QMU Elections 2015 – Hustings

Hullo. Welcome to qmunicate’s coverage of the QMU Annual General Election hustings, featuring all candidates running for all positions. They’ll get two minutes each to beg for your votes, followed by questions from the floor. I’ll be immortalising it all on the internet, for which I’m sure you’ll be waiting with bated breath. Enjoy, and remember to come down to the QMU on the 5th March to cast your vote.

24/f/Jim’s Bar. Likes: Liveblogging hustings, being plied with gin. Dislikes: typos (setting myself up for a fail here).

21.13: 

Wilson has only missed one Pubs committee in two and a half years. Less vehement than last year about abolishing the sports section. Committee this year has been large and Wilson wants to see it increase. Positions can be added, such as another online editor, another features editor etc. Addresses the fact that Pubs is seen as separate from the other committees. Attracts a different group of people and has some unique faces. Another, different way, for people to get involved with the QM. 2 magazines in circulation – qmunicate and the Aloud ‘zine. Handbook is important and Wilson wants to give members and clubs and societies a voice in it.

Questions for Wilson.

I missed the question.

1. Advertising. How to get more of it?

Yes. That.

Wants someone whose key focus is seeking out adverts, and recognises that it has been difficult for previous convenors to get.

2. Something qmunicate doesn’t already cover?

A lifestyle section. Reply to news in a student form. qmunicate should not break the news, but respond to it and address it.

3. Could the Aloud ‘zine be pushed alongside our daily publication in Freshers’ Week?

There is an Aloud during FW and this could easily be done. Pubs committee isn’t a qmunicate meeting, it’s a publications meeting, so Aloud should be represented at it.

4. Theming issues. Are there enough good, clear themes? Would this stop us breaking news on campus?

The website can continue as normal, responding quickly to things. Magazine is not always timed right for this anyway. Themes can be very vague – such as Music. What music means to individuals, coverage of music events, etc. A common thread running through.

5. Plans to get people involved in designs and graphics?

Wilson would take a different approach to current convenor Sefton. Wants editing team to be a more cohesive team that work together and learn together when tackling design work.

6. qmunicate can be used to push campaigns and would you support this?

Definitely, as well as the union and committees themselves. This could be more website orientated so people can share it on social media. Further distribution. People can approach qmunicate and forge links and request to write things.

7. There have been issues with late PR because people don’t have the skills. Could you train people?

Not necessarily the convenor’s role but anyone with the knowledge should share it and help other people learn.

21.04: Smith determined to start again. Calls the candidate for Events Convenor, Wiktoria Muryn, to the stage.

Wiktoria has been a member of Events Committee and Tech Team for two years. Feels we could do many things so much better. We neglect events outside of Magic. Wants to reintroduce QM Live and focus more on more life Music. Wants to start a Coachella meets Burning Man annual music festival. Promote live music events to non-students. A niche, particularly in the West End. Work with Morgul/Electronic Music Society, etc, for more variety. Students have a lot to offer and this could work in our favour. We will have difficult competition with the opening of the new GUU extension next year. Intercommittee relations also key to develop more and varied events.

Questions called for.

One questioner literally runs to the front. #keen

1. You mention involving committee in ‘concrete decision making’. How would this work?

Don’t know enough about the management structure of the union to say for sure. Wants to focus on looking into this. Sometimes things get changed by passing around to people, and this can be fixed with more dialogue and a more open structure.

2. Live music events so far have varied in price and quality. Would you standardise this?

Want to keep it free of charge; it happened in Semester 1 and was decently attended. Want to involve committee in booking bands so acts are chosen by everyone so responsibility is shared.

3. You talk about creating a stronger identity for Magic. What is this?

Currently it doesn’t have the identity we want it to have, but consistency is key. Successful clubnights, like Cheesy Pop [gasp…] were not built in a year. Ensuring committee commitment and involvement.

4. Tech Team is important. Start of the year sees high membership, but this falls. How to fix it?

No formal structure behind it. Informally delegated this year, but wants to introduce something to the Constitution to solidify this. Someone who is solely focused on tech rather than a convenor that might fluctuate.

5. I missed the question. [Apparently it was how to increase committee commitment].

Going to halls and promoting to first years en masse is important. Committee members need more incentives for this as sometimes it is hard work. Something as simple as a free coffee.

No more questions.

20.58: Smith tentatively tests the room to see if we want to start again. Response falls somewhere between poor and non existent.

20.39: BREAK TIME. Thank goodness. I’ll be at the bar.

20.37: Questions for individual candidates.

For Hornsby: Regular food bank? How/who?

Hornsby: Could be weekly, help from Maryhill Food Bank or similar. Committee could decide on a cause. Events where the chosen cause can speak.

For Fraser: Change the way we elect a charity? How?

Fraser: Nothing written down about how we elect a charity of the year. Something written down to make us accountable, and so every committee and convenor knows exactly what they are doing. Can be expanded to choose a cause for one off events.

For Hornsby: There’s already a food coop. Would this clash with a food bank?

Hornsby: It could be a joint project, if the other society were keen to collaborate.

20.18: Candidates for C&C Convenor take the stage. Lesley Fraser and Lucy Hornsby.

Fraser, a third year Classics students. Key areas of focus are to improve communication, both inter committee, and cross campus, and between charitable societies on campus. Wants to implement guidelines on how we pick charities to raise for. Better PR for the committee and events. Wants the C&C convenor to have a greater presence with charity work across campus. Mentions work as C&C lieutenant and knows the hard work that is involved, particularly with FW. Not afraid to get hands dirty. Was president of a society so knows how to promote things well and gain members.

Hornsby really cares about the difference that C&C can make to people. Has personally raised £1166 through a run as well as over £1k through a bungee jump. Managed to inspire 15+ people to join the Edinburgh marathon team. Vision for the committee is one that drives campaigns for causes that students believe in. Strong leader, and has been co-leading the mental health campaign subcommittee. C&C has fallen short in previous years with not driving the mental health campaign and she wants to address this. Organising a scavenger hunt. Believes she can encourage people to drive their ideas forward and will give her all.

Questions for both candidates. What needs most improvement within the committee?

Hornsby: this year we have had a high fundraising target, so have focused too much on raising money and not on campaigns. Wants members to come to us for support with our own campaigns. Always wants to look at new ideas, and use qmunicate more strongly. We have a strong voice but we don’t always use it, and need to look at this.

Fraser: Wants to review thoroughly the services we run. Condom has seen a drop in numbers due to lack of promotion outwith the QM building. Red Ribbon Ball could be advertised sooner to get more attendees and more money. Contact campaign societies on campus to see if the QM can help.

Question 2: Main benefit C&C is to the union? Main focus for next year?

Fraser: Want to support our members’ campaigns. We did the consent campaign with the SRC in FW. Can do more of this and involve more student bodies. Want to look at an overall goal and get people to help out with campaigns.

Hornsby: Only committee that doesn’t bring the union revenue, but still must remember that it is important. Passionate people who go out of their way to help others and be active in the community. Must always remember who we are helping. Striving to do everything we can to help people in need.

Question 3: Do we fundraise for too many different charities?

Hornsby: We do fundraise for many charities, yes, and some are ones we should have looked at more as a committee. Maybe with a smaller number there would be more passion/commitment.

Fraser: Agrees with Hornsby. Many things are things that are nationwide issues such as Children in Need. Need to ensure that the committee and the Board are happy with every charity chosen.

Question 4: What would make you personally good for supporting committee members’ own projects?

Fraser: Both have been committee members. Has been C&C leftie as well as a society president, ensuring that everything runs smoothly. This has given her transferable skills.

Hornsby: Both have had CSR projects that have been worked on. Hornsby’s have been mostly C&C related and linked to helping others. Believes she has the passion to inspire people and that her enthusiasm will encourage people to help as much as they can.

Question 5: What can you do to advertise the services to the campus?

Hornsby: More can be done with communication between committee and other societies. We could have a stronger voice if we approach people and do things in collaboration. Stronger presence on campus in general.

Fraser: Wants to invite charities to an open session and show them the venue, the committee, allow them to meet people and network. Use the knowledge that we have to help other societies raise more money or awareness. Could help with promotion, knowledge or volunteers. Links with the SRC Charities Officer.

Question 6: If you could only pick one campaign or charity, what would it be?

Fraser: Stress awareness. Something that affects a lot of students. There is a lot of help and info available and we should tap into that. Dogs as stress therapy, for example, as a cross campus effort.

Hornsby: Wellness of the student population. Mental health, or Rape Crisis Scotland. Everyone has something they don’t want to tell, and we want to let people know that they are not alone and that things that can be done for them.

20.13: No questions for individual candidates.

FSM candidate Pad Hughes being represented by a suited and booted Paul Kelly. Simply because ‘he forced [his] name on the form’. Hughes has penned a moving piece urging people to vote for him. It quickly descends into bitterness. He is sure that he will win the election, and Kelly moves onto Hughes’ victory speech, who ends with thanking God for building the QMU, and assures the audience that Kelly will answer any Simpsons trivia questions, once he has ‘dropped the mic and stormed off stage’.

And there is a question. Is it Simpsons trivia? We shall see.

It is. I think. I don’t watch the Simpsons. Which cities were put on the map by the monorail?

Kelly seems to answer adequately and gets a cheer.

Smith calls for more questions. There are none. [Can I go and pee now? And maybe get another gin?].

19.56: Questions for all candidates. Describe yourself in three words.

Carr: sensitive, thoughtful, loyal
Rose: diplomatic, approachable, silly
Merriman: optimistic, curly, chirpy
McLister: cutest face ever (as decreed by Khindria)
MacInnes: diligent, realistic, kind

Question 2: How would you involve other associations and make campaigns campus wide?

Merriman: Want to get more of the student bodies involved. Contacting GUSA for charity sports matches, contacting the SRC’s welfare officers. Establishing and maintaining relationships and keeping regular contact rather than just as a one-off.

Rose: Agrees with Merriman. Thinks most candidates will agree with Merriman. Rose wants to get in touch with the Anthony Nolan bone marrow registry and hold their drives here as we have more traffic. Wants Sexpression involved to do sexual health workshops and talks

Carr: Inter student body competitions, like music, or sports. Make the most of the friendly rivalry.

MacInnes: Ensure that all affiliated societies know all the perks of affiliation. Build bonds with them. This will help create staying power.

McLister/Khindria: McLister is involved with the mental health campaign, and wants to involve more campaigns rather than just donating money. This will be easier to get other student bodies involved and something McLister is keen to pursue.

Question 3: 6 months is a short time. What is the one thing you definitely want to get done?

McLister/Khindria: McLister wants to continue work with C&C and create a more organised calendar with events and goals, to be released early in the year.

MacInnes: Increase visibility of Jim’s as a live music venue and therefore exposure of the QM. Beyond acoustic settings. A more regular basis.

Carr: Increase committee attendance. Wants to make all students feel like they would be comfortable coming along to meetings.

Rose: Can’t choose. Wants to enact all of her policies. Particularly involvement with Sexpression via a sexual health and awareness campaign. Would be a benefit to the student population.

Merriman: Magic. Has near perfect attendance at Magic and events committee. Wants to work with new Events Convenor and Executive on why Magic is not as successful as we would like and enact the solutions.

Question 4: First year involvement?

Carr: Want to invite members personally. Can tell people exactly what they can do on each day, and what we can do for the members. Feels this would make a huge difference.

Rose: Wants to see ‘alone friendly’ events in Freshers’ Week. Things that are easy to attend on one’s own. Cheese and wine, live band, speed mating. Clubnights are hard to go to alone. FWelpers help with this and make it more approachable.

Merriman: FW is a prime time to exploit first years and tell them what they can do, when they are keen to find out more about Glasgow/uni/unions.

McLister/Khindria: McLister wants to reevaluate PR strategy both physically and online. People simply don’t realise. More involvement with halls.

MacInnes: Changing up PR. Checklist of a member’s particular interests when they sign up for membership, then we can send them info on events that might be of interest to them rather than being bombarded with everything.

[Aside: I hope there’s a break soon. I’ve had a couple of gins and need to pee. #TMI].

19.45: CSR A hustings over. That was quick and painless. No ‘favourite pokemon’? ‘Light saber colour’? CSR B candidates invited to the stage. Dominic MacInnes, Rosie McLister, Gillian Merriman, Emily Rose and Kathy Carr.

MacInnes is a fourth year philosophy student who has been a writer for qmunicate recently. Wants to increase connections with local bands and allow them to use Jim’s/Qudos. Wants to increase variety of drinks available and put on unique offers, such as themed White Russians [like Ni… other venues, in town]. Wants people to feel a bond when they join the union, and progress to becoming a more active member.

McLister cannot make it, so is being spoken for by current board member Priya Khindria. McLister wants to work on a coherent online presence for the union, as well as ensure that services and events are promoted well to affiliated clubs and societies. She wants to continue to help promote committees, and raise awareness of Scran as well as study space around exam time. Keen on helping with the QMU handbook. ‘You will always find her up here… apart from tonight, obviously’.

Merriman is a second year, who didn’t realise how involved you could become with the union in her own Freshers’ Week and learnt this through being a FWelper this year. Keen committee attendee, doing work for C&C, Social and Events committee. Wants to increase PR presence around campus. Interested in changing ‘school canteen-style’ feel of Food Factory via revamp of the space and the menu. Would continue to actively participate.

Rose is a first year studying English Lit and Maths. Feels lucky to have got involved with C&C so early. Recognises that this doesn’t happen for many people. Wants to promote that people can get involved to any level and at any time. Is shaving her head for charity at the end of the month and pleads for sponsors. Wants to focus on non-monetary charity work in the union, such as blood drives and work with the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow registry. Also wants to work on the mental health campaign, and further this to starting a sexual health campaign.

Carr is a third year English Lit student who was a FWelper this year and member of Social and Publications committee. Wants to instigate a weekly newsletter emailed to all members with info about what is happening that week. Wants a more direct approach to help people get involved. Wants to see committee attendance increase through personal invites featuring details of what you can do and what you can gain from committees. Wants to engage members, rather than waiting for them to come to us.

19.43: Question for Jimmy Donaghy. How would you organise and fund your trips?

Donaghy spent time in the USA and met a teacher that ran similar trips for students there; wants to have a suggestion box to find places that students want to go to. Work out a price that would not cost the union anything but time, primarily undertaken by himself. Costs covered by attendees of the trip.

19.33: First question. One idea for an event/campaign/something outside the building; money no object. Everyone gets a minute to answer.

Acheson: We’re a great union for live music, and culture. Wants to combine those with a huge student variety show, a la Secret Policeman’s Ball, but massive. All day festival. This actually wouldn’t be that difficult to achieve.

Donaghy: Part of the Kelvin Ensemble and recognises the talent in there. Could run a musical fundraising event with all the university music societies to support the charity of the yea. Lunchtime entertainment.

Brown: His [drag queen] alter ego, Lady Magic, wants a drag ball. Glitter, cocktails, everyone would be wrecked. Provides what the QM is – a safe space. Allows people to feel comfortable whoever they are.

Telford: Wants to introduce new musicians to getting into performing. Small gigs in different rooms of the QM. Established acts in Qudos, open mic in Champs’  – things going on everywhere so people can experience different aspects.

Question 2: The QM has failed to attract first years to get involved with board/committees as much as it would have liked. Fix this? How?

Brown: Freshers’ Week is when first years listen the most. Mental new environment. FWelpers are the guide through that. Talks about being a helper, having an ‘inspirational leader’ and genuinely wanting to get people involved.

Donaghy: Really keen to start with, then it can trail off. Cheese and wine things can be a bit intimidating, so a lot more can be done with committees during Freshers’ Week. Things continued throughout the year, such as speed mating.

Acheson: Wants to take PR up to halls throughout the year but recognises the risks of bombarding people with too much information. Need to strike a balance. New projects can attract more people, such as art, and show people that they can have a stake in what we do here. Notes that it has been a problem and needs continuously looking at.

Telford: Something that sparked his manifesto points. Committee introductions throughout the year. People take more than a few weeks to find their feet and we need to make it obvious that people can join whenever they want to join and that it’s always possible.

19.24: And we’re off. CSR A Candidates to the stage: Cat Acheson, Andrew Brown, Jimmy Donaghy and Jonathan Telford. 2 minute speeches, followed by questions from the floor. First up, Telford.

Telford, a second year music student, starts with chat about his QM involvement. Freshers’ Helper/committee member. Wants to get people to be the latter earlier in their uni careers via more cheese/wine type events in different times of day/locations. [Odd disruptions from Bulgarian dance society downstairs].

Brown is a second year student of Chemistry and Earth Sciences and wants to focus on home students. Quickly clarifies that he is a home student and thinks it is a shame that few others are involved. Gets a laugh with anecdote about his dog being his only pal in first year. Wants to replicate the University’s way of targeting student groups liks home students, international students. Also keen to maintain C&C events like Red Ribbon Ball.

Donaghy used to have pink hair. This is unfortunately not still the case. First year living in QM halls. Wants to instigate trips off campus to take advantage of group booking discounts for places. [I floated this in my own CSR manifesto, back in the day. #disneyland]. Would help with people getting to know each other on a personal basis. Interaction between international students and the union also a priority, as is a focus on first years. As one himself he feels he has the right perspective.

Acheson has been on board for 6 months already, alongside her studies (second year). She has helped launch the Aloud ‘zine, and through that become involved in running the event. Currently is in the process of displaying student artwork in the building and doesn’t want to abandon this project halfway through. Says that people seem excited that the QM can be a creative hub. Wants to take advantage of the talented membership for various projects (committee room murals, for example), and improve the committee rooms via beanbags and decoration.

19.19: Meant to start nineteen minutes ago. Classic QM. Smith has just asked if I’m happy to get going. Ooh err.

[YL]

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