The Big Picture, an OUSU slate, is opening up its campaign for application in order to increase transparency in this year’s election process. Slates, in which a number of applicants run together, are typically formed behind closed doors. The Big Picture is setting up a process which enables students from across the University to apply to join it.
Currently, The Big Picture consists of four members: Eden Tanner, Eden Bailey, Jessy Parker Humphreys and Marina Lambrakis. They are looking for between six to eight members to fill up the remaining positions. They told Cherwell, “Getting involved in OUSU shouldn’t be about who you know; it should be about how good you are for the job. We’re looking for fresh faces to join our team. We want to make sure that, as a team, we are as fully representative as we can be of the 22,300 students of this university, and in order to do that we want to get away from how elections have been conducted previously.
“If you feel strongly about an issue that affects students and you want to create real change in a supportive environment, OUSU is the best way to do that. We’re open to suggestions, and we’re looking for people to fill roles on the part-time executive, on the trustee board, and as NUS delegates.”
Eden Tanner, St John’s MCR President and candidate for OUSU President, elaborates on what the campaign team will focus on, stating, “I want to take this year as an opportunity to think about the big picture for our student union – how do we most eff ectively link up our common rooms and departments? How do we equip our common room representatives adequately to take on their colleges? How do we improve the whole student experience and make OUSU relevant to everyone? Who do you want at the only seat at the table with the University?”
Jessy Parker Humphreys, candidate for VP for Welfare and Equal Opportunities commented, “[We] need to open up OUSU. This comes up every year but OUSU still remains somewhat of a clique – and that doesn’t encourage equal opportunities. I’ve been lucky enough to have met people who helped me understand how important OUSU is and now we want to make sure that everyone gets this opportunity. I believe that openly looking for people to join us is the best way to widen OUSU’s reach across the university”.
Eden Bailey, candidate for VP for Access and Academic Aff airs, explained her reasons for running. “I’m running with The Big Picture because I will listen to students across the University, and speak up for them. I’m not afraid to have those difficult conversations, and tackle the big issues of access, diversity, and the impact of academic work on students’ welfare that the University are failing to address. We can deal with these many interconnected problems most effectively by working together, and harnessing the range of experiences of students at Oxford, which is why we want to openly invite students from across the University to get involved.”
Marina Lambrakis, candidate for VicePresident for Graduates, told Cherwell, “As a candidate for Vice-President (Graduates), I’m particularly interested in hearing from graduates, international students, and mature and part-time students. I’m excited to work with this team because graduates (who make up 47 per cent of the student population) deserve better from OUSU, and I know that we can deliver on this.”
Jack Matthews, Chair of OUSU Council, told Cherwell, “I welcome all innovative approaches in the OUSU elections – any new ideas to increase engagement and turnout are a good thing. Too many elections in previous years have been uncontested; our democracy is best served by competitive elections where as many minds as possible join the battle of ideas. The more who choose to stand, the better, and I would encourage everyone to give it a go; it’s a great experience!”