Not the first Hooker costume I've seen at Yolo.
Campus Life

Interview: Lamorna Hooker, VP Societies 2017-18

After a hard fought battle (myself included) Lamorna Hooker won the post of VP Societies at the end of the 2017 student elections. I met up with her again at the Cardiff Student Media office to catch up and find out what 2017 has in store for Societies under the reign of Captain Hooker.

On picking favourites

LH: That’s controversial… I’m on committee for German and Windband, they’re “my” societies. But there are so many societies at Cardiff, and I’m in awe of most of them to be honest. They do amazing work and I’m looking forward to experiencing them all next year.

On election strategy

TM: How planned was your campaign? Did you plan all your lecture shout-outs the week before?

LH: My campaign was relatively planned. My boyfriend did the lecture shout-outs the night before. I’d get in touch with Milly and ask if she wanted to come with me. I also did a lot of planning in terms of making posters. All my friends were round making banners, posters, card and paper signs. I gave them out to my friends for them to put up in their windows and get my name out. Having a big campaign team is useful.

TM: Did you find that when you doubted yourself, you you couldn’t give up, because you’d be letting the team down?

LH: I didn’t doubt myself- I’m a positive person. Five days isn’t that long, so I thought I’ll just push to the end of the week, I have support, food, all I need.

TM: What was the biggest morale booster during election week?

LH: It was nice having candidates’ breakfast the last three days- a lot of the candidates all together in one place for fifteen minutes in the morning, it was cute to have selfies together and shout “ready to go!” Although everyone was busy with their own campaign they were never too busy to check how you were doing.

On her first days in office

TM: You start work in June. What’s the first policy point you want to work on?

LH: I‘m passionate about course based societies. The handover ties into it. I’m trying that out with my current German committee, by the end of March we’ll know who next year’s committee is, we’ll organise a social between the old and new committees. A lot of societies don’t do that, and I want to implement it.

TM: You also promised cheap alumni fees.

LH: That can’t happen until September- but that’s when you’ll want to do it. A lot of people won’t have a job straight away after they graduate so it’s useful to have a cheaper fee. It’s quite hard to get alumni membership currently, you need to come in to the Union and prove you’re alumni with a graduation certificate. I want to see if it’s possible just to use your old student number. Also, if people are working- the finance desk is only open until four, so how will they come in?

TM: Are you going to do anything with the tier system?

LH: There are a couple of points I would like to add. I would like to involve societies more with Cardiff Volunteering- a massive association, and if a society can do stuff for them it looks good for them and their members’ CVs. I would like any society to have an event with Cardiff Volunteering.

On society promotion

TM: Are you going to hold the refreshers fair?

LH: I don’t think I will reintroduce Refreshers Fair as it’s been proven not to work. Another problem is societies only get one day at Freshers’ Fair. When I started, all the gold tier societies got two days at the Freshers’ Fair but now there’s so many societies it’s impossible. Freshers don’t realize there are different societies on different days. The best thing to do is push it through social media- when people are tweeting they got into Cardiff…

LH:…We could advertise events more in the SU, we already have big screens everywhere, if we could advertise events on these screens that would get to a lot of people.

On student media

TM: Student media wants editorial independence, but at the same time, if people don’t read it, why bother? We need more support from the union to improve the profile of student media- when I did a survey a few months ago, about 70% of people in the SU said they’d never read Gair Rhydd. They thought it was in Welsh, or hadn’t seen it in the box hidden behind reception. If they’re advertising a club night, they go all out but with student media, where it’s just about student led societies, there’s no money in it, there’s not as much push.

LH: It’s difficult with the money- the SU has no money to spare. It’s like the free newspapers, though, people just go; free newspaper, shrug.

TM: That’s the opposite of me. I must be a weirdo.

LH: Not at all! There’s a certain type of person who always picks up newspapers. I don’t read newspapers so I wouldn’t necessarily pick up a Gair Rhydd.

TM: The solution to that, I would say, is improve the website.

LH: Not necessarily improve it, just make it more… known.

TM: We need the kind of online profile the Tab has.

LH: Is there any way you could form an alliance with the Tab Cardiff?

TM: It’s a bit like a rival really, some competition. We do have shared writers.

LH: The Tab could actually advertise you.

TM: It’s hard, we’re a union publication and they’re a company.

LH: That might be a meeting to be had in September.

On continuity

TM: What’s something Milly’s done that you’d like to continue?

LH: I have really enjoyed Society of the Month. It might sound harsh also, but I like that she made the tier system harder. Every other society last year was gold tier and then it doesn’t have as much meaning. Now if you get gold tier it’s a big thing, you’re an amazing society and need to keep going.

On the future

TM: Regarding jobs, are you glad to have one?

LH: It is a weight off my shoulders! I’ve cancelled all my job interviews now- maybe they’ll take me on in a year’s time, possibly!

TM: Are you prepared- are you fired up and ready to go?

LH: Yes I think so! I like a challenge. I’m excited to start and do the crossover, and work with my new sabb team.

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