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In defence of the Sabb


Chris Rootkin, VP Welfare 2013-14 discusses the reign of the Sabb, and how achievable it is to deliver all your manifesto points.


Sabbs are ultimately considered a success or a failure based on their ability to achieve their manifesto, and quite rightly so. But how easy is it to tick off all of those boxes?


“Every year we get students who want to move mountains, but this is difficult to achieve”


It partly comes down to the research that you put in leading up to your election campaign. Every year we get candidates who want to come in and move mountains, but in reality this is very difficult to achieve. Having spent a year as one of the Vice Presidents, I now understand exactly what can and can’t be achieved in a year at the helm.

However, when candidates run for election, often knowing very little about the Guild/University relationship, how are they supposed to know that it will be nigh on impossible to get a free cash point put in place at the Lemmy?

With the right preparation and research, candidates can find out what change their peers want to see, how much of that is achievable within one year, what will take a lot longer, and what is not achievable at all.

One of the most important things to remember is a lot of what is taking place in the Guild at the moment was started years ago by previous Sabb teams. Likewise, a lot of what Sabbs start now will be completed in years to come. Imogen Sanders (VP Academic Affairs 12-13) started what is now a very successful Research Uncovered, but in her year it was just the beginning and may not have been seen as a huge manifesto win.

Mental health campaigning was on my manifesto and is a goal that might never be complete. Shall I say I succeeded in bringing the issue into the spotlight, or failed because the waiting times at Wellbeing are still too long?


“Completing something on your manifesto in your 13 months of office is something to applaud”


Completing something on your manifesto in your 13 months in office is something to applaud and it is possible. But more often than not, student led change takes more than one year. Sabbs work flat out to represent students’ best interests, so if the results are not always obvious straight away, this is not a failure.

Of course Sabbs deserve to be scrutinised on their manifestos, and it’s the students’ responsibility to hold the Sabbs to account, but often the sign of a really successful officer will be the legacy they leave, as well as their in year successes.


Chris Rootkin, VP Welfare 2013-14

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