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Louisa Hinks interviewed Charli Clement & Lydia Moodycliffe, the LUSU Womens+ Part-Time Officers.
How have you both been finding lockdown and online learning?
Charli: I think this lockdown has been harder on my mental health. Online learning-wise, I think that as a disabled student the university is starting to pick up & captioning is getting better.
Lydia: I think this lockdown has been so much worse than the last two. I think online learning is going ok. But I’ve got five modules this term, so even in-person would be stressing.
Do either of you have any new hobbies or routines?
Lydia: I decided to take up hula hooping, which sounds really bizarre. But it’s really fun.
Charli: I tried to go back to reading every night before I go to bed instead of endlessly scrolling through TikTok.
Can you briefly explain what your role is?
Lydia: Our role is to represent anyone who identifies as a woman or non-binary, who feels they identify within our forum. We are there to ensure that it is making the right provisions for women+ students on campus.
Charli: We also co-chair the women+ forum. So, we have our weekly events. And we have our exec, including liberation and intersectionality officers, welfare. And we put out a lot of social media content, we now have a book club. So, it’s just a safe space for women+ to come and just have some fun and discuss issues.
What made you decide to run for the role? What made you decide to collaborate?
Charli: When I started it was just me and Gabbi on the exec. And as we got more people it just very quickly became like a family. So, when the by-election came up, I figured that as a disabled student, I probably didn’t have the capacity to run on my own. So that’s where Lydia and I came together.
Lydia: Because it had been such a stressful year doing it alone, when I decided to run again, I discussed it with Charli, and I said that I would be willing to run but I wouldn’t want to do it alone. I think just having someone there to lean on and make decisions with can make it a lot easier.
What are your main aims for the women’s+ forum? Are there any campaigns in particular that you are looking forward to?
Lydia: So, the campaign that I’m really passionate about is They Matter. There was a point where it got so much engagement. I really want to get off the ground again in terms of putting out guides to pronouns and stuff about people changing pronouns, and what to do if you accidentally mis-pronoun someone.
Charli: I think in terms of the forum itself; I feel that trying to grow it, continuing to make sure everyone knows that we’re there and that it’s a safe space that people can engage with.
Do you feel that the role has been changed by the pandemic? Has it changed anything that you would have liked to have done?
Lydia: So, we went into lockdown in Women’s history month, so it was such a bummer because there were so many events that we did already have planned. But it’s also been really difficult for Charli and me this year because we are writing our second manifesto now.
Charli: One of my campaigns has kind of taken a backseat because there’s been more within LUSU that I’ve focussed on: the hygiene boxes and the mental health crisis. And that’s absolutely fine because the other things are so important.
What has been a highlight for both of you since you were elected?
Charli: The Open Mike this week was a big highlight for me. There were so many people. It was a really empowering and lovely space. And I also think our she should run workshops were a big highlight.
Lydia: For me, it’s more generically how I’ve watched the forum grow and how big the exec is now. The idea that we are giving so many women+ a platform to do what they want to do and really excel is something that we really wanted to target in She Should Run. And to be a co-officer with Charli.