Meet the SU’s new Sabbatical Officer team

Source: Cardiff University Students' Union

By Charlotte King

Cardiff University Students’ Union’s 2020 Spring Elections came to a close on Friday, March 6 with the results announced last weekend. Following a week of fervent campaigning, more than 5,000 votes were cast in this year’s elections for seven Sabbatical Officer positions and ten Campaign Officer positions.

Across the week, students had the opportunity to vote for new Officers across a wide range of positions. The Sabbatical Officer positions being voted on were: Students’ Union President, VP Sports and Athletic Union, VP Welfare and Campaigns, VP Postgraduate Students, VP Education, VP Societies and Volunteering, and VP Heath Park Campus.

The Campaign Officer positions which were up for grabs were: Students with Disabilities’ Officer, Black and Ethnic Minorities Officer, International Students’ Officer, Mental Health Officer, Mature Students’ Officer, Women’s Officer, Ethical and Environmental Officer, LGBT+ Officer (Open), LGBT+ Women’s Place Officer, and Welsh Language Officer.

This week, Gair Rhydd News has been in contact with each newly elected Sabbatical Officer to find out more about what they are hoping to achieve next year.


VP Sport and Athletic Union President, Jude Pickett

How do you feel to have been elected as VP Sport and AU President?

I am really excited. Doing two years in the same role will enable me to use my experience last year to really make change. I can approach tasks confidently and effectively. I really think that we can see some proper improvements and transformation in the AU.

What are your aims for next year policy-wise?

I want to improve the fairness of facility allocation. In partnership with the University I want to increase the available spaces for clubs and societies to use for their activities. Although not a policy as such, this will have a direct influence on many of the students that play sport at Cardiff University.

I want to make our behaviour policies and expectations clearer and more digestible to students and committees. This is so they know what is expected of them ensuring that sport is as inclusive as it should be.

I want to work with BUCS and other universities to develop the policies around trans inclusion in sport. Ensuring that there are opportunities for everyone to get involved and feel part of the sporting community.

Do you plan to continue any policies implemented this year?

I want to continue to make sure what we do is fair. I have increased the transparency of the Budget allocation of the AU and I want to continue to do so.

I want to work with sports to make sure they have enough resource to be able to give the best experience to their members.

What would you like to say to those students who voted for you?

Thank you and thank you again!! There is much more to come! I am the first (known of) VP Sports Sabb to do two years here at Cardiff and I know that this means I can achieve great things.


VP Welfare and Campaigns, Georgie East

How do you feel to have been elected as VP Welfare and Campaigns?

Ecstatic! But I was so so surprised. I had to campaign remotely from New Orleans as I was on my final year field trip and I’d completely convinced myself I hadn’t got it. We watched the results on live steam in our hostel and all of us just burst into tears when my name was called! I’d worked so hard before campaign week to get everything sorted and my camping team were amazing throughout the week. And it paid off! I’m so excited to work as hard as I can next year to improve welfare and campaigns across our University.

What are your aims for next year policy-wise?

I have so many policy ideas for next year! A number were highlighted on my manifesto but there are plenty more where they came from. I’m excited to share these when I get into post! I would like to promise that I will do everything I can to not only maintain the welfare and campaign provisions across the university but also work my socks off to improve the facilities. Regarding campaigns, I want to work closely alongside Student Lead Services (SLSs) to push ideas that these students believe to be important. That way, the student experience can still be at the heart of what I’m doing throughout the year to improve welfare.

Do you plan to continue any policies implemented this year?

There have been a number of policies implemented this year that I will carry on, and some that are still in the works. I’m really looking forward to having a chat with the current VP Welfare James to discuss what we can push forward!

What would you like to say to those students who voted for you?

The biggest thank you I can. Again I was so shocked with the result. I’m so grateful that my manifesto and campaign spread to that many students, that actually gave up their time to vote for me. I’m so appreciative that I’ve been given the opportunity to pursue something I’m so passionate about, and I will do my best to do everyone proud. Even if people don’t directly follow the process made this year, I want to be able to end the year having made a significant difference that people can really notice.


VP Postgraduate Students, Jane Chukwu

How do you feel to have been elected as the next VP Heath Park Campus?

(smiles) It is a good feeling. Really. It is pretty satisfying knowing that despite all odds, they were people who connected with me; people who wanted me to be here as much as I wanted to be here. It is almost validating. Like, nothing else matters. It would not have been if it were not to be, you know.

What are your aims for next year policy-wise?

Before the official handing over in June, I hope to have a one-on-one meeting with the three other contestants. That is Janet Williams, Noah Akhimien, and Abbie Fridlington. I believe there’s a lot to learn from every candidate who didn’t win the election. Much to understand behind the passion and stories that birthed their manifestos. I want to key into that and see how all three can blend into mine, based on priorities and feasibility. They were all made for the common good of the students and institution at the end of the day.

Do you plan to continue any policies implemented this year?

I haven’t been made aware of all the policies implemented this year, so I can’t give a definite answer to this question. But, one thing I do know is that if a system is a functional and good one, it is practical and useful and should be kept that way OR reevaluated and improved. It’s pretty straight forward. Consistency and sustainability are fundamental keys to maintaining high performances in any organization. Otherwise, every year, there would be a system overhaul and baby projects by newly elected Officers and little or no progress.

What would you like to say to those students who voted for you?

Thank you for casting your vote, for believing in me, and for voting for that belief. It’s a privilege for me that you shared your time for my cause, and that’s the most significant gift any human can ever give to another – Time. For that, I am grateful. I do wish I can know you by name or meet up, but I can’t because I am just one person. However, I hope that you would say Hi or Smile when you see me. I am always in the mood for a chat even when it looks like I am not.


VP Education, Hannah Doe

How do you feel to have been elected as VP Education?

It has not quite sunk in yet. The weekend was overwhelming yet amazing, and now I am home for a little while, back to studying and the usual routine. Occasionally I am reminded of the fact that I am the next VP Education and I cannot quite believe it. I am so excited for what is to come and starting in the role. 

What are your aims for next year policy-wise?

My biggest focus is going to be working on action from the University regarding strikes. The strikes have been directly affecting us all, however, all the time our lecturers face a large workload, poor pensions and pay. This will always have an impact on us. Additionally, I am looking forward to working on making sure our lectures are to the high standard they should be, making sure there are trained tutors supporting us academically and personally, and so much more.

Do you plan to continue any policies implemented this year?

I plan to continue on as many of the current policies as possible. It is important to me to continue to improve the SU sustainability. Additionally, I want to continue work that is also being done on the personal tutor/supervisor system, make sure we have quality assessment feedback, provide free sanitary products across campus and review student accommodation. This is all very important to me and I would love to continue the hard work that has already been put into them. My goal is to do everything I can to make big impacts and change.

What would you like to say to those students who voted for you?

A massive thank you, I still cannot believe over 1700 students voted for me. I want everyone to know that I am taking this very seriously and want you to trust that I will do my absolute best to get what I said I would do, done.


VP Societies and Volunteering, Luke Evans

How do you feel to have been elected as VP Societies and Volunteering?

I feel ecstatic, humbled and so privileged to have been elected; and really excited to get stuck into the role. I’m very eager to get started – although for now, the focus is on actually graduating! I’m so looking forward to representing all students, societies and volunteering activities/groups!  

What are your aims for next year policy-wise?

The biggest point for me, as was focal on my manifesto, is the personal connection with the societies. I want to make sure that I am reachable and seen as someone who can be easily approached. I’ll be working closely on the ground with societies and volunteering groups to make sure that everything done is tailored to their expectations; and that their voice is not only being heard, but also acted upon. I’ll also be working to implement my manifesto which covers areas such as: fairer venue access, streamlined resources and the tiering system (and more).

Do you plan to continue any policies implemented this year?

I think Orla has done a fantastic job this year in championing societies and volunteering, and there are many things that I think work really well. For example, I really like the implementation of wellbeing officers into the society tiering structure and am a firm believer of not changing things for the sake of change. That said, where improvements can be made, I’ll be closely working with students to further enhance their experience.

What would you like to say to those students who voted for you?

As mentioned earlier, I’m really humbled, and I completely appreciate this incredible opportunity to make a difference. I thank you all for your vote of confidence; It was a truly warming experience to be able to talk to so many students during election week and I look forward to representing you in the next academic year!


VP Heath Park Campus, Sebastian Ripley

How do you feel to have been elected as the next VP Heath Park Campus?

I am excited and honoured to have the opportunity to work for the Union. Although a cliché, it still hasn’t sunk in really. I am really enjoying my course but can’t wait to get stuck into a full year of helping the students at the Heath Park Campus!

What are your aims for next year policy-wise?

I have tried to design policies to tackle the issues that Heath students face, as well as improving the student experience. Through research and my own experiences, the main problems we face are to do with welfare, placement expenses/ support and SU presence around campus. I believe my policies tackle these issues on several levels, as the solution is not a quick fix.

I want students to know exactly who they can turn to when they have a problem. Similarly, whoever they turn to must be able to listen, answer their questions and direct them to the best solution. 

Do you plan to continue any policies implemented this year?

I currently volunteer for Shekina, and wholeheartedly believe in her policies and work ethic. In terms of continuing her policies, I hope to complete projects she is unable to before the end of her term, while implementing my own. I feel that having worked with her this year, it puts me in good stead to seamlessly continue her good work.

What would you like to say to those students who voted for you?

Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for me. I am so grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to start. Secondly, I must thank everyone who campaigned for me in Cardiff while I was away on placement. Particularly my housemates, course mates and Cardiff Medicals RFC. I would not have this fantastic opportunity if I wasn’t for both my voters and my campaign team. 

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