Label interviewed Gemma Lomas to find out why she is running for VP Welfare and Diversity.
Why are you running for this position?
I’ve always been massively involved in the welfare of minority and majority student groups at Loughborough and it just makes sense for me to do this position. In all honesty I‘ve watched Georgie in my first year, and Izzy develop on the fantastic foundation we have got now for Welfare and Diversity, being part of that would just be an absolutely amazing experience.
What makes you more suited than other candidates?
I think, being a part time member of exec this year being Global Development Officer has meant that I’ve now become aware of the processes of Exec; I’ve got quite a solid understanding of how things run, and almost shadowing Izzy for the past 6 months by being in the office with her I’ve really just engaged with events and activities she runs. I think that having that insight and also my experience on the Welfare and Diversity committee, and my experience in a hall committee really creates a solid foundation for which I can take into the role.
Can you tell us about your campaign theme?
It’s ‘Gemma Little Miss Lomas’, I’m going for a little miss sunshine approach and its basically surrounding positivity and the diversity of the little miss and men characters and I’ll engage with the overall really happy, smiley, positive campaign. It’s bright yellow!
What would you say is the most important aspect of your manifesto?
In all honesty, I don’t think that you can say that there is one specific aspect which is the most important in all of my manifesto. I’ve broken it down into three key areas, focusing on welfare and diversity on an individual level; on a Union level; and then on a national level as a Students’ Union. I think that it’s almost like a puzzle, each section of my manifesto compliments one another, but obviously you have to start from the bottom up, beginning with focusing on individual volunteers, and individual students that aren’t involved with the section is probably the starting point of the creation.
In one sentence why should people vote for you?
I have a passion for the welfare of all students at this university, I have a passion for diversifying the students experience. I absolutely loved my Loughborough experience and I want to make sure that everyone coming to this university, everybody that is at this university and everybody that has been at this university has the best experience possible for themselves.
What are you most looking forward to about campaigning?
I’m looking forward to door knocking, and I know that’s probably going to be the most arduous part of it all but honestly I love meeting new people, and chatting. Being dressed as little miss Lomas is probably going to be a fantastic conversation starter.
What are you least looking forward to?
Hmm…after doing freshers this year and being on Exec for this year I feel like I’m almost prepped a little bit for the early mornings, walking around and chatting to people, so I actually think the thing I’ll be least looking forward to is the fact that I have 20 days after this to get my dissertation done!
What do you think will be the most challenging part?
I think the most challenging part for me as an individual is going to be to do with the schedule, so I would like things to be perfectly timed and perfectly executed but things sometimes don’t go to plan so I think that the challenge for me is going to be accepting that it wont go perfectly, but as long as I do my best and roll with whatever comes at me then that’s all that I can do.
What part of campaigning are you going to focus on most?
I think that that’s a difficult question because you can engage with the students in different ways, because each student individually is going to have a different reaction to the elections, so I would say predominantly door knocking, but I realize and I’m well aware that I’m probably not going to see every single face that I would like to see so alongside this its definitely going to be social media presence.
What have you spent your budget on?
OK so I haven’t spent ridiculous amounts of money on anything because I think I’ve been quite strategic about it all but if I’m honest with you I’ve spent most of the budget on sweeties, I think its necessary!
What made you want to run for this position?
I have seen this position in action since my first week of freshers, and it has always really really interested me. I think my experience working through the ranks of hall committee, Union Council and Student Ambassador, up to Global Development Officer which has been absolutely fantastic this year, all of those experiences and the awareness of how fantastic the Welfare and Diversity section is makes me want to be a part of developing the Loughborough experience for our students.
What did you like about the way the role has been carried out this year?
All of it! I think with Izzy having this second year within the role has helped in her solidifying connections within the University and with other unions. I think that that has really built up a fantastic foundation for her successors to come, hopefully me being one of them, but I definitely think that her social networking on social media and in person has been very effective this year and she has worked at solidifying fantastic relationships with members of staff and organisations, of which has developed the section as a whole.
What new ideas with you be bringing?
So, firstly, on an individual level I would definitely bring in a Welfare and Diversity tree, to make sure that students who have never been involved within welfare and diversity, or, students that don’t really engage with the union can know on a basic level what all the roles are in a section. Who they need to speak to if they have new ideas or just who they want to have a chat with if they want to become engaged in one way or another. So I definitely think that building from the ground up again, working on that individual level, and also secondly on a more union based level I feel that we could really improve our relationship with students in town and so I would bring the community development officer in the welfare committee and I would really work on engaging with activities in town which students take part in because even when they’re not on campus, our students are still our students, so for example bringing a night bus into nights in town such as Mansion Mondays and Thursday revs, because wherever our students are we should be.
Tell us something not many people know about you?
I actually spent a lot of my childhood living in Belgium and Germany, because of my Dad’s job we moved around a lot when I was younger, but I definitely think that that has developed me as a person. I absolutely adore Belgium, it’s home away from home.
What three characteristics do you have that make you well suited to this role?
Passionate, Motivated, Engaging.
This interview was conducted by Imogen Harry, Label Sport Editor.
To find out more about Gemma, click here.