On 23rd February 2015, Room One saw the first of the Exec Election Bubble Debates. The evening was hosted by Nina Blissett on stage and Dave Thompson in the crowd, talking to the panel and sharing social media interactions. Nina brought us an introduction to the evening and we were also introduced to the panel; Sarah Haar- Ex- VP Action, Axelle Savary- Butler Court Hall Chair, George Hones- former Rigg Rutt Hall Chair and Hamza Modi- involved in Action, Welfare and chair of Bakewell Hall.

The VP Societies candidates were brought onto the stage alongside Sophie Farley, current VP Societies. The candidates are Jenna Holmes, Leoni Seville and Alex Williams.

The 30 second introduction from Alex Williams showed that he believes university is about experiences and union opportunities.

Jenna’s 30 seconds focussed on cross platforming by introducing media, sport and education in societies. She wants people to experience societies without commitment in a second Give it a Go week.

Leoni’s 30 seconds showed that she has been chair of societies, on societies committee and reps in halls. She wants to introduce a “Big Soc Swap” to integrate societies.

Sophie Farley asked if culture and faith should be under societies, or welfare..?Leoni Seville

Alex: it is of course a society but there is no reason why they cannot be part of both.

Jenna: As the current culture and faith rep I know that the way they function wouldn’t work the same in welfare- it would be more like an organisation and socities provides a good place for them to develop on their own.

Leoni: societies gives more opportunities and freedom and there is nothing that societies do to limit them.

Sarah Haar: LSU branding guidelines: a help or a hindrance?

Jenna: branding unites societies so that they feel part of the union- they ARE LSU. It works great as a collective.

Leoni: It can be a hindrance but if it was unbranded people might not know what was going on- in or out of union- it clarifies what things are.

Alex: branding is important in most aspects of life and business. Societies should have a brand as well, we could be as big as AU. Perhaps we should have our own kit for LSU societies.

Sarah Haar: bazaar is more difficult to house- how will you overcome this?

Leoni: we need somewhere bigger, a more open space, perhaps house it where the AU bazaar is held.

Alex; I think a second societies bazaar would be a good idea.

Jenna: we could combine AU and societies bazaars. Cross platforming with sports would show the  recreational and serious together.Alex Williams

Tweet from LSU about combining societies to which the candidates gave the following responses:

Jenna: The winter showcase does not just show performance societies. We already have that cross over and we need to build on it. there is nothing stopping us hosting a summer showcase where we could show what all sorts of cultures and societies are about.

Leoni: I want to do a ‘big soc swap’ to get all societies in one event. This give societies the chance to appreciate each other and work together as a community.

Alex: if activities are happening, letting VP Societies know would be good to push advertising to all societies and combine them.

Tweet: how would you involve post- grad students in union activities?

Leoni: marketing and advertising to post- grad halls and targeting post- grad courses.

Alex: students from all ages can get involved and we can push societies to promote themselves.

Jenna: working with the post- grad Development Officer to get the message out there for people to get involved. A Give it a Go week in semester 2 would be helpful as well as increasing our work with media.

Hamza: would you like to see society reps in halls?

Jenna: I don’t know if that would necessarily work. I want to work with hall chairs and HSF to channel it to chairs and see what they feel fit for their halls.

Leoni: They would not be the equivalent of action reps for instance- but someone to advise in the halls and do shoutouts could work.

Alex: I think it’s a good idea- it is hard to push to promote societies and it would be good to link with halls.Jenna Holmes

George Hones: what’s more important- creating new societies or maintaining current ones?

Alex: interests automatically push for societies so they need an equal focus. Be encouraging and keeping them sustained won’t be a problem.

Jenna: A balance is needed- maintaining current societies is important and section reps can provide the middle man to ensure this.

Leoni: we shouldn’t favour one over the other. It’s all about educating committees for what they have to do in terms of finance and promotion.

All three candidates responded well to questions throughout the debate. They were a section that stood out for the panel when we delved a bit deeper later on in the Bubble Debate Extra- a particular mention from George Hones for Jenna Holmes. 

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