By Hanushka Karnani & Kiana Rad
On Friday 9th March, the SU Election Results took place at the Academy on the Cambridge Campus of ARU. There was a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere as soon as entered the venue, it was apparent that there was an ambience of excitement and nerves amongst all the potential candidates. They were all eagerly wishing one another good luck and assuring each other that whatever happens they’ve done their best. The good-sportsmanship alone was one of the many reasons why this year’s elections may have been the best one yet.
The event took off with the candidates getting settled into the party atmosphere, buying drinks and socialising with their competitors and other attendees. Once everyone was ready, the ceremony begun with Daniel Login, the Deputy Returning Officer for The Election, taking to the stage to welcome the audience and begin announcing the long-anticipated results. For those who were unable to attend the eventful evening, the highlights have been recorded and posted on the Anglia Ruskin Student Union Facebook page. You can also visit the Student Union Instagram page or their Twitter feed to catch up on all the details of last Fridays results
The first categories announced were Trans Students’ Representative for Cambridge and the LGBT+ Students’ Rep (Cambridge). The winners for these categories were Michael Turner, as the new Trans Students’ Rep and Luca Girardi as the re-elected LGBT+ Students’ Rep with a lead of 49 votes. Both candidates kept their speeches short and sweet, thanking the audience for their support and swiftly leaving the stage to re-join their fellow competitors. This was followed by intervals of dramatic movie soundtracks to enhance the competitive feel of the event.
After the first interval, the next two categories announced was the Disabled Students’ Rep (Cambridge), won by student Juliet Onuoha and the BME (Black & Minority Ethnic) Students’ Rep (Cambridge), won by Blessing Raimi from the campaign team SU 4 YOU. Once again, both candidates delivered short but thankful speeches to the crowd.
The night continued by introducing the Science & Technology Faculty Reps. The first category announced was the FST Faculty Representative for Cambridge, won by Jamie Smith, our current Students’ Union President who after two years of making significant changes for the university has decided to take on a new role within the faculty alongside her studies. We took her aside for a quick interview, asking her about her experience as the President and how she’s felt about this year’s election.
HANUSHKA AND KIANA: “How are you feeling about the elections this year and your new role after stepping down as president?”
JAMIE: It’s nice to have the confirmation from students that you did well, also its really really nice that some of the people who have been elected in I haven’t met before the elections and they’ve obviously gone to so many students and informed them on the changes they wanted to make and made them think “Yeah I believe in this person”. So I’m really excited to see that it’s not just the typical keenos [sic] that are getting the roles, it’s exciting that some candidates have just spoken to other students and got their feedback to improve the university experience.
Candidates who have come in and said “I really want to do a good job for students” have said let’s just ask students what they want and written their manifestos based on what current students want. There have been some candidates who have gone on what I’ve done and what I’ve done is good for this year’s student but not necessarily good for next years students.
It’s a whole new calibre of students this year and I think that everyone cares and mental health has been on the top agenda and it’s really exciting especially for me”
H&K: “Yeah It’s amazing that so much attention is on mental health now!”
J: “Yeah I love that! It’s so good to see the turnaround. Everyone that ran this year should be so proud of themselves.”
H&K: “I mean c’mon [sic] that’s also due to you as well giving that impact on others as President.”
J: “I hope so, I think my team this year have done a fantastic job. I think they’re all very different and they’ve all done great things and it’s a testament to the role that three of my officers have run for full-time roles again which I’m super proud of! It’s really nice for them to be like “I’m not done yet, I have so much more to offer”. The only thing I’m upset about is not all three of them are going to get in.”
The next category announced was Vice President for Science and Technology which was won by Matt Hayes of Team SUpreme with a total of 495 votes. As he ran up on stage, he jokingly asked his audience to wait silently for his mother to pick up the phone so that he can tell her to live on stage to say that he won. His team cheered him on throughout his speech and jumped up to give him endless hugs and congratulations. After the overwhelming response to his win, we managed to pull him aside for a brief interview on how he feels to be the new VP of his faculty and discussing the changes he hopes to make in the future.
H&K: So how are you feeling after that overwhelming experience?
H&K: We like what you did there with calling your mum on stage
M: “I had so many things I wanted to do in my speech but I couldn’t do them all!”
H&K: “So what are your next steps as VP?”
M: “So the first things that need to be looked at is reviewing the well-being and counselling services because they are not as good as they could be and the waiting time is six weeks to four months at the moment and even then some people aren’t getting the services they need. We need to collate the information and figure out where we can take it.
The Academy is absolutely popping tonight! We need more events like these, where people are just getting responsibly drunk, having a good time.”
H&K: “As third-year students, we haven’t seen the Academy this live since our first year because of other obligations, so what would you like to say about your work there?”
M: “So I’m the coordinator for the Audio Music Tech society so I run a vast majority if the events that happen at the Academy, and we occasionally get events like this and it’s such a good feeling when you’re doing sound and lights for an event and people are absolutely loving it. That’s one of my other main aims for my term is to create more of an interconnected community for societies to make it easier for societies to be like “let’s make a sick event”.
H&K: “Bringing people together basically, that’s great.”
M: “It’s just about putting people with common aims together”
H&K: “We noticed that you have a very strong support system, and seem to be one of the few candidates that had a large and encouraging team. Tell us a bit about that.”
M: “Obviously I had my absolutely incredible girlfriend, and friends in first year who’s I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I had the support of my slate and my slate’s campaign teams – even if there was a level of competition we’ve been constantly together all day every day. There is such a community atmosphere that I’m so grateful for.”
After the third interval, we re-joined the crowd for the announcement of the Vice President of Health, Social Care, Education and Medical Science. The winning candidate was the bubbly re-elected Eliza Torres who ran up on stage with high energy and graciously thanked all her supporters and fellow competitors. Following this, was the FHSCE Faculty Representative for Cambridge which came to a draw between Tiegan Lawson and Camile Trancoso-Gordon. As a result of this, there was a coin toss to break the tie which resulted in Tiegan Lawson’s win.
The evening continued with the fourth interval, where candidates were bracing themselves for the announcement of the Vice President for Business and the first ever representative for ARU London. The candidate that was nominated as the first representative for ARU London was Oluwadamilare Ojewande who unfortunately was unable to make it to the event.
Following this, Mary Copsey was announced as the new Vice President of Business. The crowd was noticeably elated, especially her campaign team, Team SUpreme. She gave an inspiring speech as she was still in disbelief that she won, as a student who is fairly new to Anglia Ruskin. We addressed this in our interview with her, also asking about her personal experience about her campaign.
H&K: How are you feeling Mary?
MARY: “I’m just like, so overwhelmed! Literally, I’m so excited because I really wanted this but not just for myself, it’s so many things like my manifesto just screams it. I just wanna [sic] implement and change things for the students.”
H&K: You seem to have a very supportive team as well?
MARY: “I honestly wasn’t expecting it! I know I’m in Business and I’m quite competitive, however, with this – you can ask my friends – this is just me like on a daily basis, I’m quite loud and chatty and to me, some of the stuff in my manifesto is really close to my heart and I’m already a course representative as well as a student ambassador and I do lots of volunteering, I’m always at the student councils and I know there’s the stuff that needs changing and I want to push that more.”
H&K: “So, what was it that made you want to take this role?”
MARY: “To be honest, I contemplated it for a little while – like I said, I’m quite active with the student rep and I’ve been to student council meetings and I actually got nominated – I got an email saying someone had nominated me and put me forward with a paragraph saying “Mary would be really good as VP, she cares so much for the students’’. That’s what made me go for it, but if I’m honest I’ve only been here since September so I just felt like I wasn’t sure because the people I was going up against have been here for many years, I thought they would be much more popular than me so I just you know what, I’m just going to go for it!”
The final Vice President to be announced was for Arts, Law and Social Sciences where Amanda Campbell White won with 516 votes, the third member of Team SUpreme to win. Her team showered her with affection as she gradually approached the stage, shaken and overwhelmed by the landslide win.
Then the ALSS Faculty Representative (Cambridge) winner was announced and Alex Mead won the position. In our brief discussion with him, we asked him how he was feeling and he was visibly overjoyed, saying that “I’m so thankful for people supporting me and spreading the word…loads of emotions there, I’m proud of myself and proud of my team”.
Last but not least, the President was announced, and winning with 829 votes was no other than current Vice President of Science and Technology, Laura Douds. Whilst the crowd was chanting her name, she got on stage and urged everyone to give a round of applause for the other competitors running for President as well as all other roles. She took her to win with grace and took a moment to embrace her new team for the upcoming year. She gave the Ruskin Journal this quote about her win:
“At the time it was really exciting – and it still is a few days later! I was so tired and so nervous all week, so it was really fantastic to know that all the hard work had paid off and that people believed in me. In terms of next year: first things first, I need to get to know my team and what I think they’re going to need from me. I know Eliza already so that’s good – but there are three officers who I don’t know yet! I want to hit the ground running with my rent campaign once the new officers get settled and hopefully we’ll make some good progress on that. Mostly I want my team to be successful and happy!”
Overall, the evening was a success and win or lose, all the candidates seemed humbled by the end result. We hope to follow up with the candidates next year in their new roles, and in another article over the next few months, chat with the current officer team about their tenure at the Students’ Union. For now, it’s time to celebrate Global Week, and give all the candidates a well-earned break!
Images: Hanushka Karnani