Hi! We’re Eleanor and Susanna and we’ll be covering the Queen Margaret Union’s Autumnal By-Elections Hustings in the QMU Cafe. We’ll be hearing from our eight candidates running for CSR and First Year Representative positions. All the candidates will have a chance to present their manifestos and answer questions about them. Tonight we will start with CSR A; we have 5 candidates, including Catherine Bouchard, Cora Doran, Robbie Greenshields, Alexandra Haita, and Laoise McWilliams.
18:08: CSR Candidate A one Catherine Bourchard speaks
CB: I’m involved in societies all around campus and my first point of contact with the QMU was Freshers’ Week! Seeing how passionate everyone was was what really drew me in and made me want to reach out to a wide and diverse range of people. This is really the basis of my manifesto.
CSR Candidate A three Laoise McWilliams Speaks
LMW: I’ve been involved in the Events Committee for the past couple of years and I’ve been really wanting to get involved more, everyone on the Board seems very good.
CSR Candidate four Alexandra Haita speaks:
AH: I also initially got involved through Freshers’ Helping. I didn’t really get involved at all with the QM during my first year, but I’ve found something very good here after my second Freshers’ Week and this is the basis of my manifesto: making people find that too.
18.15 Q: Any plans for the space where Food Factory was?
AH: turn it into a general study space, like the third level of the library. Introducing microwaves, Fraser too busy. Good opportunity to bring people in.
RG: Not really thought about it, currently being used as alternative place for people to bring food if Bistro too full. Still has the vibe of a cafe but without food. More comfortable place to sit – changing the furniture, making it more cozy.
LMW: Want the QMU more a community, good opportunity to do that. Place to not spend money. CD: Socials, try and get people to come in and make friends. Speed mating we had in Freshers’?
CB: Uni doesn’t have places to go to that you don’t need to spend money in. Gets people through the door, highlight our events. Promote our events.
EB: How would you work with the Committees?
CB: I think it would be amazing if we could keep the club nights running as they bring so many people in, it would also be nice to try and get people involved more through flyering and such.
CD: It would be nice to reach out to other societies more.
LMW: We should try and be a space for first years more.
RG: This is an issue I’ve been really focusing on since I’ve become CSR: being a Fresher’s Helper helped me work really closely with the Committee members. I definitely think the Committees need more visibility and advertisement to reach more people and that’s something I’d like to take care of, for example by improving our social media presence.
AH: I didn’t really know about the existence of Committee until this last Freshers’ Week! I think their best bet to improve visibility would be definitely social media, but they’d need to be seen as something more approachable and less business-like.
Q: You’re all involved in one committee – which other would you pick? Why? What would you bring to it?
RG: Involved in C&C and Social, would get involved in Tech because I think it will be a useful skill to have. Would mean that if there was not enough tech people to run an event, I could save the day.
LMW: Publications and Social: Publications because I study English Literature, Social because I enjoyed writing the quizzes in Freshers’ week.
CD: I’m in Charity, would join social. They do a lot of good stuff, for example the pub quiz. I think I’d like to contribute to that.
CB: Already do Pubs and C&C, would join Tech. Bring different perspective, how the committees could work together. Am on different committees and society boards, can see how different ones can work together. AH: In events, would choose Social, closest one to events.
Q: If you had to choose a favourite new signature cocktail for the QM, what would it be?
CH: Or which cocktail would represent you as a CSR?
LMW: Could I just be a pint of vodka?
CD: I would probably be a soda peach schnapps, because it’s my favourite drink. Or a dragon soup.
CB: If I had to name a cocktail I’d probably call it a ‘Fun Time’ and it’d be blue. Of course.
AH: I’d make a Pint of Fire or something like that. With hot sauce in it! I could make a challenge out of it.
RG: For a QMU cocktail I’d like to make a Pint of Dynamite. Because that’s what we are!
18.29 Q: Increase student engagement?
CD: More people on snapchat, get flyers telling people to add us on snapchat. Same for Instagram. Also talking to students well.
CD: Shoutout to my freshers’ title: PR Queen. Show off we’re likeable, approachable people. So many amazing opportunities, both within and outwith the union. Should flyer, connect with them on a personal level. Forgotten with so much focus on social media. PR is about human connection.
AH: I hope with the new events (eg. Propaganda), more people will be interested in the union. I hope. I think we should colloberate with different societies, do things the Social committee does with other societies, bring niche people in once hoping they would stay for more.
RG: Already covered this, but think the best thing would be to have a good range of PR eg physical on campus and social media. Have good events! As a result we would have good engagement.
LMW: Try to tap into first years more, promote to them. Try and promote in halls. Biggest place would be GlasKnow – hack it, create gossip. Even those who aren’t students, encourage them
Q: I was wondering, since it’s been affecting all the unions, what would you think CSRs could do to help cross campus relations?
CB: If every student body offers something valuable to student and collaborates, and if everyone realises what’s good about each union, they’d really improve. I’d much rather people go to other unions on campus than go off to town.
AH: I still stands by what I said before: let’s engage more societies and clubs, let’s let them have their events and socials in the building.
RB: I agree. I think it just boils down to be respectful and professional with other unions. We need a more collaborative, non-threatening environment.
LMW: Yeah, we should definitely engage with more unions (like through a subcrawl for example!)
CD: Unions should support each other more, and even recommend other student bodies to students. If the unions collaborate everyone will benefit from it.
18.38: Q: What demographic of students are we not reaching, how would we reach them?
CD: I do Engineering, not many on my course are in the union.
LMW: Cater to different societies. Focus on first years. RG: Already discussed STEM students, but mature students are underrepresented. Drinking culture in university, events which cater to more of a mature crowd.
AH: I’m not aware of those not comfortable coming here, speaking from personal experience I think we could reach more first years.
CD: There are two key demographics: home students find it hard to engage, to integrate with new people. I think we should have more home student mixers etc at the beginning of the year. Targeting the GUU crowd, one off events eg Red Ribbon Ball targeting at them. Showing that we can put on really fun events, invite more societies associated with the GUU.
Q: You said you wanted the QM to be more of a community: how would you achieve that?
LMW: Just generally trying to get more people to the unions, not specifically QM: just promoting events, pushing them on social more.
Q: For Cora, how to promote menstrual products more?
CD: I would just have people publish them on social more, even through Snapchat, Instagram, etc
18.45 Q: For Robbie, talk about doing events for non drinkers – what recommendations do you have for events, in terms of us functioning as a business.
RG: The book festival, also having more chilled out nights eg board game nights. Also, reach out to those people, find out what they want, go from there.
Q: What have you done in the past year as CSR?
RG: Have been away for the summer. MY main goals were to improve the proficiency of condom distribution. Will be having a trial of condoms in ground floor bathrooms. Attempting to improve committee attendance. Have been Social’s lefty, think I’ve done a good job. Also acting member of C&C.
18:48: CSR B Candidates now.
CC: stands up. QMU has an image problem, seen as the inferior problem. No one knows what’s going on. I want to help with student engagement. Go to them, create a forum for students to actively engage
LF: My manifesto is based on my own experiences in life: you just need very good people to surround you and spread good messages. The rebranding calls us ‘alternative’, but what is that really? The QMU is so much more than alternative. So many people want to get involved but don’t know how.
19:26: President Courtney Hughes speaks: This is the end of our Hustings session. Voting closes at 5 on Thursday and results are at 7 on Thursday. Good luck everyone.