News Article

Introducing your new SU President and Vice President

No ratings yet. Log in to rate.

It’s that time of year again, where the Student Union welcomes a new President and Vice President (VP) into office. As you may already be aware, each new President and VP brings with them a new manifesto, detailing all the changes they would like to action during their time in office. 

This year, we would like to welcome your new SU President, Thomas Oatey, and your new SU Vice President, Lauren France. Here is a little bit of information about our new team members and their plans for the SU moving forward. They are here to represent you, support you and listen to you! 

So, let's find out a little bit more about our new SU members...

Thomas Oatey - SU President

Q: Tell us a bit about your time at Harper?

I have recently completed my degree in REALM which I started in 2015. During my time at Harper, I have been involved in many aspects of student life. In my second year  I first got involved with the Students’ Union where I held the role of RAG Chairman. Following my time as RAG Chair, I went on to carry out my placement with Kivells. Kivells are a firm of auctioneers and chartered surveyors based in Devon and Cornwall. After completing my placement, I returned to Harper to complete my studies. I spent the past two years being a volunteer student warden as part of the Student Services team as well as being involved with the Summer Ball Committee, which is an arm of the SU. 

Q: Why did you decide to run for Student President?

Since starting at Harper, I always wanted to get involved within the SU. I originally got involved in my second year as RAG Chair and I really enjoyed this time. I learned a lot of new skills and worked with some great people alongside raising money for good causes.

Following on from this I spent time on the Summer Ball Committee (SBC) in 2019 and 2020. During this time, I got to see a different insight into the SU and how things worked. As my time at Harper neared the end, I decided that I wanted to head up the organisation and give back to the SU. I have such fond memories of my time at Harper and a lot of them are due to the SU. Being its President would give me the opportunity to have my say on how the organisation is run as well as putting on events and offering opportunities to other which I so thoroughly enjoyed. 

Q: What do you hope to achieve throughout your time as President? 

Throughout my time as President, I want to work with Lauren (Vice President), and other members of SU staff to build an SU which students feel they can engage with and benefit from. My main manifesto points include redesigning the SU membership which effectively is a ticket for the Wednesday nights out and cheaper ball tickets. This is not the true meaning of an SU membership, and I want all students to understand and know they are part of the SU, regardless if they attend Wednesday nights or not. I am also looking to work on reducing the fees charged for joining our sports clubs as we are one of the most expensive in comparison to other Students’ Unions, and to improve the use of the SU bar facility and the Welly Inn to utilise them more throughout the week. Improving our advertising campaigns to increase engagement with students both on campus, but also on placement, is another aim.

Q: What part of your manifesto are you most excited to get started on?

During my time at Harper one thing that has always been in my mind is value for money. Year on year the cost of everything increases, this is something I have noticed in the SU particularly. In the past the option of an SU membership as increased in price year on year, but what increases in value are you receiving? One of the main points I raised in my manifesto is to replace the outdated and expensive SU membership which has led to students believing they are not an SU member if they do not pay the fee. This is in fact incorrect. All students are a member of the SU and the membership available online is simply a ticket to the bar in simple terms. 

I will be introducing the ‘True Blue Card’, this card will give holders discount in the SU shop Thomas and Royal on items such as course clothing as well as other stock. This card will also offer advance tickets to larger events put on by the SU and of course cheaper weekly tickets to the SU bar. This card is designed to get you more than just a night out in the bar as the SU is about so much more than that. 

Lauren France - SU Vice President

Q: Tell us a bit about your time at Harper?

Having started my studies in 2016, I am in the process of completing my Veterinary Nursing and Practice Management degree and have undertaken a variety of roles during my studies. I have been a Course Representative for the majority of my time at Harper as well as becoming a student member of the ‘Learning Teaching and Student Experience’ and ‘Success and Retention’ Committees in my final year. During my second year, I became Vice President of Harper Marrow and worked to set up the music society as we know it today, becoming Chairwoman of Harper Music. Following this, I completed my placement year at Victoria Vets in Derbyshire whilst gaining experience in a multitude of other veterinary practices and hospitals in my spare time. I followed this by volunteering with Pet Blood Bank UK during my final year. My final year has also seen me voted in as 2019-2020 Societies Officer and a member of the Summer Ball Committee. I then proceeded to win the election for Vice President earlier this year. 

Q: Why did you decide to run for Student President?

Throughout my time as a student at Harper, I have always loved getting involved with the SU and being a course representative. I really enjoyed being able to provide feedback and ensure the views of my course were heard. Although I’ve always enjoyed my roles in the SU, being a part of the Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee in my final year showed me how much decision making and evaluation goes on behind the scenes. I felt that running for Vice President would allow me to engage even further with these systems and ensure that under-represented courses feel increasingly represented. It has saddened me during my time at Harper to hear fellow animal students and students on other courses say that they don’t feel the SU represents them and their voice… so this is something I really want to change!

Q: What do you hope to achieve throughout your time as President? 

Through my Vice President role, I aim to work towards increasing student engagement and improve how we represent the students and course groups that may feel less represented by the Union.  A priority from my manifesto is to increase student representation and support with the inclusion of student representatives from each course area at LTSEC and SRC committees alongside including an SU representative at course committee meetings. I would like to improve student engagement by including a wider variety of speakers at Harper Forum and increasing the variety of events through Widening Participation. Other priorities in my manifesto include mental health development through trialing a buddy system, increasing publicity of mental health services, and increasing SU involvement with wellbeing initiatives. Furthermore, I would like to encourage sustainability investment with a zero-waste shop, the transition to more sustainable materials being used for SU events, and the creation of a Green Week on campus. The promotion of volunteering in the local area to develop relationships with the wider community and aid students in developing skills and contacts for their placement year is another suggestion raised in my manifesto. 

Q: What part of your manifesto are you most excited to get started on?

There are lots of parts to my manifesto that I’m super excited to start working on such as introducing a zero waste shop and forming a common room. At the moment though I’m most excited to get working with the course representatives and improve our structures to increase student representation. I believe it’s really important that we gain ideas, thoughts, and perspectives from a wide variety of students and make sure that everyone is aware of a point of contact to provide feedback. I’m looking forward to getting involved in course committees and working on the issues that matter most to students! 

We’re looking forward to seeing the new President and Vice President in action this year! If you have any questions we're sure they'd love to hear them, so feel free to send them an email to; or!


No comments have been made. Please log in to comment.