Manifesto analysis: Cathy Pendreigh, candidate for AU president

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Photo: Maria Faciolince
Photo: Maria Faciolince
Photo: Maria Faciolince

Read our interview with Ms Pendreigh here.

In the first manifesto analysis of this House of Cards lite election season, prospective Athletic Union presidential candidate Catherine Pendreigh’s plan comes under scrutiny. A stalwart of the Triathlon Club, the three buzzwords Pendreigh bases her manifesto on are inclusivity, accessibility and transparency.

The “central policy” falls under the umbrella of inclusivity, with this policy being an equal opportunities fund that could assist students – confidentially – with their development regardless of financial pressures. A laudable scheme in theory, but it will be interesting to see how such a fund would be financed and what decision making process would occur when deciding which applications are worth of support.

With regards to making the Athletic Union more accessible – aside from the traditional mass emails and newsletters – the plan is to hold office hours, establish a regular blog and attend club sessions in order to make the role of president more visible. This seems to tag onto Jess Walker’s current strategy to increase AU visibility across campus. While enthusiasm is to be applauded I do wonder how much of a difference tweeting or visiting halls of residence will have in generating more interest in the AU; people with an interest in sport will still hold it regardless, while diehard gym goers will still beat a path to the Sports Centre.

The most interesting point in the manifesto, however, is that Ms Pendreigh would seek to demystify the AU’s procedures, in particular explaining how and why funding is allocated. Indeed, having spoken to some committee members of clubs from across a wide spectrum, many of them do find the Athletic Union’s workings somewhat difficult to grasp. I suspect many clubs would be interested in hearing how Ms Pendreigh would embark on such a task and what form it would take.

The manifesto is on the whole a fairly steady one. Ms Pendreigh states in the opening lines that she seeks to carry on the good work of her predecessors and I suspect that there will be no serious deviations from the current course charted by the AU. Nevertheless, the equal opportunities fund and the possibility of some glasnost with regard to the AU’s procedures are both interesting and, I suspect, crowd pleasers. The practicalities around them do need further explanation, however.

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