Jamie Klein, Online Sports Editor, takes a look back at how the Athletic Union Presidential elections have gone in recent years…
Last year’s AU presidential election was a closely fought one, with no fewer than five candidates vying for the role. In the end, it was Alex Powell, a member of the women’s hockey and windsurfing clubs, who was given the nod by Exeter’s student voters.
“It was an incredible feeling when they announced the result. All the hard work and running up and down Stocker Road in a wetsuit had paid off,” enthused Powell upon discovering that she had won the AU presidency ahead of her four male rivals James Gibson, Brendan Gilson, Laurie Potter and David Rogal. “After the announcement of the results I just wanted to find the other candidates and congratulate them for running excellent campaigns and for making the week so competitive and memorable,” added Powell.
Several factors played into Powell’s hands during last year’s elections, chief among which was her manifesto, which was broken down into nine concise, easy-to-understand points. Where the majority of her rivals focused heavily on making the Sports Park membership better value for money, Powell covered a range of other issues, including a campaign for an indoor swimming pool on Streatham Campus and establishing female varsities. She also recognised the importance of using social media to help attract students to get more involved in the AU, whilst her catchy slogan of “Grab your gym towel, vote for Powell!” proved more effective than those of her competitors.
The 2012 election was a two-horse race between Joe Batten and Brett Richmond, the former winning the AU presidency thanks in part to his experience as AU executive treasurer and his promises to improve participation and AU-Guild links. Batten’s predecessor was Beth Hampson, who, much like Powell, was the only female candidate of a shortlist of five. Also like Powell, Hampson’s manifesto was wide-ranging and easy to understand, featuring innovative suggestions with regards to new sports activities for students to enjoy.
So previous elections suggest that simple manifestos, which cover all the issues related to sport and not just gym prices, will impress students looking to elect their next AU President.
What issues do YOU think the AU candidates need to address? Are there any long-standing problems from previous years that need to be resolved? Should they avoid some campaigning tactics used in the past?bookmark me