It’s been a busy week for our university election candidates with a long, hard week of campaigning, but Thursday night saw all of their hard work finally come to a head when the long awaited election results were announced. It was revealed that this year’s elections had a fantastic level of engagement, with an amazing turn-out of 4,112 voters and 63,163 overall votes. This success was mirrored in the atmosphere of the room, as friends and fellow students turned up to show their support as the union’s new sabbatical team was unveiled.
Helena Schofield was announced as president to an eruption of cheers and screams. ‘I’m just shocked,’ she admitted when The Galleon caught up with her. ‘I really didn’t think I was gonna win. I won by a lot, as well.’ She won by 679 votes. In terms of campaigning, Helena’s week has been, ‘really hectic and intense. I’m glad I won and it wasn’t a waste of time,’ she laughed. ‘I haven’t done any dissertation work for like three weeks, so […] I should probably get on with that.’
When asked what comes next, Helena said she was going to, ‘finish the rest of this year and then jump straight in!’ She’s looking forward to start working with her new team. ‘Everyone else that won the other positions are really good candidates. I’m excited to work with them and hopefully make a positive change to the union.’
Joining Helena in her run as union president is the new vice president of Welfare and Community, Hayley Turner-McIntyre, who plans to encourage recycling by creating a reward scheme, as well as holding landlords and letting agents accountable for ‘providing all students with quality housing.’ She also plans to educate and ‘provide support for all staff and students regarding sexual assault and harassment that occurs on and off campus’.
‘I’m not gonna lie, I’m quite proud of my campaign and manifesto,’ Hayley confessed after the results were announced. ‘I’ve just been […] giving out my leaflets, speaking to people, giving out sweets.’ She couldn’t shake the nerves even after the results were announced. ‘It’s a lot going on at once,’ she laughed.
Tom Plant became the new vice president of Activities. He felt surprised after the vote. ‘Very happy, obviously. And very grateful to everyone that voted for me. And relieved because my studies have taken quite a hit these last couple of weeks.’ A theme which seemed to circle amongst the winners. ‘My friends helped me so much. I’m very grateful to them.’
Tom plans to promote the use of student media, and its ‘interaction and cooperation with the Union and other societies’, as well as ‘improve support for students wishing to work and study abroad over the summer.’
Phil Samuel was elected the vice president of Sport. He told The Galleon that he was, ‘just relieved. Kind of glad that the week’s all over,’ but ‘obviously delighted.’ He admitted his campaign was, ‘very time consuming,’ and joked that there was, ‘a lot of badgering people that probably didn’t want to be badgered. But it’s what you’ve got to do. It was tough, but it was a good week.’
His campaign may have been tough, but it paid off because now he’ll be able to create ‘regular, affordable, sporting opportunities for all students’, ‘improve transport options for buses and all clubs’, and generate ‘greater links between sport clubs and sports science department.’
Finally, Rama Hiloughneh joined the team as the vice president of Education and Democracy. She told the Galleon she was ‘shocked, because I honestly didn’t think I was going to win.’ She had nothing but praise for her opposing candidates. Rama won the election for all the introverted people out there, confessing that she’s ‘not an extroverted person. But it really put me out there and just challenged me.’
Now elected, Rama will ‘create a peer mentoring programme to tackle the BAME attainment gap, providing more support for students who are statistically shown to underachieve’, as well as, making ‘improvements to the library facilities’, and ‘improve the feedback system for coursework and exams.’
Moises Frias, Mohammed Alatoum, Charlotte Beaney and Nina Hammon were announced as the new NUS delegates.
The candidates planned to spend the rest of the night celebrating with friends after a hard campaign. Congratulations to all the winners. After a well-deserved break, it’ll be exciting to see what changes they’ll bring to the university.
On another positive note, the University of Portsmouth agreed to donate 20p for each unique voter that voted. As there was 4,112 unique voters UoP are donating £822.40 to Help for Heroes. So a huge thank you to everyone that voted.
Photo Credit: Sarah Hopkins