Amanda Hollinger will be running for the role of Director of Student Development and Activities (DoSDA) on the back of her experience with the charities campaign – she is organising Big Top Ball this year – as well as with STAR and Mermaids. However, she has never held a position on SSC which may be to her detriment.
Society accessibility and communication
Throughout her manifesto, Miss Hollinger is quite clear on how she would tackle problems if elected as DoSDA. Miss Hollinger writes that she would like to expand the functionality of the online societies portal and encourage its consistent use as a method of advertisement and communication to create a “more inclusive community atmosphere.” Currently most societies predominantly use Facebook to advertise events, which Ms Hollinger says excludes those students who don’t use social media.
Ms Holllinger states: “Our societies operate under the fair assumption that people who wish to join will seek the society out, but the frank reality is that many students are too shy, unaware, or overwhelmed to do so.” Her aim would be for the societies portal to bring together all the information, events and mailing list sign up for each society, making it easier for students to get involved.
Though this seems like a good idea, these improvements would have to be accompanied by a substantial promotional campaign to ensure that students are aware of the resources. Otherwise, the majority will continue to stick to Facebook.
Student development and support
Additionally, Miss Hollinger has said that she would like to continue to develop the Career Launch event, organised in conjunction with the careers centre, which was somewhat of a disaster this year. Miss Hollinger has acknowledged that the career launch had a turbulent start with the lack of interest for this year’s event orgainsed by Fay Morrice. She states that she “intends to emphasise the event and give it a dedicated focus from day one.” However, she does not outline how she would do this. The career launch this year was advertised yet the uptake was not as anticipated. Therefore, The Saint would like to know how Miss Hollinger intends to get more students interested, as advertisement does not seem to have worked on its own.
Miss Hollinger also puts an emphasis on further promoting the careers centre. She states: “I will work more closely with the centre to bring greater awareness of its events and resources to students.” Miss Hollinger proposes advertising their events through the Union website and also through the Sabbatical emails. Furthermore, Miss Hollinger would like to see societies working closer with the career centre. However, she does not state how she will achieve this aim.
Increased training for SSC officers and society presidents
Miss Hollinger would like society presidents to be better trained in order for them to be able to take on a more supportive role. “By fostering a stronger sense of community, I hope to encourage students to trust in and rely on both the Union and each other,” she says. This is a key policy and one which Miss Hollinger will hopefully, if elected, carry through.
In order to make this training a reality, Ms Hollinger provides three possible options: “paying for all SSC Officers and Society Presidents to receive Mental Health First Aid Training (easiest, but also by far the most expensive, to the point of being unrealistic), developing an agreement with Fife Council regarding student enrollment in their free, two-day training programmes across Fife (less expensive, but definitely more difficult to arrange an agreement), and organising teacher training for a permanent member of staff to allow for cheaper in-house training for years to come (expensive up-front, least expensive option overtime, requires the cooperation and continued dedication of a permanent member of staff, but overall most feasible and cost-effective option).”
Clearly, Ms Hollinger has put a lot of thought into this and has admirably come up with reasonable and multiple ways of achieving her goal.
The Saint’s assessment
Overall, Miss Hollinger has gained an understanding of how societies work through her experience in them and whilst her manifesto does carry some unoriginal ideas which have already started to be developed, Miss Hollinger seems to have the energy and determination to drive them through and make them a reality. Furthermore, she does also have some original ideas which if implemented effectively could really make the student body much more open and inclusive.