By Charlotte King
And just like that, Cardiff University Students’ Union Spring Elections 2020 have come to a close. From March 2 to March 6, students had the opportunity to vote for new officers for an array of positions, from VP Welfare and Campaigns to Women’s Officer, and from International Students’ Officer to Students’ Union President, a whole array of positions are up for grabs every year.
This year, Tomos Evans, current VP Education, was elected to become the next SU President with a grand total of 1671 votes.
For the current academic year, as VP Education in the Students’ Union, Evans has been “[representing] all students on academic interests” through working with the Union itself and lobbying and negotiating with Cardiff University to make changes which will benefit students.
Throughout the past year, objectives completed by Evans as VP Education include: providing kettles and microwaves in library buildings, providing a bus to drive University Halls students to and from exams, and improving the Arts and Social Studies Library (ASSL).
As part of improving the ASSL, Evans has increased the number of water fountains, introduced a hot water point, provided blankets and provided charging ports.
Other projects which are still in progress are improving international student support, improving lecture and study spaces, improving the Students’ Union’s sustainability, and he is also working on ensuring student voices are heard with regards to the University’s decision to merge the Science, Music and Aberonway libraries into study spaces.
In this year’s Students’ Union Elections, Tomos Evans was up against a number of nominees. Orla Tarn, current VP Societies and Volunteering, Jacob Turnbull, and George Moore. Tarn came in second in the Elections, Turnbull third and Moore fourth.
In Evans’ ‘menufesto’, he made a wide array of promises to students as the next SU President. For example, he has pledged to provide free transport across all campuses, offer further support for international students, reduce waiting times for counselling, prioritise sustainability and hold lettings agents to account.
He also pledged to increase Welsh-language representation, create food bank donation points in libraries across campus, provide better support for joint honours students, allow study rooms to be booked in the Students’ Union, formalise postgraduate research contracts, and organise a winter graduation ceremony.
Last week, Gair Rhydd spoke to Tomos Evans about becoming the next Students’ Union President.
How do you feel to have been elected as the next Students’ Union President?
Honestly, I think I’m still in shock! It was such a tough week of campaigning for everyone involved and just to have gotten through it, I feel very relieved. But the overall feeling is of absolute excitement. I have the opportunity to do something that I love for another year and I’m just so excited for what’s to come!
What are your aims for next year policy-wise?
I think in general I want to make sure that every student feels included, supported and heard. In terms of actual policy though a few of my priorities include student safety and transport across campus, making sure that people can have a fantastic night out and get home safe and then get into their 9am without having to sprint through town for example. Another area of focus would be as a world-leading research institution I want to make sure that we are making sustainability a priority not just for our university and campus but also for the wider world. I also think it’s incredibly important that we support students who require mental health support and that there is enough funding and resources to ensure that they actually get the support that they need. Those are just a few of my top priorities but the rest can be found the SU website.
Do you plan to continue any policies implemented this year?
Absolutely! One of the reasons that I ran for President was because I felt that one year wasn’t enough time to do all the things I wanted to do. One of these is making sure that international students are supported entirely. Making sure that from day one of them arriving they feel that they are part of the Cardiff community and not just a visitor. So this year I’ve been working very closely with the university to improve the provisions on offer within the crucial first few weeks where being away from home and in a completely different environment can be so difficult. And I hope to improve on this further next year. Another would be the quality of assessments and also the quantity of assessments, making sure that the university isn’t having assessing purely because it has to but using assessments to further our learning as well. This has been a long journey and there is some really great work being done in partnership with the university on this so I’m super excited to be able to carry on working on it!
What would you like to say to those students who voted for you?
The only thing I can say is thank you! Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for your words of encouragement throughout the year as well as on the campaign trail. And thank you for the opportunity to represent you again this coming year, I am so grateful. My door will always be open so please come and ask me questions, give me feedback or just come for a chat. Thanks.
Tomos Evans will assume the role at the end of the academic year.