Incite has asked all candidates in this years SU elections what they want to change at Surrey.

In the running for VP Activity is Alex Long, Amy Obi, Ben Whitfield, James Barlow, Lea El Saadi, and Zac Minns.

On the zone dedicated to sports and societies, just one candidate wrote in to Incite.

James Barlow

Hey! My name’s James Barlow and I’m a 4th year Accounting & Finance student, Surrey Business School ‘Content Creator’, Dodgeballer, and the 2019/20 USSU Community Assistant. I’ve loved my time at the University of Surrey, and I’d truly love the opportunity to be your next VP Activity, to give back to the Activity Zone what it has given me. I’d like to use my experiences to ensure that the students, clubs, societies and Team Surrey can continue to positively develop and progress! I want everyone to feel safe and included whilst having as much fun as possible. It’s that simple.

May be an image of James Barlow, outdoors and text
James Barlow

“What would you like to change at Surrey?”

It’s not an easy question, because the SU is constantly developing and there’s so many different areas we COULD improve, even if they’re good already!

My campaign stems around 3 key principals of the Activity Zone: Participation, Wellbeing and Development.

Participation. BAME participation in sport must be addressed, as the current figures clearly show that there are major issues of race diversity within Team Surrey, and this is NOT okay. I’ve already begun hosting informal interviews and drafting plans to address and improve this. I’d also love to give everyone a day off Varsity, as students shouldn’t be penalised for supporting or playing for Surrey; Prof. Osama Khan has said this is a great idea and said it’s possible! As an older brother to two sisters (hey Kelly and Lucy!), Female participation in sport is incredibly important to me, and is something I’d like to continue improving- additional “Girls Who Can’s” are very important for this. Finally, I’d love to improve Get Involved week, and make it realise it’s potential as a week that focuses on the freshers of a club or society, to boost retainment and enjoyment!

Wellbeing. Something that’s not taught pre-Uni is how tough it can be for your mental health- especially in second year. I’ve battled my own demons at university, and I was diagnosed with PTSD at the end of my 2nd year; mental health is a topic very close to my heart. Dodgeball and the USSU truly dragged me through some of my lowest times and I’d like to give back the energy they gave me. Firstly, I want to de-stigmatise mental health in clubs and societies, to the point that it’s like a physical injury. A broken ankle gets attention and continuous support, whereas someone struggling mentally is often forgotten about or left without any support- this must change, and I’ll collaborate with the Support Zone to achieve this! Secondly, I’d like to use Wellbeing and Inclusion champions and/or volunteers to establish post-session group walk schemes to boost the safety of those walking to and from club or society sessions.

Development. I’d like to improve the marketing behind the Activity Zone to reach more students and advertise the amazing clubs and societies we have here at Surrey; I’d like to utilise the @UniOfSurrey social media channels more, and this has been given a thumbs up! Finally, I’d like to highlight the Employable Me campaign and teach committee members more skills that are useful for their respective roles, and how they can then use show these skills on their CV!

These are just 8 things on my manifesto that I’d love to change at Surrey! I’d also like to banish the We Can campaign from campus (let’s face it, it’s awful lol), but that’s a battle for another day.

Please spare a minute to check out my Instagram, @Barlow4VPActivity, and please remember to Vote [1] Barlow! Together, lets #RaiseTheBar at Surrey… good luck to everyone running!

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