Post-election interview: Dan Palmer, DoES

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From left: Dan Palmer, DoES-elect; Teddy Woodhouse, DoRep-elect; Kelsey Gold, DoSDA-elect. Photo credit: Jake Threadgould.
From left: Dan Palmer, DoES-elect; Teddy Woodhouse, DoRep-elect; Kelsey Gold, DoSDA-elect. Photo credit: Jake Threadgould.

Read our interviews with the other sabbatical-elects:

How was campaigning?

It was fun, although my campaign team worked… difficultly, because my campaign manager swanned off to Center Parcs for the [opening] weekend! So I had people appointing themselves deputy campaign manager. But we worked quite well as a team, people doing different jobs, me texting people to tell them what to do and keeping in touch with Facebook.

What was your strategy for campaigning?

The main strategy for online was sharing – like pictures – so we had a lot of people sharing the same picture on the same day, so the reach was really high. In person, we held everyone back for the Wednesday and Thursday, because I knew my team wasn’t that large. But to have them on Thursday at 9am outside Physics with cookies, that worked quite well.

What do you think won it for you?

I knew I had an advantage with my experience but I think my campaign also went as well as it could have done. So a combination of those two things. Fionnuala put up a really good fight, with some really good ideas, so I couldn’t just relax on my previous experience – I had to take it to her on the campaign as well.

How did you find the hecklings and debate?

I enjoyed them, as they have more depth than just the posters. I preferred talking in depth about what I wanted to do, and taking questions that were designed to throw me off but being able to respond to them. So I think the [Wednesday night] debate was my favourite moment, even though most Sabbs wouldn’t agree with me there!

Election night itself – was finding out your result quite surreal?

Yeah, it was surreal at first, with people cheering around me, but then it started sinking in. I’m not sure what happened 10.30 to 11.30… The Saint were there, STAR and the Stand, and I was very confused. I was being pulled between interviews and photos for a bit, and I just went with it. Surreal, but really really pleased.

What were you thinking on hearing the Presidential results?

I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry by that point. I was very surprised by how well Jamie Ross did. I always knew he would get lots of votes because a lot of people have latched onto that this week. But the fact that he stayed right through to the final round… at one point I thought he’d got it and wondered, ‘what happens next?’

What do you think of the Sabb team for next year?

I’m really excited. I’m glad Kelsey beat RON, I’m going to be working closely with her on the redevelopment and sharing an office. I get on well with Teddy, and I look forward to working with Chloe and Jess on their respective areas. It should be a good, strong team.

What’s the plan for the next couple of months?

I’ve already told Jules [Findlay] I don’t want to touch [the DoES position] until 17 April, when I resign as Head of Ents. Once I’ve handed that over and have dealt with everything in between, then I’ll start looking at agents and things like that, working out what to do with the Beer Bar. I’ve got an idea of the redevelopment [already], it’s how to approach it with agents and the pre-planning for redevelopment – what I want to do, and sorting out the bar in Venue One. It’ll be knocked down in second semester, but then again it’ll be needed when the Main Bar is closed. We need to get the balance right, and knowing what we’ll be doing over the summer.

Do you think you’ll take any of Fionnuala’s ideas into the DoES position?

Yes, she pushed ‘Think Fresh’ very hard, and I think every year you’ve got to do that. I have to make sure I don’t lapse into simply doing what I did this year with Jules. So I do want to make sure we’re doing new things despite the redevelopment, and with new venues we’ll have to do that. I also need to make sure people know they can come to the DoES with ideas for events they want to put on. The Saint might know that they can come to us for help with The Saint Live, but if a few students in a flat think ‘we’d like to do a comedy night’, they may not have the same conviction or know where the middle floor of the Union [i.e. the DoSDA/DoES office] is, so that’s something to push out and reach into the student body. I’m excited about the new Union website, and I’ve been thinking about how that might work.

Will you get a sneak preview of the new website?

I’m not sure – I may be able to, as they [the current Sabbs] know the company they’re going to go with. I know we’ll start building it from June or July.

What’s left to do with Ents?

Quite a lot. Literally five minutes ago Freddie phoned me and asked if I could come help in a tent! We’ve got an event every single day between now and the end of term, so it’s heavy at the moment. But my deputy Luke [Hodgman] took over for this week – and I can only say thanks so many times, it’s been hell for him. On The Rocks when we come back, and then the handover to the new committee. Ents is going to be looked at, as their roles will be affected by redevelopment and they’ll have different jobs, which we’ve been working on already. So normal events, and then getting rid of it!

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