Candidate Profile: Phoebe Hughes
Orbital Magazine interviews VP Welfare and Diversity candidate, Phoebe Hughes.
Phoebe Hughes, 3rd year Geography, VP Welfare and Diversity
What are your motivations for running?
I’m really excited about making positive changes at the SU and I want to go into the Equalities and Diversity field as this seems like a good way to gain some experience and do a variety of different roles which in the future would give me the skills to maybe become a diversity and equalities officer within an organisation or in the government practice.
What are your key manifesto points?
Housing: I’d like to increase transparency of housing by creating a five star rating system for landlords so that students are prepared and the SU can endorse or say I don’t want you at our housing fairs.
Health Centre: I want to create an online booking system where people can book and cancel as they need and increase the amount of practitioners. I also want to focus on mental health by equipping a committee member with the skills and experience to spot and signpost issues.
Healthy U Campaign: I think it is really important that people can eat well, sleep well and have the ability to exercise. People would engage more with exercise if it was less expensive and it discounts a large community of people who do want to get involved.
Do you have opinions on campaign weeks that have happened previously? What would you like to implement or continue?
I liked the One in Three week, I have heard lots of students who have been harassed. I do think it could have been gone about in a slightly different way, I don’t know if it gained as much traction as it could have. I think some of the events could have been on slightly different subjects so others would have engaged with it a little more.
Would you want to continue Let’s Talk About Sex, previously known as SHAG week and how would you make it better?
I think it is important to continue it as it is a good topic to talk about. I think maybe bringing it within departments and societies is a better platform to do it on. People are more friendly with each other and more open to discuss as opposed to a lecture with strangers as it might not be the best way to start a conversation and keep it going.
How would you work with student reps and the Equalities Council?
I think it is important to get everybody’s opinion so if you are a representative for a group it means you can have better informed policies. I think it’s important to take criticism from other people and be able to mould policies around those opinions. And with reps it’s important to have face to face meetings to check in with what they are doing and to communicate and feedback. And also, personally I am not sure if I have heard much about what the Equalities Council does and it would be really important to get what they do out there more.
How would you implement your online booking system for the Health Centre and how would you combat criticism that students could just phone or come in themselves?
Firstly, I would need to talk to the University and get their go ahead and then it would be up to the IT departments to employ an external body to provide the system. I think in order to provide the service that an online booking system does, you would need to invest a lot of money in retraining the receptionists on their behaviour and practice. It provides the anonymity and prevents embarrassment and it means that bookings are made quicker and removes the level of social contact that may be a barrier.
How would you deal with the ongoing issue of the closure of the sexual health clinic and what are your next steps?
I remember in first year they had some self test kits in boxes which we could put in the Health Centre. Ideally it would be amazing to have a sexual health clinic on campus and presumably for funding reasons it isn’t viable. But I think there are other ways about it such as that, that provide people with a service that is vital.
What would you have done better in the role this year?
A lot of campaigns have great ideas and motivations behind them but there needs to be a better way of engaging people. I think a way of doing that may be to bring meetings into campus hours where people may be more inclined to get involved with the campaigns and let it gain more traction.