With elections coming up, we’ve interviewed the VP Welfare candidates; Sam Bailey, Chibeza Mumbi, and Eva Pemberton, to help you choose your favourite…
Name one thing that sets you apart from the other candidates.
Sam: I have the experience and evidence that I can get things done: having organised subtitled film screenings, hosted discussion forums, put together a welcome mag for pre-sessional students, celebrated diversity through loads of events and so much more.
Eva: I think that would be my current role as housing officer, I’ve been involving in shaping the campaign this year therefore have the relevant experience and some key ideas for next year – housing is a really important part of student welfare!
What do you think is wrong with the current welfare system and how will you improve it?
Sam: I want to make it easier for you to find the information you need, when you need it. Whether it’s advice on your course or finances, your rights on housing, how you can gain skills to help you get a job or how to look after your mental health, there is so much SUSU can offer to students but it’s often difficult to know where you should go to get help. From the moment you get the first Freshers’ information this stuff should be there.
Chibeza: A big problem is that some students don’t feel like what VP Welfare does affects their life at university. But the role was created to make the university more inclusive for everyone! There are so many ways that students benefit from Welfare, whether it’s issues relating to housing, finance or general wellbeing.
Eva: With welfare some of the basics are often overlooked. I want to improve things like personal safety and access to sexual health, which is just not good enough at the moment. I would also create better visibility of mental health facilities, as the support the university offers is great but people often don’t know where will best accommodate their particular needs.
What personal qualities do you have that make you perfect for this role?
Sam: I’m organised, passionate (buzzword alert!) and driven. I can see the bigger picture, so we’re not just organising one-off events but actually making a difference to students’ lives in the long-term.
Chibeza: I’m confident, assertive and emphatic. I feel like a VP needs to be someone approachable and friendly.
Eva: I would like to think I’m pretty open-minded, I have friends from so many diverse backgrounds and walks of life which has helped me to empathise with others and recognise that everyone has different issues affecting them. Also, when I’m motivated by something, there is literally no stopping me – and I’m mega passionate about this role! I’ve been told I’m a good listener and an approachable person which I think is really important for any sabb – I want students to feel like they can always come to me for a moan or a chat!
What, if elected, are you most looking forward to about the role?
Sam: Getting to know all the amazingly dedicated students who help with welfare at SUSU. From the Nightline volunteers to everyone who gets involved in Blackout or Waste Wars, I really want to work together to make Southampton awesome for students.
Chibeza: If students are excited about them, then definitely getting some of my ideas into place.
Eva: I’m most looking forward to the possibility that I could make a real difference to student welfare, and of course, meeting loads of new people in the process! ( I also wouldn’t mind the free food perks)
Describe your dream date (the place/experience, not the person.)
Sam: As a zoology student I’m duty bound to say a trip to Marwell Zoo!
Chibeza: A Beyoncè concert.
Eva: It sounds really cheesy but I’ve kinda already been on my dream date – I went horse riding on the beach in Spain last summer!
If you could take one person on this date who would it be? (It could be anyone ever).
Sam: Hmm the team of new welfare student leaders for a spot of team building? (cringe) Although I suppose my boyfriend could tag along too…
Eva: I think this time I would take my mum with me because she’s always wanted to do it.
If you won the lottery what’s the first thing you’d buy?
Sam: Probably a cup of tea to calm down a little! Then I’d make sure to give a nice chunk to Action for the Wild (www.actionforthewild.org) who support communities around the world to look after their local wildlife.
Chibeza: I’d pay off all of my sister’s tuition fees.
Eva: A Private jet so I could go anywhere in the world, whenever I wanted. And tickets to see the bands I could never afford before!
Would you rather everyone thought you’d had sex with a goat when you hadn’t, or no one knew that you had?
Sam: Well that’s certainly a different twist on the petting zoo!
Chibeza: Rather everyone thought I did. I think the embarrassment would be a million times better than actually having sex with a goat.
Eva: Argh I’ll go with the first one, I’d just move away and change my name or something!
Who do you think is the best choice for VP Welfare? Vote in the poll below!