH: Congratulations! Is there anything that you’d like to say to your fellow candidates?

JAMES: Thank you so much to my fellow candidates, you know they gave me a run for my money, they all put in a fantastic job and it was just a pleasure and an honour to see them every day and not have any bad blood. Everyone supported each other throughout the campaign and just a bit shout-out to the other candidates. This is my second elections so I know how it feels to be on the other side of the result and I want to say to the other candidates that they should take pride in what they do. Elections aren’t easy, it’s not a stress-free process and it’s really hard work. The other candidates can hold their heads high!

PUGWASH: How are you planning on implementing your manifesto?

JAMES: I want to work closely with both the union and the university to try and bring both parties closer together. I want to be able to say that this is what students have vote me in for and this is what I want to carry through. These students have voted for me because they believe in the manifesto points that I’ve based my campaign on, and I promise to each and every student that I’m going to work day and night to ensure that those manifesto points are met and that we can have a union that we can be proud of again.

PUGWASH: This year, the student elections have observed an unprecedented number of candidates for each position. Why do you think this is and what do you think it means for the future of the elections?

JAMES: The union has done a lot more to promote the elections this year and that has manifested itself purely in the amount of candidates that we have and it’s good for there to be competition. I never believe in an election where there’s only one candidate, there should be choice and students should be able to hear different viewpoints and opinions and make a decision based on that. The union’s done a really fantastic job with marketing the elections this year. For example, the VP Education and Democracy had ten candidates running for that position which is great to see so I feel like the future of student elections is healthy and we should look forward to many more hotly-contested and well-run elections in the years to come.

PUGWASH: How exactly do you plan to represent the student voice at the university?

JAMES: One of my manifesto points is to reform the ‘Have Your Say’ platform. I want to make it easier and simpler for students to have a voice. There’s many students that haven’t heard of ‘Have Your Say’ so far and there’s a lot of students that do hold opinions about their course, the university, their union, and their societies, but not all of them get heard and I want to make sure that they do get heard because every single one of their voices is important. Without students there is no university and there is no union so we want to make sure that every student that comes into this union and comes into this university feels like they’re a part of something.

PUGWASH: Do you have any plans to collaborate with any of the other sabbatical officers to deliver any uniform policies?

JAMES: Collaboration is probably the most important part of my role. I’m going to set out to work with not just the rest of my sabbatical team, but every single student officer too. I want to make sure that what they want to do also becomes a reality, it’s why they’ve been elected and it’s why they’ve put themselves through this process. They want to make change and I want to oversee that change and make sure it becomes a reality for all those involved.

PUGWASH: In line with next year’s fair funding policy, what are you going to do to make sure that the policy is implemented fairly and successfully?

JAMES: During Question Time I expressed my views about fair funding and one of my manifesto points is to increase the block grant that the university gives to the union. It will be a lot of hard work but I want to demonstrate to the university that the societies will benefit from this extra funding and that they need this extra funding. The only way that fair funding will actually be fair is if no student group misses out. If there’s a student group that’s going to miss out of be financially worse-off, that’s not fair. So I want to make sure that however the budget is laid out, that every student group gets the money that they need and more importantly that they can put on the services, provisions, and experiences that they want to put on as a society.

PUGWASH: In your opinion, what is currently the biggest issue that the union faces and what would you do to overcome it?

JAMES: I think one of the biggest threats at the moment is to do with engagement. The union has seen a drop in engagement and it’s something that needs to be addressed. The union is one of the best opportunities that a student can have to expand their university degree. It enables them to meet new people, gain new memories, and to make new friends. Just being a part of this union for three years has changed my entire life and I want to make sure that other students can experience that as well. It’s the most enriching three years a student can have and just being a part of this union can do so much for you so I want to make sure that as many students as possible get involved. I want to reach out and bring the university and the union closer together, not just leave them as two separate bodies but make them into two collaborating bodies that students can be involved with.

PUGWASH: If you could be any meme, which would you be and why?  

JAMES: The thing is that I just like too many memes. I am like a low-key meme lord. My favourite meme at the moment though is the shooting star meme for sure!

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