Manifesto Analysis 2019: Student Engagement VP
The brand-new role of VP Student Engagement has been introduced this year, with some backlash from students. With four candidates running, however, it is one of the most competitive races.
Current Vice-President of Sports, Emily Window, is focussing on carrying on much of the work she’s done this year. She wants to continue her review of the Gym membership that Kent Sport offers, and continue her efforts to improve Medway sports provisions. However, as a VP Student Engagement candidate, she has diversified her manifesto to encompass issues that impact societies as well as sports teams.
She also aims to include societies within Varsity and create give-it-a-go activities. Despite these society inclusive manifesto points, Window’s manifesto still gives the impression of a Sports orientated candidate.
When questioned on student engagement, two candidates, Adam Youseman and KG Banjoko both proposed an app to try and centralise all information students may need. Emily was quick to criticise this idea as “unfeasible within a year” and “not necessarily the most efficient way to increase engagement”.
Fourth candidate, Kirby Talines, argued that the best way to increase student engagement is through “increasing the marketing” via social media which appeared similar to the position the current Full Time Officer team’s approach to engagement this year.
In regards to Varsity, Kirby proposed an inter-campus competition between Canterbury and Medway in order to encourage collaboration between the two campuses. Emily pointed out, however, that she would be “cautious about creating a rivalry” between the two campuses. KG and Emily both hoped to introduce societies into Varsity if elected.
KG also put forward an idea for a new rewards system for volunteers that would potentially include volunteers being rewarded for logging volunteer hours with SU Shop discounts and social media shout-outs etc. Kirby highlighted a need to increase student volunteer recognition through social media and beyond, depending on budget.
When questioned on how they would respond to potential backlash to the new role Emily said, “it’s important to have equality between sports and societies. If students feel like they’re not going to get represented, that’s why we’ll have a network chair now who can promote their presence on campus.”
Similarly, KG said that “my manifesto reflects that I’m ready for that responsibility and that there needs to be a balance between sports, activities and volunteering”. Kirby said that he “made sure his manifesto points were applicable to both groups” so that that workload of the combined role would not be too much. Finally, Adam says “it’s not unknown that I was against the combination of the roles, but I am still running because I want to make sure everyone gets a voice in Kent Union.”