Association Elections: Meet your Student Council Member candidates

Meet the Student Member of Council candidates vying for your vote during this year's Student Leadership and Board of Trustees Elections.


We had a record number of nominations this year and want to thank each and every person who has been involved. During the inital nomination process, we asked students what they wanted to ask candidates to get a better idea of who they might vote for during this year’s Association Elections. 

This article introduces all candidates running for Student Member of Council, so keep your eyes peeled for more information on Faculty and Area Reps, Trustees, President and Deputy President candidates. You can check out the Vice President role questions here. 

Below are the answers candidates have given. You can see the
candidates’ full manifestoes on the election website

How will you ensure that the student voice is heard and kept in mind by the Open University’s Council while putting the University’s needs first?

Betshy Paola

The way I see it, there should not exist a conflict of interest here. You see, the voice of the student is a human right, and surely the university has it within its needs to promote a society where freedom of speech and expression are in effect. I believe the Open University has needs which are student-centred, so I do not see how ensuring that the student voice is heard and kept in mind would ever clash with the University’s needs.

Lucy Richardson

While the Council member has to put the university first, and occasionally this leads to difficult decisions. However on the whole, keeping the mission and values of the university in mind is vital in the decision making process. This means while a ‘step back’ is required keeping the student voice in mind is vital this ensures that when it is raised, it is correctly heard. During my time on the student leadership team, through collective responsibility in meetings I have had experience of this as well as when sitting on OU Governance committees.

Thomas Donegan

In my opinion, the student voice is absolutely something that needs to be heard, and I hope to be the one who can voice it on their behalf. I plan on doing so by ensuring that I would liaise with the fellow members of the team who will have been designated to represent the school, along with the faculty, and also by keeping in contact with the person or people concerned, updating them regularly on any progress.

What is your strategy when faced with difficult decisions and challenging situations?

Betshy Paola

I research, I reflect, I plan, and then I take action. I often feel that difficult decisions are difficult because the person might not have the necessary knowledge or information to make them. However, by researching more, reflecting more, planning more, and taking action; a person is equipped to set realistic expectations to best handle a long-term situation. Short term, challenging situations require training, empathy, and the ability to reflect. With these three components, anyone can be equipped to manage a situation.

Lucy Richardson

The first thing to do is to make sure that I understand the situation at hand. Read forums, consider both sides of a debate. Where possible, take some time and come up with a considered approach. When dealing with contentious or upsetting issues, write reply’s first in word and then copy them to post, and if I’m upset I try to leave reply’s overnight to allow myself to gain a fresh prospective. I also try to understand and remember that everyone has what’s best for the association or university at heart and keep that firmly in mind.

Thomas Donegan

I strongly believe that a problem is just something that hasn’t been spoken about. Therefore, talking about things is a crucial element towards solution, and problem solving. As the old saying goes, “A problem shared is a problem solved” and I believe that together, we may solve it.

You can see the
candidates’ full manifestoes on the election website


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The Open University Students Association exists to serve the interests of #OUstudents and ensure that the student voice is heard throughout the University. Find out more about what we do at oustudents.com

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