Student Officer Elections- Meet the Candidates: Beth Meadows
Beth is an active volunteer in various charities and change groups and Co-President of the Guild’s largest society, Help the Homeless. She claims that the ‘core’ of her manifesto is social justice, displayed in policies such as making student landlords more accountable and tackling sexual discrimination via workshops. Other proposals include improving international and home student integration and getting rid of paper submission for essays.
How would you change the Guild, if elected?
Well, one of the policies I’ve got is to do with sustainability. It’s about food composting so students will have the opportunity to get their food waste and take it to the Guild and get it composted. I think the Guild is absolutely brilliant, but that’s something we could work on. I know that it’s been implemented for first years but second and third years need the opportunity as well. Another one of my policies that directly relates to the Guild is this international buddy system which could also be available to vulnerable students as well- just to increase their social networks. Volunteers who are willing to show international or vulnerable students around the city, increase their social networks, invite them to social occasions – just to increase community cohesion really. I think that obviously the Guild will be a space where we would make that happen, but I must say that the Guild is so well run and the student officers do a great job. I think that if anything it can be built upon to be made better rather than change anything so drastically.
What’s your favourite Guild campaign of the past?
Ooohh- well, I might be a bit biased but I did vote for Sean (Turner) last year. I did like the whole Turneround thing – nice play on words with his last name and his video was quite funny so I’ll probably say that one.
What was your least favourite Guild campaign?
To be honest I wouldn’t say that I know all the previous candidates well enough to comment on that. For example, first two years I voted for Harry – just because it was the name that I’d seen the most and once I started running the Help the Homeless society, I got a good relationship with him and that’s why I voted for him again. But, I mean I think the campaigns that maybe don’t do as well is just when the effort is not there really – where the manifesto is quite weak, where there’s nothing or vague policies, perhaps not diverse enough. It’s good to have a wide range of policies that affect different people and different groups. So yeah, I would say one if I could think of one, but I don’t think there is a direct one where I thought ‘that’s really bad’.
What has your university experience been like?
Absolutely amazing I would say! I mean, the Guild itself I absolutely love through my work for Help the Homeless society. The guild have been amazing in providing free space to hold events and that’s absolutely brilliant. The university itself, however, of course there are some issues- one of my manifesto policies is about doing away with paper copies of essays and assignments – that’s an obvious and natural step. I also think it’s ridiculous that we have to pay for printing credits. I think that certainly needs to be addressed. Various things that are too expensive at university; in particular, my main manifesto policy is about landlords. That is not necessarily the university’s fault but I do think they could be more accountable in holding landlords to account really, and have a better relationship with blacklisting different kinds of housing agencies or landlords themselves. I think the university and the Guild actually does need to take responsibility for that. Not to really attack them so much, it’s more the landlords and housing agency’s fault but I think we have to – now’s the time- enough is enough – we need to have a collective responsibility where we address this issue of housing because I would say out of all my university experiences, that’s probably the worst part- being continuously screwed over by landlords. It’s just draining and it doesn’t need to happen I don’t believe so yeah I’d probably say that was my experience.
What’s more important to you, facts or feelings?
Oohhh- interesting question! Facts or feelings: I’m going to go with both if I can. Obviously, facts are really important in order to come to reasonable decisions and to be fair. Sometimes I think in particular most of the candidates, we’ve already had some kind of involvement with the Guild so feelings could sometimes make us not as impartial as we should be so I think it’s about striking a balance. Ultimately, feelings are very important as well because they govern your behaviour and they should do, we should listen to feelings. I am a big believer of going with your heart or your head most of the time so I would say striking a balance would be the best option.
Sum up your campaign in three words.
Three words! Let’s think – I might just go with my tagline if that’s okay. Simply the Beth.