.Representation

George Hart

Vice President Welfare and Community

Key Points

  • I have boundless enthusiasm for this role!
  • I would strive to improve the Union's housing advice.
  • I want to promote/improve the greenspace available on campus.
  • I want to increase support services at ALL our campuses.
  • I'd lobby the university to DRAMATICALLY improve their support services.

Why vote for me?

Hey SUSU members! I can’t even begin to describe my excitement and enthusiasm about this opportunity. As is the case for so many people, I’ve had my struggles and my demons in the past, so promoting student welfare, and helping to create a strong community on campus are things I’m incredibly passionate about. Truly, to have a role like this where I can help to make a positive impact on university life would be something I would give my all to for every minute of every day. Welfare....(click here to read more...)

Questions & Answers

Through your lobbying, how do you actually plan to improve the university's support services?

Great question, thanks for asking it. My focus for the improvements focuses on three specific elements- exposure, accessibility and quality. Those are the three particular areas of the services that I would like to target, and I believe if these can be improved, the overall service quality will be significantly bettered too. If elected, I immediately would be looking to sit down as soon as possible with representatives from both the University and SUSU to communicate this vision and strategy, and see what changes can be made to improve support services for our students. I’m not an expert on this, so would be keen to work with them to see what would be feasible, and what would help our students the most. Importantly, I want services that help all our students equally- from undergraduates to postgraduates and beyond, we need to be there for everyone in our community, and that’s not happening right now. Ultimately, my goal would be to demonstrate to the University and SUSU how they can improve services in realistic and achievable ways, with this in turn leading to a discussion of what resources are available for this and how they could be used most effectively. There are no excuses for inaction, we have to tackle this mental health epidemic head on as best we can and my manifesto is designed to deliver this. Frankly, you just have to look at the current construction efforts on campus to see that the University is not short of money. They have the means to improve services, just not the will, and I'm the candidate who is determined to change that.

This question was also only asked to GeorgeAnswered by George on 06/03/19 17:52

Many of the VP Welfare and Community candidates have alluded to their own struggles with mental health while at university. Whilst this gives the candidates a greater amount of empathy to students that are struggling, do you feel that this might also make the role more difficult, since it has been known to be a high pressured and emotionally charged role at times?

Good question, and thanks for bringing this up, as it's so important to be open about these things if we want to be- ultimately this will help to de-stigmatise the issue. I'd like to make a distinction here. Whilst I have struggled somewhat with mental health, this took place largely in the past, and is not something that affects me as much anymore. I was able to access the help I needed and make positive changes in my life to mostly overcome my demons, and the experience has made me a lot stronger, more resilient, and far better equipped to deal with challenging, pressured and emotional situations. So to answer your question- no, I don't believe it will make the role more difficult. On the contrary, my past experiences have given me the tools I need to be better able to carry out the role, as well as the empathy you mentioned that will help me understand the issues I'm dealing with on a daily basis.

This question was also asked to Laura Barr, Fleur MacInnes, Daphne LiAnswered by George on 06/03/19 17:41

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. This is an INCREDIBLY important welfare issue for me and is severely affected my university experience.

Fear not, dear voter- no longer will you have to suffer in silence. I and many others can sympathise with your plight, and there's no denying that this is one of the most troubling issues facing student-kind in the modern day. I'm thrilled to tell you that it's your lucky day- with me in charge you won't need to go to Disneyland for your humble dream to come true, it'll be happening right here at SUSU. Immediately upon entering office, I will order a pallet of the very finest silk-infused bog roll to be delivered at Amazon's earliest convenience- and you'll never have to worry about this again. When that runs out, I plan to bulldoze the common and use the wood to create bespoke, local organic toilet paper, an endeavor which will no doubt add a touch of class to the city. The land will then be concreted over and used for "Westquay (even further) North", a much needed addition to the much too small current Westquay, which only has approximately 25 empty units so definitely needs to expand. I'm all about sustainability, me! ;) (disclaimer- this answer is lighthearted fun, I'm not actually going to do any of the above)

This question was also asked to Laura Barr, Fleur MacInnes, Daphne LiAnswered by George on 06/03/19 17:31

Just wondering what your plans for helping the Post Grad community are? They make up about a third of the student population and yet there is an overwhleming feeling of disregard towards them. As VP Welfare and Community, how would yu protect such a large yet overlooked community? Especially as the mental health stuff is incresingly important in post graduate degrees.

Excellent question, thank you for asking it. I agree entirely that the postgraduate community is so often overlooked here at Southampton, and this HAS to change. I know from my postgraduate friends that many people at that level of study face a myriad of (often unique) problems- postgrads tend to be more at risk of isolation, for example. My solution is linked to my proposals for improved mental health services at the university and SUSU- which will focus on bettering the exposure, accessibility and quality of services, as well as offering more specific, tailored care that works for the individual, instead of a merely "one size fits all" approach. This will involve services that are designed with postgraduates in mind- in fact, they will be designed by postgraduates, for postgraduates. I'll be establishing focus/steering groups to ascertain what specific needs different parts of the student population have for mental health services, and one of these groups will focus on postgraduates, ensuring that their voice is heard and they get the support they need. An overall shift of focus from more reactionary to more preventative care will also be of benefit. Additionally, the postgraduate community will be one of the focal points of my "community festival" idea, and I hope that the festival will both boost the profile of the postgraduate community and provide them with ample opportunity to celebrate. If you'd like to discuss this further, feel free to contact me on Facebook at tinyurl.com/georgesusu

This question was also asked to Laura Barr, Fleur MacInnes, Daphne LiAnswered by George on 06/03/19 18:03

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?

Communication is key. I will always aim to consult students as much as possible in the first place when making decisions, as direct democracy is really important in students' unions, and this allows us to make decisions that work for as many people as possible and are in the best interests of the whole student body. However, in the event that this isn't the case, I would look to establish a dialogue with those who are dissatisfied with my decision, to ascertain what can be done to make the decision work better for them, whilst also remaining in the interests of the entire student body, for which the decision was made in the first place.

This question was also asked to Laura Barr, Fleur MacInnes, Daphne LiAnswered by George on 06/03/19 17:34

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

I have a wealth of experience in both promoting student welfare and creating strong communities, and have therefore gained a strong working knowledge of these two issues, particularly regarding the support services available to us as students. Last year, I held a role as a SUSU Senator, which gave me a lot of insight into how SUSU works and how change can be achieved, as well as valuable experience in representing the student body. I took the responsibility very seriously and I think this experience makes me a strong candidate and would serve me well should I succeed in this election. Additionally, for the last two years I’ve held roles on the GeogSoc committee, this year as President, and last year as Welfare Officer, a role I enjoyed immensely. This involved working with the excellent support services that the geography department here provides to ensure that students always had someone to turn to, and could be easily signposted to further support if necessary. Alongside this, I ran last year’s iteration of our hugely successful buddy system, in which freshers are mentored by older students, something which contributes every year to the tight-knit, supportive community we have within geography- something which I’m immensely proud of. I want to bring this incredible community spirit we have in geography to the rest of the university, creating an environment where we’re all better supported and feel safer and happier- I believe I’m the only candidate who offers this vision. Ultimately, like I said, I’m immensely enthusiastic and would give my all to the role- I’m a people person and absolutely love interacting and working with people, which is where I feel in my element. To get to do this job would be such an honour and would truly mean the world to me, and to be able to represent the amazing student body here in Southampton as YOUR VP Welfare and Community would be a dream come true.

This question was also asked to Laura Barr, Fleur MacInnes, Daphne LiAnswered by George on 06/03/19 17:16

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