Joanne Lisney

Candidate for Union President

  • Ensure that SUSU as an organisation is more representational.
  • Match the university with building a strategy for sustainability.
  • Create food bank donation sites at halls throughout the year.
  • Getting permanent and distinct SUSU space at all sites.
  • Creating a partnership with a supermarket to improve the shop.

Why vote for me?

Hi there,

So, you want to know why you should vote for me? Well...

  • I was VP Education & Democracy for 2019-20 and have had a multitude of success within that year. Feel free to have a look through the SUSU archives!

If I were elected to be your president, I would be able to hit the ground running - I would need to be refreshed but will be able to transfer knowledge over from my previous role. Furthermore, my previous experience as a sabb means that I have gained leadership experience already and would mean that I would be able to help support the other sabbs from the get-go too.  

  • Another reason to elect me as president is that I already have formed relationships with university staff through my time as VP Education & Democracy and continued to strengthen this with my engagement as FAH Officer for 2020-21.

 By working with the university for the past two years, I also know how to engage with them on topics that may not be the most comfortable. Being your president is about getting your views across what you see want to see or to say how you feel at your university experience.

  • I’m Keen to work with students to ensure that the transition back onto campus is smooth as possible if this happens within my term. I understand that it is currently unpredictable with what will happen but being adaptable is key.
  • The Manifesto I would be elected on reflective of the 4 years and is built upon student consultation and views.
  • It is a hard job, but I am dedicated to strengthening the voice of students and the union… that is why I have come back after my final year to continue the awesome work of previous presidents.

I kept this brief, but I hope this has helped convince you on why you should elect me as your next president.

Questions & Answers Ask me a Question

What experiences from your time as VP Education and Democracy will benefit you should you win this role?

I'm going to bullet point this as there is so much. My top 5 skills that are transferable from VP to Pres are: - I sat on (and still sit on) University Senate. This is just below University Council, but are largely similar in function. The skills I gained from my time include challenging senior academics and UoS execs in a meaningful way that means they are receptive and likely to want to help. Stakeholder management is KEY. - When you are a sabb, you have internal training for months. I have completed this all before and would need a refresh, but I can pretty much start from the get go. I even have an award for project management! - I admit, I was so shy at first when I was elected VP Ed Dem but now I am a loud mouth an proud. I am confident and able to use my persuasive skills that I harnessed as VP to get the uni to implement the no-detriment policy when COVID-19 hit. Likewise, I was able to convince the university to grant £10,000 to Humanities for resources for our students. - Research skills. I spent A LOT of time writing reports and papers for SUSU and UoS on various subjects (lecture recordings and course rep systems are just two of the many examples). It was part of the job. As time went on, I got quicker at gathering, analysing, interpreting and presenting all findings to UoS and SUSU staff. - Learning to have those difficult conversations. If it wasn't for my experience as VP Ed Dem, I wouldn't have grown as a person nor learned how to people manage. I was head of 400 reps and finding the ways to break bad news or have those conversations you'd rather avoid was no longer an option. I learned to adapt and build those relationships with students that often meant once the news was broken, we would work collaboratively to find solutions. We turned a negative into a positive!

This question was also only asked to JoanneAnswered by Joanne on 18/02/21 20:08

It seems like every presidential candidate since I've been at uni has advocated for "A more representational union" can you explain why you think you will succeed where others have seemingly failed?

A lot of past presidents and current candidates have never been VP Education or VP Education and Democracy. This is helpful because I have seen first hand how it all works at UoS and many of other institutions. Coming from the Education background means the I know where students can make the most impact on boards instead of sitting on ones that doesn't achieve much. Likewise, I am currently WSA president and FAH Officer. In my work, I have come across many home, EU and international students and engagement has been great within my faculty despite COVID.... even so much so that my FAH Good Newsletter (launching next week) has the next edition all booked up with incredible students work. I have also worked closely with head of WSA and FAH Dean of Education on engaging international students in representation through initiatives such as the one given and being the one to approach them. I have worked with the academic lead for the SSLC on empowering our students at WSA the tools to run their own feedback sessions and as we speak, we have about 15 more students keen to join WSA rep family in 24th Feb. I now have a track record to prove that I am able to get engagement up within a harder to reach community and although I won't lie and say it wouldn't be hard to do again, I look forward to takling this head on as SUSU pres and the amazing team at SUSU. I'm not a quitter and I'm not about to stop now.

This question was also only asked to JoanneAnswered by Joanne on 18/02/21 19:40

What is your ideal university day?

My ideal university day would be COVID free! However, one cannot predict what will happen. An ideal day for me as SUSU pres would be to sit down with/video chat with students. I love hearing about people's days (the good, the bad and the ugly) and making sure they are heard. Where things need to change and be improved, it is being down to the sabbatical team (including me) to engage in meaningful conversations with the university and putting the student voice at the heart of everything we do.

This question was also asked to Benjamin Dolbear, Akshita Karia, Corin Holloway, Kendall Field-PellowAnswered by Joanne on 18/02/21 19:43

How do you plan to "Ensure that SUSU as an organisation is more representational". In what ways do you believe that the union is failing to represent students currently?

So SUSU doesn't currently have an ED&I strategy. This is a real shame because the university does and are working to improve their strategy in line with Office For Students... they even have a new lead for this! Now it a great opportunity to work in line with them as SUSU build their own strategy. I am currently working with students at WSA to understand what the boundaries are that stops a lot of our international students engage with leadership positions (part-time volunteer or full-time paid leadership). Of course, this is only one strand, but I have knowledge of breaking down the communication barriers with those students. As for students who are BAME and widening participation (which includes disabled students, low socio-economic, mature and care-leaver) backgrounds, I had worked on admissions policies with the university and questioned many of the steps they have done within my role as VP Ed Dem 2019/20. This knowledge is helpful as I have a broader range of knowledge that can help feed into the strategy. Of course, I cannot know everything and do need to learn more to help get this going. The insight team, sabbs and our student volunteers would help facilitate focus groups and feedback. It is about empowering all reps and knowing when I can step back to ensure others can flourish and thrive!

This question was also only asked to JoanneAnswered by Joanne on 18/02/21 19:27

What improvements to the shop do you anticipate from engaging in a partnership with a supermarket?

So other unions such as Portsmouth, Kent and UEA (to name a few) have partnerships with various supermarkets. For example, Kent partnered with Co-OP and within the 1st year were able to create a revenue of about £1 million. We are of a similar size and we have the ex CEO who helped see the partnership through. His expertise would be great with this. The increase in revenue would then go back into SUSU's activities (e.g. funding our clubs and socs). Furthermore, there is more freedom in choice and every year there has been things about meal deals in the shop... this means we could do that! Not only this, but the supermarket would be able to renovate the shop (design and technology). The potential to have self service machines is also a possibility as without the partnership, SUSU couldn't afford to pay for the machine. Many students complain about the line and customer service but this is some of the many positives to come from a partnership!

This question was also only asked to JoanneAnswered by Joanne on 18/02/21 19:12

What are your 3 core values?

My top 3 core values are: *Accountability - As an ex sabbatical officer, I know what this means. You are going to be watched by many and yes, you will not always get things right. That is called being human. However, admitting when wrong (honesty) and working toward correcting this and learning from that is at the heart of what the next SUSU president should exhibit. *Respect - This goes a very long way. You will not see eye-to-eye with everyone on everything, but it is the way in which you engage in conversation with an array of people that can help build positive relationships. To understand others and actively listen will help both sides as you work towards solving issues. *Dependability - Great leadership requires the person to go above and beyond for others but to also do their job that they were elected to do. If you cannot be dependable, this rots away the trust that people have in you which then impact the others in your team.

This question was also asked to Benjamin Dolbear, Akshita Karia, Corin Holloway, Kendall Field-PellowAnswered by Joanne on 19/02/21 12:57

You talk about million-pound revenue streams and supermarket partnerships, but isn't that inherently at odds with the notion of a union free from corporate ideals and ownership?

Hi there. It isn’t ideal and I understand where this is coming from. However, the revenue that comes in from these partnerships is beneficial to the student experience. The money goes back into student activities. The university cannot fund it which is why union services are important to students’ unions across the nation - they generate the money needed to support student activity. It sucks, I know.

This question was also only asked to JoanneAnswered by Joanne on 19/02/21 12:39

Is this just a 9 to 5 job for you? If not, why not?

Hi there. As a sabbatical, you'll always be on call and the job is certainly not 9-5 (I had previously been VP Ed Dem) and know first hand about this. You need to live and breath this - you were elected to do this job after all and you have 23,000 students to represent. You are supposed to put them above yourself during this role because the environment can change very quickly and you have to adapt yourself around that. Presidency isn't for the faint hearted and takes a massive investment of one's time... it doesn't fit 9-5 and nor should it.

This question was also asked to Benjamin Dolbear, Akshita Karia, Corin Holloway, Kendall Field-PellowAnswered by Joanne on 20/02/21 18:30

Hi there. I noticed that your manifesto is probably the most “realistic” out of most of the candidates. You aren’t making extreme promises and everything seems manageable. I just worry that your “realism” though fails to have a sense of ambition - there’s no greater sense of urgency in what you’re trying to achieve. Is there a goal that for yourself that you personally think is really ambitious on your manifesto (taking into consideration that you have worked for SUSU before of course) or do you completely disagree and think everything you aim for is ambitious in some way?

Hi there, thank you for your question. I understand your concern but I do believe the most ambitious point is the one about the shop going into partnership with a supermarket. The reason being is we would to find willing partners, conduct research, etc. which will take some time to complete. Likewise, it is a long term strategy that would be in place to help support the union’s (clubs and societies) economic recovery following the devastating effects/strains put on them by the pandemic. It should also be noted that it is better to be realistic than overpromising and not deliver. If you fail to deliver, students will be mad and this, in turn, fuels their discontent with SUSU. Plus, a year is very short when you consider that to the university, 5 years is deemed a short period therefore it is better to be realistic. For context, the manifesto that I would be elected on will be turned into something called a ‘sabb plan’ that outlines the year and I will need to have 9-10 points, so I will need to develop another 4-5 points once in post. Also, due to the climate of HE, you do need a bit of wiggle room as the president will often be called into very important university meetings at the last minute. Being president means you will pick up things throughout the year that will become priorities.

This question was also only asked to JoanneAnswered by Joanne on 20/02/21 20:07

Would you describe yourself as a pragmatist or an idealist, and why do you think this makes you a good candidate for President?

In life, I'd say I'm a bit of both. As president, you need to be both because having good big ideas often leads to positive results. However, you need to be pragmatic in the role as you only have a year to do what needs to be done; you need to be realistic about what you can achieve within the time constraint. Being idealist is a great outlook to have, but it needs to be met with a pragmatic side to ensure the longevity of the project/s. This means plotting out a good idea into a strategy/long term plan so that your work is continued after a year and will still benefit the students voice and experience.

This question was also asked to Benjamin Dolbear, Akshita Karia, Corin Holloway, Kendall Field-PellowAnswered by Joanne on 21/02/21 13:17

How high would you say the environment is on your list of priorities? Please be specific.

As you can see from my manifesto, I am keen to commit to sustainability and making SUSU more green. Although making SUSU more representative is my major priority to kick off the year (if I were elected), sustainability and the environment is second on that list. A lot of great work has been done by the last president and the current to tackle the issues on the university side, but SUSU does need to catch up. With the creation of a SUSU sustainability strategy, it means we would be working to protect the environment in the long-term. Of course, there are quick wins that can be achieved quickly and many students are really amazing at coming up with ways to improve SUSU and UoS. However, to commit to a strategy that has goals means the union can also be held to account as they should be meeting certain milestones at certain points.

This question was also asked to Benjamin Dolbear, Akshita Karia, Kendall Field-PellowAnswered by Joanne on 26/02/21 15:20

As a conservative student, I feel as frustrated and as though my political leaning alone, despite being very moderate, may still cause anger. Will you be an apolitical president who will represent students outside of party politics? And will you ensure freedom of speech and diversity of thought is held?

The union is unable to take a political stance and is already apolitical. However, I understand where this is coming from. It is important that the president does listen to all and ensure that if events (such as local elections or general elections occur), they are inviting all parties in to talk to students. The president may have their own personal views and are entitled to such, but that shouldn't get in the way of representing all students.

This question was also asked to Benjamin Dolbear, Akshita Karia, Corin Holloway, Kendall Field-PellowAnswered by Joanne on 26/02/21 15:11

I think it's fair to say that acquiring a supermarket deal for the union shop is one of your main policies. And yet when you were questioned about this policy introducing corporate interest into the union, you accepted that this outcome wasn't "ideal" and that it "sucks, I know". Why should I vote for you when you've openly stated that one of your main policies is some kind of necessary evil and that it "sucks"?

To ensure that the student experience is the best it can be, SUSU needs to take up opportunities that put the interest of the students first. Unfortunately, it costs money to improve a lot of the things students want to see and as it stands, the union is unlikely to continue to be able to support the 300+ clubs and societies in their activities. How I feel about corporate businesses does not necessarily align with the role if I were elected, but being president isn't about pursuing my own agenda and forcing that onto 23,000 students. I would be elected alongside the other team to secure the future of the union and that does mean looking at ways to financially support the student experience outside of the block grant. From a strategic point, this does allow the union to secure other forms of revenue that will go back into the activities that the union provide for all.

This question was also only asked to JoanneAnswered by Joanne on 01/03/21 15:55

Would you encourage the University to cut ties with the People's Republic of China (in particular the Confucius Institute) due to the horrendous actions taken by the Chinese Communist Party?

This would need to be backed up by an All Student Vote to take this motion forward. As much as my own feelings would say yes, the university will only listen if there is support for this from the student community. There is strength in numbers when dealing with the university but even then, they could still say no. However, as a union, we would be able to oppose the Chinese Communist Party if an All Student Vote is in favour of opposing it and can be constantly brought up to the university to remind them about it all.

This question was also asked to Benjamin Dolbear, Akshita Karia, Corin Holloway, Kendall Field-PellowAnswered by Joanne on 03/03/21 09:17

In a sabb role you are a public elected figure, which means you are fair game for people's judgement, crticism and parody whether you feel it is fair or not. How would you respond to this if elected in a way that helps you perform well in the role?

Sabbs are people too and I have already been in this position as VP Ed Dem 2019/20. The best thing to do is not rise to it, especially if it is on Crushampton. You can't please everyone regardless of the job you go into. Likewise, criticism isn't necessarily about you as a person, more the job. This sepreation is key to help you out. However, you should still listen to what has to be said. If it is a recurring thing then you should be adapting to it. You should also encourage those who criticise you (if it is just) to engage in a dialogue with you to help understand exactly the issue/s and go from there.

This question was also asked to Benjamin Dolbear, Akshita Karia, Corin Holloway, Kendall Field-PellowAnswered by Joanne on 03/03/21 09:11

I see almost no manifesto points talking about postgraduate students, yet we make up over 1/3 of all student numbers. How will you be an effective representative for your (significant) postgraduate community, especially PGRs, whose needs are typically very different from taught students?

Hi there. So presidency covers a wide range of issues that affect ALL students. For PGR specific issues to do with your degree, that falls under VP Ed Dem and for welfare, VP Welfare & Communities. However, I am there to support the sabbs on their work pertaining to PGR issues and am there to take it to University Council when issues cannot be resolved otherwise.

This question was also asked to Benjamin Dolbear, Akshita Karia, Corin Holloway, Kendall Field-PellowAnswered by Joanne on 03/03/21 11:45


Joanne has not spent any of their budget yet