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Craig Lomas believes his JCR experience and passion for helping with welfare issues would make him an ideal candidate.
Lomas spent two years as Men’s Welfare Officer on Cartmel’s JCR where he said he learnt a lot about student welfare issues and running campaigns, and that representing students in this way is his main experience, as he believes he has a good understanding of what students require from the Union in terms of welfare.
On what he thinks is the most important issue that students currently face, he said that there is no single issue as students are such a diverse group of people, and “because what might be an issue for one group of people might not seem like an issue at all for another.”
Lomas said that he would consult with students to decide which areas of welfare needed to be prioritised, as he doesn’t want to go into the job set in his opinion of what students want without talking to them about it first.He highlights a focus on expanded communication with students through JCRs and student media to relay information and expand on campaigns.
On tackling the comparative lack of engagement of international students with welfare and the Students’ Union, he spoke about his experience of this as a JCR officer, because Cartmel has quite a high international student population. As well as speaking to them about how they can be supported he spoke of his plans to work with the liberation officers to reach out to them.
As there is debate about whether Nightline trains its student volunteers appropriately, Lomas made it clear that he believes Nightline should be promoted as a listening service rather than a mental health crisis line. He thinks that students use it to talk when they feel stressed or isolated instead of to find a solution to mental health issues. “I don’t think you need particular training just to listen to someone. I think all you need to give is your time, and I think Nightline’s great for that.”
His manifesto mentions lobbying the University for more mental health support, and he followed up by praising the work done by current VP David Whitlock, and said that he thinks it is important to continue working in a similar way so as not to continually leave projects unfinished.
Lomas believes that another strategy for tackling mental health issues on campus should be working with outside organizations such as Mind to bring more resources and information to the issue, mentioning how issues like drugs and alcohol impact mental health and are often overlooked.
He also mentioned introducing student initiatives for cycling, and that he would budget for this by looking at alternative ways of campaigning in general, in order to save money for more expensive green campaigns. For example, he said, “a lot of campaigns you don’t need to spend a huge amount on, they’re more about a presence and just getting people talking,” and referenced running campaigns in the past without spending any money on them.
Trivia: When asked, Lomas recalled three of the six liberation groups that are represented by Part Time Officers: BME, LGBTQ+, and Women+, though he did not know the officers.