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Interview: VP Welfare & Community Candidate, Jack Dranfield

Where are you originally from?
I am from a little village in Derbyshire. Not Derby. Big difference!

What course do you study and what year are you in?
I am in third year, and I am studying Music and Sound Technology.

What drew you to the University of Portsmouth?
Originally I never planned on going to university. I took two years out after finishing my A Levels. I worked at Co-op which was a wonderful experience… No, it wasn’t too bad haha. I made it to a duty manager role. I’m the kind of person who needs to be occupied. I don’t like sitting still. So after that, I looked into university and what course i wanted to do. I’ve always been into acting and music andI was in a band back home. I was looking through all the universities and Portsmouth jumped out at me. It’s near the coast which is quite nice, plus it’s a city campus. I always say it’s a bit of a funny city. You can walk from one side to the other in about an hour. But I love it down here – I wouldn’t change anything.

What is your favourite thing about the city of Portsmouth?
I like being by the coast. The thing that jumps out at me is the students that I met here. Everyone is great fun. You never seem to have a problem with anyone, even randoms on the street. It’s similar to being back home, where being in a little village and everyone knows everyone, that community feel.

Who is your idol and why?
My idols tend to change quite a lot as I’ve grown a lot as a person. Tom Daley, he came out as gay, is a world class diver. I am LGBT myself. His strength in doing stuff like that is amazing. He’s got a relationship with someone who is older and others are going to judge it. He does really well to take it all in his stride.

What is your dream job?
I have two plans. I like to plan my life out. Ultimate dream job, I would love to make the music and sound in films. Sound design and sound composition as well. Also, since coming to university I have gone into more management roles. I am the president of gymnastics and trampolining. I really enjoy getting into the nitty and gritty of stuff, so going into that sort of area is of interest as well.

If you won the lottery what’s the first thing that you would buy?
I would love to say that I would keep it all under wraps. I do believe I am too much of a narcissist though! A nice house somewhere, probably abroad. Big splurge, so why not!

What was the primary reason for you running in the student elections?
As AU campaigns this year, a lot of stuff I’ve set in motion to continue into next year. The rainbow laces campaign, that came from ‘My Help Your Say’ idea. Working with Anna Richardson, we build it into a one week pride week, and we’re hoping to introduce rainbow flags for varsity. It’s about making sports everyone’s game. I am really proud of it, and everyone has put in a lot of work. I really hope they can keep it going next year. I have created a GRAD scheme for people who are members of sports teams, societies and commercial partners. GRAD stands for gender, race, age, ability, disability and sexuality. It’s to put an umbrella focus on all the minorities.

So bringing more inclusivity to the union?
Yeah, I am a big fan of equality, diversity, inclusion. I love running campaigns. But that doesn’t mean I’m not supportive of the welfare side. I believe that these are such an important part of them. It’s promoting positivity and kindness, and people’s welfare at the same time.

If you could change one thing that would instantly improve everyday life for students at the university, what would it be and why?
I dream of the day when equality and diversity aren’t a thing, and everyone is kind to each other. Everyone is really positive and accepting of everything. If everyone started being a bit more kind to each other and not being so negative, we wouldn’t have so many problems.

Sum up your manifesto in ten seconds.
I’ve explained my GRAD campaign structure. I’ve got a lot of umbrella things that go on. It’s about hitting multiple targets underneath one campaign. I’ve also go self-care Sundays. They don’t have to be on a Sunday! But it means the campaign has to have an achievable goal for someone to do in 10-15 seconds. Or achievable to students, which is something really important to me. Again, working for the community. Making sure the council is working for us, as well as us working for them. It’s a two way street.

How do you intend to promote the union to our less engaged students?
There’s a big thing at the moment that people think the University of Portsmouth campus is just in the city. We have campuses all over the place. They have campuses abroad, which I didn’t even know about! Hopefully we can reach out to those more inaccessible societies, and see whether we can get them involved.

What do you feel is the top ‘welfare’ issue facing students and how would you use the role to support them with this?
I’m not a big fan of saying what is just the top welfare issue. I’m a big believer that you should fight every battle on every front, as hard you can. There are multiple things that are an issue. One of the things that I am quite passionate about is drug reduction. The university isn’t anti drugs, they just want to make sure students are doing it in a safe environment. Students don’t like being told no, they aren’t going to listen to you. It’s about educating and getting around the stigma. There are ways that we can support students on this issue.

Student safety is a big concern at the moment. If elected how would you address this issue?
One thing that I’ve looked at this year, and I’m hoping to implement in the role is an app. The police from my hometown came up with it. It’s an app where if you’re walking home, you can click a button and it’ll turn on and your friends can see where you are. When you get home, you flick it off. Also whilst it’s on, if you shake it, it’ll send a message to say you are distressed. So if you are walking down the street, and someone starts to hassle you, you can let people know straight away. I would love to develop this further here.

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 really important to work with the council. It’s a two way street. Students tend to abide by the rules of the council, which is great. It’s really important to look at the relationship we have there. And from that you can work on removing the tensions.

What are your values as a candidate and student leader?
I am a really creative thinker. I get one idea and I run with it, and then grab onto another and run with that. I like to fight all my battles on one front; I’m not going to pick one thing and focus on that. I don’t believe in that. There are so many issues, you’ve got to tackle as much as you can. Hopefully I’ve got the drive and the ideas!

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