Naomi returns as President, Sam returns as VP Welfare and Community, and Solent Students’ Union welcomes Jasmine and Charlotte to the team. We spoke to the winners at last Friday’s election results night.
Naomi Oiku won in impressive fashion, picking up 998 votes, meaning there was no need to go to a second round, which is usually the case with the single transferable vote (STV) system used during the elections. She will remain as President when the next academic year begins this autumn.
She was understandably surprised by the emphatic nature of her victory. “I don’t know what to think, because I thought it was going to be a knockout round. I didn’t think I was going to win straight away. It was a shock.
“Thank you so much for taking the time to vote. I really appreciate it. I really do. It’s so good that so many students were active with voting. It’s raised more awareness about the Students’ Union and about getting involved, so that’s really good.”
Naomi wants to crack on with her campaign to reduce graduation fees and to bring in free gown hire and the use of student photographers during graduation week.
Sam Spencer will also return in his role as VP Welfare and Community. He was overcome by the support of Solent’s students. “Oh my god. That’s it. I wasn’t feeling that confident during the week, but seeing so many votes coming in, winning by such an amazing amount… I can’t believe I was ahead by over 600 votes in the first round.
“I really do appreciate all the votes and all the support I’ve had over the last week and the last year really. The students are my boss. I do everything for the students. I do everything to support the students. I don’t do any of it for myself, so it means a lot for people to realise that.”
Sam will focus on his plan to create international support networks, to get international students well-acquainted with the city of Southampton before Freshers Week in September.
Jasmine Barton is one of the two new faces of the Solent Students’ Union team. After seven rounds of voting she beat Billy White by 651 votes to 396 to claim the VP Employability and Engagement role. She was overjoyed at winning in what ended up being a drawn-out race. “I’m so proud of everyone. I just can’t believe I won. Thank you so much for having the time to sit down and vote and for having the confidence in me. I’m so happy.”
Jasmine will continue with her dissertation and finish uni in the summer, excited to find out what her new role will entail. On the night she received a tequila from outgoing VP Employability Hannah Mullarky. “A tradition,” Hannah told us.
Charlotte Winfield was the final member to join the SSU VP team, defeating Journalism course-mate Zara Hughes by 678 votes to 631 to become the new VP Education. She was overcome with emotion. “I’m in shock. Oh my god, I feel like crying. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to do the role and standing here, by my future office, is so exciting.
“I’m a course rep, but I don’t have much experience leading people outside of my course, so I was scared going up against someone from the student council and a student ambassador.
“The fact that my manifesto, and just me putting myself out there for the last week, has been enough to convince people that they know who I am, and that they can trust me, is just amazing.”
Charlotte wants to start her role by introducing academic trips, which she believes is important in making contacts with people working in the various industries linked with courses at the uni.
Outgoing VP Engagement Hannah Mullarky also won on the night, becoming one of this year’s NUS Delegates for Solent University. She was glad that she had one more chance to represent Solent students. “I’m so glad that I won. It’s so good. My term as VP Engagement is coming to an end, so it’s great to get one last chance to represent students at the National Conference.”
Hannah has been asked by the NUS President Toni Pearce to contribute to a policy on youth unemployment. She is sad to see her tenure as VP Engagement coming to an end, but will remember her time fondly. “I’ve loved representing students. I’ve loved spreading awareness about important topics, such as lad culture, and I’ve really enjoyed it.”