In your manifesto you mention Nightline and Student Voice and how they’re underrepresented. How would you push to make them more popular and well known amongst students?
Essentially, as far as I can see it’s a problem of students not knowing they can turn to them, no matter what their personal or academic problem is. I see people constantly complaining on anonymous social media about problems they’ve had and it’s not the place for it; the place for it is Nightline and Student Voice…people that can actually help.
Leading on from that, you talk about supporting a number of pre-existing areas within the Union. How do you propose increasing support without financially undermining other areas within LSU?
Essentially, it’s just as I said about advertising and getting across to all platforms that the students use because it’s just lack of awareness. To me that’s what it seems like.
What other ways would you maintain LSU’s status as number one university for Student Experience beyond nights out such as Hey Ewe and FND?
Like I said [in his manifesto] about silent discos, that’s not something that I’ve ever come across at Loughborough. There’s one tomorrow night in town. Obviously though that’s not part of the Union and that’s been getting a lot of people interested and keen to get out and have a go at that so I feel that if that was something offered at the Union, a lot more people that aren’t the usual type to go out and go to FND and Hey Ewe and get bussled around in the line and god knows what else…those sort of people want to go out and experience these things. It’s important that we include them in the student experience.
You mentioned societies as well…whilst it’s all well and good holding a Societies Bazaar, to get students to come in and look around, a lot of students still can’t be bothered to leave their bedrooms to come out to it. I mean, the free pizza from Dominoes is an incentive but if they’re in catered halls, why bother? It would be an interesting idea to have something to at least trial…to take the societies out to the halls and put a sign up there, in the diners, and see what people think of that. Then it’s right in their face – they literally can’t turn away from it.
What do you think are the Union’s greatest strengths and weaknesses?
I’d be hard pressed to find a weakness. It’s one of the best improving universities of the last year. It went from…what was it? Eleventh to seventh? Eleventh to fourth in the Guardian Best University?. So that just shows what kind of leaps and bounds we’re on the track of already.
As far as strengths are concerned, Loughborough has done very, very well to build one of the best sports teams in the country. Not just between universities but even at the Olympics. It’s just phenomenal what the athletes are doing. And of course the student experience itself is currently number one, as we know, and it probably always will be. It’s a good strength to have that accolade.
Also in your manifesto you mentioned the idea of an app. What would be the features of this app?
I’m obviously not an app developer so it would be hard to describe the ins and outs of it but essentially as far as the user interface would be concerned, all the events held by the University, all the events held by the College, societies and what they’re doing and how to get involved in them, all the night-time events…I get emails from the LSU venue about which DJs and which bands are coming out to the Union on which nights, that sort of information could be on the app. Drinks deals and things included with that. Seems like it could get a lot more people involved if they all had that right at their fingertips. Let’s face it, everyone’s on their phones these days anyway. If it’s glued to their face, they’re not going to miss it, especially if they get notifications relevant to them.
Have you had a chance to look into the practicalities of the app? Speaking to developers? Looking into the costs?
I’ve not but realistically how hard can it be? It’s an app. People are making apps for anything, from shopping to online dating. It’s not going to be that difficult to make an app with a bunch of information on. Albeit the data storage might be a bit of a problem but there’ll be a way around that, there always is. How difficult can that really be?
You mention the ‘Loughborough experience’ in your manifesto. What is the ‘Loughborough experience’ to you and how do you wish to maintain it?
A wide circle of absolutely sound people. You can’t have a good experience without being surrounded by good people and that’s essentially what makes Loughborough so great.
And you asked how to keep Loughborough great? Keep the expectations high. Keep the requirements of entry as selective as they currently are to make sure that we’re only getting the best.
– Interview conducted and written up by David Boyden, Label Sport Editor