Meet the candidates: President

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The Students’ Union President sits on a number of University and Students’ Union committees covering everything from finance to improving transport. They have regular meetings with senior management within the University, including one-to-one meetings with the Vice Chancellor and Pro-Vice Chancellors, as well as much larger committee meetings with all members of senior management.A key aspect of their role involves the communications of the Students’ Union, including working with Student Union media groups, including bathimpact, URB, and CampusTV.
We asked them to comment on what they would like to do as President, as well as questions about themselves. Here are the answers:

Ben Jessup

What manifesto promise is the most important to you?jessup

I would say enhanced support and development. We have such fantastic opportunities available within the SU to develop skills alongside our study, differentiate ourselves from others in the job market, and secure recognition for such involvement. But so many students don’t know about what is available, and of those who do, many don’t actually engage with it because it’s not relevant to them.

I never took advantage of the opportunities during my time as a student here, and I now massively regret it. I want to ensure that others don’t make the same mistake, and really do take everything they can from their time at Bath.

What do you think is going to win the campaign for you?

I hope my incredibly cringe election video might just pip it for me. It’s a beautiful take on the Mariah Carey classic, Hero. It’s going to be a belter.

What would you class as a successful year?

Engaging more of the student body, making them aware of the fantastic opportunities that our Union offers and actually improving their time at Bath and their overall University experience.

If you could change one thing about the Uni, regardless of money, what would you do?

I would really like to see a bike lift on Bathwick and Widcombe Hills. I’ve seen them online and whilst I’ve cycled Widcombe once and run them both a couple of times each, they are such a nightmare. A bike lift would be brilliant. You could jump on as soon as you get a bit out of puff on the way up and then bike down. It would help with buses and parking on campus. Winner.

What is your favourite thing about the city of Bath?

I don’t think I could really pick one thing out… It’s pretty bloody fab all round really isn’t it? I’ve met some fantastic people here over the last few years, the city itself is beautiful and I’ve had a cracking 5 years at this University. Spoilt for choice really.

Would you have supported the National Demo last year?

This year we asked the student body whether they wanted the Students’ Union to support the National Demo, and the students came back saying yes. We pursued this, however were then unable to due to the lack of risk assessment and our Charity Commission status.

I would love to have – that’s what our students voted for – but the safety of our students must always be the priority.

Zoe Kennerley

What manifesto promise is the most important to you?kennerley

Choosing one manifesto point to be the most important one is difficult, I have come up with ideas that would affect a wide range of students. They will prioritise them differently, no one student is more important than the other so choosing one would be impossible. If I had to choose, I would go for the buses – they affect people on a daily basis and is something I’ve been asked about a lot this week. I also feel my international mentoring scheme is hugely important, as a large proportion of our student body is international. This would help engage more international students with the SU and help them settle in well at Bath.

What do you think is going to win the campaign for you?

Hard work, determination, being pro active and trying to meet as many students as I can. I am up against some strong competition but students seem to be reacting well to my friendly personality and the clarity of my ideas. I’ve had some amazing feedback about my manifesto and the support I’m seeing is incredible.

What would you class as a successful year?

A successful year to me means achieving my goals and knowing I have done everything I can to complete my aims. I use my personal goals as one method of measuring success. In terms of it being a successful year as SU president, I would want students to find me approachable and be able to come to me with things they feel strongly about so that I could give them an opportunity to make a change they are passionate about. Ensuring the officer team communicates with students effectively, knowing about all the amazing things that are happening throughout the year and where to find them. At the end of the day regardless of my own goals it will be, if elected my responsibility to be responsive to what students want and any developments on a national scale that will affect our students on a national scale.

If you could change one thing about the Uni, regardless of money, what would you do?

Put more things on campus, create more space, more facilities and make sure they are facilities students want to use!

What is your favourite thing about the city of Bath?

Everything. The buildings, Victoria Park – an incredible place to go if you want some thinking time and to look down over the city. The swimming pool (when we get it back) and of course campus. I really do love Bath.

Would you have supported the National Demo last year?

I would make this decision based on the student’s opinions, as SU president it will be my responsibility to represent students on things they feel strongly about. I would have wanted to ensure more students were well informed on this topic as I’m not sure many were although there was a small group who were very passionate about it. If it was decided a significant number supported it I would feel obliged to support it. I feel as president you represent the students, personal opinion should not play a part.

Jordan Kenny kenny

What manifesto promise is the most important to you?

Space. The increasing student numbers on our campus affects each and every one of us. Fighting for dedicated student hubs, created through a re-evaluation of the available space and a long term strategy for the use of online resources can help everyone. Access to computers, plug sockets, and group work areas, whilst also maintaining support services like advice, careers and library services is essential, on campus and in the city.

What do you think is going to win the campaign for you?

My experience, having been in post since June 2014, I know this role inside out, and have matched my knowledge with my personality created incredible change for the students of Bath.

What would you class as a successful year?

The Living Wage for Student Staff, and fixed fees for international students. If we could win those, I would be the happiest person on our campus.

If you could change one thing about the Uni, regardless of money, what would you do?

I think I would probably pick up the city of Bath, with us in it, and take it somewhere with sunshine all year round! We have the most beautiful campus, but all too often its cold and wet!

What is your favourite thing about the city of Bath?

The absolute pride that people have of the city. Bath has its problems undeniably, but you speak to people and they can’t think of anywhere in the world that they would rather be.

Would you have supported the National Demo last year?

Whilst as a Union, we didn’t support sending coaches to the demo in London, I and the Officer team are fully committed to the principles of Free Education. The decision to not support students financially with coaches was incredibly difficult, but made in the absolute best interests as a trustee, and the Chair of the Board of the Trustees, of the Students’ Union and its members for the legal issues it created.

In the future, we are looking to anticipate these issues well in advance. I am already attempting to track down the necessary information that would allow our Students’ Union to support getting students to the demo in Birmingham in March.

As President I am fully accountable to our members, but I am elected to make and lead on the big, important issues, and in this case that is exactly what I did.

bathimpact invited Ashley Russell and Dom Graham to interview, but they declined.

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About Author

Benjamin is the former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of bathimpact and covers stories on University of Bath, University of Bath Students' Union, Bath politics and student issues

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