.Representation

George Fairweather

Union President

Key Points

  • Engage with student population, hold surgeries
  • Provide students with mental health support
  • Provide support and awareness for people suffering alcohol misuse
  • Provide appropriate support for victims of sexual abuse
  • Continue engagement with external charities

Why vote for me?

Southampton University Students Union Presidency Nomination By George Fairweather Hi I’m George Fairweather. I’m a 3rd year physics student running for Union President.  I’ve been a keen player of badminton and football since I’ve been at Southampton, making many great friends in the process.  I’ve also enjoyed social events during my time as a fresher and other events provided by societies. However, I’m not all about sports; I am passionate about...(click here to read more...)

Questions & Answers

Because of the Sabb restructure, environmental issues are now the President's job to deal with. What do you intend to do to help SUSU/UoS/students be more sustainable. Do you have any experience researching/dealing with environmental issues?

Green initiatives are exceptionally important at the moment, especially due to the looming threats that are coming with climate change. Maintaining a sustainable environment is no easy task, and requires careful research, planning, and execution for it to be successful. As a physics student, I have studied sustainability as a part of my degree, and found that there are relatively, simple things that students can do to be more sustainable. What must be done is to make sure students are aware of what they are able to do to positively impact the environment. As president, I will be liaising closely with the sustainability team at the university to ensure and challenge policies brought forward for the union and the university to be more sustainable. Whilst I have studied aspects of sustainability as a part of my degree, I haven’t conducted any formal research in environmental and climate science. However, as a part of my degree I have undertaken a research project, and feel confident I will be able to conduct research into climate science and environmental issues.

This question was also asked to Nik Mukherjee, Aaron Page, Henry Hill, Emily Harrison, Henry Oliver-EdwardsAnswered by George on 20/02/19 16:58

How will you help improve the well being of the students?

My aim to improve student wellbeing has four main aspects. Aspect 1 – Student Support. I aim to make sure the union has employed trained clinical psychologists/therapists that are able to provide appropriate mental health support and diagnostics. It is important that when someone is suffering a mental health problem that they receive swift support and if appropriate a diagnosis. If you break your leg, you don’t wait 6 months to get it fixed, so why should you wait 6 months or more for mental health support? Aspect 2 – Social Life. Everyone needs a social life, whether you like it or not. Humans need to be connected with each other, and have a strong group of friends. Speaking from experience, when this isn’t present, it can drastically affect a person’s health and wellbeing. By making sure students are connected and socialising, which must include social activities that bring students together, reduce isolation and feelings of loneliness, and create strong bonds of friendship, will help improve overall student wellbeing. Aspect 3 – University Liaison. Identify where the university are falling short on student wellbeing and offering suggestions for improvement in those affected areas. Aspect 4 – External Liaison. Working with external bodies to provide support, funding, and resources to assist the union in improving student wellbeing.

This question was also asked to Nik Mukherjee, Aaron Page, Henry Hill, Emily Harrison, Henry Oliver-EdwardsAnswered by George on 20/02/19 16:22

In your manifesto you allude to "engaging with the student population" and "make sure the union is actively communicating with the student body". Many people would argue that this is a core aspect of the role that is constantly happening. What specifically would you do differently to previous Presidents if elected?

I would agree that these are core aspects of the presidential role. However, based on the previous election turnout of approximately 19%, it seems to me that most students are not that engaged with SUSU, or at least engaged enough to vote in the elections. One of the ways I intend to improve engagement, and one that I don’t believe has been done before, would be to hold surgeries with students, where they can discuss issues they are having with the union, the university, or other aspects of student life. On top of this, whilst the union does currently communicate quite actively, for the most part I feel it isn’t read by a large part of the student population. Further to this, there can be mixed messages between sabbatical officers, making SUSU policy somewhat hazy. To improve this, I would make sure that all sabbatical officers are creating a unified voice, that won’t be misinterpreted, that communications between SUSU and students are clear and encourage engagement.

This question was also only asked to GeorgeAnswered by George on 20/02/19 17:18

I have a dream that one day, the university facilities will not have awful horrible scratchy thin toilet paper. I have already submitted a YouMakeChange petition about this and nothing happened. This is the most pressing issue to me as a voter so I want to know what you will do to make my dream a reality and improve the toilet paper on campus (especially in the library please). My vote depends on this.

I hear you. It is very disappointing that your concern wasn’t taken seriously by the union. I too am fed up of using toilet paper that feels like recycled sand paper. I don’t see why it isn’t possible to at least have higher quality toilet paper in the toilets, but there may be other factors that affect why we use shoddy toilet paper. I would need to talk with the team responsible for ordering this toilet paper to see if an upgrade is viable. If I am elected, this will be one of my first items to clear up as president. Your concern is an example of something that can be brought up in surgeries I plan to do if elected.

This question was also asked to Nik Mukherjee, Aaron Page, Henry Hill, Emily Harrison, Henry Oliver-EdwardsAnswered by George on 26/02/19 12:10

Given the resignation of the last President and issues with the one prior, how do you plan to regain the trust of the student body? I feel as though students don't trust the Union President to represent them anymore.

Rebuilding trust between the student body and the union is extremely important, but is no easy task to solve given the controversial actions of previous presidents. For me, there are two things that can be done to improve student and union relations. Firstly, proper engagement with the students to make them feel involved in the decisions the union is making. One of my policies is to hold surgeries so that students can come to me with their issues, and I can address them either myself, or take their concerns to the appropriate person/team. Secondly, there needs to be a clear, easy to understand code of ethics that the sabbatical officers must follow, and not act upon personal agendas. This code of ethics will be available to the student body, and can be used by the students to hold the union to account.

This question was also asked to Nik Mukherjee, Aaron Page, Henry Hill, Emily Harrison, Henry Oliver-EdwardsAnswered by George on 26/02/19 12:43

Although your idea for in house "trained clinical psychologists/therapists" is admirable, this would be incredibly expensive and would not be able to keep up with student mental health demand. With this in mind, do you have any feasible ideas for tackling student mental health issues?

While I agree there is a cost involved with having clinical psychologists/therapists available, having researched it, I believe the cost can be accommodated by the union. In addition to this, I would be creating new ways for students to meet up and socialise with each other. Loneliness has a big impact on mental health, and making sure students are able to get a supportive social life is critical. The way the union is engaging with students is going to be very different, so there will be more avenues to seek help before a serious problem arises.

This question was also only asked to GeorgeAnswered by George on 27/02/19 13:01

Your manifesto appears to have been geared very strongly towards the position of VP Welfare rather than president. I suspect this may have been due to restrictive word limits, and a particular (admirable!) passion about student well-being. Could you perhaps expand on your general view of the direction the Union has been taking over the last few years, and whether or not you feel anything needs to change?

You are right; I am passionate about student’s wellbeing. I am also passionate about the role of the students union. Over the last few years, engagement with the student body has been very disappointing and lacking. I feel like the union behaves more like a commercial enterprise that just wants to sell you stuff instead of actually engaging and supporting students. Just to clarify, I don’t have anything against commercial activities the union participates in, it needs to get revenue from somewhere, I feel though the commercial aspect of the union has become the focus, and as such is failing to address and represent student issues. If I am elected president, I will be moving the focus back onto the students. One of my ideas is to conduct surgeries so that students can come to me with their issues they may be experiencing with the university/union/student life, and I will be able to either address the issue directly, or forward it to the appropriate person/team. I also believe that the union needs to be in a state of constant feedback. As such, the union must provide an easy way for students to give feedback about the running of the union/university and I can try and action change within these bodies.

This question was also only asked to GeorgeAnswered by George on 27/02/19 13:31

A new part of the President's remit is now the halls of residence. What do you think the biggest issues that students in halls face are and how to you intend to tackle them?

Students in halls of residence face a variety of issues, from faulty equipment and poor laundry facilities, to loneliness and isolation. I intend to tackle these issues by talking with students about their problems, and working closely with student life to remedy these issues. I will also being aiming to provide mental health services within the union so that any halls of resident student can get the appropriate support they need as soon as possible.

This question was also asked to Nik Mukherjee, Aaron Page, Henry HillAnswered by George on 06/03/19 18:49

How would you deal with any backlash from students who do not agree with a decision that you have made, even if students had been consulted in the decision-making process?

I would deal with the backlash by listening to the grievances of the students who do not agree with the decision I have made. It's not possible to please everyone, but where there is a justified reason for their negative reaction, there thoughts should be heard and if appropriate, their views taken into consideration. It would be my intention during the consultation process all views would have been heard and addressed, so any back lash would be minimal.

This question was also asked to Nik Mukherjee, Aaron Page, Henry Hill, Emily Harrison, Henry Oliver-EdwardsAnswered by George on 06/03/19 18:57

Union President is responsible for making sure the other Sabbs are doing their job well too. How will you hold all elected VP's to account on their manifesto promises? And how will you help them achieve them?

I don’t think it is just the president’s job to hold the VPs to account on their manifesto. I believe the students should also be able to hold all elected Sabbs accountable for their manifesto policies. On my part, I can make sure a policy of openness is applied to the union, so that students are able to find out what the Sabbs have been working on, how effective it has been, and future outlooks for projects. This way the student body is able to be informed about what the Sabbs have been doing, and whether the Sabbs need to be held to account. On top of this, within the union, the needs to be a framework for students to be able to have the power to hold the Sabbs to account. How this would look, I am not sure, and I believe extensive consultation with students and societies is needed before we could create such a framework. To address how I would assist the Sabbs, I would be providing whatever resources are available to the president, and where needed try and pressure the university to provide these resources if they are outside of the remit of the president.

This question was also asked to Nik Mukherjee, Aaron Page, Henry Hill, Emily Harrison, Henry Oliver-EdwardsAnswered by George on 04/03/19 18:06

What kind of leader will you be?

I will be a leader who fights for the injustices that students face. I will be a leader who students can come to with their issues, and have them heard. I will be a leader that holds the university to account, and call them out on their short comings. I will be a leader that works with the other Sabbs to get the best out of them. This is the kind of leader I will be.

This question was also asked to Nik Mukherjee, Aaron Page, Henry Hill, Emily Harrison, Henry Oliver-EdwardsAnswered by George on 04/03/19 19:05

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I'm offering real change that benefits the students, and I have the tenacity to make this change happen. Unlike the other candidates, I am offering bold solutions that tackle real student issues.

This question was also asked to Nik Mukherjee, Aaron Page, Henry Hill, Emily Harrison, Henry Oliver-EdwardsAnswered by George on 06/03/19 19:08

Do you believe SUSU will achieve its goal of being in the top 5 of students' unions by 2020?

No, I do not believe SUSU will be in the top 5 students' unions by 2020, but that won't stop me from trying. With the changes I am offering students in my manifesto, I believe it would be able to boost SUSU up the rankings, and also restore the faith that the students have in the students union. By reengaging with the students, giving them a voice, supporting them through tough times, and addressing their needs I believe this will push us closer to the top 5.

This question was also asked to Nik Mukherjee, Aaron Page, Henry Hill, Emily Harrison, Henry Oliver-EdwardsAnswered by George on 06/03/19 19:23

Budget

George has not spent any of their budget yet