On Friday 9 March, the Edinburgh University Students’ Association election results for the 2018/19 academic year were announced. Sabbatical officers along with liberation officers, section representatives, undergraduate school representatives and activities representatives, were among the new post-holders announced.
For the first time in the Students’ Association’s history, the whole sabbatical board is composed of women or non-binary officers.
The newly elected President is Eleri Connick, who held her post as Sports Union Vice President this past year. In her campaign, she argued that “EUSA needs to do more to listen to its students”.
Eleri spoke to The Student right after results were announced: “I’m so happy the weirdest week of my life has had a happy ending. It feels absolutely amazing and I’m just so thankful to everyone that helped, who danced away in what was probably the weirdest campaign video ever. Clearly Shrek and onions bring happy endings.”
Shenan Davis-Williams was elected as Vice President Activities and Services. She told The Student: “It feels absolutely amazing. My friends and family have been so great. Well done to everyone I was running against. It was a really stressful week but it’s all paid off. I can’t wait to be there for you.”
Vice President Community for the upcoming year is Georgie Harris, who told The Student: “I am super excited to start working on the amazing things in my manifesto.”
For Vice President Education Diva Mukherji was elected, who held her post as Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Officer as part of the liberation campaign this year. Diva spoke to The Student: “Obviously this is something that I’d wanted to do for two years, and I’m so happy. Shout out to the BME group. [Having been] BME officer is the reason why I’m doing this now.”
Kai O’Doherty, who was Vice President Activities and Services this past year, ran for a different position and was successfully elected as Vice President Welfare by an overwhelming majority. They spoke to The Student: “I feel incredibly excited and emotional, at having the opportunity to work again to represent students, but also to do the thing that I’m most passionate about, which is welfare. So I’m overwhelmed with joy, I would say.”
As incoming President, the focus points in Eleri’s manifesto included student cards on phones to make life more convenient, lobbying the university to provide students with reusable water bottles, a King’s Buildings’ ‘Welcome Fair’ so that King’s societies and intra-mural teams are not forgotten, more heat and eat stations across all campuses so that students can bring their own meals to university, a second wrap bar at King’s, keeping Wednesday afternoons free by making sure that no compulsory classes are held after 13:00, as well as free yoga on campuses.
Also on Eleri’s manifesto was a commitment to weekly meetings with the liberation officers to enhance their influence and campaigns on campus.
In her VP Activities and Services manifesto, Shenan wrote: “Activities are not only the number one grounds for making life-long friendships, but through events and societies, people are able to find their confidence and develop their character. Not only are activities a key element, but the services provided to us can really impact our experience as well. To most, services are viewed as simply our cafes and bars, however, this is not the case. Services extends to so much more and I think we should all have more access and awareness of this. Edinburgh is a great university, with great campuses and a great variety of activities and services, but I want to make it even greater…”
Georgie, a current fourth year reading Spanish and Politics, wrote in her manifesto that “our university community is rapidly expanding but services cannot keep up – something needs to be done.”
The main areas of her manifesto spanned housing, transport, local community, university community and sustainability. Her points on local community specifically raised better lighting and CCTV in the Meadows, as well as implementing automatic voter registration.
Whilst campaigning for VP Education, Diva’s manifesto points ranged from improving student support, accessibility to education, and inclusivity in academia, to innovating teaching and assessment.
With particular regards to inclusivity in academia, Diva raised the following points: “(a) Continue working to diversify the curriculum, and ensure that it platforms voices from underrepresented backgrounds. (b) Improve the retention of students from marginalized backgrounds. (c) Review the current unconscious bias training, and ensure that all teaching staff are versed in how to appropriately deal with situations which negatively impact students from underrepresented backgrounds. (d) Continue developing the widening participation strategy. (e) Lobby against the PREVENT agenda.”
Kai, who has served as VP Activities and Services this past year, had written in their manifesto that they would utilise their experience to further advocate for students’ welfare.
Their points highlighted included: better mental health support, zero tolerance of sexual violence & harassment, community-building support for international students, providing more hot water taps and microwaves across campus, as well as fighting for marginalised students and combating STIgma (sexually transmitted infections).
Newly elected liberation officers are as follows:
Women’s Officer: Esme Allman
Disabled Students’ Officer: Eileen Xu
LGBT+ Officer: Natasha Ion
Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Officer: Isabella Neergaard-Petersen
Section Representatives for the next academic year as follows:
International Students: Emily Robinson
Student Carers: Carol Hayward
Mature Students: Elaina Benson
New post-holders for Undergraduate School Representatives are as follows:
Biological Sciences: Julia Auer
Biomedical Sciences: Alejandro Esteves
Business: Erica Leung
Chemistry: Chen-E Low
Divinity: Euan Meston
Economics: Jenny Li
Edinburgh College of Art: Fiona Gray
Education: Bobbie Szabad
Engineering: Alice Patig
Geosciences: Shane O’Neill
Health in Social Sciences: Stephanie Vallancey Martinson
History, Classics and Archaeology: Lauren Porter
Informatics: Qais Patankar
Law: Daniel King
Literatures, Languages & Cultures: Leah Duncan-Karrim
Mathematics: Matt Hehir
Edinburgh Medical Schools: Mu’azzamah Ahmad
Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences: Laura Boxleitner
Physics and Astronomy: Netra Gourlay
Social & Political Science: Fatima Seck
Veterinary Studies: Nirvana Leaver
Activities Representatives for the 2018/19 are as follows:
Academic: Emily Payne
Advice & Community: Hannah Glover
Campaigning & Awareness: Tatsu Kato
Faith, Belief & Spiritual Development: Clare Levy
International & Multicultural: Alexander Basescu.
Image: Andrew Perry