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Elissa Griffiths is running for the post of Furness President in the upcoming bye-elections. In our interview, when asked why she wanted to run for the role, Elissa said she wanted to give back to the college that has done so much for her during her time at university and build on the work of the previous Presidents.
Previous to running for President, Elissa has also acted on the Furness JCR as the Socials and Events Officer before being elected as Vice President Socials and Events. As a result she has experience in organising and carrying out multiple college events – from 15 Hour Food and Bar Crawls, Trev Quiz and Trevaoke, to playing a part in the 2019 Furness Extrav and introducing her own fortnightly Time Out Tuesday evening sessions – allowing her to work closely with the entire JCR, college and Union staff and external companies. This is experience that she believes is key to successfully leading the JCR.
Through this experience and working closely with the current President of Furness JCR, Elissa feels this has given her a valuable insight into the role that will aid her in her campaign, but more importantly in acting as President.
In comparison to the other candidates running for Furness President, Elissa feels that what sets her apart is her experience as she has been on the JCR for a considerable amount of time. One aspect she focuses on is her experience in event planning under her role in Socials and Events, this is something she believes to be important for the President and as she has managed all manner of events she feels this experience will serve her well going into the next academic year and in the current climate.
One focus of her manifesto is to ensure both new and existing students have a similar experience of university. She feels that, particularly in Welcome Week, the emphasis is placed on new students and older years are set aside. Although it is important to welcome new students into the university environment, Elissa wants to make sure that there are events and platforms for all students to feel included.
One aspect Elissa stresses in our interview is the need for planning ahead; once again in regard to event planning, she mentions how, at times, events and details have been put together last minute which can affect the turnout of these events. Additionally, details of events can be changed several times before the event, she would like the first information on events to be correct, thus limiting confusion.
Mental health also forms a big aspect of Elissa’s campaign and she wants more clarity around welfare services and to ensure people get the help they need. This will include signposting all available support and welfare resources clearly and frequently. This will be aided by the new rep system which is currently being implemented to help with engaging old and new Furnessians. Should this be overwhelmed, she wants to work with organisations like Mind and Nightline to ensure people are still getting support.
When asked about how she would boost the visibility of Furness College on campus Elissa mentions that naturally as the smallest college on campus, this can cause some issues with visibility. Her plan to tackle this is making use of events and social media to boost the college presence and advertise how good Furness College can be. She wants to push that Furness are ‘small, but mighty.’
Finally, in our interview we discussed the effect of Covid-19 on the next academic year and thus by extension, the role of a College President, Elissa said the best plans going forward would be to plan for all eventualities over the summer and ensure they have a good online presence throughout.