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Advocacy Town Hall Highlights: Cost of Living and Housing Crisis

Another set of candidates running for positions in the upcoming Students’ Association elections spoke at the second town hall meeting last night. Leading up to the vote on Tuesday, this is the second of three meetings open to the public, where candidates are faced with questions on advocacy issues and how they will serve the student body if elected.

Throughout the meeting, students were encouraged to send in questions before and during the panel. However, the majority of questions asked by the moderators were predetermined and candidates came prepared. A full list of representative candidates is available on the Student Association website along with a recording of the event.

Candidates: Will Christopher, Elijah Osvaldo Poetzinger, and Gokul Ramapriyan

Position: Association Chair

Will and Elijah spoke first, introducing themselves and their campaigns. Gokul was not present, but his prepared answers were read by the moderators.

Will, a fourth-year, said he is most concerned about housing, the cost of living, denouncing hate, increasing the accessibility of vegetarian and vegan food in halls, among other issues. As Association Chair, he hopes to decrease the alienation that exists between committee members and the student body. He said, “You shouldn’t have to have a friend on the SRC to know what’s going on and be a part of the community”.

Elijah has experience in student representation and activism, and said he has always felt “morally obliged” and “aspired to be in the civil service.” In this position, he said he will be committed to reminding students of the role of the SRC. Like Will and most candidates for SRC positions, his top issues concerning the community are the cost of living and housing crises, as well as the environmental responsibility of the SRC.

Gokul is president of the McIntosh Hall committee. As a second year, he hopes to implement accessibility and transparency on all levels of the student union, and represent diverse perspectives.

Candidates were asked about the frequency of SRC meetings. Unlike Will and Elijah, who think that meeting once every two months is effective, Gokul felt that this was an area that needed improvement. Will emphasized that “members need time away from the table”. In response, Elijah felt that the issues with SRC meetings lie not in its frequency, but that he wants to work on making the space friendlier, and more open, while not pushing for any big reforms.

All candidates want to increase social media presence of the SRC to publicise decisions being made. Elijah stressed the need for a website update.

All candidates felt that they could utilise the 1,000 pound budget for socials with the SRC, but not the entire fund.




Image: University of St Andrews Students' Association

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