Post-elections interview: Sarah Thompson, AU president-elect

Photo: Raphaël Benros

How were the celebrations last night?

They were good. I had a very well deserved party with my campaign team once the results had come in. I didn’t stay that long though, the lack of sleep over the past week caught up with me so I ended up in bed pretty quickly!

How did you find the campaign experience overall?

I can use so many words to describe it. It was really tiring but it was also fun, exciting and worthwhile. It was great to meet so many people over the course of the week and hear such a wide range of opinions about what they thought about the AU and the elections in general. I couldn’t have done it without my campaign team though. They were with me every step of the way, whether that was bringing me breakfast in bed or standing outside the library at 9 am helping sticker people. They were superstars and it was an excellent effort.

Have you got anything to say to the other candidates?

They were fantastic and really strong competition. Even when the poll and exit poll results came out they were still campaigning really hard which is a credit to them. I’d really like to chat with them though, they all had really good ideas and I’m sure they’ve also heard or been told concerns and thoughts that people have regarding the AU, so it would be useful to come together and hear what they have to say. It was great having a number of candidates for the role, it made the elections interesting.

Are you looking forward to working with the other sabbs?

I think we’ll make and excellent team. We managed to have a drink with each other last night which was good. I’ve spoken throughout the campaign about building links with the Association and the AU. We’ve a lot to learn from each other and can benefit from closer collaboration.

What are your plans before taking over?

Well, I do have a degree to finish, so it will be good to be getting back to that after a week away from it, though it will be a change being inside the library as opposed to being outside! I’ll be heading out to South Africa before coming back for graduation, specifically to work on the project that I helped set up with Stellenbosch University. Maintaining and expanding our links with them are further goals of mine.

You’ll presumably be speaking to Jess Walker on a regular basis before taking over?

I will, of course. Jess has been fantastic. I’ve got a really good relationship with her; she really helped in setting up the link with Stellenbosch. I’m off to Edinburgh today for the rugby, we have an alumni event before the Six Nations match, but I’ll try and speak to her on Monday.

Are you going to try and keep up rugby next year?

My mother is probably going to be really unhappy with me, but yes. I thought two weeks ago was my last game for the club so I’ll be delighted to be able to carry on with it.

Any final words?

I’d just like to thank everyone who was part of my campaign team, everyone who voted and everyone who was involved in all the elections across the board. There is always a great atmosphere during elections week, though I won’t miss being outside the library for all hours handing out stickers. To be honest, I’m really looking forward to getting back into a normal sleeping pattern!


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