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Chrisp Not To Be Underestimated

February 21, 2013 · Alicia Myers

Despite having been a part-time keeno whilst at university one thing that I’ve never even dared take part in is student politics.

Whilst I’ve participated in Hall General Meetings in my time as social secretary and I’ll happily get on my soapbox about a range of issues for this very newspaper, I have never run for a position as a union councillor. As someone who was involved in my school’s council process and a student who came to university with an A-grade in politics this has been a surprise to many.

My interest in politics hasn’t waned, I’m just as opinionated as ever and, after escaping a family home where the Daily Mail is our chosen read, I’ve developed some very different (and way more informed) views. I’m passionate about the student experience and regularly stay on top of the goings on at council. So why am I not a councillor?

Firstly it’s because of the way in which you run for council. When I started university I saw halls and the union as the place to get involved in all the fun and interesting stuff and my department as where I went when hungover to learn about Dickens.

I remember seeing the promo for union council and, as it was run through departments and not halls, I assumed it was entirely university focused, a place to discuss educational issues and, all in all, not relevant to me. So I carried on my merry way and instead ran for the position of social secretary on my hall committee.

In my second year, having become more aware of Council’s function, I once again decided not to run. I was coming off my position as social secretary and keen to get involved in something else. However from what I’d seen of Union Council over my first year it seemed like a body which was defined by certain very strong characters who set the agenda for council’s politics and the political direction in which it leaned and I also still saw no relevance to myself.

Now a third year I regret how badly educated I was on the function of council and wish I’d had the opportunity to join it. Issues they have discussed recently, such as the offensive clothing motion proposed by Chris Carter, are topics I feel very passionate about and I wish I could have been involved in.

Despite many election promises made by previous executives, they have failed to successfully re-brand council. Whilst I have Ali Cole to thank for my change in understanding of council in my third year, and I do believe he has made the first steps towards a re-brand, I still believe the next VP: Democracy and Communications will have their work cut out altering the perception of council as a hostile and cliquey body.

So, do I think the current candidates can achieve this?  I’m not 100% sure but one candidate in particular has certainly surprised me.

Hannah Chrisp, ex-Faraday sports sec and AU Exec (Communications and Media officer) was not an obvious candidate for this role. Running against the current Chair of Council, having had little experience with student democracy herself, I was a mixture of shocked, concerned and amused when she announced her candidacy.  Surely she stood no chance against David Haines, who I knew to be a democracy devotee and who was chair of the very body I had so many issues with?

However, since campaigning began Hannah Chrisp has surprised me even more and this time, in a good way. She took an early lead in the polls and whilst this could be the fabled ‘I’ll vote for her cos she’s fit’ formula at work I think it has a great deal more to do with Chrisp voicing the concerns of a lot of students who feel excluded from the democratic process.

Chrisp is clearly appealing to someone and after her well held together performance on The Bubble Debate, which saw her attacked by the firing squad, she communicated effectively and clearly.  Let us not forget that the role she is running for is 50% communications and not just democracy based.

Whilst I still believe Haines has the edge when it comes to knowledge on democracy and he too has the potential to be an effective VP: Democracy and Communications, it would be a mistake for him to assume that Chrisp’s lack of council involvement rules her out of the running.

Whilst many may disagree with me and still find her lack of involvement in union council a black mark against her campaign she is clearly appealing to someone out there and is certainly not a candidate to be underestimated.

Alicia Myers

Alicia Myers

Alicia is a former Features Editor of The Epinal.
Alicia Myers
Alicia Myers

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Posted by on February 21, 2013. Filed under Comment,Elections.
  • Anonymous LSAC committee member

    I was on the same Loughborough Students Athletics Club committee a few years ago when she was female captain and her communication wasn’t particularly fantastic in the role that’s for sure. Didn’t really say much, or do much in the way of organisation to be honest with you…

  • George

    I think you raise a good point saying that democracy is only 50% of the role in this position. Hannah’s background on the AU exec shows her clear capability for the communications side of the role. Also Haines maybe a clear runner for the democracy part. However, the only way for change to occur is to bring in something new and I think that electing Chrisp will be the only way that Union Council can improve, adpoting an obviously creative and modernized view to the role.

  • Ricky Bobby

    Can campaign team members please stop putting sycophantic comments on Epinal articles? They’re so boring and unproductive…

  • Tom

    Hannah has just started coaching the Touch Rugby Society and her communication is top notch. She slotted into the team instantly without ruffling any feathers and we’ve improved dramatically in just a few sessions in what can be a suprisingly technical sport. Anyone in doubt of her communication abilities is welcome to come down and see for themselves.

    • Jake Zipfel

      I’d like to second Tom’s opinion, Hannah has been a great addition to the touch rugby society, jumping into the role of coaching in a very high percentage of lads, and being the most respected on the pitch almost instantly. Great verbal communication skills shown through her coaching and the respect has been gained deservedly. Just for clarification to “Ricky Bobby” (if that is your real name) I am no part of Hannah’s campaign team at all, just voicing an opinion

  • Ricky Bobby

    Exhibit A found above.

    • Tom

      I’m not part of her team at all. Just giving praise where praise is due, not every positive comment about someone is part of an orchestrated campaign.