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Anna Kettle is running for VP Welfare. She said the thing that first made her think that she wanted the role was that when she was running for VP Activities last year she realised that she would be better suited to welfare, as “that’s the stuff I really care about”, and that’s where she thought she could make the most impact.
She gave her time as welfare officer for societies on campus and her debating experience as aspects of her life that have prepared her for the role. As inclusions officer for the North and Midlands Debating Alliance, she says this has given her experience on increasing inclusivity
Her unique selling point? Beyond the fact my hair is bright pink, she joked, “I’m realistic in what I can achieve. I’ve read through some of the other manifestos and they are fantastic, full of really great ideas. But unfortunately there isn’t a pot of money that goes on forever.”
Mental health was named as one of Anna’s key issues, describing it as an “epidemic problem on campuses” and needing a shift away from crisis support to long term assistance. She also wants to see more support for post-grad students, naming the absence of a “joined-up” policy of child leave as a glaring omission.
“I just want to make a change” she said when asked about what she would get out of the role. “If you aren’t willing to stand up and make a change you don’t get to stand up and complain.” Anna described the current system of part time officers and liberation groups as needing improvement, noting that the unpaid nature of being a part time officer meant that many feel undervalued.
On consent education she thinks that the university is making great progress, “better than nothing”, but that it is still inadequate, especially when “alcohol and other substances are involved.” One area Anna belives the university to fail in offering equal opportunities is on the financial side of society membership, with low-income background students locked out by high costs.
Anna believes Green Lancaster can help improve student well-being and hopes to expand the program. “The ability to go outside and work with people to help create something, whatever that is, is something all students should have the opportunity to do. People working there absolutely love it, they’re very dedicated to it and do fantastic work.” She expressed concern, however, that Green Lancaster is not as well promoted or available as many other activities, and hopes to change this.
She wants to improve support for academic representatives, and said that a training session before they attend their first meeting could be helpful, to improve confidence in public speaking and structure points effectively. She hopes this would ensure “one clear coherent list of grievances to take to a department, as opposed to just showing up and saying, ‘Yeah, I guess this is what we could do better.’” She described the recent Academic Conference as “absolutely fantastic”, and would like to see more events of this nature, which she believes could be maximised through including training opportunities.