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Damon Fairley, former president of Furness, has a lot of experience on college executive committees. He has “always been a strong supporter of the college system”, and thinks the colleges are one of the most important parts of the Lancaster experience, providing everything from welfare to social events.
Fairley believes the most important part of officer training is working together “to encourage more cross-campus [events]”, and has strong opinions towards governance documents. “I think we need better training around our bye-laws […] I think for an officer who’s not a college chair-person or something like that, they might not have much of an idea about governance documents, so I want to make bite-size versions of them for training.”
Fairley has been “at the forefront of discussions” about introducing new liberations CCOs, “to represent those groups that have been underrepresented in the students’ union,” however he believes that “every single students’ union officer is a liberations officer” and they should all be encouraged to involve as many underrepresented groups as possible, “not just certain officers”.
Regarding commercial services, Fairley believes that the cloakroom charge in Sugarhouse is unnecessary: “In winter especially, I don’t think students should be charged for wearing a coat […] so I’d like to get rid of that.” He would also “continue getting more acts in […] but make sure we can carry on selling the tickets at good prices.” With LUSU Living, he would “ensure there would be a Full Time Officer […] myself if elected and the VP (Welfare and Community), essentially just have our details out there in each house, so if there was an issue they could write to us” in order to ensure better communication and response times.
For feedback, Fairley prioritises “getting out there to all the students and asking all students about their feedback”. He thinks that “far too many of our activities are in Alexandra Square” and would prefer to expand across campus, including South-West campus. He would “have a set policy of how we deal with feedback and complaints and make sure that as a students’ union we’re providing the very best response we can do to feedback”.
One of the challenges Fairley sees is “trying to change the mindset […] all too often in LUSU we expect students to come to us,” while he envisages engaging more fully with students. “Every month I want to have […] joint drop-in sessions in each of the college spaces with myself, potentially some of the other full-time officers and the college exec”, in order to be more aware of the opinion amongst the student body.
Another challenge Fairley expects to come across is “financial constraints”, as he thinks “it’s very easy to come up with really big ideas […] but they often need a lot of funding […] so I think we need to be careful about money, think of new ways about using lots of money to host more socials and events”.