Now, more than ever, we need a President who can hit the ground running on day one. Student’s rights, livelihoods and futures depend upon having a President who is unafraid to speak truth to power. I’m Ellen MacRae (pronouns she/her), a biomedical sciences student and your current Students’ Association President. This year I have fought and won: rent pauses for students not in their Halls; increased funding for students facing financial hardship and got provisions to our community in Edinburgh over the winter break. I want to keep this momentum going by supporting, connecting & protecting you.
I want to make sure we’re supported in returning to a University that’s a fairer place. This means making sure that COVID-19 is factored into all degree classifications, giving you the adjustments you deserve. It means creating proactive mental health and wellbeing outreach services, ensuring someone is there for you especially over summer and winter breaks. With the pandemic escalating inequalities suffered by marginalised communities, it means cementing liberation groups at the heart of University decision making.
For over a year we’ve been in forms of isolation together, doing our best to work from our bedrooms across the world. We need to come back into a real, connected community in Edinburgh together. We need to bring back the KB Bus, and radically improve the accessibility of travel funding support for students at Easter Bush, BioQuarter and across the City. This year I secured us 25% off of tickets on Lothian buses, but we need to do more.
This year has also reminded governments and the University of the power and importance of our student voice. I am proud of the significant change I have made through the powerful lobbying of the most senior decision-makers across and out with the University. I want to secure this long into the future by creating an Action Plan to keep our voice at its loudest and most impactful, leading in tackling the climate emergency and social injustices found in Edinburgh and beyond. I want to empower every student to fight their corner by creating an Activism Toolkit so you can engage safely, effectively, and with full awareness of the law.
Above all else, we need someone who will protect our health, our rights and our financial security. I’ve battled with lockdown landlords; living with big holes in my flat’s roof during Edinburgh storms was a highlight. We need to finally put an end to students being exploited as private tenants. I will bring together students and the Council to make our City a fairer community for all of us that live here. To really make lasting, systemic change in our University and nationally, I will harness the full potential of being a Russell Group member by creating a union of Russell Group student leaders.
In my time as President this year, I have met with, heard, and learned from so many students. I have made a real change by speaking fearlessly, consistently, and directly to the most senior decision-makers in government and the University. We have been on a seemingly impossible journey together, but making sure you are heard and decisions are made in your best interests keeps me persevering towards the University and world we all deserve. A fairer, kinder, safer place where you are supported, protected, and connected.
My experience and track-record of amplifying marginalised voices, fearlessly challenging the University, and making real change happen make me the right person, in the right place, at the right time. I will continue to be an accessible leader who listens, who fights, and who you can be proud of.
Let’s keep working through the challenges of today, for the brighter future we deserve tomorrow.
Voting opens March 8th – 11th on MyEd. Find me @Ellen4EUSAPres on all social media if you want to hear more about my campaign and see my manifesto @ https://www.eusa.ed.ac.uk/elections/manifesto/3416/
Image: via Ellen MacRae