The Galleon - Portsmouth's Student Newspaper


Union News

Interview: VP Activities Candidate, Tom Plant

What course do you study?
I do International Relations and Politics and I’m in my final year.

Where are you originally from?
I’m from the East Midlands, from Peterborough. Which is… okay.

What drew you to the University of Portsmouth?
Erm, I don’t know really. To be honest I was never actually going to come here. So I didn’t go, I had two years out between school and then when I started. So this, I kind of just applied to on a whim. Then I came here and I liked it. So I was like, may as well go and I’m really glad, obviously. Yeah, I really like it.

What is your favourite thing about the city of Portsmouth?
I like how, I feel like it’s all quite close together. Everything so you don’t have to go far to get everything. Everything’s in the same sort of area. I really like that. How you can just walk to everything, that’s really handy.

Who is your idol and why?
Oh, I really don’t know. That’s a good question. Oh I should have thought about this. Who is my idol? Erm.

It could be anyone famous, personal, silly…
Erm. Who do I look up to? Is there any chance we could come back to that at the end? I actually want to say something, someone I actually do [look up to]. I just can’t think at the minute. Yeah, I’ll think about that.

What is your dream job?
Erm… VP Activities for the student union.

Well, potentially I’m quite interested in joining the military after this whole thing. Cause yeah, I’d love to work in the air force is what I’d preferably like to do. It’s just I really want to do a job where I’m traveling, I’m active. A lot of work they do now is relief and aid work. That sort of thing really appeals to me. It’s always been a dream of mine since I was quite young.

If you won the lottery what’s the first thing that you would buy?

Dream big!
Erm… a statue of myself. For the centre of Portsmouth haha.

What was the primary reason for you running in the student elections?
I just really like the idea of campaigning to be honest. I just have ideas that I personally think are good. Whether other people do, I’ll guess I’ll find out. But, I don’t know now. I just really like, I like the whole idea of being involved in student life and stuff. But I don’t actually really like studying myself. So, I’d love to be able to influence the non-academic side of student life.

It’s just as important isn’t it?
Yeah, yeah exactly.

-If you could change one thing that would instantly improve everyday life for students at the university, what would it be and why?
Oh, that is a good question haha. Well I mean, lower tuition fees, lower accommodation fees. I think that would make most people quite happy. Maybe not achievable, but it would definitely make people happy.  

Could you sum up your manifesto for us in ten seconds?
Yeah of course. So I want to increase the promotion and circulation of student media by putting links on the SU website. I want to increase the support for students looking to study abroad and work abroad during the summer. So, I want to have like advice services and more travel fares. Then, finally, I want more all-inclusive events for everyone. So I want, re-freshers back. Then I want culture and pride festivals to be going on throughout the year. Just to bring everyone together and to celebrate everyone at Portsmouth.

So, back to your idol…
Erm, Erm, Erm… Who do I aspire to be like. God, that’s difficult. I’m just drawing a blank. I’m really sorry.

Who do you really like on Instagram? Who do you follow?
I really like Chance The Rapper actually. But I feel like we’re too different people for him to be my idol. But yeah you could say him because I just love what he’s done for charity and for the education system in Chicago. I just think the way he uses his influence to do such positive things. He’s basically the only famous person I follow on Instagram.

Well that’s says a lot though…
Yeah, I guess it does.

How do you intend to promote the union to our less engaged students?
So, obviously, well I know already social media is quite active but I still feel like there are lots of people who still aren’t reached. Some people don’t even know the union exists. So I’d love for there to be more events in like halls throughout the year to promote it to first years. But not just for societies but for the whole union as a whole, for the events they are running. I’d love to, you know, organise events at halls to bring all the first year students together just so they know what’s going on. Some people look at social media, some people don’t have social media.

I guess there can be a lot of information…
Yeah, it’s hard to keep up with.

This role deals with a diverse range of activities and students. What experience do you have that will help you deal with the diverse population and its demands?
Okay, so I spent three summers working in America. I did work with children at a summer camp. You get children from such different backgrounds. There are some that are insanely rich, their parents are billionaires. Then you’ve got some that have campaigned for [the money for their place], because they’ve come from inner city environments where they’ve come from poorer backgrounds. So I feel like if I can work with all those different cultures and especially children coming together, I feel like I can work with a wide range of students here.

How viable do you think your manifesto is?
Oh, completely. Everything I’ve put [in the manifesto] is 100% achievable. I’ve not got a doubt that I won’t be able to achieve everything on there. That’s why the things I put, I did put in there. Not aiming for things that are too high, I put things that I knew I could do.

Why do you think you are the best person for this role?
Since I first found out about the elections in first year, I’ve always thought it’s something I would want to run for. I think I genuinely will have, not the best interest for myself, but the best interest for all the different students. And I think I know a wide variety of people so I know what people want and I think I know how to achieve it. I think I’m prepared for the campaign more, as much as I could. Well in advance, weeks ago I started planning and stuff. I do honestly think I could do a very good job.

You sound very committed…

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