Post-election interview: Teddy Woodhouse, DoRep

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From left: Dan Palmer, DoES-elect; Teddy Woodhouse, DoRep-elect; Kelsey Gold, DoSDA-elect. Photo: Jake Threadgould.

Read our interviews with the other sabbatical-elects:

How are you doing post-elections week?

I’m doing good, I’ve slept I think about 24 hours over this past weekend, which is always a good start, and I’ve an essay due Friday, so back to the coursework I should have been doing. I was quite lucky in how my coursework was laid out for the semester, so I could dedicate time here and then dedicate time for coursework over the rest of the semester.

How do you think your campaign went then, now that it’s all over?

I think it went pretty well. We had a fun time, I mean there’s always the stress of running a campaign, but so many amazing people were willing to help out. I think that was the greatest lesson I took from the week – no matter who you are you can’t do it alone, it is about having amazing people on your side there to support you. Not just in terms of supporting you voting-wise, but support you mentally and psychologically and physically, in all senses of the word.

What were the highlights of the week for you?

I guess I can’t just say “the whole week”! I guess the highlight of the week for me and Tim, my campaign manager, [was] we would constantly watch the Facebook analytics for the page when they came out every day, and every day the number would rise more and more. It was just seeing the numbers gradually go up as people interacted with us or watched the video. And of course filming the dance video in School 3; check that off the bucket list.

What was the inspiration for that?

I just wanted to dance! No, what we wanted was a video that we could release Friday night, really early, that would be fun (and give me an excuse to dance in School 3).

Did it take long to film?

Actually only about 30 minutes. We just played through the song a few times and I kind of ran around the room and then we put it all together.

So people do all these different things for campaigning – flyers and banners and videos. Are there things you did that you thought were more effective than others? Are there things you would do differently?

I don’t really know – I haven’t compared to what other people found effective. We did a lot online… I think there are elements you need to check the box on: you have to be at the library at some point, you have to do flyers, you have to do some posters, you have to be at the North Haugh at least once a day. But beyond that we just wanted to have fun with it and be creative, and I think doing lots of small videos was helpful in that respect – they’re less time-consuming. And also just have fun.

How was election night for you?

Election night was crazy. It was also my boyfriend’s birthday so we were sort of celebrating everything at once, but it was a great time. I’m so excited to work with the Sabb team that we have – it was awesome to be elected in my own right but it was also awesome to see everyone else being elected as well. Seeing the team I get to work with next year made me all the more excited.

Were you confident going in?

No. I didn’t want to be confident about anything, I didn’t want to discount or predict anything of my own. It was just “go in, see what happens, and go with the flow.”

Were you happy with the other Sabbs that got elected?

I’m more than happy that everyone who was elected, is elected. I’m so keen to work with them.

You said there were certain things you have to do – being at the library, doing videos, and so forth. Given how well Jamie Ross did in the race for president, it seems that he has maybe exposed [the election] for almost a popularity contest… He didn’t run a campaign, he didn’t check those boxes, but he still did exceptionally well. What light do you think that puts the election process in?

I think it’s important to remember that while Jamie Ross did amazingly well, he didn’t win in the end. I think that’s worth noting because a majority of students who did vote came out for a candidate who ran a very solid campaign – and Chloe was everywhere, I remember seeing her throughout town the whole week. But I think Jamie’s candidacy – and I will say, he did run a campaign; posting on Facebook I would say is a campaign of sorts – he had fun with it, and he was engaging with students in a new way that I think we as the new Sabbs can take note of. Being cheeky and humorous – we might have to be a little more careful where we tread with that kind of subject matter – but I think looking for new ways to engage with students and not being afraid to poke fun at ourselves are two big lessons we can take from that.

OK. So what happens next, between now and the first of July?

For me it’s getting the dissertation written up … Finding accommodation is actually my biggest worry – I’ve only lived in halls for the past four years so this is the first time I’m in the St Andrews flat hunt. I think it will be good because I’ll now have the experience and truly be able to advocate for better housing in second year.

Will you be shadowing Amanda at all?

Yes, I’m meeting with her this week to iron out the details but usually it happens over the course of June, is when the handover process happens. I think we shadow for two weeks and then formally transition. I’ll be keen to get gradually more and more involved but also making sure to respect that Amanda has the end of her term as well… She is still the Director of Representation.

Have you thought any more about your policies and how you’re going to implement them?

Not quite yet. I think the next step for me with a lot of [my] policies is talking to people, whether it’s talking to Student Services about how we can do more about mental health, or talking to the library about moving 24-hour service into term time, or with the University about academic representation. I think it is about having conversations and setting those meetings up. One thing I hope I can achieve relatively quickly is getting Mean Girls added to the DVD collection in the library. That was one of the policies I never truly mentioned but it was always in my heart.

We’ll hold you to that one. Thanks.

Thanks!

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