Last night saw the 18 executive candidates go toe-to-toe for the first time in the Candidates Quiz. Also known as the EHB Hustings, the event saw candidates given two minutes to speak about what they want to achieve as a member of the Exec before competing in challenges and taking questions from the floor.

The night kicked off with the SocFed Presidential candidates with Sophie Sanders given the opportunity to speak. She claimed that she wanted to bridge the gap between societies and has experience in “every type of pie.”

Aisling ‘Ash Ketchum’ O’Donnell was innovative in her speech as she rapped about her love of SocFed and how she wants to create a better relationship between societies and the university.

Claud Williams was the final candidate to speak, sticking to his gimmick, explaining that M.I.B. did not stand for Men in Black but Marketing, Innovation and Backing.

Then it was the turn of the uncontested Rag and Action Chair candidates, Max ‘Timelord’ Turner and Billy ‘Wonka’ Marsh. Turner was up first citing his experiences such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and expressing that he wants to promote Rag campus-wide by working with media and marketing.

Marsh, like Turner, started off by citing his experiences and then declared he wanted to improve involvement.  In the challenges both guys won one each. The highlight came from David Cox as he asked, “Would you let go of 3,000 volunteers or let a baby die?” Billy responded by letting the baby die later tweeting, “I am not anti-babies; I’m just pro-volunteers.”

Head of Media candidates Natasha ‘Captain’ Cox and Francesca ‘SuperFran’ Scambler were up afterwards. Natasha listed her CV talking about how much she engages with the head of each section and how she has learned about media as a producer.

Scambler, like O’Donnell earlier, also did a rap inside her speech, encouraging people to join the section as well as citing what she wants to do with TSF and marketing. The questions and challenges were gruelling for the candidates, especially in the hilarious dancing/singing/building/tweeting challenge to represent each section.

It was then the turn of the AU Presidential Candidates Lewis ‘Pimms’ Timms and Nicola ‘Baywatch’ Keenan. Timms declares his desire to increase the publicity of IMS and continue the Olympic legacy.

Keenan also wanted to promote IMS as well as wanting to improve communications with club chairs. Dance offs and team talks aside, the most difficult question of the night came from current AU President Adam Rae who asked both candidates, “which club would you get rid of and why?” Keenan would sacrifice her own club (Lifesaving) but Timms courted controversy by claiming that karting was not really a sport and more of a hobby.

The new full-time place on the Executive was the role of VP Welfare and Diversity which is contested by current Welfare officer, Jack ‘TinTin’ Heskett as well as Georgie ‘Colourful’ Court and David ‘Pokémon’ Haines.

Heskett, who is aiming for re-election this year, kicked off with a passionate speech on his experience as an exec member and by declaring that students are under-represented.

Court expressed her awareness of disabilities and her desire to reach out to all students. Haines used silence as a part of speech to address those who feel isolated and saying that talking is vital. It was interesting to hear three completely different and unique speeches for the same position.

Since Heskett is the current Welfare Development Officer, Union President Rebecca Bridger came up with the challenges including a diversity dance and a condom wearing competition, the latter of which Court won.

VP Finance candidate Rory Mitchell was next. He wanted to introduce cashless transactions as well as installing more cash machines. Mitchell then took on Lucy Padolsey’s challenges with ease by solving a maths question in a second as well as investing five pounds by giving 25 people 20p each.

The loudest cheers of the night came as VP Education candidates Lazar ‘Laz Vegas’ Zindovic and Matt ‘Indiana’ Jones arrived on stage. Both speeches contained interactivity with Laz getting everyone to shout “My Education!” and Jones getting laughs from one-liners. Both also re-iterating what is included in their manifestos. Laz focuses on departmental feedback and break up the Student Charter meanwhile Jones is focusing on the tuition fees rise and making sure that every student gets their value for money.

Speaking of democracy, Ali Cole (a.k.a. AliSTAR), candidate of VP Democracy and Communications was on afterwards. His speech was the most interactive of the night using audience participation by asking questions to the present students.

After dealing with the serious side of elections he moved on to the challenges by selecting candidates for ‘VP Shark’. He handled all of the questions intelligently before proving his dedication to the role in the form of a lap dance for Pete Childs.

Union Presidential candidates Ellie ‘iBelieve’ Read and Ali ‘Baba’ Shahid concluded the Candidates Quiz. Read starts off jokey citing Essex and Obama but then moved on to her manifesto by listening to the opinions of students and maintaining relationships with the new vice-chancellor.

Ali Shahid, who got out of hospital early the same day, wanted to improve student feedback systems at the university as well as lowering the cost of halls.

The Presidential candidates then showed their personalities by playing Snog, Marry or Avoid, human pyramids and how many people can they balance on their chairs, which Ellie won, as well as doing an ‘interpretive’ dance of each section which Ali got the crowd in stitches.

Needless to say the night was certainly entertaining and attendance was good overall even though some of the people left half way through.

This year’s executive elections look tighter than ever before.


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