Meet The Candidates 2021: George Sullivan For Union Development Officer

Aidan Hall

George Sullivan is running in the 2021 SU elections for the role of Union Development Officer. Impacts Aidan Hall caught up with him to ask him a few questions. 

What do you think makes you a good fit for this role? 

Firstly my work with Undoing borders, Acorn Nottingham and other groups has given me a great insight into how to effectively organise time sensitive campaigns that achieve concrete goals. So I will get results rather than just a lot of nice words.

I’ve seen this year we most desperately need change 

Through campaigning in these capacities as well as at the general election I’ve come into contact with quite a few councillors and other prominent Nottingham residents who could provide invaluable help in realising some of my policies, i.e. improving safety on roads and paths in Lenton.

Closer to home I have also got to know a lot of University workers whilst picketing alongside them during the UCU strikes. I believe these contacts will also be useful in improving student’s experiences at UoN.

Why did you run for the role of Union Development Officer? 

I suppose I ran for the role of Union Development specifically because it mostly concerns itself with the provision of union services and representation of students at the SU and from what I’ve seen this year we most desperately need change in both of these areas. In terms of services I want to fight for more funding for mental health and academic support as well as bring in the no detriment policy.

In terms of representation we need formal means to hold the University’s Executive Board to account. Hopefully I can achieve this through implementing a petition policy as well as increasing the frequency of VC Town Halls.  

I could go on about the university’s poor behaviour… but there is a word count

A key part of your manifesto is the accountability of those with power at the university, why do you think this is a particular issue at the moment and what is the first thing you will do as UD Officer to address it? 

From the start of this year, when students were promised a blended learning experience and encouraged to come and live in Notts to attend in person teaching, the university has been misleading students. Whilst I have no doubt that these were completely unprecedented events and we were unlikely to have the best year of our lives, all students wanted and the least they deserved was the truth and clear personal communication from those deciding their academic fates. This was sadly not the case.

It took until only the other month before the Vice Chancellor met with students in a virtual town hall.

Needless to say I could go on about the university’s poor behaviour this year but there is a word count.

Lots of students really miss the in-person university community and you’ve made its restoration a manifesto pledge of yours. How will you go about rebuilding this community if you are elected? 

When I came to Notts, way back in 2018, I was a little overwhelmed. Having lived in a village up until that point I barely knew where to start which is why I want to create a single document “Welcome to Nottingham” to be put together by every part of the SU and pushed by every department so we don’t overload but equally fully inform new students with all the info they need to get going at Nottingham.

I also want to work with NTU to get Nottingham and its Universities back to life as soon as possible. I can’t wait for things to reopen but we must do so safely to ensure it stays that way, therefore we must put in place structures to ensure everyone enjoys a return to society as safely as possible best done through collaboration.

COVID permitting, Ocean or Rock City? 

Rock city, every time.

Voting for the 2021 SU elections closes at Friday at 3pm.  You can read George Sullivan’s manifesto here. The link to vote for is here. 

Aidan Hall

Featured image courtesy of Chiara Crompton. No changes were made to this image. 

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