Interview: Mikey O’Donnell, candidate for USSA president

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

In a University with a student population the size of Strathclyde’s it is almost impossible to pick out just one issue, every student is an individual and each will have their own issues but that’s why I want to be President so I can tackle every one of these problems. For many it may be affordable Housing and rent in Halls and for them we need to make sure we have in place a safety net for them should they ever require it but whilst this a good thing to have, we should be exploring ways of eradicating the need for the safety net by ensuring fair rent prices in student accommodation for example, but then for other students it may be the Support Services they wish to access are not fit for purpose and that is my job as well as the VP Support’s to make sure we are lobbying to make the services being provided are acceptable to those who wish to use them.

There are other problems like ensuring any student requiring academic support knows who to contact or where to go to get that support or that anyone wishing to have a night out in Union can come and have fun safe in the knowledge they will be safe from any harassment whether that be verbal or physical. I want to ensure I am there to help tackle all of these problems and more as USSA President and ensure a great Student experience as our students transition through their time here at Strathclyde.


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

As VPE I have involved myself with tons of different areas of work both internally and externally, I sit on University Senate (where all academic matters are decided on) and have been called to speak at Senate on several occasions to present the student view. I also sit on several other committees most of which I sit on with the current President so I would provide some continuity next year if elected but mostly I have spent the last year representing the academic will of Strathclyde students across a range of issues at University wide level. Externally I also spoke at NUS Zones conference in November to help set the 3 priority election asks from students for the upcoming Scottish elections which includes more mental health support and a Summer support package for those struggling during the summer months so when it comes to representing students I feel I have shown how I have developed my credentials over the past year and shown what makes me extremely qualified to be the next USSA President.


3. What do you offer that the other candidates don’t?

A working knowledge of the Union and the University structures puts me at an advantage over a few of the candidates based on my position as VPE over the last year, but what gives me the edge as a candidate is really how I get stuck into everything I can when it comes to Students and the Student Movement my ability to balance ‘Sabb life’ as a member of the student exec and all that brings with being on the trustee board as well as being involved at local and national level with NUS Scotland and NUS UK, as well as being a Project Leader on a national Enhancement Themes Project on Student Transitions but most importantly always being available to students in one way or another shows a commitment and a work ethic across all these areas which I can be and I am very proud of and I would look to continue this level of enthusiasm should I be elected as USSA President.


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

Whilst we have all achieved great wins such as myself with getting exams to be before Christmas starting from next year, Kyle with improving student volunteering, the other guys with their work on the safe crossing and AMK with her phenomenal work in the Sports Union, we could have communicated our work to each other better as a team as well as broadcasting all our wins to the student population a bit better. We could talked about how our plans were coming along as a full exec more and this is something I will look to improve on with the team next year if I am elected President by the student population.


Watch Mikey’s presidential bid video here:’’ + encodeURIComponent(document.referrer) + ‘&default_keyword=’ + encodeURIComponent(document.title) + ”;