Interview with Cerys Evans: FTO President Candidate


As you may know, voting has opened up for Lancaster Students’ Union FTO candidates with voting closing Thursday 7th March at 6 PM. The four positions in this election cycle are Education Officer, Wellbeing Officer, Activities Officer, and President.

Earlier today I interviewed Cerys Evans, the current Student’s Union President, hoping to represent the Lancaster University’s student body for another year.

Welcome Week

Reflecting on this academic year’s Welcome Week, she remarked that ‘it was such a fantastic experience’. She expanded that it was a ‘great opportunity’, especially as she had only assumed the role as President a few months prior but acknowledged that after induction her potential contribution was naturally limited due to the time constraints. However, as planning for Welcome Week 2024 has already begun, she’s able to ‘feed into the ideas that make Welcome Week great’.

Through visiting other universities’ Fresher’s Fairs as part of the office and staff team in The Student’s Union, she’s gotten a good grasp of how Lancaster compares. ‘Our numbers were very good this year. We’ve had one of the best years on record for LUSU.’

Student Volunteers

Speaking on student volunteers feeling overlooked, ‘a topic [she’s] very passionate about’, she buzzed with ideas on how to better support them, like ‘ get [ting] student leadership positions put on the official transcript from the university’s side’, stating that ‘colleges are such an essential part of what we offer’. The official recognition can then be demonstrated on these leaders’ and volunteers’ CVs, helping them build a future beyond university. ‘My parents have shown me their transcripts from university […] It can be a massive celebratory thing forty years down the line.’

Improving Digital Systems

On the university’s digital systems, Cerys has selected two main areas to focus on: the room booking system and the LUSU website.

While the room booking system ‘works on the whole’, there have been last-minute cancellations which can become especially problematic during exam season. Furthermore, she pointed out that college bars can’t be booked using that system and some on-campus music rooms have entirely separate booking requirements.

To address these issues Cerys is advocating for a centralized system where all available spaces can be booked and if that’s not possible ‘having a guide from the Union’s side’ to assist students and societies who want to book a room.

Expanding on improving to LUSU website, she commends the improvement that it has made over the years, singing the praises of ‘the amazing team we have on staff here.’

She mentions wanting to make the events platforms easier for society execs to advertise on, using her experience to ‘empathise with how difficult and frustrating it can be’.

Increasing resources for colleges

In the last couple of months, she has started looking at how the Welcome Rep systems work in each college. To Cerys, communication is key to building links with college leaders to better address their wants and needs. From her conversation with the JCRs, she recognises that it would be useful to keep an inventory of decorations and supplies colleges have in their storage rooms, so other colleges can use and/or repurpose them. This would be more efficient and save colleges money in the long run. While this plan will mainly conducted as a digital document ‘with the option to sit down and chat about it’.

Engaging postgraduate students

‘We’ve recently had a reinvigorated postgraduate board’ and ‘We have a great [person] in the Postgraduate Mature Students Officer role’. She is also very keen to help the PG Board exec deliver their own events as often ‘postgraduates will by default assume they’re not invited to events’ as so much of the university culture around the UK is targeted towards young undergraduate students. She believes this is part of the reason why ‘we see such low turnout for events like elections’.

She also spotlights the necessity for Lancaster University (and all universities) to better accommodate the different life stages of their students. ‘There are some students who are parents […]’. On the theme of accommodations, she mentions how ‘disabled students and people from working-class backgrounds who have been working from their early teens’ feel separated from the ‘carefree seventeen-year-old [ideal]’ that a lot of universities promote.

She welcomes anyone who doesn’t feel represented by the events or has any issues to bring them up. ‘Come and chat with us at the Student’s Union.’

Including International Students

Following a conversation with the International Students Officer, she realised a lot of international students feel behind when it comes to knowing how systems work in the UK, an example of this is the LOAF Fund,  a fund available for those facing financial difficulty. While International students are eligible to apply and there are no visa implications for students who declare that they are in financial difficulty,  through having conversations with international students who come to Supper Club and the Pantry, it is her understanding that they are rejected at higher rates.

Another barrier is often the complicated language in financial schemes. To address this the Student Union works with the Advice Team and encourages others to seek their services.


One of the accomplishments Cerys is most proud of is securing a rent freeze for a small number of rooms on campus. ‘It’s the first time that the union has successfully negotiated with the university over accommodation in nearly ten years’. Alongside that, she also draws attention to funding for ‘the Supper Club and LUSU pantry’ as some of her proudest achievements.

She also shout-outs her headline-making appearance on BBC 1’s Question Time where she brought light to students struggling during the Cost-of-Living Crisis.

‘It’s been such a privilege to have Lancaster at the centre of [this] national conversation.’

To vote for Cerys Evans, check out LUSU’s website.

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