Where are you originally from?
Yeovil in Somerset.
What do you study and what year are you in?
I’m in my third year of Sociology and Media Studies.
What drew you to the University of Portsmouth?
To be honest, it was quite a last minute decision. I wasn’t planning to go to university, and my tutor suggested it, looked into it further and found Portsmouth. I saw it was next to the beach and I thought yeah, why not!
What is your favourite thing about the city of Portsmouth?
I really like the community here. In cities it’s quite busy and chaotic but Portsmouth is quite calm and small. I think it has the right balance between small town and city, which I like.
Who is your idol and why?
Okay, mine might be weird, but ever since I was younger i’ve loved Lady Gaga. She’s really cool. I feel like She represents a lot. She’s very open about her personal life and mental health and stuff. She’s quite badass.
Did you like A Star is Born?
I haven’t watched it yet! I like the songs, it’s very dramatic.
What is your dream job?
I’d like to work with councils helping with unemployment or homelessness. Or go into journalism. I have quite a few options on what I want to do, but hopefully both one day.
Did moving to Portsmouth and seeing the homeless problem here influence your above choice?
It has motivated me a bit more. I did want to do social work when I was younger, but there are a lot of steps to get into those jobs. I definitely want to help people and make a difference.
So this role would be a great way to get into that field?
Yeah for sure. It would include working with Portsmouth City Council, which would be great.
If you won the lottery what’s the first thing that you would buy?
I would probably just go out for dinner. I’d get all my mates, and order everything. I would probably be a bit extra and maybe even book out the whole restaurant.
What was the primary reason for you running in the student elections?
One aspect that drew me to it was working with the council and the links it would provide me. Obviously the role is only for a year, so I would need to consider after. This could help set me up for progression. Also I like working with the union. I’ve done volunteering and part time here throughout university and I really enjoy the atmosphere and the fun things that go on. It’s a great opportunity for me.
If you could change one thing that would instantly improve everyday life for students at the university, what would it be and why?
I think there’s quite a lot that students want, but probably improve engagement. A lot of students just go to their lectures and that’s it, they don’t really engage in much else. So I would suggest having more fun things happen throughout the year – more events that apply to everyone and different groups.
Sum up your manifesto in ten seconds.
Creating a payback recycling scheme for plastic. Creating an online service for students for student housing. Creating better education support networks, in particular with sexual assault in and out of campus.
How do you intend to promote the union to our less engaged students?
I think it’s offering a diversity of things to get involved in because I know a lot of people find it difficult to put themselves in social situations, so offering one on one support. People have different needs and want to be approached in different ways. So it’s understanding what that it is and how to implement that.
What do you feel is the top ‘welfare’ issue facing students and how would you use the role to support them with this?
I think a lot to do with what’s in my manifesto, which we’ve already spoken about. Like sexual assault and harassment in the university, are quite high in the cases. More people are reporting, which is positive. I think the statistic I read was that 90% of staff and students don’t report. I also think that drug and alcohol use as well. It’s quite hidden, like within societies or some friendship groups. Some don’t understand the extent of it, or that it can get out of control. I think that’s quite a big thing to address.
That statistic is quite shocking. Especially with those who haven’t lived in a city before. The ones that come from a town might not be so street smart, or understand what to do.
Yeah, I think there is definitely a grey area as well. So what people may or may not consider to be sexual assault, it can be quite minor, but also very physical. It’s identifying and making people more aware of this issue. They’ve recently passed a bill to ban upskirting. The comments I’ve seen online about it, some people are saying there are worse things that could happen. But it is a big step in the right direction.
Student Safety is a big concern at the moment. If elected how would you address this issue?
I know you can buy reflective items from the union shop, but that would only really apply to the bike users and road safety. I think the bus route needs improving by going to more places. I think a lot of the current ways are aimed towards ‘don’t do this’ or ‘don’t do that’. You come to university and you should feel safe. It’s quite a big thing to address. It needs looking into a lot further. I know they are building more halls to put students in to make it safer, which will help.
There can sometimes be tensions between those who live locally and students, what would you aim to do to improve this and the view of students in the city in general?
I think it’s like what we’ve just spoken about, I think that by being under the university’s wing gives you that support system. If you walk back late at night and your approached by someone who isn’t a student, or a local, you might want to go to the police about it, but you’re not sure on how it’s handled. So having the university helping with that, and making that service more available. Some existing services don’t consider what happens off campus.
What are your values as a candidate and student leader
Making sure everyone feels safe and making them feel comfortable. Having some accountability, there might be an occasion where something happens and someone isn’t happy with the way things are handled. It’s about having that accountability and being able to engage with students to learn what they want.