The Students' Union elections were held 9-13 March and on the Friday, we gathered round to hear the results. It was great to see how many students voted to choose the next leaders of the Students' Union and what a great turnout there was. We will certainly miss Georgia and Amy who have led the SU for the past two years, helping to build up the student experience and bring about new changes. The Social Space was one of my absolute favourites!
Now we have a new President and Vice-President; Dan Goulbourn and Mauro Cardoso. A huge congratulations to them for winning! I caught up with them to ask them about their experience running in an election and what they’re most excited to do over the next year.
Why did you choose to run for President/Vice-President?
Dan- I wanted to make a positive difference for students in all years. This is still a new university and I want to help make it stand out as a good uni to come to.
Mauro- Firstly I wanted to improve the students experience at our university. Having a better experience creates memories, friendships and ultimately better learning. Secondly, I come from a sports background, so this job role is perfect for me. I loved being the in the Students' Union office because it was calming, and all the staff were really friendly and approachable. I wish I was more involved in the Students' Union since my first year.
What was your experience of planning your campaign?
Dan- It’s nothing like you will ever do (unless you run for a second term), so you need to be prepared for how full-on it is. Getting out and talking to people isn’t something I’ve always been comfortable with, but if you want it enough you will forget about that. Getting focused is easy but staying dedicated is really difficult, especially with how good the other candidates were. I have a lot to thank them for, for keeping me motivated!
Mauro- Personally it was a challenge as I was focusing on university work. At the same time, it was fun and exciting seeing your ideas come to fruition. By the Wednesday I was exhausted and needed a mental boost, but it was all worth it!
What was the best part of campaign week?
Dan- Definitely when we hit 500 votes and got the free doughnuts! Great chance to incentivise people to vote, and to show what we can do when we work together!
Mauro- The best part was the free coffees in the morning! Also meeting a variety of students and learning about their course and university experience.
What was the strangest part of campaign week?
Dan- The smoothie bike! It was the last day of campaigning, everyone was starting to wind down a little bit and it was really nice for all the candidates to get together and do something fun.
Mauro- The strangest part was forgetting that my face was all over the University. People were staring at me and I didn’t really like it but then I remembered I’m campaigning and I wanted them to see me!
What was the teamwork like?
Dan- I didn’t have a dedicated campaign team, but I am very fortunate to have a close-knit group of friends that supported me really well through campaign week. They put a lot of work in for me, and I want to repay them by doing the best job I can as their representative.
Mauro- My campaign team were amazing. They were by my side every day and helped me in every aspect. They gave me confidence to approach people and talk about my campaign. From early mornings to late evenings they were always energetic and coming up with brilliant ideas. I couldn’t have done this without them.
Did you learn any new skills or develop previous ones?
Dan- I learnt how hard it is to win an election! It was really close, but the fact I didn’t stop at all during the week really paid off. I think what I have taken away most from this is a belief that I can do things that I set my mind to, which is a massive boost in confidence while writing my dissertation.
Mauro- Well, everyone says I am confident character, however I used to struggle talking in-front of crowds. By the end of the week, I was completely comfortable and that was important for me. I also found the confidence to approach new people and hold a friendly conversation. Even when they didn’t want to hear you in the first place.
How did you feel when you found out you had won?
Dan- Relieved that the hard work has paid off! Also, I’m hugely grateful to everyone that voted, and excited to be able to take up the position.
Mauro- When my name was announced I was so happy. I had been so nervous leading up to results night and I just wanted to find out. I didn’t think I would win and seeing everyone cheer for me was amazing! I had people ringing, messaging and posting me and I realised how many people supported me, I was truly grateful.
What part of your manifesto are you the most excited to get started on?
Dan- I’m really looking forward to seeing better feedback across the uni. One of the topics that I was very fortunate to have was some really high-quality feedback, and a lot of it. I understand courses are marked in different ways and it is essential our students get the best possible chances for success.
Mauro- To be honest, all of them because I feel like they’re all important in improving the experience. I believe getting another mental health adviser is really important.
What advice would you give to someone running for an SU position?
Dan- Really think hard about exactly what you want to do. Keep your campaigns short and snappy – a rule of three and don’t overcomplicate them – people won’t read anything more than three sentences, so keep that to the hustings!
Mauro- I advise students to give it their all! Have faith in your campaign and campaign team. Don’t be afraid of talking to students and staff. Lastly, think about what you want out of it and where you want to go afterwards.
We’re all looking forward to working with Dan and Mauro very soon. We would also like to congratulate the part-time officers who have been elected:
Vilyana Verichkova- East Coast College Campus Officer
Stephanie Nye- Health and Life School Officer
Darragh Briscomb- LGBTQ Officer
Christopher Tregedeon-Weedon- Postgraduate Liberation Officer
Daniel Betts- Business School Officer
Arisa-Mihaela Nita- Mature Students Liberation Officer
Shauna McArdle- Bury Campus Officer
Jay Chandler- BAME Liberation Officer
Amber Atkinson- Women’s Officer
Lea Medcalf- Caring Responsibilities Officer
Rose Gant- Engineering, Arts and Technology Officer
Look out for nominations in October for course rep positions and officer positions that were not filled.