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Current Head of Engineering at Bailrigg FM Saber L’Bekkari would like to see more consultation, whether it be between LUSU and student media outlets, or LUSU and the wider student body in general.
From his experience at Bailrigg FM, he noticed that LUSU have had a “top-down” approach, particularly when it comes to setting budgets, and this is something that L’Bekkari wants to change: “I would want the student medias to be actively involved in the setting of the budgets, within the constraints that the Student’s Union has.” Furthermore, L’Bekkari feels that the Union should be more accountable to student media, for example “if they are going to cut a budget they need to state good reasons why.”
Student media “should really run themselves and be encouraged to really take the lead” and the Vice-President should take a relatively hands-off approach.
Having said that, L’Bekkari identifies his experience, with Bailrigg FM and LA1 TV, as a real strength of his campaign. Having been involved with student media in some way or another for over 7 years now, L’Bekkari knows ‘how these people work and how to foster good relationships with people.’
A big part of his campaign is implementing a technical advisor for student media: he envisions “a group of people really always willing to help; one of the previous station engineers still works at the university and is always willing to help where he can, so that’s already kind of started. With my experience, if I was in the role, I’d be here, should Bailrigg have a technical problem and no one could see it, I’d be able to use my personal experience to go down there. Also with LA1, because I’ve gained a lot of technical experience with LA1, I’d be there.”
Alongside his experience, a key part of his manifesto is making campaigns more effective and wide-reaching, particularly those relating to mental health issues. He focuses specifically on student service Nightline, which he feels can be expanded to include instant-messaging functionality: “Lots of people are a lot more relaxed or a lot more confident online so I feel like expanding Nightline to include some kind of texting would be really good.”
Getting students more involved in the LUSU’s activities is certainly an aim of his campaign, although, participation shouldn’t be forced upon Lancaster students: “I don’t think necessarily bribing them with pizza is a way of getting them to get involved with student politics genuinely. But if we focus on issues that matter to students, then they will be more interested.” To make sure that he focuses on the issues that affect students in Lancaster, L’Bekkari wants to make LUSU “super-accessible, super-open so that anybody, really anybody, can get involved.”
L’Bekkari believes that “having someone being caught in the middle is something that we’re kind of missing at the moment.” He’s hoping that this student media experience can land him the vice-president’s role in the election.
Trivia: L’Bekkari could name all four student media groups and the heads of all except Take 2 Cinema.