The Student Union Sabbatical team has been elected for the next academic year.
The recent election, which had the fourth highest voter turnout in SU election history with 1741 votes, saw the re-election of two current sabbs – Lydia Richardson and Mark Stanley – and the appointment of two new sabbatical officers into office. For the first time, the Student’s Union also elected Officer Trustee’s, Student Trustee’s and Senators at the same time.
The election caused some controversy when it emerged that Lydia Richardson, the current VP Education and Welfare, would stand uncontested for the role. However, Lydia won convincingly with 1094 votes. Speaking to Seren about her win Lydia said: “to have the opportunity to represent you for another year, particularly during such a crucial time for students with the General Election, is an experience I never thought I would have.”
The closest election came for the role of SU President. With 680 to 617 votes you elected Fflur Elin, a third year history student. Fflur will be the third SU President in a row from the School of History. Speaking to Seren about the impending year Fflur said: “I am looking forward to getting involved in every aspect of university life and to working with the rest of the SU team. During the campaign I listened to all four (Lydia Richardson, Mark Stanley, Becca Kent and Ifan James) talks and I’m very pleased that I’ll have the opportunity to assist them in enacting their great policies and ideas.”
Mark Stanley, the incumbent VP Societies and Community, ran against one other candidate, and was re-elected with 768 to 416 votes. He spoke positively of why the role is important to him: “It’s the passion students have for their activities that keeps me trucking.”
The most fiercely contested election campaign was for VP Sport and Healthy Living, with a huge presence on social media around election week. The closely run election went to three rounds of voting, with Becca Kent eventually winning the election with 727 votes. Becca spoke about her hopes for the coming year: “I cannot wait to push all of my policies. I think most people will be impacted through making gym membership more affordable. I also cannot wait to get out there and chat to you, the students.”
Similarly to the process from previous years, candidates could begin campaigning as soon as nominations were announced, resulting in a greater amount of social media exposure. Many candidates utilised resources such as Facebook promotion pages and YouTube videos publicising their manifestos. This year also saw the return of Question Time, which took place in MALT. The event resulted in a wider range of questions and greater engagement with the student body, which was received positively by the Union and students alike.
The new team will begin their terms as Sabbatical Officers in July; all going well, they will be the first sabbatical team to work from the new Student Union block in Pontio and will oversee the transition of SU operations to the new building.