QMU General Election Hustings 2016: Liveblog

Hello all, and welcome to qmunicate’s super exciting live coverage of the QMU General Election hustings! Jim’s Bar is filling up and we can’t wait to hear the candidates’ ideas. qmunicate has a pint to hand and is raring to go. Tonight we’ll hear manifestos from all the candidates except those for President, who will do some little speeches but get their own special debate tomorrow night at 6. Polling is open 9-7 on Thursday, but remember, you have to be a QMU member to vote: if you haven’t already, get to the porters’ office and sign up by 5pm tomorrow. It’s free and you get cheaper Tennents.

In true QM fashion we’re running a wee bit behind, so there’s still time to grab yourself some popcorn before things kick off with the CSR A category!

18:10 Honorary Assistant Secretary Celia Varela Sixto welcomes us and explains the rules. Candidates will answer questions about their manifestos. Serious and silly questions welcome.

18:14 It’s time to hear from the Candidates for CSR A!

Maggie Brunker is a 2nd year Earth Science student and host of FUQ – which she says was lots of fun to explain to her mum. She wants to improve awareness of the de-stress room on the 3rd floor and keep PR in the building more up to date. Maggie also hopes to boost membership by working with more societies to host film screenings, and would like to see more variety of live music nights and chicken nuggets in Scran.

Yasmina Todd, 2nd year psychology student, is keen on themed club nights: bands, eras, genres. She says maybe we could try out the Itchy Feet format. She thinks it’d be useful to keep the QMU cloakroom open during the day so that visitors could drop off their stuff, and suggests a trial period for this to see how popular it would be and assess the need for staff. She also thinks some organised graffiti would jazz up the toilets.

Mata Durkin studies Latin and philosophy and her main manifesto point is to set up a victim support group in the QMU, so that those who have been affected by different kinds of harassment could talk to people who have experienced similar things and understand how they’re feeling. She’d also like to see more international events so that students from all over the world can learn about and understand each other’s cultures better.

George Gillen loves the QMU even though he studies at the dental school in town. He’d like to see more home students getting involved in the union and wants to help them feel more included in uni life. He points out that home students are a diverse group who just happen to all live at home. He’d also like to bring back karaoke with regular charity fundraising events. Finally he wants to improve the website as not everyone has access to social media.

Chris Ashforth says he won’t regurgitate his manifesto but is happy to answer any questions. He thinks it’s a promising manifesto but recognises that there will be compromise and not every point can be fully put into action.

It’s question time! Presidential candidate Joe Mullally asks candidates why they need to be on board to put their ideas into action:

Chris: He says his first point is to change the atmospheres in the bars a bit and there aren’t really committees responsible for that.

George: He wants to get home students around the whole uni involved but feels that by being on board he could focus on the union as a part of that strategy.

Mata: She wants to invite inspirational speakers to the QMU and feels it’d be hard to organise by herself, but being a board member could help her to make the right connections.

Yasy: She’s been along to loads of committees but when she’s had ideas she’s often found herself asking a friend who was already on board, because he had an overview of what was going on across all the committees.

Maggie: Committees can only go so far but being on board brings a sense of trust, which she thinks would help her to share her ideas and feedback.

18:21 A silly question next. Jonathan Telford wants to know if the candidates could stock one thing in the bars that aren’t already available, what would they be?

Maggie: Cheese and onion Taytos.

Yasy: Belgian peach beer and pina coladas.

Mata: More alcohol free choices because she doesn’t drink and is bored of lemonade.

George: Bring back strawberry and lime Hornsbys. President Sefton informs him they’ve stopped making it. Also bring bar bites downstairs.

Chris: Salt and limes for tequila.

18:30 Presidential candidate Jack Smith asks what the candidates’ least favourite things about the QMU are, and how would they fix it?

Chris: The QMU has the biggest image problem “of any union in the world”. He points out that he knows most of the people in the room. He’d try to change this by inviting more people in and making sure they know the QMU is for everyone and not just friends of the board.

George: Agrees that he knows almost everyone in the room. Thinks the toilets need a bit of work, which wouldn’t necessarily have to mean a full refurbishment.

Mata: The tables in Jim’s are pretty wobbly. qmunicate agrees. She thinks the furnishings around the building in general could be better.

Yasy: The buttons in the lift: why is there a number 4 instead of a 2 on the level 2 button? Rapturous applause from the floor. She thinks the QMU has a bit of a reputation problem and thinks a start to changing this would be better poster designs.

Maggie: There aren’t enough people coming into the QMU. The paint party wasn’t very busy. She’d love to see more people in the building and thinks the union needs to get more PR out there.

18:38 What’s your favourite Disney film and why would it make you a better board member?

Maggie: Mulan. Don’t listen to others/your parents too often. Make your own path. Dress however you want too.

Yasy: Also Mulan. Mulan is independent and taught her to be more brave about sharing her ideas. Special mention for The Lion King 2 – the QMU and the GUU need to be like the two prides that accept each other.

Mata: The Princess and the Frog, because it shows how hard you have to work to make things happen, but also that you should always remember to take time to chill.

George: Robin Hood. It taught him to look out for everyone, and board members should be welcoming and make people feel at home in the Union.

Chris: Tron. It doesn’t have much of a deeper message – but while some things look a bit shit, they can actually be quite good. Like the QMU.

18:40 If you could endorse another candidate, who would it be?

Chris: Yasy. He agrees that the cloakroom has lots of potential and would like to see how her idea would turn out.

George: Mata, because her ideas are original and she’s very easy to get along with so would be great to work with.

Mata: Feels bad because she was going to say Maggie! She’d love to see Quorn chicken nuggets in the QMU.

Yasy: Mata, because she feels Nightline and the counselling service aren’t meeting students’ needs, and she loves the idea of having an international festival to encourage students from around the world to mix.

Maggie: Mata. A victim support group is really important, she thinks, because so many victims don’t know who to talk to about what they’re going through.

18:45 If you were to get elected, how would you keep us up to date with how your manifesto promises were coming along?

Maggie: Her ideas are achievable, not extravagant. She’d keep people up to date by going to more committees.

Yasy: She knows the QMU doesn’t have a huge budget so has built her promises on the things the QMU already has but can improve on. She thinks social media should be used to tell people what the board are working on. She especially loves the Glasgow Uni Instagram and thinks that would work well.

Mata: Her ideas are based on events, so people could see the events happening and she’d be held accountable that way. The victim support group could only work if it was well advertised, and it’d be clear from these that her ideas where being put into place.

George: Sometimes you can overestimate how much you can do in a year. Like Mata, he says advertising and event successes are a way people could see that he was delivering. Thinks the website would be the biggest challenge.

Chris: Most of his ideas are quite visible ones. He’d like to look at statistics to keep track of things changing.

18:49 Celia says she’d like to start with questions for individual candidates soon. Jonathan Telford asks who would win in a Hunger Games scenario.

Chris: Hasn’t seen the Hunger Games. Booing. He says in a fight to the death he could take the other candidates.

George: Chris because he’s a statistician and his mind works in analytical ways.

Mata: All she’ll say is that she’s a lot stronger and faster than she looks.

Yasy: She loves food and is very resourceful when there’s nothing in the fridge.

Maggie: George because he could run very fast on his long legs.

18:51 Since there’s so much chat around election time about getting more people involved, what got the candidates involved in the QMU?

Maggie: In Freshers’ Week she liked the GUU but wasn’t impressed by what they had on during the week. She loved Magic too.

Yasy: She got involved in Freshers’ Week too, because she and her flatmates found themselves more drawn to QMU events. She was a regular Magic-goer and when she saw the adverts for committees she fancied getting involved. Thinks committee advertising makes the QMU feel welcoming.

Mata: She came here in her Freshers’ Week and kept coming throughout her first year. When she was growing up she said people quite often focused on her race, and in the QMU she was treated like a person regardless of her skin colour. She felt very accepted and loves everyone here. Awwww.

George: Like the other candidates, he’s gravitated more towards the QMU since his Freshers’ Week. As a dentist he’s based in the city centre and didn’t really go out in the West End until a friend encouraged him to go to committees.

Chris: He was a Freshers’ Helper and met lots of cool people, then wanted to come along to committees. Then he saw problems that he wanted to fix, and that’s why he’s running for board.

18:56 Emma Anderson, presidential candidate, says motivation for PR work tends to be lacking around exam times. How would the candidates keep people motivated to get PR out there?

Chris: Suggests some kind of rewards for PR work because otherwise people will lose interest and focus on other things.

George: Thinks the website could be used really well at those times of year. Students revising for exams check social media all the time so the QMU could get PR out that way.

Mata: Agrees that online PR would be best around exam times because it would probably reach a wider audience than posters around campus, as students can lock themselves away to study.

Yasy: Introduce an element of competition and try to create hype around that. Also thinks exams can actually be an opportunity because you can encourage students to celebrate the end of exams or to take breaks in studying.

Maggie: Create a volunteer rota during committees and encourage people to use distribution times as a break from studying. You can reward yourself with a pint after.

19:01 If you had an unlimited budget, what would you do with it?

Maggie: Set up QMU buses or taxis so that home students could get home more easily. She’d also like a swimming pool.

Yasy: Slides down from every floor. She’d also get a lifetime supply of pick and mix for committees and invite the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race to do motivational speeches. But she’d still replace the little things like tables and chairs.

Mata: She’d definitely change the tables in Jim’s and have a nap room for people who are so tired they can’t even be bothered to walk home. Also, Beyoncé. A general revamp of the building would be nice.

George: His home students society is actually working on a bus or taxi scheme. He thinks disabled access isn’t great and would spend the money on this to make sure everyone feels included. He’d also book some huge live acts and keep Scran open 24/7.

Chris: Completely gut Champs and Jim’s and get a star architect in to redesign them.

Now it’s time for questions for individual candidates.

19:05 To Chris, why would people who weren’t previously interested in the QMU vote in elections, and how would he stop clubs or societies from taking over if everyone voted?

He says we need to represent more students, not just members. He’d let anyone vote in by-elections but separate ballots to iron out any problems.

19:07 Also for Chris, why does he think bi-weekly social events would be better and what other changes would he propose?

He thinks having bi-weekly events would make them seem more unmissable, because people couldn’t just go along the next week. He’d also try to create a bigger difference between BWNPQ and FUQ.

That’s all from the CSR A candidates! Now it’s time to hear from CSR B candidates, who would be elected for 6 months each.

David McGinley is a law student and he isn’t happy with the furniture in the QMU. He points out two particularly offensive tables in Jim’s. He’s a home student and sometimes feels this limits how many events he can make it to, and would like to bring some events forward to give home students more time to hang around. He also says since it’s St David’s Day today we should vote for him.

Rose Jackson is a first year English lit student and wants to bring a roller disco to the QMU! She thinks Qudos would be a perfect venue for this and it’d build on the QMU’s history of nostalgic events. Rose thinks signage could be improved around the building, especially downstairs.

Emily Rose is that rare breed, an English lit AND maths student. She wants to work with more charity societies, and points to how successful the recent bone marrow donation drive was – statistically the QMU has saved two lives. She also wants to hold more events in Qudos during the day and encourages everyone to share their ideas for this. She’d love to keep working on the QM’s mental health campaign.

Ciaran McQueen studies English lit and French and wants to stay on board (he’s been CSR for the last 6 months). He’s involved in the organisation of QMU Live and has a few acts in mind who he’d love to book to play in the QMU. He wants permanent signs on the 3rd floor advertising where committee rooms and board rooms are and when committees meet. He also wants to keep bringing the Therapets dogs back to the QM and help work on the QMU’s social media presence.


19:16 Once again, what are the candidates’ least favourite things about the QMU and how would they change them?

Ciaran: The toilets and the wobbly tables in Jim’s, because things like tables are easy to sort out. He also thinks the QM’s reputation is a bit blank and he’d like to help shape it more.

Emily: She’d open up committee rooms during the day because the QM doesn’t have many places to study that don’t need members to buy food to sit in, and Qudos is too cold to study in.

Rose: Signage on the 3rd floor is really bad, she’s got lost a few times trying to find the gender neutral toilets. She also thinks it isn’t clear enough from signs and posters what actually happens in committees.

David: He thinks it can be a bit unclear what the QMU is all about and how it differs from the QMU.

19:20 Would you rather fight a plane full of snakes or a tornado full of sharks?

David: Sharks are big, snakes are small. Tornadoes are also big. He thinks he could take the snakes but only if he was on the plane. You can’t really survive inside a tornado but you can in a plane.

Rose: She comes from an island whose patron saint got rid of snakes so she thinks that’d be better.

Emily: Wouldn’t the sharks in the tornado be dead??

Ciaran: Agrees that a tornado isn’t sharks’ natural habitat and would go for this option.

19:21 We’ve been talking about how to improve the QM, but what do you think the QM does really well?

Ciaran: GUU has Hive and while that’s very successful, it is just a club. The QMU is better at putting on a variety of events, like the jazz night and themed club nights.

Emily: The QMU is the 2nd biggest distributor of free condoms in Scotland, after the NHS. Woo!

Rose: Condoms and those brie bites.

David: Condoms are great to use against snakes.

19:24 If you had a superpower what would it be, and how would it benefit the QM?

David: His favourite X-Men member is Nightcrawler, but he also likes others so he fancies all their superpowers. But to go with Nightcrawler, he could teleport around and put posters up really quickly.

Rose: She would be able to fight gravity, and a gravity-less night would definitely bring in new members.

Emily: She’d love to be able to stop time, because nobody could use the excuse of not having time to do things.

Ciaran: He’d like Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne’s power – having lots of money to spend on the QMU.

19:26 Is the QMU focusing too much on how the clientele differs from the GUU?

Ciaran: The QMU needs to do its own thing and he thinks the friendly rivarly is healthy for the unions.

Emily: It’s really hard to explain to strangers the difference between the unions but says we have good chat but the GUU has good banter. She thinks it’s good to do things in partnership and people don’t have to like one or the other.

Rose: It doesn’t need to be the key focus but she says the people in the QMU made her want to keep coming along, so it is important that it is distinct.

DavidHe thinks it’s important that the unions are distinct because they can’t compete on the same things. Live music, for example, is where the QMU does really well.

19:29 Who is your idol and how would what they’ve taught you help the QM?

David: This is a tough one, he wants to go back to snakes and sharks. After deliberation he says “Karl Marx, he was nice.” Lots of cheers.

Rose: David Bowie – a little cliché, but he shows how important it is to have your own distinct identity. The QMU just needs to find its perfect reincarnation to make everything fall into place.

Emily: Lots of people inspire her, including her mum and Arnold Schwarzenegger. She thinks it’s great to pick the best parts of lots of different people and aspire to these.

Ciaran: David Byrne, because he treats all art the same, and thinks that’s something the QM does well too with Aloud, for example. We’re the arts union, he says, and should keep on being that.

19:32 A question for Ciaran – is this the arts union when there are so many scientists in the room? Is it just a modern version of the GUU being the men’s union? Is it discrimination against non-arts students?

Ciaran points out that there is a huge variety of societies affiliated to the QMU, and his point was that the QMU puts on more arts events than the GUU does.

19:34 Also to Ciaran, some things in your manifesto were in your manifesto last time round, so why haven’t you achieved them yet?

Ciaran replies that new signage is in the works, and his manifesto has new ideas like the social media drive that he wouldn’t have thought of last time because he didn’t go to as many committees.

19:36 To Ciaran and Emily, what have you already achieved on board and how does it make you good candidates this time round too?

Emily was on board for 6 months in her 1st year and says she achieved a lot of what she set out to, such as working with mental health issues and charities. She thinks her good track record shows she can manage a lot again, and she will keep making her ideas happen – but it’s easier when you’re on board.

Ciaran feels proud of what he’s been involved in with live music in the Union and is still getting more involved. He’s brought people along from halls who are now regulars, and he thinks he’s given good feedback throughout his time on board.

19:38 Another question for Ciaran – can he give examples of his involvement in live music?

The union has held events like Battle of the Bands and Glasgow Uni’s Got Talent, and he’s working heavily on the upcoming QMU Live festival.


19:40 The CSR candidates leave the stage, and it’s time to hear from the 1st Year CSR B candidates!

Luigi Gravili feels like the QMU has a lot to offer, but not enough people know about them. The laundry room is really cheap and more people should be aware of that. He wants to create more excitement around the QM. He also thinks having Qudos just for live music is a bit of a waste, and proposes different events in his manifesto. Finally, he feels there isn’t enough communication between tech team and events committee – maybe the events convenor could attend tech meetings?

Ella Inkeroinen lives in halls and thinks they could help communicate ideas between the QM and students in halls. Ella wants to introduce more vegetarian and vegan food to the QMU – Meat Free Monday is great, but people aren’t just veggie one day a week, and sandwiches with cheese get boring quickly. Ella would also like to introduce a Therapets event but with cats instead of dogs. To sum up: vegetarianism and cats. qmunicate approves.

Aoife Maguire has only got involved in the QM quite recently, and came back because of qmunicate. We love you too, Aoife! She thinks people feel they can’t come along unless they have friends involved in the QM, which isn’t true, and it’s important to get other first years involved and coming along. She didn’t know how much it was possible to get involved with in the union, and thinks promoting this would promote the union as a whole.

19:46 Time for the first questions for the first years. Yet again (come on), what is your least favourite thing about the QM and how would you change it?

Aoife: The lack of first years. She thinks they don’t know how much is here and available and that’s why she thinks first year seats are so important – it encouraged her to run when she might not have otherwise.

Ella: Ella has ordered nachos in Scran a lot without jalapenos, and has always received jalapenos. Also, the 3rd floor corridor is a bit scary and they’d like to change that. The gender neutral toilets are really important to have, but a bit rubbish.

Luigi: He loves how familiar the QM is, but feels this is also one of its problems. He disagrees that it is cliquey, and says it’s more like a family, but we need to build more of a sense of community especially among first years.

19:49 How did you guys find out about the Union, and how could the QM get more Freshers involved?

Luigi: He came here every night in Freshers’ Week and thinks the events were better than in the GUU. He went there one night and ended up back here.

Ella: They did some research before arriving Scotland and the QMU stood out because of its legacy of live music, and they instantly felt welcome. Promoting the QM more on campus would help.

Aoife: She found out about the QM before she came to uni through a friend and felt like she fit in, but thinks more first years need to come along. There should be more advertising for the QM and its committees and events in halls.

19:52 There are more Star Wars films and more Pokemon games coming out. Should the QM be investing in developing what it already has, or focus on coming up with new ideas?

Aoife: There’s loads of great stuff happening in the Union and she doesn’t think the QM has to compete with the GUU to host a great club night. It’s more important to focus on what we already have – great music and great chat.

Ella: Agrees that we should focus more on what we already have. There should be more PR for events and try to get more people along to committees. A club night in Qudos would be good but it doesn’t have to be a priority.

Luigi: We should focus on both. The headphone disco, for example, worked really well – but there’s space for new things too.

19:56 Continuing the Nintendo theme: best Mario Kart character and how does your opinion relate to the QMU?

Luigi: Obviously Luigi! First years are a bit like him, the little brothers of the QM.

Ella: Has never played Mario Kart but says if you vote for them they’ll get you points and stars.

Aoife: Princess Peach because she’s a boss ass bitch who drives her racing car in a ballgown. She’s not sure how that relates to her manifesto, though.

19:58 Why should we vote for you in 3 words?

Aoife: Morning raves. Period.

Ella: Veggies, music, cats.

Luigi: Raves and participation.

19:59 The QMU loves to invent new drinks, like first years at flat parties. What drink would you create for the QM?

Luigi: He likes sweet stuff, so maybe he’d try a fruity sambuca cocktail.

Ella: Craft beer Sundays, or something that gets you drunk fast.

Aoife: A 20-30% red wine.

20:00 A question from a current 1st year CSR, Nour, who points out that there aren’t many 1st years in the room. Do the candidates think most first years have the potential to come to the QM and how do we tap into that?

Aoife: She feels like the QM creates more personal connections – she spoke to more QM helpers in Freshers’ Week. She thinks the Union offers something for everyone.

Ella: They think the QM is quite chilled, like a big living room for everyone to hang out in, and that welcoming atmosphere means everyone can come along.

Luigi: The QM has the potential to be a space for 1st years, especially those who don’t live with other 1st years in halls. It was a place for him to get more involved, as he doesn’t live with other students. As long as we spread the word, the QM can be a great place for first years too.

20:04 If you were a Pokemon, what type would you be, and why?

Luigi: He thinks about this a lot. A mix of water and ghost. He doesn’t really know why.

Ella: Flying type because they’re quite independent and she thinks that’s the QMU’s spirit too.

Aoife: Probably something fiery. She likes to make her presence known.

20:06 A question for Luigi – where does he think the problems in communication lie between tech team and events?

Tech team can be like the silent workers of the QM, he says, and sometimes it’s not clear what events tech is required for. He thinks tech managers could have more responsibilities, and this would make the team more efficient.
That’s all from the CSR candidates! After a quick break we’ll be hearing from the candidates for Former Student Member and committee Convenors. qmunicate needs a drink.

Phew. qmunicate’s glass is full again and we’re about to hear from the unopposed candidate for Former Student Member, Tom Kelly. Tom Kelly lives, however, in London, so for tonight Jimmy Donaghy is his voice. Questions are also now capped at 5 per category.

Tom: Tom lives in London and works for a digital media agency, working with social media for various clients. He’s used to working remotely and communicating with clients by telephone, so thinks he’d be able to work well from away from the union.

20:23 qmunicate is unsure how questions will work in this case. Joe Mullally asks how Tom could make sure he contributes to the union from so far away. Tom would offer social media solutions to fit strategies that the board would determine, so would not need to be present at meetings.

20:24 As a former qmunicate editor, what is Tom’s favourite font?

Tom: Jimmy doesn’t know Tom’s favourite font, he says “a real jazzy one” and his favourite Pokemon is Golduck. Jimmy is now telling the story of he and Tom’s relationship, and it’s quite lovely. He thinks Tom will be great to work with.

20:25 In Tom’s manifesto he says he wants to represent life members. How will he do that?

Tom: (Jimmy): I dunno, he’ll get in touch with all of them.

20:27 Thankfully, there are no more questions for the absent Tom Kelly. Now it’s time for Convenors, and there will be no more silly questions from now on. First we’ll hear from the candidates for Campaigns & Charities Convenor. 

Charlotte Talwar thinks there are loads of great acts in Glasgow who she’d love to see come to the QMU for a charity event. She’d also like to place more emphasis on the Elephant in the Room campaign, including using Jim’s and Cafe 22 to hold smaller events for this. She’d also like to get more involved with campaigns against sexual violence on campus.

Megan Davies wants to see better collaboration with clubs and societies, and that this would make more students aware of how they could get involved and how the committee could help them with their ideas. She’d also like to provide more information about sexual health, including consent classes and workshops with societies.

20:31 Are the candidates aware of previous issues with cross-campus collaboration, and what would they do differently to ensure success?

Megan: It’s important to learn from past mistakes and things that haven’t worked. She thinks the society has tired hard to engage with other organisations on campus but they haven’t been as enthusiastic. She’d like to get to know presidents and convenors of other societies better on a personal level to encourage collaboration.

Charlotte: She thinks events are sometimes organised a bit too late in the day to get more student bodies involved, so she’d start preparing earlier for these to make sure everything can be co-ordinated.

20:33 Have the candidates ever run fundraising campaigns before and what did they learn from these?

Charlotte: She’s done things like charity bake sales and raised money for a half marathon.

Megan: She was involved with Student Volunteers Abroad in her first two years, in which she raised large target amounts as part of teams. She’s also helped organise charity events.

20:35 What are the current problems with C&C and how would you solve them?

Megan: Engagement and low attendance is a problem, and she thinks improving cross-campus relations would help with this. She also thinks a bigger committee would make PR and social media more straightforward, and that it would help this PR to reach a wider audience.

Charlotte: Disorganisation and inconsistent turnout. She thinks it would help if people were given specific tasks to work on. This would make planning more efficient, but also encourage people to come back.

20:37 Should Elephant in the Room be run separately or should it be pushed more within C&C?

Charlotte: She would keep them as separate entities but definitely try to raise awareness of the campaign by bringing in certain elements of it to C&C meetings.

Megan: She agrees with Charlotte. C&C meetings have to stick to a tight time limit and she thinks keeping Elephant separate would allow it to have the focus it deserves. She also thinks its needs will change and grow and members would be able to focus on these more easily without being tied to C&C.

20:39 Questions for individual candidates now. Charlotte mentions RAG week in her manifesto – how would she bring this to the QM?

Charlotte has friends at other unis where RAG week is really successful, and she’d love to hold a similar week in the QM.

For Megan: how would she build bridges between C&C and other societies?

Megan thinks the committee has already taken some great steps towards building working relationships with other student bodies, and that it can keep working on these. She says the recent activist mixer helped activists across campus to see what C&C can offer and how they could get involved.

20:42 It’s time to hear from the candidate for Events Convenor, Mike Setchell. He’s been a CSR for 6 months and wants to continue the work Events Committee has been doing on live music. He’d like to create smaller teams within the committee to improve accountability. He’d also like to communicate better with tech team to make sure both teams are up to date with each other’s plans, and would love to work with other committees too. Finally, he’d like to hold a SAASmas event – a club night on SAAS night to make us all spend our loans “immediately”.

20:45 How would Mike ensure accountability from people within the committees who received certain roles?

Mike says it’s really important to him that regular members volunteer to take on responsibilities, because otherwise they wouldn’t be contributing much, and he’d keep track of who was in charge of what.

20:46 What are your ideas for big events and how would you increase committee turnout?

Mike thinks first years are really important, because they’re the members who would be around longest. He thinks the committee needs to be better promoted, because not enough people know it exists or what work it does. He thinks events need focus, and he’d rather tackle this on an event by event basis.

20:48 Would you create a closed committee, and what would your role be if you had lots of leaders of little teams?

Mike says it’s important to him that anyone can come along to the meetings and share their ideas, so he wouldn’t close off the committee. He thinks the convenor’s role would be to micromanage lots of teams and people, and be a liason between dreams and reality, making sure everything ran smoothly.

20:49 Have you ever ran a large event by yourself?

Mike has been involved in organising lots of events through Events Committee, but he was the main organiser of the recent screenings of Labyrinth and Die Hard. He thinks these went well considering competition from other big events around the city.

20:50 Some people have suggested an amalgamation of Events and Social Committees. How would you feel about this?

Mike doesn’t think it would work particularly well to combine the committees, because the time slot is only an hour and the meetings would feel very rushed. Events and Social have different remits, and he thinks it works well this way, but both committees need to be more warm and welcoming environments for people to share their ideas.

20:52 There have been problems in the past with Events committee where the committee can sometimes take little heed of outside views and fall into a pattern of “group think”. How would you tackle this?

Mike thinks there should definitely be room for outside ideas and the committee should tap into all the resources at its disposal. It needs to ask for lots of opinions, not just those of the select few who come to the committee.

Thanks, Mike! Now it’s time for qmunicate’s favourite category – Publications Convenor! How exciting! There are 4 candidates this year.

Cat Acheson is a 3rd year student and is super excited to be running. She’d love to expand qmunicate’s website to feature a creative writing section, as she thinks this would be a great opportunity to experiment with new kinds of content. She’d also like to improve transparency, and wants committee members to have more involvement in the logistics and direction of the magazine. She wants to encourage people to get involved in graphic design and events organisation, and would like to organise student media mixer events for all the student media bodies on campus.

Eve Lucas studies French and has been writing for qmunicate since 2013. She thinks the magazine has really improved over the last few years, but there needs to be improved communication between editors and writers. She’d like to trial a new seating plan where the editors sit among contributors rather than across from, and she wants to intersperse the sections that promote more discussion with the others to keep the meeting exciting all the way through. She also thinks we need better proofreading and would prioritise advertising revenue.

Louisa Burden thinks committee members’ dedication to qmunicate is its strongest asset. She would promote opportunities for students interested in copy editing, marketing and design to help people develop skills beyond writing. This would be good for the magazine itself because it would enhance qmunicate’s professionalism and hopefully lead to more advertising revenue. She wants qmunicate to be a voice for change on campus, and says she’d be a warm, friendly and committed convenor.

Michaela Barton wants to bring back the science and technology section of qmunicate, as science students aren’t really represented in the magazine. She’d run fun features so that everyone can join in regardless of their scientific knowledge.She’d also like to attract more artistically minded people to the committee to work on graphic design. She’d also like to continue with the theming of issues and dedicate more magazine space to QM events.

21:03 Pubs can seem like quite a separate committee from the others. How do you see Pubs working with the other committees?

Michaela: Maybe we could have events where all the committees get together to share ideas and what they have planned. We need more communication between them in general.

Louisa: She thinks Pubs is seen as separate because it’s so big and there are more unfamiliar faces. She thinks this is a good way to get more people into the union in the first place, and as convenor would work with the others to encourage people to go to other committees.

Eve: We should encourage people in Pubs to try out other committees, because we maybe don’t talk about them enough. It should be stressed more to people how great it is to get involved in other committees too, and we should keep holding mixer events.

Cat: She likes the idea that qmunicate can champion what other committees are up to. She knows a lot of people who are only involved in the QM because of qmunicate, and agrees with Eve that we should encourage people to try out other committees too.

21:06 All four of you are currently on the editorial team, and convenors are usually former editors. Is this a problem, and how would you encourage people who haven’t been editors to run for convenorships?

Cat:  At the moment regular committee members don’t get much of a view behind the scenes, but she thinks making this more transparent would help encourage people to run for convenor who weren’t editors first.

Eve: Being an editor first means you have a bit more experience, but she agrees that editors should be more open about what goes on behind the scenes.

Louisa: There are only so many editorial positions but she’d like to give people more opportunities to try new things, because if they did well they might be encouraged to run for convenor.

Michaela: To be an editor in chief you have to know how everything is formed. She wants to make sure more contributors are comfortable bringing new ideas to the committee and that it’s great if this makes them feel confident enough to run for convenor.

21:10 All the convenors’ manifestos overlap quite a bit. Are there any points from the other candidates which you strongly agree and disagree with?

Michaela: It’s a great idea to get more people involved with advertising. All the ideas are really great, she can’t think of one she disagrees strongly with. Maybe changing the seating plan would be weird, but it’s not a big point.

Louisa: She doesn’t disagree with the others’ ideas, she would just do them differently. She likes Cat’s idea of giving more opportunities to give feedback in meetings but thinks it might be hard to squeeze in to the time limit. She would prefer to see open discussion on the Facebook page, for example.

Eve: She agrees that qmunicate needs to seek out people who specialise in things like graphic design and advertising. She wouldn’t revamp the website because money is very tight, and while the website isn’t perfect, there are other demands which she thinks are more important.

Cat: Cat isn’t convinced that bringing back a science and technology section would be a great idea because there might not be enough interest, but she would love to see more articles on these topics in the news and features sections.

21:15 If qmunicate’s funding was cut, what other routes would you take to secure it and how would you make your case for the magazine?

Cat: The magazine is something that the QM does really well and that makes the union looks great. She thinks the size of the committee shows how important qmunicate is and would try very hard to secure its funding.

Eve: qmunicate is vital to the QM because it brings people in. It’s a gateway for people to get involved in other things, and she would always fight for its survival. If absolutely necessary she would produce fewer print issues.

Louisa: It would be a disaster if qmunicate got cut – while it doesn’t bring in money it brings in people and provides a service. She does think qmunicate should be working hard to secure advertising, and would look to the General Manager for help with that.

Michaela: She understands that when the union is struggling with finances qmunicate has a responsibility to secure more of its own funding, and thinks advertising is key to this. She feels it’d be disastrous to cut pages or only print in black and white.

21:18 How would you seek to increase readership across campus?

Michaela: We encourage everyone to share their articles on social media but as everyone knows each other it doesn’t reach a much wider audience. We need to try and break out of the QM’s shadow. Bringing back the science section might help expand our horizons.

Louisa: Expanding through more writers is the best way to get more people reading. Social media plays a massive part and qmunicate’s online presence has blossomed over the past few years – people in the US and Russia have been reading our articles! We could try to take issues to more cafes and places around the west end.

Eve: She would go along to lectures, especially first year ones, to make sure everyone knows the magazine is available and that they can get involved. If everyone who comes to the meeting does their bit and shares the magazine with their friends, qmunicate will reach a wider audience.

Cat: The more diverse the content, the more people will read qmunicate. This is why she thinks a creative writing section would bring in a new audience. We could make better use of tagging on social media, for example tagging bands we’ve reviewed.

21:23 Are you planning on creating new roles within the committee as qmunicate continues to grow?

Cat: A creative writing section would be website based and maybe that could create a new role. She wouldn’t create sub-committees straight away but she’d love to see more people get involved and if it turns out there is enough interest, then she’d be happy to try those out.

Eve: She would encourage people to take on new roles in different aspects of qmunicate. If everything is left down to volunteers people can sometimes leave things to someone else, whereas a job title is encouraging and something to put on a CV.

Louisa: She would have Facebook pages for things like advertising so that people could get involved without necessarily having to come to more meetings. Having one designer for the title pages has worked well but maybe that could be expanded into a group too. She doesn’t think sorting the website would have to cost money, just time and knowledge.

Michaela: The science and technology section would require a new editorial position, preferably someone who has an interest in this and could check facts. It’d be great to have more design people involved. It can be hard for editors to get the design done on time so it would be really helpful to have people who specialise in this.

21:27 Cat has been on board for 18 months and involved in qmunicate in different positions. Which of her ideas could she only implement as editor in chief?

Cat says her ideas are all for things that are driven by the editor in chief. Things like transparency have to be worked on from the top down. Some of her ideas could be introduced without being editor in chief but she’d love to be editor so she could make sure they happened.

21:29 To Cat and Michaela, what if specialist sections couldn’t attract enough contributors?

Cat: Cat would like to have someone take specific responsibility for creative writing, who would promote it in creative writing groups. As an editor of Aloud she never found that the magazine was lacking in submissions, so she’s optimistic that people would be keen.

Michaela: She would try to advertise the science and technology section so that science students were aware of it and would want to contribute. She’d also make sure the section had a fun angle so that people could write for it without necessarily being very knowledgable about science.

21:32 Eve, you’ve mentioned mandatory social media promotion, but would this take away some of the feeling that you get from Pubs what you put in?

Eve admits that the low-commitment nature of Pubs is quite attractive to new people, but she feels that while the committee keeps growing in size, not enough people are sharing or writing content. She understands that people are shy, but thinks it’s really important to encourage people to be more active participants.

21:34 That’s all for Publications convenor! We’re running super late and moving on to Social Convenor, with candidate Noah Cloak. Noah thinks Social Committee is the “heart and soul” of the QMU. As he wasn’t in halls in 1st year, Noah found himself in the QM a lot during the day in Freshers’ Week and wanted to get involved in events like the pub quizzes. He has lots of great ideas and says people can come and have a chat after the hustings to find out more.

21:36 Have you ever run a social event before? How was it and how did it go?

Noah says nothing major but he has become quite heavily involved in the committee. He has helped organise language café events and those were successful, so that is something he’d love to see more of.

21:37 Social events this year have struggled from low turnout. How would you change this and what is your general vision for the committee?

The main problem Noah sees is that when he goes to social events, he tends to know most of the people there. It’s critical to get people along who aren’t involved with the QM on a regular basis, and to do that we need to make the events well known.

21:39 What events would you like to see happening in the QM for people who are around more during the day?

Daytime events are really important especially for home students. The language café in Freshers’ Week was really popular and it’s great to get international students involved, because it can be difficult to come to a new country especially if there’s a language barrier.

21:40 As CSR you talked a lot about international student involvement. Are there any specific ideas that you would continue to push as social convenor?

Noah thinks getting societies involved would be a great start. Glasgow Uni has great language societies, for example, but they tend to hold their events off campus. Bringing them in would be great because it would get more people into the building and bring in more bar revenue. The Spanish society is big enough to fill Jim’s.

Thanks, Noah! Time for a very very quick break before we hear from the Executive candidates. If you’re still with us, I hope your back isn’t as sore as mine.

21:47 Time for the candidates for Honorary Assistant Secretary! One of them will be doing Celia’s job next year.

Andrew Brown, or Lady Magic, is running for Hon Asst. Sec because he thinks the QM has a problem. If you ask a board member what is expected of them, they’re often not quite sure. He wants to focus on discipline, because he thinks it’s currently unfair, and on duty board rotas. He also thinks we need to look past gimmicks like free cake and figure out how to increase election participation in the long term.

Lesley Fraser thinks an Hon Asst. Sec needs to be able to hit the ground running, and she also wants to focus on discipline. She’s worked in HR so has lots of experience in this area, which she can use to help support both the Hon Sec and board members. She would also review training for board members, and will speak to former post holders to find out what did and didn’t work for them. She’d also like to look at the election system and work to improve PR, membership and retention.

21:52 A question from President Sefton. How would the candidates get more than 12% of the QMU membership to vote in elections?

Lesley: You have to look at previous elections, see what was successful then, and improve on that. A library stall is available and going out to halls would help, as would better social media strategy.

Andrew: PR needs to be out on time and it needs to be good, so that people know what’s happening. He would work with the Hon Sec to try and improve membership. But if people come to vote because there’s free tea, then keep giving them tea.

21:54 As Hon Asst. Sec you’ll be in charge of training. What experience do you have in training?

Andrew: Has First Aid training and used to work as a team builder. While this was in more professional situations, he was still known as the “fun” guy in charge. Board members come out bored, but should be having fun. They’re volunteered.

Lesley: She has trained in First Aid before and was an approved trainer for fire and health and safety in restaurants. She’s also a qualified “trainer trainer”.

21:56 The union’s governing documents are seen by a lot of people to be long, outdated and sometimes irrelevant. It’s easy to add by-laws and quite difficult to change the constitution. What would you do to make sure our documents were relevant and would actually govern us?

Lesley: Would start by looking at discipline, and would make sure the rules fit current legislation. She would speak to law students and the SRC who might be more familiar with this. It’s important to engage with Board members and union members when revising any rules.

Andrew: Would focus on discipline and how Board is run. Both formal and informal sessions are a good way to find out what people think. He doesn’t think it’s too important to go to the SRC because they are more focused on society constitutions.

22:00 The Hon Asst. Sec trains new board members. This currently takes place over several duty shifts. Are there any ways in which you would make the process more efficient?

Andrew: It’s important to split training between on- and off-the-job training and find a good balance. It would be helpful to sit down with Board members and staff members to establish distinctions between their roles.

Lesley: She would sit down and look at what has changed recently, and maybe add an additional step of training in the form of a worksheet or workshop. She would review how the Board members work and how the staff work to establish consistency.

22:00 The final category for questions is Honorary Secretary. We’re running late and the Open Mic guys are getting itchy.

Priya Khindria came off board in November after serving as a CSR and CCSR. She doesn’t feel that we make membership rewarding enough. It needs to be more beneficial. She wants to introduce benefits for members in different areas, like 2 for 1 deals, that would encourage people to come in with friends. She’d like to hold more life member events. She’d work on affiliation benefits for clubs and societies too. For Freshers’ Week, she’d hold separate interviews for Team Leaders and give CSRs more input into the lineup.

Kat Denholm is currently Social Convenor. She’d like to make it easier to sign up for membership, such as having stations at social events. She also wants membership benefits to cover everyone and not just people who come to the bars. She’d like to draw up an inclusive document for clubs and societies that would detail facilities available in the QM and who to ask about them, and encourage them to hold events in the building. She’d place more emphasis on feedback from members and try to hold more daytime events in Freshers’ Week to play to the QM’s strengths.

22:07 As Hon Sec one of your remits is Freshers’ Week. There’s an age gap between Freshers and those who organise the events. How would you make sure you were in touch with what Freshers want?

Kat: She’d get feedback from current Freshers who are members, maybe in the form of a survey, to find out what people think did and didn’t work last year. There could also be some market research or the team could look on social media to find out what Freshers are into.

Priya: Lots of people who apply to be Freshers’ Helpers are 2nd years so it would be good to ask them what they enjoyed. More transparency and feedback from CSRs would help especially now that there are 1st Year seats again.

22:10 What is one specific thing you would do to improve membership for members, clubs and societies and life members?

Priya: We can’t overhaul this in a year but we can make a start. She’d like to bring in benefits in Scran and Food Factory, for example, and would try to make it easier for clubs/societies to see who they need to get in touch with. She’d try to keep in touch with life members more.

Kat: Every member should be able to benefit from coming through the front door. Clubs and societies should be able to see what we can offer them, and we should be able to offer them things in return like catering. She thinks the Hon Sec needs to make sure life members don’t feel forgotten about.

22:12 What is something that you would uniquely bring to this position?

Kat: She knows she’s a good people person, and has a lot of experience with dealing with different kinds of people through her degree and being involved in lots of clubs and societies.

Priya: She doesn’t take herself too seriously, and thinks this makes her approachable. This is necessary for every Board member but especially the Hon Sec. She doesn’t want to just be a person clubs and societies email, but one they know.

22:14 Question Time is over! Now we’ll hear three very short speeches from the Presidential Candidates – can they convince us to vote for them in just one minute?

Scott Wilson is up first. He wants to transfer what he achieved as Pubs Convenor to the union as a whole. He doesn’t think cliqueyness is a problem, and the QM just needs more community spirit. Come tomorrow, he says, to hear more.

Joe Mullally is an entirely serious candidate for President. He would like to read to us from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. qmunicate swears he’s turning more Welsh with every sentence.

Emma Anderson isn’t sure how to follow the caterpillar. She’s laid out her manifesto step-by-step on Facebook and would love everyone to have a look. She has ideas about better using Freshers’ Helpers throughout the year. She has a lot of ideas in general. Come tomorrow.

Jack Smith‘s manifesto is based on 3 F’s – finance, feedback and Fridays. He says please come tomorrow because he can’t possibly explain his policies in so little time.

And that’s it! We’re all finished. qmunicate hopes you’ve enjoyed this liveblog, and you should all pop along tomorrow to watch the Presidents’ Debate! The QMU is YOUR union, and that means that you decide how it’s run, so make sure you come along and vote on Thursday!

[Lauren Cummings]


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