Friday, 30 April 2010

President Bellot.

Student elections today and as usual a cracking atmosphere across campus. It's also the final day of formal lectures so with many of the students off on exam leave after today the party started early.

The two big positions are the SU President and the Athletics Union post. This year with just two candidates for the SU much of the campaigning focused on the AU. Two candidates had made a serious bid for the post Kerry Boyd, who has managed to turn around the fortunes of the Rugby club with strong and dignified leadership and Jon Miller, who produced a highly inclusive manifesto which looked to attract votes from non-sports students as well as those involved in the extra-curricular sport. The other two candidates Nick Reynolds and Frank Goodwin alienated many students at hustings by describing the AU post as having a sports only focus - the truth is it's supposed to support the societies as much as the clubs.

Shortly after 9pm we were ushered into the Hall to hear the results. I found myself walking in with first year Matt Dennis - who'd been covering the count for the student newspaper.

'I know the result,' he said teasingly.

'Is it good news?' I asked.

'I'm not at liberty to say!' he replied, raising the tension a notch or two more.

The AU election was first. Nick and Frank were quickly eliminated over the first two rounds with Kerry slightly ahead. It was only on the third round of voting that under the transferable system Jon came through to pip it by less than ten votes. It was really hard luck on Kerry, but it was living proof of how important each vote can be.

Then came the SU election. The number of votes cast had risen, which I took as a positive sign for Siobhan - who was relying on a broad constituency of students to get past the winning post. Sam, by contrast, knew he was carrying a huge bloc of the sport students votes.

In the end Siobhan carried it by over 100. A fantastic victory for her and also a sign perhaps that the Union is diversifying. I think it's a hugely encouraging victory not least because both of the winning candidates have a real awareness of the wide student body, reducing the risk of partisan leadership and opening up the possibility of broadening the remit of the Union. If they work hard and stick to their promises it could be a very different place this time next year.

I'm also of course delighted that Siobhan, who's been a wonderful Drama St Mary's student for three years is staying on at the University College; bringing her smashing sense of humour, indefatigable work ethic and genuine empathy for her peers to this vital job. We're all really proud of her.

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