Alice Priestley chatted to various students around campus to find out how people perceive the elections on behalf of Label Features…
One of the most important roles running Loughborough University is its executive team. Not only do they provide excellent opportunities and activities, they also ensure support is given to students all the way. I’ve asked a few current students over a range of courses to see what they think of one of the most significant events in the university’s academic calendar.
The major reaction recorded, however, may not be how you expected it to be.
Greg Brady, a second year Business student claims that the elections are ‘more of a popularity contest’ rather than who is ‘best for the role’. Nevertheless, Brady continues if students ‘didn’t get to vote’ he would be more likely to be ‘more disinterested’. Despite this, he thinks they’re ‘fun’ and their characters ‘contribute a lot to the uni’s atmosphere’. Maddie Parish, a second year English student feels that she isn’t fully aware of their actual roles. Parish believes there is ‘a lot of build up to it’ and ‘especially on campus’, yet some students aren’t generally familiar with their roles involved in the Students’ Union. This suggests that students living in town don’t get the same experience as those living on campus – the apparent lack of energy and atmosphere which is central to the uni itself isn’t shared with town students. A good point from Parish is that there could be a more ‘obvious outline of what each role is’ – though the titles illustrate their roles, it doesn’t necessarily articulate in detail what they will do.
Megan Bland, a second year Psychology student feels the ‘one thing [she]knows them for is [2013’s viral] exec video’. Stuart Goldsmith, an IT student furthermore claims ‘students in town hear nothing about the candidates or their position’, and continues that ‘the person who wins do[esn’t] necessarily have the best credentials’.
Matt Tee, who is currently studying Aeronautical Engineering feels ‘considering the high profile election campaigns, they seem very separated from student life’. Tee continues with ideas such as ‘video-cast updates or a live online q&a session’ could make them seem ‘more representative and accessible’. By providing more opportunities for the students not currently on campus, Tee’s ideas could improve students’ level of participation. Though the Bubble Debate, amongst many other things on LSU Media’s website, is a fantastic event designed to have any questions answered. On the other hand, airing an online ‘Skype’ like session could include people who want to get involved but can’t physically be on campus (students studying abroad, on placement etc.)
The general reaction received was that students weren’t entirely aware, and were a bit bewildered by the whole process. Judging from these statements, maybe this suggests that Exec Elections are not being as widely received as desired, though his could be down to a number of factors. Not every student will make the effort to get to know their campaigners, such as viewing manifestos or asking relevant questions.
Personally, the attitude to have is to do your own research, and in your own time. Though it can be overwhelming during campaign week, lots of unfamiliar faces crashing your lectures and bombarding you with sweets, just have in mind that the purpose is to essentially improve your uni experience as a whole! Brady rightly says that ‘we all remember aceman’ and that ‘the costumes, the pranks’ sees Loughborough’s ‘character at its best’. Finally, Katie Caspar an International Business 2nd year believes the exec are ‘very important and add a lot of value to the union’. The fact they have ‘been through the whole Loughborough experience’ means they already know specific areas that need improvement, and how to achieve their goals.
It appears as though not everyone enjoys the whole hype surrounding elections but that the real reason for them is in everyone’s interest, whether you’re on campus or living in town.