6:00pm – Let’s have a look at some stats…
Overall, the candidates and students’ union have convinced more people to vote this year, with 6,809 overall voters. Cardiff University has around 30,000 students, making turnout around 23 percent. The significant change this year is the number of individual votes at this year’s election, the lowest number in many years. Voters seem to be increasingly voting for some positions, and not voting for them all. Although, we must also factor into this that there are some officer positions without candidates and there are less overall candidates running in this year’s election.
This is the kind of chart that would make a visualisation tutor cry, A PIE CHART SHOULD NEVER BE USED UNLESS THERE ARE OBVIOUS DIFFERENCES.(I know I’m a bit obsessed) Despite this we can (sort of) tell that the VP Postgraduate position got the least amount of votes from the full time VP positions, just like last year. This is the newest position having only been introduced last year, are people engaging with the VP Postgraduate?
We announced this morning that Gair Rhydd were winning from the student media groups this morning, we shouldn’t have said anything because broadcast (CUTV and Xpress) have overtaken us :(! Congratulations this year goes to the Omani society, I wonder if we can convince the union to give a prize next year…?
Election stats are a good way to try and measure engagement from the different schools at Cardiff Uni. It looks worrying that less than 10% of Archeology and Healthcare Sciences schools voted. There was only one candidate for the position of VP Heath Park, it seems that if Kirsty Hepburn gets the position she’ll have her work cut out for her to push engagement.
5:00pm – It’s all over!
Voting has officially CLOSED. In the lobby of the SU the candidates gathered for a countdown to 5pm; most people said it’s been very tiring experience, but they all seem glad that its over! The results will be announced tomorrow afternoon 2pm, check out our twitter feed all day for all the latest!
— Carwyn Williams (@carwyyn) February 24, 2017
4:00pm – Dinosaur vs Fox showdown
Absolute carnage in Engineering as Dan Schmeising catches Nathaniel Fox and Aidan Cammies in epic battle.
Carnage in Engineering #ElectionsCSU
Posted by Dan Schmeising on Friday, 24 February 2017
3:30pm – CHEESE! So much cheese.
“I’m in love with your policy”
There are NO WORDS for this parody of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You.
I'm in love with your policies! Bute isn't the best place to cast a vote, So the SU's where I'll stay.Me and my friends at the tables making choices,It's important that we have our say.Come over and start a conversation about it,And trust me I'll give it a chance.If I like what I see then I'll give it a read,And I'll vote whilst I still can.Girl you know I know I want your vote, Your vote was handmade for somebody like me,Come on now follow my lead,Log on and vote, it's so easy.Say, boy let us talk too muchGrab all our sweets and take a flyer from me,Come on now vote for me, Come on now vote for me. I'll go out and I'll vote for you,So you'll soon run the SU,I'll use all of my choices too,I'm in love with your policy.Last day to make sure I do,Vote to improve the SU,Every year we elect somebody new,I'll go out and I'll vote for you.
Posted by Vote Daly For VP Education on Friday, 24 February 2017
“Bute isn’t the best place to cast a vote,
So the SU’s where I’ll stay.
Me and my friends at the tables making choices,
It’s important that we have our say.
Come over and start a conversation about it,
And trust me I’ll give it a chance.
If I like what I see then I’ll give it a read,
And I’ll vote whilst I still can.
Girl you know I know I want your vote,
Your vote was handmade for somebody like me,
Come on now follow my lead,
Log on and vote, it’s so easy.
Say, boy let us talk too much
Grab all our sweets and take a flyer from me,
Come on now vote for me,
Come on now vote for me.
I’ll go out and I’ll vote for you,
So you’ll soon run the SU,
I’ll use all of my choices too,
I’m in love with your policy.
Last day to make sure I do,
Vote to improve the SU,
Every year we elect somebody new,
I’ll go out and I’ll vote for you.”
3:00pm – Interview with Aditi Gupta, VP Sports and AU President candidate
“I’m not saying this to try and gain your vote…I really do love sports!”
Gair Rhydd talked to VP Sports and AU President candidate, Aditi Gupta, who told us why she would be the right person for the job.
“I love it,” she said of the intense campaigning that has resulted in her lugging a bag with about 20kg-worth of cookies around campus, “it’s actually been such a great experience. When I first started I was really worried because I thought everyone was going to be cutthroat, tearing each other’s posters down and sabotaging each other’s campaigns, and it turned out to be the exact opposite. The people I’m running against have actually been the most supportive.”
As for her strategy, Aditi said that aside from her “cheesy slogan” (‘Don’t be sheep-y, vote Aditi for Sports VP), she was focussed on securing second or third preference of sports clubs in which a member was running for AU President. This strategy makes use of the voting system used in the SU elections, in which candidates are ranked by voters, and also avoids Aditi being “roasted” by clubs who have a member running against her – something which had apparently happened to one of her rival candidates.
Talking about the level of engagement concerning the SU elections, Aditi said that some students “didn’t care about student politics at all” whilst others were “very keen” and in some cases even engaged her in debate, attempting to “pick apart” what she was saying.
Speaking about which of her policies students had engaged with best, Aditi explained her idea for an “app or survey which matched people’s interests with a sport they might enjoy, and through that get rid of the idea that to play sport you need a very certain body type.”
Referring to her diminutive frame, Aditi recalled “all those times that I say to people that I play rugby and they say ‘are you the ball?’”. Inclusivity is clearly top of Aditi’s agenda, and she hopes that her idea for an sport-choosing app or survey can get rid of the “stigma” surrounding sports participation.
Asked what she wants students to know about her, Aditi referred to her experience on the AU Executive team as showing that she “knows what she’s talking about”. As well as this, she mentioned the vast range of different sports that she has tried – two new sports per year since she was 11 years old – and said, “I’m not saying this to try and gain your vote…I really do love sports!”.
By Toby Holloway
2:30pm – Interview with Kabira Suleman, BME Officer candidate
“It’s important that non-BME students acknowledge that you don’t have to be a BME student to care about other BME students,”
Kabira began her interview by saying that she has found campaigning so far to be “intense” and “different from everything that she’s used to,” also commenting that “it requires a lot of motivation and diligence.” She also revealed that her favourite aspect of campaigning has been “getting to know people,” as Kabira noted it was nice to meet people outside of first year.
She also commented that whilst students have been responsive to her campaign, she said that she wanted to let students “know that the opportunity to vote shouldn’t be taken lightly,” and that “everyone should use their voice.”
On the subject of which manifesto point she wants to emphasise the most, Kabira highlighted that “it’s important that non-BME students acknowledge that you don’t have to be a BME student to care about other BME students,” and that “it’s about trying to unite cultures and to make a proactive difference in how the university community is.”
Finally, Kabira was keen to stress how important voting is to her: “in general voting is really important so I think that everybody should vote and have their say in situations that affect them.”
The SU election runs from 20th to the 24th of February and the manifestos are available to read in this week’s issue of Gair Rhydd.
By Sam Saunders
2:00pm – Final push to get votes
Only three hours left!
Photographer: Emily Giblett
1:30pm – Interview with Elliott Stubbs, Mental Health Officer candidate
“I want to hear everyone’s concerns so that I know how to better represent the people.”
Gair Rhydd caught up with Elliott Stubbs earlier this week, who is one of four candidates running for Mental Health Officer in this year’s election. The Mental Health Officer works with the SU and the university to ensure that the interests of students with mental health conditions are adequately represented.
Elliott gave her observations on campaigning so far, which she described as “intimidating” but she said that “it’s got easier as it’s gone on” and she had enjoyed meeting “loads of interesting people”. She also said that students have been really responsive so far, particularly on discussions “about whether we [the union] need a mental health officer because we’ve already got a disabilities officer”.
When asked about how she would define the role of mental health officer if elected, Elliot said that she would work with ‘the BME officer, women’s officer and LGBT officer,” in addition to VP Welfare. However, she added that she did want “to make it her own” by “running independent activities solely focused on mental health issues”. She also wants to accept any input from the Disabilities officer that they are willing to provide.
Towards the end of the interview, Elliott singled out funding for the counselling and wellbeing service as one of her main manifesto points, as she wants “to make sure that there’s more funding there so that we can hire more counsellors and people can have quicker access to care”.
Finally, Elliott added that she was ‘really friendly so please come and say hi,” as she says “I want to hear everyone’s concerns so that I know how to better represent the people.”
By Sam Saunders
1:15pm – Gair Rhydd storming ahead in student media stats
Taking a look at the society voting stats we’re very happy to see that all sections of student media (Gair Rhydd, Quench, Xpress and CUTV) are in the top 20 voting groups on campus! Here at Gair Rhydd we’re even happier to see that we’re miles ahead of the other sections. Take that broadcast!
Get voting here – there are less than four hours left!
1:00pm – Interview with Vani Juneja candidate
“I’m the granny so I’m trying to listen to people’s problems!”
Vani Juneja came in to talk about her bid for VP Education. You’ll see her dressed as a granny, grey wig and all. “I borrowed it from my friend,” she told us with a smile. “It was very easy to get my costume sorted.”
She has been getting a good response to her campaign so far: “It’s amazing. It’s good response I think from people because they like my campaign. They’ve not seen people going around in a granny costume. They’re very excited to ask why I’m a granny and things like that. I’m really liking it.”
Vani told us that she has been trying to properly talk to people about her campaign and listen to their problems. “People who I’ve met have been very responsive.
“They love my idea of having pens around with me so I have these pens that say ‘Granny Vani’ on them. They think it’s very nice that it’s about education and I’m giving pens to them and cookies.”
“I’m trying to focus on a few people, not a lot of people basically – the few I meet I sit and talk to them fully for about five or ten minutes so I can at least talk to them and engage them. I listen to their problems first of all and then speak about myself. That’s the way I’m going about it.”
She says that there are two main points on her manifesto that people seem to like: adding a 10 minute reading time to exams and to make it so that all lectures are recorded.
“What happens is everyone panics while examinations and people are really liking that as that gives them an extra 10 minutes to literally read the entire question paper and things.
“People have been asking their lecturers to record lectures and stuff, because people haven’t been doing it so I’ve promised them we will get all the lectures recorded and put them online for them.”
She clearly loves to talk to people, and is still happy to chat about herself despite a long week of campaigning.
“I can relate to people very easily I feel, I’m very friendly in that way. I’m the granny so I’m trying to listen to people’s problems! Everyone is so happy seeing me like this, especially my pens put me aside.” Vani gave us one of our pens to demonstrate – a biro with a colourful ‘Vote Granny Vani!’ written on it.
“I’m a very friendly person and you can come and talk to me about anything if I win or lose. If you guys come talk to me to discuss your problems, I’ll always be there.”
In true grandmother fashion, Vani was sure to give us all a garibaldi biscuit before she left for the last few hours of her campaign.
By Maria Mellor
11:30am – Interview with Veronique Seguin-Cadiche, VP Postgrad candidate
“I’m not afraid to go over to people and try to get to know them.”
How are things going so far for you?
Good, I’m a little bit tired. It’s lots of work but it’s worth it; I’m meeting lots of people and it’s really interesting getting to know everyone, both undergraduates and postgraduates.
Are you doing a postgraduate degree yourself?
Yes, I’m studying international public relations and global communication management.
Are people responding well to your campaign so far?
It depends: I would say that with the international students you have to push them a bit more with the reasons as to why it’s important to vote, and for who, because they’re not used to it. Yesterday I went to the Heath Campus and it was quite difficult because some medical students hardly know what the Students’ Union is, so you have to explain all of it to them to get their attention and vote.
Do you have a particular strategy that you’re going for this week to get peoples’ attention?
I’ve tried flyers but it’s quite difficult to grab peoples’ attention, and to get them to vote is a completely different thing. One of my strategies is to talk to people, for example I asked some of my friends to invite their friends to a Whatsapp group, and I’m going to engage in conversation with them on social media. I’m going to try and understand where they come from, what they’re issues are and what’s important to them to try and convince them to vote for me, so that’s one of my main strategies.
Is there a main point in your manifesto that you’re emphasising the most, or that people are responding to the most?
I have two main points: one of which is creating an emergency loan delivered by the university to help postgraduate students fight against financial issues. I’m a postgraduate and I have financial issues so for me it’s one of the main points. The other one is to obtain an even distribution of work throughout the year. As a postgraduate, I have a lot of work in November-December time, during the Christmas break, and I know that some of my housemates have a lot in April-May time, and it can be difficult for us to participate in extra-curricular activities like being involved in societies or sports teams because we have so much work.
What do you feel sets you apart from the other candidates?
I feel I bring diversity; my parents are from the Caribbean and I was born in France, so I have been brought up in a different culture. I spent last year in London learning English, so I feel like that is what makes me a good and different candidate. I am not afraid to adapt to a new culture and a new education system with a new language, and I’m very curious about everything. I’m not afraid to go over to people and try to get to know them.
Is there anything in particular that you want students to know about you?
I am the International Students’ Association officer, and I’m also involved in the Black Minority Association, and at the moment we are trying to create events for international students and black minority students.
By Maria Mellor and Phoebe Grinter
11:00am – Interview with Stefan Psota, VP Sports and AU President candidate
“In the end we all know we’re Cardiff together. So whatever you do for the University on a Wednesday all of it benefits the University.”
Gair Rhydd spoke to Stefan Psota, the current social secretary of Cardiff University RFC, on Thursday. one of eight candidates vying to be AU President and VP Sports. The two combined roles involve running student sports at Cardiff University and managing the sports budget.
We asked Stefan how he was finding campaigning, to which he replied, “It’s been quite tough really. It’s been quite daunting. You start very high on a Monday and feel very energetic and then it gets a bit low on a Tuesday. Then on a Wednesday you’re a bit down and then you go out on a Wednesday night and now you’re really hungover on a Thursday morning. But it’s good, there’s two day to come and everyone is getting excited again because it comes to an end. It’s the last chance to vote very soon. It’s been alright, it’s been very interesting, a good process.”
When asked about the responsiveness of students to his campaigning he spoke of the struggles of appealing to non-sport students, “Some people are into sports and some people are not into sports. Sometimes it’s hard to present yourself as someone relatable even if they’re not interested in sports.” However, Psota said despite these setbacks he’s found people have reacted well to his idea for a cooking show style idea. When asked if he was also focusing on health as well as sport he said, “You know it’s quite a big thing Elin [Harding, current VP Sport] has been starting with the recipe of the week. I think expanding that and making it even broader, easier, accessible and maybe even a different setting will be really really good for students.”
Stefan spoke about his main manifesto point, “The main thing I want to bring is creating an atmosphere around Cardiff University where there is a buzz around sport and where people feel appreciated for what they do. And then they can go on Wednesday and represent Cardiff University and be really proud to put on that shirt on a Wednesday.” He explained the key to this point was for a cooperative effort between sport clubs, “In the end we all know we’re Cardiff together. So whatever you do for the University on a Wednesday all of it benefits the University. There shouldn’t be rivalry between the sports clubs. That then goes down to the lower levels of team that are just establishing themselves and are not that much into performance sports but I suppose participation. They should have support to feel proud as well to wear it. They should be supported in the same way the big teams are”.
Psota went on to explain how he felt he’d be able to foster this sense of comradery amongst the sports clubs, “I experienced when people support you on the side-line when you have a game. That’s the best way of showing you appreciation for the other sports.” He would like to create a bus service to ferry supporters to matches to support home teams, “At the moment it’s really hard with Llanrumney being so far away and Taly as well. I think if we had it organised from the Athletic Union, I think it would be very easy to establish a bus service from the back of the SU to Llanrumney on a Wednesday.” Psota outlined a vision to have multiple sports being cheered on, “You have beers there, you have some music there, you have some food there. That all together creates almost a festival atmosphere.” “Everybody in Cardiff loves a good day out and I think if we could have that more often that would establish a better feeling of togetherness” he added.
When asked what separates him from the other candidates he emphasised the positive experiences sport has brought him at Cardiff since arriving from Austria, “You have that feeling of togetherness and inclusiveness in sports clubs in the UK. What makes me a little bit different is that it’s new to me and I want to create the feeling of people coming together.” Psota concluded by speaking of his different approach that other candidates might have if they get the job, “I’m more that kind of guy that is very approachable; has a beer with whoever I have an issue. At the moment, there is a lot of hierarchy with the Sabbatical Officers, that’s not me. I’m rather easier going when it comes to that. I want to support the clubs on a very personal basis.”.
By Hugh Doyle and Emily Giblett
10:30am – Interview with Matthew Proctor, VP Welfare candidate
“If I’m elected I’ll have an open door policy – and apparently I give blowjobs for votes!”
How have you found campaigning?
It’s been very exciting. I’m happy with my social media but I probably should be doing more lecture shout outs.
What do you think of the candidates for VP Welfare this year?
The welfare category is a tough cookie, there are no duds. Everyone is putting up a good fight. I think Nick Fox, Holly or Annabel might win
What has been your campaign strategy for the week?
I haven’t really gimmicked it up that much. Procter’s gonna rock ya is my catchy slogan.
I’m officially YikYak famous now – I was on there last night and everyone is pissed off because I am on Tinder and Grindr. Somebody was saying ‘ahh they’re on Grindr now – is Procter giving blowjobs for votes?’
Have people been responsive to your manifesto points?
When you explain your policies people are actually really enthusiastic – one of my main points is to increase the budget for counselling, to provide better mental health support in the university. When people drop out of university because of mental health issues, the university sees a decrease in revenues. So there is a financial case to be made to improve mental health funding in the university.
What do you think about presidential candidate Milly Dyer vowing to improve the quality of student housing in her manifesto given that this was something she voted against at the AGM?
‘Milly posted a video and it just pissed me off. I was like ‘you had an opportunity to increase investment and decrease fees and you basically ignored me, and now you have the actual balls to do a video and say that it’s something that you support when you sat there at the AGM and stuck your hand up to actively vote against it.’
Do you think the elected officer team has done a good job this year?
I think Hollie has done a good job. I’m on scrutiny committee so I get to see what they do. I don’t think they have done a good job. If you look at the points on their manifestos, how many they put forward and how many Milly has achieved for example, there’s not much notable progress. Half of the policies were platitudes anyway and the other half just hasn’t been done. Food at SU nightclubs hasn’t happened. The night bus hasn’t happened and the platinum tier for societies doesn’t exist. She has sat on a decrease of funding for societies and done nothing.
What is the most important point on your manifesto for VP Welfare?
Improving the counselling budget is my most popular manifesto point. The waiting times at the moment are shit. It’s the most popular policy because it’s practical and I can do it in a year.
Is there anything else you want voters to know about you?
If I’m elected I’ll have an open door policy – and apparently I give blowjobs for votes!
10:00am – Welcome to Day 5!
It’s the final day of voting! EEK!
We’ve got our final interviews going up on our live blog very soon along with plenty of pictures and candidate shenanigans.
Follow us on twitter (@gairrhydd) and use the hashtag #ElectionsCSU for the latest updates.