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YUSU Elections 2017: Alex Urquhart (President)

Image: the University of York Students' Union
Image: the University of York Students' Union
Image: the University of York Students’ Union

Third Year TFTV student Alex Urquhart hopes to be elected to the Presidency of YUSU.

What inspired you to run for the position?

In my time at York, I’ve realised the importance your community has on the student experience. Whether that community is your niche society, sports club, college or campus, they seriously affect how you feel and what you get out of uni. Each community has its own priorities, I see it as YUSU’s responsibility to understand these priorities and act accordingly. My manifesto is built on feedback from students, from all over the university, and is the first step in supporting York’s communities.

What makes you different from the other candidates?

I have broad experience in student leadership. Chairing Derwent tested how I represent a large, active, critical and engaged community; being heavily involved in events taught me how to get students excited and engaged with University events; and my degree (Theatre) practically tests my problem-solving, team work and creativity every day, and every day I will bring those skills to YUSU.

How would your policies change student life at York?

My manifesto is effectively a checklist of action points, specifically outlining not just what I’d like to achieve, but also how I plan on achieving it. It’s main aim is to enable communities to run as best they can, and that involves providing structure to some and freedom to others. Hes East, for example, is a community that I feel is somewhat isolated and is currently a little neglected by the Student’s Union. I have a whole section in my manifesto dedicated to this community, including establishing a Hes East Council, dedicated to the events and well-being of Hes East students

What challenges do you expect to face in this position and how will you respond to them?

This most difficult challenges will revolve around representing a diverse community of students. My approach to representing students has two main tiers. First is ownership, communities that struggle to feel represented need a platform in order to at least be heard by the people that can make a difference, e.g the Sabbs. Consequently, they need to have the second tier: access. Students need to have easy access to the president in order to be heard. To facilitate this access I have included presidential drop-ins to Hes East and a promise to regularly attend socials of societies and sports clubs, to speak to students and understand their York.

What has been your most enjoyable experience at university?

Chairing Derwent was a brilliant experience. I saw the difference that a little bit of effort and passion can make for students, and it’s urged me to take that energy forward onto bigger things!

What are the greatest challenges that students in the UK face?

I think it’s organisation. Students are the most energetic, opinionated and motivated political power in the country, yet we rarely organise ourselves well enough to make genuine, tangible change. If we were channelled more effectively we would be the loudest voice at the table, in the current climate, however, we are somewhat muffled.

As told to Jack Harvey