Meet the Candidates: Union Development Officer -Madeleine Fox

Madeleine Fox is running in the 2020 SU elections for the role of Union Development officer. Impact’s News Editor Lauren McGaun caught up with her and asked why she thinks she would make a good candidate for the position.

What do you think makes you a good candidate for the role?

I think there’s three main things – my leadership experience, my passion and my law degree.

I have been president of Nottingham Marrow for the last year. I’ve learnt not only to be able to lead a team effectively, but also work within the core values of an institution, just like with the SU. It also helps with understanding of how to work within a team, delegate certain duties and step back to allow team members to work within their remits.

In terms of my passion for this role, I have been personally impacted by some of the SU’s actions; not just the large ones plastered across the Tab. And I have been affected by my 3 core manifesto points. And boy have I debated them!

Adding to this my law degree has allowed me to learn some invaluable skills, such as time management, great connections and confidence.

Why did you want to run for the role of Union Development officer, and what is your main aim for the Students’ Union going forward?

I went for the specific role of union development officer because of its fundamental nature. It links to the institutional core of Students’ Union which needs strengthening. Attitudes towards mental health may exist among the majority of students however structural changes just reinforce these further. My main aim is to give students’ their voice back and restore trust within the SU because without these, the SU can’t achieve anything.

“I have been affected by my 3 core manifesto points. And boy have I debated them!”

How would you ensure that Students’ Union activities remain transparent and that there is enough communication with students?

The frequent use of social media is quintessential seeing as most students use one form. This includes the less mainstream sites like WeChat because we need to reach ALL students. By having monthly round-ups of our activities and expenditure, students can fully grasp what the Officers have been doing and hold us to account. I want to promote the use of the scrutiny panel more because this is the perfect way for us to understand how the student body have reacted to our actions. We can then put polls and referenda to the students that are clear and informed which will then bind our actions. It is about not being afraid to tell the truth because we have to earn back the respect of the student body.

You plan to turn Mooch into a club on Saturdays. How would you ensure that students who choose not to drink alcohol still feel included, and that the Students’ Union does not turn into a space only for those who want to drink?

The rationale for establishing Mooch as a club is to make sure that those students that do want to drink feel safer being on a campus that they know and love. I don’t plan to encroach on the normal hours of Mooch, but rather to extend them to normal club hours, thus for all those students that don’t enjoy clubbing, Mooch is still the same. By having the club within the SU’s remit, there are better controls on what goes on inside. Before taking any steps to establish a club, I intend to set up a forum of discussion about the best plan of action.

“My main aim is to give students’ their voice back and restore trust within the SU because without these, the SU can’t achieve anything.”

How do you aim to get the funding for the changes you want to implement, such as payment for part-time officers when budgets are being cut due to coronavirus?

We need to start the process of everything being online thus cutting the SU’s printing and making the University even more sustainable. All this money can then be reallocated to the payment for PTO’s. But we can also have a massive annual fundraiser. This brings the community of the University of Nottingham together and raises money for a much-needed cause.

Also, ideas cost nothing (and neither does ZOOM now!). This period is the perfect time to get talking.

“To achieve greatness, the Officer Team must work together”

How do you aim to improve understanding of how the student union is now structured so that there is no confusion among students?

Again, this is about the use of social media. It requires each Officer to post videos about their remits and ideas and to have Question and Answer sessions for where there is any confusion. I have always found discussion pages on Moodle super useful so there is the possibility of setting one of these up. We shouldn’t focus on the changes per se because they are in the past. We need to focus on now – what the structure is at current.

What would be your main aims for the mental health committee, and would you be working closely with the Wellbeing Officer for this?

100% – to achieve greatness, the Officer Team must work together. Mental health is an issue that spans across all remits. This approach transcends into the very nature of the Mental Health Committee which will create a foundational change within the SU. The main aim for the MHC is to give passionate students a chance to voice their ideas about how to change the university’s current approach to mental health. The ideal outcome would be that no student feels alone with their issues and that they can receive the help that they really need.

Voting in the 2020 SU elections closes at 3pm on Monday 11th May.

You can read Madeleine’s Manifesto here. The link to vote in the 2020 Students’ Union Election is here.

Lauren McGaun

Featured image courtesy of Nina Sasha. 

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