Student hustings last night ready for the elections tomorrow to take over from Ben and Ian (see opposite) as SU and AU Presidents. There are just two candidates for the SU position this year. Siobhan Bellot, who's currently doing sterling work on the Ham House project and Sam Wise, who sits on the Student Experience committee.
There's a massive difference between the two candidates and their approaches to the role, but I'm not sure how much of that communicated in the raucous atmosphere of the Union Hall.
Siobhan pitched herself as a serious candidate prepared to work with the University body and manage the changes that a new principal will bring. She was at her best when answering questions relating to a strengthening of the student voice, improving the infra structure of representation and seeking a platform from which the SU might genuinely influence policy making. She lost it a bit at the end when her nerves overtook her, but in the main her message was strong and coherent.
Sam was more concerned with building on the work Ben has already done, but was short on detail, choosing instead to play a more general hand about representing everybody and making sure everybody's voice was heard. He was more emotive than Siobhan asking for the opportunity to give something back to the University he loved. I worried he was long on pleasing everybody and short on leadership.
One of the problems is that neither candidate had had time in the hall to sound check or rehearse their speech and this is something that we could offer. Just as in the general election, it'd be a shame if such an important post was decided by personality rather than policy. .
Mark is the Academic Director of the Drama Programmes at St Mary's University in Twickenham. He has worked internationally as a theatre director and educator for the past 15 years, focused mostly on youth, community, and conflict resolution work.
As a lecturer Mark taught at Goldsmiths College, Coventry University and was Head of Performing Arts at Canterbury College prior to joining St Mary’s in 2006.
His Professional directing credits include Henry V (One of US?) and Valhalla for RSC Education; The Wind in the Willows, Jack Cade, The Red, Red Robin for Sevenoaks Playhouse; Tender Souls, The Quality of Mercy and Playhouse Creatures for the Ambassadors Theatre group.
Mark is a director of subVERSE Theatre company for whom has directed fringe premieres of Chief, Dinnertime and OxfamC**t at Theatre 503.
Site specific work includes Purka and Shadow on Icelandic volcanoes and Novocento with students from the University of Genoa.