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George Nuttall is running for his second term as SU President. When asked about his motivations for re-running for this position, George says he feels he has some things left uncompleted this year. George believes that re-elected officers provide an important continuity to the leadership of the Union, which allows them to “push on big issues over the course of several years and form relationships with the students and staff within the university” – this is lost if the makeup of the FTO team changes every year.
One of the big things George says he wants to push for next year is “a bespoke, purpose-built Students’ Union building”. He explains that this is motivated by the fact that many universities – including Sheffield and Leeds – have a dedicated building for their respective Students’ Unions, equipped with cafes, shops and informal study spaces, as well as dedicated areas reserved for society use.
He did acknowledge that a building like this will likely set the university back millions’ of pounds and that Lancaster University does not currently have these sort of reserves. However, he claims that the university has promised that this project will go ahead for years now and has consistently failed to deliver. If re-elected, he wants to make sure that this is “set in concrete, with exact dates for when students can expect for this promise to be delivered”, even though he is doubtful that the actual building will be constructed in his time. In terms of the location of this building, George was unsure but suggested that somewhere on campus would be ideal – perhaps near Grizedale.
In his manifesto, George refers to the Union as being “at crisis point” and he believes that the construction of a separate Union building will go some way to addressing the wider problem of belonging and cultural issues within the Union itself. A separate SU building will provide more physical, as well as symbolic, independence from the university. George acknowledges that the “toxic culture” within the Students’ Union is a much deeper issue that won’t be solved overnight, but he hopes to make significant advances in changing this culture by also addressing the shortcomings of how the Board operates, as well as encouraging more regular interactions and engagement between society execs and FTOs. He would also like to make sure that the FTO team is more representative of the university population as a whole although he acknowledges that it is “very hard for 6 people to be representative of 15,000”.
He says his first presidency has been significantly dominated by the Save Our Sugarhouse campaign, which he is extremely proud of, but feels that this has come at the cost of addressing some other important issues, such as the BME attainment gap at Lancaster University, the lack of Hindu worship spaces on campus or the fact that international students are often forced to pay disproportionately high fees. He hopes to properly be able to address these issues if re-elected.