Fiona Sunderland

Candidate for Vice President Activities

  • Increase support and communication to societies
  • Create more storage space for societies
  • Make use of professional venues on campus
  • Provide more support for WSA students’ involvment in activities
  • Restructure funding guidelines

Why vote for me?

I’m Fiona and I want to be next year’s VP Activities. I’m currently a third-year maths student and I believe I have the ability to do this role well because I’m incredibly experienced with leadership roles, I’m passionate about the Performing Arts and I’m committed to being always available to Union members. I would love to increase support and communication between the Union and society committees, increase the storage space available to societies, give more opportunities for students to use professional venues and ensure there are clearer guidelines available for funding opportunities.

I currently hold 5 committee roles including President of the String Orchestra and Music Representative on the Performing Arts Committee so I am very aware of what goes into the running of societies and what the issues are. I do this whilst getting a First in my degree - I could do so much more if it were my full-time job.

The main thing I would want to improve in this role is communication between societies and the Union, because right now it leaves a lot to be desired. I’m fanatical about checking my emails and messages and I would ensure that committee members could always expect timely and helpful responses from the Union.

Another priority is increasing availability of Union space, not just for rehearsals/meetings but for storage which is currently a massive problem. The Clubs and Soc’s cupboard is too small for all the equipment that needs to be kept there and societies using the room have to be interrupted to retrieve equipment from it. With so many societies using the cafe, particularly music and dance societies, I would push for creating a storage area on the third floor as this would be far more convenient, particularly for those with large heavy items. 

As Music Rep I chose to sit on the Turner Sims Strategic Board and I think having this link with a professional venue on campus is a great opportunity for societies. As VP I would strengthen this link and give more societies the opportunity (and funding) to be able to get the best possible use of it. I also feel that we should be using the Nuffield Theatre more; it’s such waste that societies aren’t able to use it because of the limited availability and huge cost. I’d like to build a relationship with the Nuffield to try and make it more accessible for all.

One thing I have found frustrating while allocating funding in my current role is the lack of funding guidelines available to non-PA societies. I also think the funding caps/guidelines in some PA societies are too specific and restrictive. While I doubt I’ll be able to increase the overall budget, I would like to use my experience on PA committees to re-examine the caps and guidance to improve the process. 

Thank you if you actually made it to the end of this, and if you have any questions let me know at


Questions & Answers Ask me a Question

What would you do to help promote the presence of the student media societies (The Edge, Wessex Scene, Surge and Susu TV)?

There’s a few ways I can think of but I don’t know as much as the people who actively spend their time running these media socities. I want to make sure I’m available as much as possible to see what they actually want because they know best, regularly having meetings with the station managers/editors is definitley something I want to happen to make sure SUSU are supporting everyway we can and keeping up to date with what. I’d also make sure I’d try and talk to the socities over summer so that we can really make sure to use them/advertise them other the year particularly during freshers, getting them out during freshers is a really good way of showing how integral they are to SUSU and just making sure freshers are aware of these media socities from the start is important. Currently the sabbs do a weekly update of their week to facebook, I’d really like to expand that and maybe do a weekly socities update and have a particular focus on the media socities. Hope this answers your question, I’m always willing to take suggestions and answer more, feel free to email me at

This question was also asked to Corin Holloway, Abigail MustardAnswered by Fiona on 21/02/19 16:54

How do you plan on making more storage space in the union? space is already very difficult to find and there is no where to make new space without making less space for something else. Also how do you hope to better use the space we have a make sure it is fairly available to all societies?

Firstly I’d like to have a look at what’s kept in certain places (mainly clubs and socs) and see if things that are kept there are actually being actively used/needed weekly and make some additional space there by moving less used items to more long term storage (eg there’s a lot of sheet music taking up cupboard space that isn’t needed all the time and could be stored in the PA house). I have two main ideas for where storage space could be added (although I would definitley look into any other options that’d work!): on the third floor, ideally I’d like to see if a couple of the booths at the back could be removed and some kind of cupboard (or at least cages) put in it’s place, this would be a lot more convenient for socities that use the cafe for their meetings, and it wouldn’t really be taking away any space as the cafe is never really reliant on that extra seating (and a couple extra tables could go out to compensate) and it’s not a section of the cafe that can be used by the socities (as the booths can’t be moved); the clubs and socs cupboard is really awkward as it can only be accessed by going through the clubs and socs room which is very disruptive to socities using that room, I’d like the meeting room next to the clubs and socs cupbaord (and if possible, knock down the wall inbetween them) to be used as storage space, it can be accessed without having to go through another room, and there are plenty of meeting rooms which are definitley not all being used at once! In terms of better using the space I think it all comes down to more efficient scheduling. I’d want to spend more time looking into what requirments each society has and looking at what spaces they need, depending on what they are and how big they are, and trying to allocate what spaces/times best benefit the socities. Block bookings are a bit of a mess and one problem is just having each society come up with a time and place they want independently and just hoping that no one else applied for the same time isn’t the best system. One thing I’d like to try to combat this is having an initial informal spreadsheet type thing where socities say when/where they’d like and then they can see what other socities are applying for/where there is space and try and adjust accordingly (and even try talking with other socities) in a way that suits them so that we can get the most socities getting what they want. Thanks for you question I hope this answers it, if you’d like to ask me anymore more about if feel free to send me an email or ask another question!

This question was also asked to Corin Holloway, Abigail MustardAnswered by Fiona on 19/02/19 17:25

All of the VP Activities candidates have alluded to increasing storage space and/or activity space for societies. What makes you stand out - what would you bring to the table in particular that the other candidates wouldn’t?

I’d like to think all the candiates are making good solid suggestions and I’d like to think whichever of us gets elected we’ll take note and try and consider the ideas of each other. I think the main thing that makes me stand out is I’m using a lot of these storage spaces and know some really specific details about what the problems are what needs improving (particularly being PA music rep). Being on concert band committee whose equitment (joint with a few other music socities) take up majority of clubs and socs cupboard, I know exactly what we need how much of a pain moving it is and how irratating it can be to other socities who’s meeting we have to interrupt to get our equitment. I have a lot of ideas for how equitment can be redistributed and where it is needed that I only have because I’m a member of these committees that use these storage space. I also regularly have the pain of carrying timpani, entire drum kit, orchestral percussion and music through a yoga session and upstairs so I’m the most invested in actually making more storage space on different floors and that can be accessed without interrupting people! If you have any more questions feel free to email me at

This question was also asked to Corin Holloway, Abigail MustardAnswered by Fiona on 27/02/19 12:31

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 don’t want to make any promises I can’t keep, but if as VP I were to receive a request/complaint about this I would see what I could do to look into what could be changed. I agree the toilet paper’s a bit crap and our butts do deserve better, however I think toilet paper purchasing won’t come under my juristication and all I can do is fight the good fight with whoever is in charge of purchasing. If you would like me to answer anything else feel free to email me at or submit another question.

This question was also asked to Corin Holloway, Abigail MustardAnswered by Fiona on 22/02/19 15:37

Most candidates have rightly identified that student societies chronically suffer from insufficient activity space. However, the focus appears to be on space within SUSU buildings. Many societies make use of University lecture spaces to accommodate their events, often misusing spaces simply because they have no better alternative. Most commonly, they tend to move all the furniture around and fail to restore it later, causing disruption to lectures. This leads to occasional tensions between societies and the University. What do you propose we do to ease these tensions and ensure that the spaces are available for all to enjoy?

I’ve mostly talked about susu spaces because obviously those are the ones I’d be able to have most control over. However yes lots of socities do exclusively use university space (includong two socities I am on committee for). Often in my experience socities will move the whole room apart but I’ve never actually known the room not to be put back together again. I’m sure some socities may be guilty of this but I think the only real thing that can be done is make sure we’re gathering information on where socities are rehearsing, because there’s no real central database for that (if it’s not union spaces) and make sure we have made all socities aware that rooms must be returned to their original state and there is always a room plan on the door/wall. Perhaps having all socities that use university space (or all socities) sign to say they know the terms and conditions of using university space, and if they break them they will no longer be allowed to book university rooms under the student union. This’ll mean that we can show this to the university to show we are taking action and it should hopefully protect the socities that are using the spaces appropriatley. I hope I’ve answered your question, if you have any more to ask or want clarification on what I’m saying feel free to email me at

This question was also asked to Corin Holloway, Abigail MustardAnswered by Fiona on 27/02/19 12:48

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'd acknowledge their feelings on the matter and try to see what could be done to try and improve any issues they have. However I would make sure to explain the rationale on why said decision was made, so it is clear that any cons were taken into consideration. I would like to think we would then be able to find a compromise so that we could find an arrangement that will reduce any issues. If you want to ask anything else feel free to email me at

This question was also asked to Corin Holloway, Abigail MustardAnswered by Fiona on 01/03/19 13:44

As VP Activities, you'd be responsible for our incredible Performing Arts societies. My question is, how have you supported them to this date? And what performances have you seen this year?

I have been incredibly supportive of the Peforming arts throughout my time here (as I’m sure most people involved in PA are aware of!) and it’s the reason that’s motivated to go for this role. To start with I’m on the Performing Arts Committee as Music Socities Rep, so I already am responable for representing the interests of the music groups and help make decisions for all of PA. There has also been numerous issues I’ve supported socities with but I won’t go into detail. I’m also a very active member of 4 PA society committees and am a very productive committee member of all of them, I am president of the string orchestra (SUStrings) (my 3rd year on committee and 2nd as president) and am responsible for majoirty of it’s running and really pour my life into it! I’m also on committee for Jazz Band, Concert band and am tours officer for LOpSoc (light opera - a theatrical society). I’ve also been a part of SUSO and Showstoppers Shows. So I’d like to think my support is very clear! I’ve actually been in so many shows that it’s hard to go see more atm - this year (well starting this august) LOpSoc’s Unifest Performance of patience (in the chorus!), SUSO’s preterm concert, SUStrings and LOpSocs Winter concert, Concert Band’s christmas concert , jazz bands night in the bridge, Jazz and Concert Band’s fundraising concert and LOpSoc’s spring show Princess Ida (as band). Also in the remainder of the year I’ll have 2 more SUStrings concert, 2 more concert band, a concert and several gigs for jazz band, tour concerts in France/Switzerland/Germany and LOpSoc’s summer show Trial by Jury and The Zoo (for which I will be in the band and a Producer!). Unfortunately due to clashes I haven’t been able to go to concerts I’ve wanted to see, but I’m looking foward to Sweeny Todd next week! Thanks for asking, if you want to know anything more feel free to email me

This question was also asked to Corin Holloway, Abigail MustardAnswered by Fiona on 28/02/19 18:29

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I’m really commited to everything I do, I’m never half-hearted about anything I’m apart of. I’m able to balance everything I do, really well (as being on 5 committees and getting a first in a maths degree shows) and will easily able to stay on top of everything this job requires. I’m super communicative and I’m always instantly contactable (unless I’m driving, sleeping, in a concert or in the shower). I have a lot of leadership experience and I’m comfortable taking on this new challenge. Thanks for the question feel free to email me at if you’d like to know anything else.

This question was also asked to Corin Holloway, Abigail MustardAnswered by Fiona on 04/03/19 12:46

The union has come under fire this year due to sabbatical staff being unprofessional on their work accounts. In your role you represent 24,000 student's views, not just your own. Would you be able to separate personal and professional social media and feelings?

Yes I’d like to think I’d be very capable keeping my personal and professional social media seperate. As it is I detest twitter and (virtually) never use it, so I plan to use Union work account purely for publicity and explicity work related things (and only where particularly necessary or helpful) and I don’t think I’ll ever have the desire to post personal statements on it. In terms of Facebook I’m a very active user but I never on my personal account post statuses or opinions, to be honest as a general rule I never do post personal comments on my public feed and I only share things if I am particularly passionate about it and I’ve thought through it a lot (or if it’s a really really dank meme). My mother has until revently retitung worked in HR for a big company and I think would murder me if I were to post something inappropriate on a personal account let alone a work one, so I can safely say I am of no danger of posting controversial things on anything Union related! Thanks for the question, if you want to ask me anything else feel free to email

This question was also asked to Corin Holloway, Abigail MustardAnswered by Fiona on 05/03/19 23:51

How would you handle a disagreement with another sabbatical?

Spending all week in the same office with a small group of people, is obviously going to lead to occasional disagreements. All the Sabbs are full time paid staff, so I’d like to think we’d all be acting in a professional manner. If a disagreement did arise I would talk through why I thought my decision was the correct one, listen to their opinion on their decision and if this was an issue where we didn’t need to be in agreement I’d like to think we’d then be able to carry on professionally, understanding each others points without needing strictly needing to agree. If this was something we did need to agree on (like funding) and we still did not, I would either try to work out a compromise or get another sabb/staff member to hear our points and let them decide what option they think is best for the situation. Thanks for your question, if you have any more you can email me at

This question was also asked to Corin Holloway, Abigail MustardAnswered by Fiona on 08/03/19 09:55

What are you going to do to ensure SUSU’s “Vision2020” maintains on track to achieve its goals, particularly in becoming one of the Top 5 SUs in the UK? Do you think these targets are still viable given the controversy surrounding SUSU this year, and if so, does this mean a revised plan is needed?

No I don’t think it’s achievable. Even without taking he past years controversy into account, to put it plainly the Union at the moment just isn’t good enough. There are a lot issues, and they are gonna take a lot of time to fix. To be completley honest I think having a target of being in the top 5 is just not what we should be aiming for. We should be aiming to be the best union we can be regardless of how that ranks us against other union’s. Being top 5 means nothing, I’d love it if all Student Union’s were just really good, why does it matter where we rank compared to them (we could be in top 5 if everyone else was rubbish but what does that achieve). What I want is to do everything in my power to listen to and supprt students and socities, I want everyone to feel like they have the full support of the Union. I want us to be looking to fix issues we have, pushing for improvments to be made (I dream that one day, they’ll actually higher professionals to rebuild the website but that’s a bit hopeful) and being there for the students. Thanks for your question, feel free to email me at if you have anymore.

This question was also asked to Corin Holloway, Abigail MustardAnswered by Fiona on 07/03/19 16:22


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