#SeatSigrid or #MoveToVote for Omar?
The Association Chair is an incredibly important role in the Students’ Association. Chairing all the student councils, they control the flow of debate and serve to make sure every voice is heard.
They also advise the Sabbatical Officers and other members of Councils on the drafting of motions and the implementation of policy and change.
Current Director of Representation, Joe Tantillo, held the role before taking up office as a sabbatical officer.
The current chair is Zara Evans, think of her as like the Speaker of the House, only wittier and with a better haircut.
The two candidates this year are Sigrid Jørgensen, current Association LGBT+ Officer and Omar Ali, current Association equal opportunities officer.
Two big players in the Union, aiming for one of its most important roles.
Ms Jørgensen has captured attention this week with her campaign videos and pictures outside the library, all centred around a single mysterious arm chair, just in case people need a visual representation of a what chair looks like.
Mr Ali has ran a more understated campaign. With professional graphics and serious videos, he’s hoping his message to streamline Union communication with students works.
He also has a chair in his campaign graphics, just in case we thought he was running for Mermaids.
Ms Jørgensen said, “The past year I have chaired Saints LGBT+ and sat on SRC, SSC, and Students Association Executive Committee.
“A vote for me is a vote for improved transparency and representation within your Union and between you and your councillors. I want to make sure that you are heard and that your councillors represent your voice in everything they do. I promise to improve the quality of the information published on Twitter and Facebook, so that it gives you a more detailed explanation of what is happening in the meetings.
“Campaign week in general has been an absolute blast! I always think that it is incredibly fun meeting new people and hearing their take on my policies. Getting the face to face interaction is always the highlight of my year. It underlines the fact that St Andrews is such a community! The overwhelming support that I have received this week has been fantastic, and I truly appreciate everyone who has helped out with my campaign.”
Mr Ali also spoke to The Saint, saying that while he and Sigrid had a similar level of experience, “What sets Sigrid and I apart is not experience — it’s that I don’t think the Union is doing as good a job as it can in engaging the student body. Office hours, open forums, and drop-in sessions don’t work. People don’t come. People don’t engage.
“I want to empower newly elected representatives by sitting them down with their predecessors to talk about old and new manifestos, ideas that blossomed and others that crashed. A Union with a personal touch is a Union that works best for you. It’s one that cares about your time and understands your interests. It tells you what you need to know, provides you with the relevant resources, and gets out of the way. This is the Union I will oversee if you elect me to be your Chair today and tomorrow — it is not a continuation of past failures, but a breath of fresh air in our newly redeveloped building. If that isn’t enough to get you to #MOVETOVOTE, I don’t know what is.”
Association LGBT+ Officer
Serving to represent the interests of LGBT+ students, the LGBT+ officer is a role of enormous importance and influence throughout the Union.
It’s a family affair this year as academic brothers and current members of the LGBT+ committee, Lewis Wood and Jacob Williams, are running.
Lewis has ran a well-executed campaign and many feel he is the front runner in this race. Often heard outside the library this week shouting “I’m here and I’m queer!” at passers-by, he says he is the best candidate to run a fully inclusive LGBT+ society.
His campaign has featured some traditional methods, such as an inspirational video on the pier, and some not so traditional, such as campaigning on Grindr, the gay dating app, with the slogan “Want Wood?”
Mr Wood told The Saint, “After two years on the executive committee, I feel like I’ve gained an in-depth knowledge of the society, its responsibilities, and what needs to be implemented to take the society in the right direction.
My manifesto and policies focus upon accessibility and inclusivity, achieved by strengthening and expanding welfare systems, increasing event capacity, and outreaching into neglected areas of the student body. A vote for Lewis is a vote for celebrating diversity, improving events, and for the creation of a truly embracing community.”
His opponent, Jacob Williams, is the underdog in this race. With less sophisticated graphics and less campaigning outside the library, he is standing with the message that Saints LGBT+ is not inclusive enough of parts of the community that are not as interested in queer culture (such as drag) as others.
Mr Williams told The Saint, “You should vote Jacob for someone who is passionate about making LGBT the most inclusive space in town, whilst keeping up the amazing events we already have this year!”
He also added that he is optimistic about results and is looking forward to them.
President of the School of Economics
This week began with 11 candidates for Economics President. That’s more than all the Sabbatical candidates combined, and the Sabbatical officers get PAID for what they do.
While the race has now dwindled to seven, it remains one of the most unpredictable of these elections.
One candidate, Dillon Yeh said, “This year only two candidates, including myself, of the seven have served as class representatives. And though it is not necessary for a school president to have been a class representative beforehand, I think the experience definitely helps and does give a certain degree of expectation and what is realistic for the role of the school presidency.
“One can bring change to the school without being president or even a representative. No doubt there is only good intentions behind their motivation for running- but I am weary of CV packers. Personally, I voted in this election for students who I know have demonstrated long term interest and participation with their schools. Got to learn how to man the oar before steering the ship.”
Jakob Dowling, another former class representative, argued that his policies would benefit economics students the most, saying, “I will instate a 24 hour guarantee for responding to student concerns and streamline students’ interactions with the department. I believe my chances are good as I have a proven track record of three years as class rep and clearly have the support of my fellow economists.”
A third candidate, Raphael Benros, who has grabbed the attention of the student body with some surreal campaign videos, including one in which he pretends to be Barack Obama endorsing himself.
Mr Benros said that he feels his campaigning has been going well this week, but that the sheer number of candidates has made things difficult. “We’ve got the word out there and I feel my chances are as good as any,” he said.
Going on, he added that his style of leadership and the relationships he has with people are what make him the best candidates, saying that all the candidates have broadly similar policies and that someone with more credentials on a personal level was needed, citing his unconventional experience such as doing stand up comedy.
SSC Performing Arts Officer (Mermaids President)
This, much like Mermaids itself, seems to be a fun race, everyone seems to get along. We haven’t seen much negative campaigning or personal attacks.
Even current Mermaids President Jo Bowman has emphasised that both candidates would be great in the role.
The first of the two is Al Gillepsie, who said, “I think the campaign has been going really well. With regards to why people should vote for me, I think I have the right mix of achievable policies and extensive experience necessary to make important changes within the Mermaids community.
“My personal favourite policy is an effort to create a drama school audition means tested fund – whereby we would contact alumni for donations, and use the money accrued from that to help ease the financial burden for people trying to get down to London to audition for drama school.
“In terms of experience, I’ve been working with Mermaids for three years now – I have been on committee for two years, holding two different elected positions.
“In that time I have acted in four shows, directed six shows, and written a show. Alongside this I have restarted St Andrew New Drama, which by the end of this year will have put on four performances, with 14 different writers and 11 different directors working on entirely new writing. Having experienced Mermaids extensively from all sides, I believe that I have the practical knowledge to make my manifesto a reality.”
The second candidate is Annabel Ekelund, who told The Saint, “People should vote for me because I have extensive experience in the performing arts and will bring a passion for the role. I have been involved in the performing arts since I was six years old. I have always had a strong passion for the arts. I have participated in over 30 shows in which I have either acted, directed, produced, or teched.
“I have also worked with four theatre companies (Twin Beach Players, Eye of the Storm Productions, Young Company with the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Companies de Teatro Juveniles), as well as participating in shows associated with RSC Open Stages, Dundee Rep, and the National Symphony Orchestra. I have performed in two theatre festivals (Maryland State Theatre Festival and the International de Companias de Teatro Juveniles) and have won many awards for my performances: Excellent Rating at Maryland State Theatre Festival, McCabe Award for Outstanding Company and Outstanding Acting Group at the Folger Secondary School Shakespeare Festival, and Best Newcomer at the Mermaids Golden Seashells.
“At St. Andrews, I have acted in three shows (Henry IV, Hamlet, and Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche directed two shows (Punk Rock and Variations on the Death of Trotsky), and produced one (Animal Farm). I have also sat on Mermaids committee and Barron Subcommittee for one year as Box Office Manager. If you are interested in reading my policies, please read my manifesto located on my Facebook page.”