Label interviewed Till Sieberth to hear about why he wants to be Loughborough’s next Union President. He explains what makes him suited to the role and why we should be voting for him.
Firstly, why are you running for the position of Union President?
It’s a difficult question at first, because there are so many points to think about and say now…First of all, I have been a student here now for three years and I have seen what the Union can do and is doing. I’m personally a PhD student, so I’ve not seen that much of the union, which is a little bit sad, and that’s why I decided to improve the whole situation for PhD students but also for undergraduates, I decided to run for Union President.
What do you think makes you a more suitable candidate than others who might be running?
As a PhD student, I’ve been at a university for a long time and know how universities work. As an international student, I have seen more than just one university, so I have experience from multiple universities as well. Another thing that might come in really handy is that I’ve been in the role of an executive committee before, I’ve worked for ARGEOS, association for German speaking students of GIS and Surveying, which represented students of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and The Netherlands, in front on companies, other universities, organisations and things like that so I know how to represent students as well. As a PhD student, I basically know the university from very different points of view as well, I have been here as a student, sitting in lectures, but I have also, on the other side, being giving lectures, so I know how it is on both sides and how both positions feel.
My name is Till, which gives a lot of opportunities for interesting topics like a till in supermarkets, but I decided against that because it would have been a little bit too cliche. I got an email from someone who I don’t know , and she addressed me: “Dear Tilly”, which was basically the beginning of TillyTubby, which is my topic now. Also, TillTubby has a point which is really diverse, I am on the one hand a serious person, running a serious campaign for a serious position, and on the other hand I am kind of a funny person running around in a teletubby costume which shows diversity between being an old PhD, as some people might say, and the young people.
What’s the most important thing in your manifesto?
The most important thing that I can bring in is my experience. Then the things that I want to change or aim to improve at the union. I have two major points; one is the involvement of Postgraduate students- I honestly think that everybody could profit from that, undergraduates would have it easy to find someone who could maybe help them with coursework, somebody who is experienced might help them with important decisions. I have a lot of friends who are final year students who are thinking about doing a PhD and they don’t know anyone they can ask for advice. There are basically no PhD students in the union building, so it difficult to ask somebody. Postgraduates would profit from it by using all the offers that the union already has, there can be problems with course supervisors for instance, the union already has something to offer here with Student Voice, to support in this case. PhD students need people to support their projects, like filling in questionnaires or going on field work, with undergraduates in the same building, it may be easier to find somebody who can support that. The other big point is finances, mostly the union is financed by Loughborough students, Loughborough University and LSU Nights, and this money is coming out of the pockets of every student. Different sections of the union produce a lot of output which is given away for free, it shouldn’t be that way. I would ask each section head basically to provide some ideas on how they could finance themselves. This could reduce the financial weight on students or at least stop increasing the prices around the union.
In one sentence can you tell us why people should vote for you?
Vote for me because I am the most experienced you can get for this position.
What is it that you’re most looking forward to about campaign week?
During campaign week, I have a campaign ban during the daytime. As a PhD student I have the disadvantage that I am sometimes teaching and I got a personal ban, not on my campaign team. I look forward to the nights out where I can talk to the students.
What are you least looking forward to?
Nothing except the ban. I seen how elections work, I have seen the Bubble Debate. The other weird thing is media week, where you are forced to talk to people straight in the face without really talking with them, it’s a bit uncomfortable I think. I like to interact with humans not with machines.
Yes Media Week will definitely be the most challenging part.
What is the main focus of your campaign, presumably nights out?
As I can’t do much during the daytime, my campaign team will be standing on campus and handing sweets to the learning students, you all have exams and coursework so I hope a few sweets help with that. Then basically I’m looking forward to the nights out, that’s where people know me from as a photographer.
What is it that you’ve spent your budget on so far?
Sweets! Some on my costume.
Out of all positions available on Exec, why this one?
I have been here in England for three years and I understand how the university works. I have never been involved with the College, so I have no idea what is going on there. It would be the wrong decision to run for anything else at the moment.
What is it that you like the most about the way that the role has been run this year?
I’ve seen Rob quite often this year at different events. I know he had a lot of work to do with Elections, BUCS Big Wednesday and other big events. The change of the Union building, Loughborough in London. He had a load of things to do and I think he did it really well, I hope that I can follow that up in a proper way and go forward from what he may be giving me as well as bringing my own ideas.
What new ideas do you want to bring?
The postgraduate involvement is one of the main points as well as the financial points that I mentioned. With money you could do a lot of other projects which would be really nice. I hope that students get in contact with the section heads or those already elected. I would be happy to hear back from the students themselves. Another thing that I would like to do is make the democracy more democratic. For example with the University logo which was changed- I think it makes sense for big decisions to be brought out to the students as well.
Tell us something that not many people might know about you.
I’m quite an honest and straightforward person, I don’t have anything to hide! You might know that I am a German, otherwise I think there is nothing special!
Finally, can you give us three characteristics that would make you suited to the role?
Honest. Straightforward. Experienced.
Interview conducted Sunday May 3rd by Katie Wilson.