In the blur that was Thursday February 28, the day after the night before for many, and among the facebook status’ of thanks and relief from many exec elections candidates, one thing stood out. And that was Ali Cole’s very frank, open and honest blog on his Elections highs and lows.
Cole starts with his disappointment at the lack of candidates, just 17 for the ten full time positions available next year and four uncontested positions. Just 17 of the 16,000 students at Loughborough agreed that the Executive offered them the ultimate grad job.
By contrast, York SU also got 18 candidates for their elections, but they only have five full time positions: President, Academic Officer (Education), Student Activities (SocFed, Action and Rag), Welfare and Sport President.
Sheffield has eight full time positions, not dissimilar to Loughborough, and had a massive 31 candidates. Nine of those were going for a single position.
You could use this information, which I accept comes from a very small sample, to argue numerous points. LSU Executive team is too big. More needs to be done to encourage students to run etc.
Loughborough’s VP Democracy Ali Cole was spot on in his decision to reduce the budget and time period of the elections and will be relieved to see vote numbers remain stable. Perhaps, contrary to popular opinion and as Cole states in his blog, these were not the “main barriers” preventing people running.
So what were? Lack of understanding of the roles, lack of interest in the Union, better opportunities elsewhere…?
I am not in a position to comment on the success or failure of media week. However, I’d propose a rename to LS Media week if The Epinal continues to not receive an invitation. Surely it cannot do any harm to give candidates a chance to speak to all parts of Loughborough media, print and broadcast, it gives them more chance to get across their manifestos and the press to praise the good and criticise the bad. I do fear however that, unmonitored, media week could create a spoon-feeding culture which LS Media must remain above requiring.
Whilst we’re on media, can LSUTV continue to broadcast three live shows in less than ten days? The commitment of the volunteers will never be in doubt and The Bubble Debate has the potential to become a shining light in the elections process; however is too much being asked of this dedicated team? Granted a media week has given them more time, but I’m not convinced this is enough, especially at a time so close to the National Student Television Awards entry deadline?
I don’t think the introduction of a media week, and The Epinal’s comprehensive coverage, has done any harm to voting numbers. Despite a decrease in student numbers, votes by university students were actually up by 69 votes. A 221 vote fall from college students is cause for concern and while I back Cole’s decision not to give out free Mars bars, an alternative marketing strategy in the college should have been implemented.
Overall, I think the elections have been very successful. Cole has done a superb job in redesigning them from previous years and while Chrisp brings a host of marketing expertise, she has very little democratic experience. She is fortunate that she has been left a good elections model to copy and improve upon.