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Siri Hampapur is running for Students’ Union President. She stated her main motivation for running for the role was to “make a change”, and to represent the union in a way that differed from the style of past presidents.
In the way of experience Siri drew on her current role as station manager of the LA1TV station and her role in creating and maintaining LA1’s culture as relevant to the role of President
She says that being the only candidate who hasn’t been a Student Union president in the past sets her apart. She said that she has a “fresh new mind” that can approach problems “from the outsider’s angle.” She states she would also be the first woman of colour to be President of the Union.
Siri didn’t want to presume she would know what issues would be her priority when she takes over, but that she would lobby for greater mental health funding to put the awareness raised by the “great” Grow Our Minds campaign into tangible progress.
The main thing she wants to change about the current Students’ Union is the culture, as it appears “a bit intimidating and a bit cliquey.” Approachability should be a new focus for the Union, as “people should be able to talk no matter who you are.”
To boost the visibility of the Union, Siri intends to do much more in the way of online campaigns and do more to “get her face out there”. Most importantly she says, she wants to boost transparency in the Students’ Union, with her manifesto highlighting the failure of the Union scrutiny panel to meet this year.
When asked how she would find out what students actually want from their Union, Siri she will do her best to “put herself out there”, claiming that many FTO’s stop communicating with students after the election campaign is over.
Discussing her ability to stand up to university management, she criticised the way that current Union Officers interact with university governance bodies, saying she found how “pally” the proceedings were “quite shocking”. Siri wants to be able to hold them effectively to account, and says she is not afraid of being blunt to “tell people how it is.”
In regard to her manifesto pledge to end the cliques that dominate student politics, Siri wants to increase the Union’s openness and interactivity. She described the Union as “closed off”, and wished to see greater online and personal interactions with the student body.
Both other candidates have been President previously, and SCAN asked Siri what she was able to bring to the table to counteract their experience. She acknowledged their familiarity with the Union, but says that she has other leadership experience from her societies. Siri finished the interview by stating: “I’m not going to fall into old habits, I’m not going to have old ways. I’m here for change.”