Candidate interview: Marc Handley

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Marc Handley
Lonsdale (Graduated)

Believes experience gives him the edge
Societies will have to trust that they won’t be neglected
Improve Lancaster experience by removing hidden costs

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Marc Handley believes experience is the key in this election for the new role of Vice President (Activities). He describes himself as the “driving force”, along with current Vice President (Finance, Events, Democracy and Societies) Matt Windsor, of the creation of this new role, and is insistent that it is “a positive change” for students.

Experience was an ever present theme as Handley spoke. He stated that his unique selling point was the fact that there is “no need for a learning curve” if he is elected for a second term. He spoke of the issues he has dealt with over the past year – specifically the pricing structure of the new sports centre and the provision of flat floor space.

Asked whether he had any regrets over the past year, except for the lack of a home Roses, he had none. “I’d have absolutely loved a home Roses, but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy with an away Roses. It’s a completely different challenge, but it’s a challenge I’d like to think I’ve grasped with both hands. That’s obviously not for me to decide, it’s for the membership to decide if I’ve actually done that right or not. Other than that, I’ve got no regrets at all.”

Would he have done anything differently? “I don’t think there’s anything that I would do differently. I’m quite happy with the choices I’ve made so far. Some people might not like them, but you’re not voted in to be popular. You’re voted in to actually do the job.”

He also talked about the synergies that exist between sporting clubs and societies, suggesting that the latter need not fear any possible reduction in representation as a result of the creation of the new role. “The only real change will be within the office itself,” Handley said. “Hopefully clubs and societies will see no dip in representation; if anything they should, it’s the aim anyway, see an increase in it.”

Handley completely refuted the idea that his background would lead to a bias towards the sporting side of the role. Asked how he can reassure societies that he will represent their needs as much as he might for sports, he said: “Well, they can’t be sure. They’ll just have to wait and see, really. The only main argument I can give to that is, whilst I’ve been Vice President (Sports), you don’t just deal with sports clubs. It doesn’t matter where you’re from in the student groups or memberships; if there’s a problem and you come into the office, I’ll sort it – or at least try to sort it.”

In terms of what he wanted to achieve, Handley’s main concern seemed to be the provision of storage. He said: “I think the biggest challenge is going to be storage for everything which we’ve got. I mean two of the biggest problems that we could have had would have been sports centre pricing and space, but we seem to have solved those issues, so it’s now just a case of trying to figure out exactly where everything is going to go.”

Another key challenge he spoke of was the student experience in the light of increasing tuition fees. He said: “One of the key things really is letting people know that just because people are paying three times more, that doesn’t mean they are going to be getting three times the experience.”

One solution he offered was the possibility of improving value for money through reducing hidden costs to students. “It’s things like sports centre membership that will have to be looked at, things like the Library and other additional costs that are taken in by the students that they’re not actually told about when they come. That’s what we’ve got to look at; we’ve got to try and roll it into one Lancaster package, and that’s not going to be done overnight.”

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