SRC President interview: Lauren Lancaster

Lancaster discusses her credentials, politics and plan for the SRC.

With the 2021 Students’ Representative Council election in full swing, Honi editors Deaundre Espejo and Alice Trenoweth-Creswell sit down with SRC presidential candidate Lauren Lancaster to discuss her credentials, politics, and plans for the union.

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Alice Trenoweth-Creswell (ATC): What is your name, degree, year, campaign colour and brand you’re running on?

Lauren Lancaster (LL): Hi, I’m Lauren Lancaster, I am a second year Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Law and majoring in Political Economy. The campaign I’m running under is Grassroots and our colour is green.

Deaundre Espejo (DE): And how are you feeling about your campaign so far?

LL: I’m feeling really excited. I’m super proud of the activists and passionate people who have come forward to lead tickets for Grassroots and Switch because we’ve formed a really effective coalition of experienced activists and passionate young people. And, yeah, we’re feeling really strong, everyone’s super excited. It’s a shame we can’t be together to campaign in person. But we’re making do. So looking forward to making next year really full of, like, life and passion and activism. 

DE: What are your motivations for running for SRC president? 

LL: Yeah. So I fundamentally — I believe in the power of progressive and, like, student-led resistance. You know, being an Environment Officer this year, and a Councillor and a General Executive. I feel ready and inspired by all the work that I’ve seen during my time at Uni through the SRC. And I want to continue that to make sure we have, like, a really left-wing, feminist, environmental and staunchly pro-student union next year. I think my independence insofar as I’m not beholden to, you know, political parties, and I have a really pluralist group of people around me. It means that I’m not beholden to, you know, groups apart from students, and I think that gives me the clearest and best access to represent them. I’ve looked up personally to, like, the President and the Council for a long time, you know, my grandma used to ramble Honi Soit parties when she went to uni. And like, our family friends, like, tell me about Anthony Albanese, you know, protesting for the formation of the Political Economy school. So it’s always been something that I really looked up to. It’s such an important role. And I want student money to be spent in the right places, you know, fighting for our interests, producing excellent student journalism, making sure our collective is really strong. And I also think President is a key role that has access to a lot of decision-makers. So it’s important that our President knows the SRC really well, and is demonstrably left-wing, and has the activist background and the trust of activists to assure students that we won’t take things rolling over. And, you know, last of all, I think next year is a flashpoint. You know, we’ve got the federal election, we have the climate crisis, reaching, you know, like a very sort of terrifying crescendo. And we’ve got the staff Enterprise Bargaining fightback. So that’s going to demand a lot of the students at USyd, and it places a lot of pressure on the Council and their representatives to, you know, stand up for us. And I think I’m the only candidate in this race who has the long-term and established experience fighting for students and women and queer people and the environment. And I’m really excited to keep doing that next year.

ATC: During Semester One, and in the early weeks of the semester break you planned to run for Honi Soit as an editor. What made you change your mind? Was running for President your second choice?

LL: Um, so I think that I initially thought that the way that I could kind of serve the Left and get the most kind of left-wing wins was potentially the start of this year through Honi, because, you know, you guys have exposed a lot of like COVID austerity measures and staff mistreatment, and really massive scandals in the Uni this year. And that was really impressive to me. But then I think that I realised that actually what I can do for students best is to run for President because I think that the Council is strongest when both Honi Soit and its executive, you know, are effectively holding our leaders to account, making sure that we have a really radical and passionate and diverse group of students representing us. And that is why I decided to run.

ATC: In less than two minutes, what makes you qualified to be SRC President?

LL: All right, so three kinds of things. The first is activist experience. So, as I’ve said, I have been one of the co-Office Bearers for the Environment Collective this year, and I’ve convened the Collective, we’ve seen a massive explosion in activism across the campus and I have taken great joy in helping make that happen. I am also, you know, we like organised a Student General Meeting, which took a lot of administrative manoeuvring, we got so many people out for the Climate Strike. And I’ve also been extensively involved over the last few years in education activism, like travelling down to Canberra to protest the education bills, organising with the Education Offices, and EAG (Education Action Group) on campus, in terms of the Med Sci fight, TAPS (Theatre and Performance Studies), SLAM (School of Literature, Art and Media), and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences cuts right now. And, of course, 12-week semesters last Sem, which we did win very excitingly. I’m also a General Executive. So what that means is that I’m one of five Councillors who are elected to oversee the budgetary and like administrative side of the SRC, I’ve got a really good working relationship with staff because of that, and I know the SRC better than I would care to admit, and I’ve spent more time in the Wentworth building than I can really believe. I also have been extensively involved in publications, doing art and writing for Honi Soit, and some Enviro publications. And as a Councillor, you know, I’ve passed a lot of motions and spoken to a lot of things on Council and what that has shown me and given me, I think, is real passion for, and ability to listen to students, represent their interests and fight for them, both on the streets, and to management. So that’s why I think I’m qualified.

DE: You mentioned your experience as an SRC Environment Officer and Councillor and member of the General Executive. I mean, a lot of these achievements, arguably a result of collective rather than individual action. So can you kind of speak to what you’ve personally achieved or individually achieved in these roles that would equip you to leave the SRC?

LL: Yep. So I think that insofar as the SRC itself is an organisation that thrives on collective action, I don’t think that it’s, you know, in the nature of any of our positions to take full credit, individually for successes that the SRC has had. You know, it’s through a meeting of activists’ energy, and, you know, executive lobbying through the President and the VP and Gen Exec, that we are able to, you know, both have leveraging power, and place activist rage behind, you know, the campaigns that we want to achieve. In terms of real highlights, for me personally, I co-chaired the Student General Meeting for the Climate Strike, which, you know, is just the sort of visible part of that massive endeavour, thanks to many, many Enviro collective members. But that was a real joy. And it showed me, you know, the level of passion that people on campus have for left-wing politics. And personally, I’ve also been really involved as the proxy for the President to a number of academic board committees, to UE Student Life. And recently, I was just appointed the representative for the Research Education Committee. You know, individually, those positions need to be filled by passionate student activists who are going to fight and yeah, I wouldn’t want to take credit personally for the successes of the Left that you said, but I think that there are many of them, and I’m excited to continue that legacy next year.

ATC: Do you think there are any concerns about experience and maturity as a second-year running for SRC president?

LL: Um, no, I don’t think there are. I have the same SRC-based CV as Swapnik did when he came into the role as an unpaid Office Bearer, General Executive and Councillor. There have also been many second into third-year, presidents in the past who have, you know, done well or done poorly, but I don’t think that the year in which you are is, you know, any kind of indicator of your success. What I do think is an indicator of your success is the existing relationships that the President has on campus with both activists, the student general body, and the staff of the SRC, and to an extent, management, but I think just being you know, having some sort of, like, awareness of them is first. And I think that I have those relationships. I’ve fostered them over the last few years. And I look forward to using all my connections and my experience to really realise change, and to engage with all students on campus, regardless of where they are, what they study, and what they want from the SRC.

ATC: So speaking about those relationships, what relationships would you bring to the role of President? 

LL: Like, can you just rephrase that? 

ATC: Which of those specific relationships are you, like, most valuing, and specifically, bringing into a role that you feel like you’ve really strongly cultivated?

LL: Yeah, cool. Um, so I have a lot of existing relationships with various faculties, society executives. And I think that one of the areas that I would really like to see strengthened next year is the Faculty Society Committee with the SRC Executive. So due to various kinds of issues this year, that has kind of not happened as much, mainly because of COVID. But as soon as I get into office, that is one way that I really want to make sure that individual faculties and also campuses can be engaged most effectively. You know, like we hear that students at the Conservatorium have certain struggles. And then we also hear things like nursing, and nursing students being forced to do their placements, despite, you know, there being an unprecedented public health crisis going on, and they’re not getting adequate kinds of protection. As young health workers, we also hear things about students out of Camden, being told that they should just figure out carpooling in the middle of a pandemic, which is not acceptable. And then we’ve got a bunch of different groups who have been dissolved into main campus like Sydney College of the Arts. So I have a lot of existing relationships with people in all of those places, and to varying degrees. I’m really looking forward to working with the passionate people who do stand up for students there to make sure that the SRC can provide its services to the best of its ability and also expand things like the Food Hub, and our caseworker, campus-specific caseworkers to all students. Yeah. So that’s, I suppose, how I would answer that question.

DE: The SRC President involves a significant amount of bureaucratic work, they sit on various University committees, proofread Honi Soit every week and deal with the day-to-day running of the SRC and everyone it employs. So you haven’t had a paid Office Bearer role, as you said, but do you think that you have the policy experience and the institutional knowledge for the more admin side of the role?

LL: Yeah, I do. As I said before, I kind of rattled off a list of things the Enviro Collective has achieved this year. We have seen substantial growth in our membership over the last year and a half. And we have led a number of events like the SGM, and massive strike organising, which have involved a lot of administrative and bureaucratic work to make them happen. The SGM is a constitutionally mandated thing that has to win, you guys know. But that gave me real insight into, like, the administrative annals of the SRC, I suppose. I think also, that role involves an extensive amount of liaising with members of University management, as well as you know, federal politicians and academics for forums or events that we’re holding. So I’m really confident in my ability there. I also think more widely, I’ve been in the workforce since I was 14. I have managed the debating programmes in a number of schools. And I consider myself someone who thrives in a high-stress… I don’t know, turnover?  No, not high turnover. I thrive in a high-stress environment, I always have. And, you know, I relish the ability to get things done. And I’m going to do that because I think that students deserve no less next year.

ATC: Being president is a huge commitment. And several past presidents have said it’s equivalent to a full-time job. Will you commit to deferring University if you win?

LL: Yeah, so my plan is to study part-time and do two subjects. That’s what Swapnik is doing right now. I’ve already cut back this semester, a little bit. And it’s been excellent. So yeah, I’m going to cut back further. And I think that insofar as there are a lot of really promising people running for Council, and a lot of people who I’m really, really proud of running for Council, I think that I’m going to try and strike a balance between taking everything on myself and then also delegating and bringing new people up. Because I think that the SRC does thrive when we work together. And it means that we can continue the projects that we’ve started in the most effective way, if one person doesn’t take all of it on themselves.

ATC: In your candidate statement, you say that you are a progressive candidate that will continue the SRC’s left-wing legacy. How do you define progressive and left-wing?

LL: Yeah, cool. Most fundamentally, I think that we need to understand that the progressive student body is one that values and celebrates student-led resistance. It’s not one that merely lobbies management, it’s one that fights back. It is one that recognises that we need to have both an activist SRC, and activists in the boardroom fighting management on both ends, because I think in a world where — I suppose this is my politics — I believe in student resistance, and democracy, and representation, I think that, like, in a world where we only do activism, and no lobbying, that’s a world in which like, Uni management has very little buy in to listen to us. And, you know, we have little ability to kind of change the way that USyd runs, you know, to a world, like, in which 12 weeks semesters get passed, and that kind of thing. But the flipside is a world where we just do really no activism. And I think that my politics rejects that, you know, here, our position to like pressuring the Uni is very poor. And we’re operating from a bad bargaining position. So I suppose it’s about putting us in a really strong bargaining position, making sure that students have all the opportunities to engage in activism that they would like, but that first and foremost, the SRC as a service provider for students, in terms of caseworkers, legal service, our Food Hub, and ongoing education campaigns to make sure that your studies are better. My politics is concerned about making sure those things are done by the best people with the most experience.

DE: There’s a bit of a contrast here, in my opinion, of the Enviro collective’s politics of anti-capitalism and anti-colonialism which you’ve kind of omitted. Is there a reason why you don’t use those kinds of terms that have been used in the past? And is it accurate to say that you are positioning yourself as a radical candidate?

LL: Um, yeah, well, I think that, in terms of that question, my work speaks for itself. The Enviro collective has done an extensive amount of organising in pursuit of anti-capitalist and anti-colonial politics, particularly relating to our recent work with the Kurri Kurri gas expansion, and resisting that. I think that also my entire campaign, insofar as we have not done any deals with young Liberals. We have stayed true to our activist roots and the legacy established by Grassroots in previous years. That also speaks for itself. And you know, students respond very strongly and with a lot of passion to a clear left-wing student mandate. And there’s no way that I would ever falter on realising those goals, because I think that we have such an opportunity next year to listen to students, to fight for them, to strengthen the SRC and make sure that staff are treated well. And that we can support, you know, wider Ini staff in the fight back and things like that. And so, you know, I’m really excited to do those things. And clearly, that is all underscored by a very strong and very radical left-wing agenda.

ATC: So you’re running as a Grassroots presidential candidate, you are also in Switch. Does your faction bind your decisions?

LL: No, we’re a non-binding pluralist faction. Well, coalition of factions.

ATC: Well, even if these factions are non-binding, it’s clear that Grassroots and Switch Councillors, for example, vote in blocks in council. Should students be concerned about the influence of your faction on your decisions?

LL: Absolutely not. In terms of voting on councils, we pride ourselves on clear non-binding pluralism, because we respect our members ability to come together, up for student causes for the environment, for women, for queer people, for anti-racist politics. But we don’t mandate a particular approach or theory of change as to how those things are achieved. We just know what we want for students and that is the best student experience and the most just student experience. In terms of how that translates into my presidency, what Grassroots and Switch has given me is a strong and diverse group of people and support network, that make me really confident that I have so many wonderful and intelligent and passionate people to fall back on and to consult. But, as I’ve said in my statement, and as I have been saying, on the campaign trail, this is for me about communication and being open and transparent. And, you know, I think that we do that, and we grow stronger by being, you know, a politically diverse group and a politically diverse Council.

DE: Speaking of theories of change, as you mentioned, there has been a debate amongst the Left on campus over Switchroots’ involvement in student elections, particularly exacerbated by this year’s USU elections. Critics say that very little can be achieved in these positions. and that resources should be focused on campaigns instead. How would you respond to these criticisms?

LL: I think that the different electoral and political strategies of Grassroots and Switch are reflected in our very structure and the nature of the coalition. So I don’t really think there’s much else to say there. I think that the left-wing people on USU board have been, you know, doing many promising things. And I look forward to seeing where that goes next year. But of course, the SRC maintains a relationship with the USU that is not only collaborative, but we’ll also call them out. things, you know, if the circumstances demanded.

DE: Do you think that kind of sitting on University committees and negotiating with management through those channels compromises on left-wing values?

LL: No, I don’t. As I said, a little earlier, in a world where we only do activism on the streets and we don’t do lobbying, university management don’t really have any kind of incentive or buy-in to listen to us in a substantive way. And we, unfortunately, don’t have as much of an ability to change things in a way that USyd is run. What executive membership on those committees actually looks like is access to the very people whose names you read at the front of the handbook every year. And that is really important, you know, because when we only do activism on the streets, that’s like, that’s a world in which 12-week semesters pass, where architecture and research and engineering students are screwed over because their courses where they have to, you know, design amazing things are crushed in 12 weeks, and where staff are mistreated because they aren’t able to get everything that they need to do done in time. And, you know, wage theft would be rampant, and that’s where, like, courses and schools are dissolved without any recourse. So I think that… sorry, could you repeat the start of the question again? I kind of got lost.

DE: Just that do you think that sitting on University committees and negotiating with management through those channels compromises your left-wing values?

LL: Oh, yeah, no, I don’t. You know, I think that adding on to what I just said, the executive, the SRC president, has to be a person who is staunch and activist because they are, you know, one of the lines of communication between our activist collectives and the general student body, and management. So, it’s really important to have an activist in the boardroom.

ATC: Almost every year, there’s tension between presidential candidates who want a more activist-focussed SRC and a more services-focussed SRC. in addition to your emphasis on activism, you also mentioned a few services in your policy statement. If you had to choose, should the SRC lean more towards activism or services?

LL: I don’t think you can dichotomise the service provision of the SRC from its activist core. Our ability to provide effective services like casework and legal and the Food Hub — which, I note, was established by a staunchly activist Grassroots president and formalised by another staunchly activist Grassroots president — those services are made better when we have someone in the presidency, who has come up through the collectives knows how they, as part of the SRC structure, feed into it’s amazing and radical culture. And then that makes them the best at being able to provide services to students, because I think left-wing people on campus are deeply compassionate and deeply motivated to provide the best services for students. I don’t think it’s true that they exist separate from each other — they make each other stronger. And it is a fact that the people who get involved in the SRC’s collectives and in its council in their capacity as, you know, highly political people and activists, they make the best people to run the SRC. And they make those services the best.

DE: In previous years, turnout for SRC elections has been as low as 5% of eligible voters. And several international students are still stuck overseas and not as connected to the SRC. At the same time, we’ve been seeing a number of USyd Rants complaining about where SSAF fees are going. So how would you increase student engagement with the SRC next year?

LL: Yeah, cool. So I think that one of the cornerstones of my approach for the campaign is building the SRC’s image amongst students and making sure that every single person, every single undergrad, who is able to access our services, has the knowledge and the ability to do so. So, a couple of ways in which I want to make that happen, which I think will then feed into higher voter turnout and just more interest in the SRC. So the first is, in particular, revitalising the international students’ collective. We have some amazing Grassroots ticket heads, who are super keen to get this back up and running. It’s sort of been defunct for a while, but I think what this year has shown us particularly in terms of the strife faced by offshore students and the fact they’re getting charged so much for a really subpar education experience and little to no, you know, extra curricular engagement. What that has shown is that we need a strong international students contingent within the SRC to make sure that their needs are being represented to Council most effectively. And I’m really excited to work with the international student hub to continue a bunch of our campaigns into concession Opal cards, and better rental and tenancy agreements, because on-campus housing is often really difficult for them. I also want to immediately, as I said before, improve faculty consultation. So international student collective, increasing faculty consultation, I’m going to make the chat, I’m going to reach out to people who I haven’t already reached out to, because I think that faculty societies in particular, obviously have a lot of insight into on-the-ground student experience, and having a really regular consultation with them, is going to see really good results. That would extend also to people involved in student associations and the guild, at Cumberland and at the Con, and, you know, Camden, Westmead, Parramatta. I think that there’s real scope to make sure that we are hearing about student concerns before they reach USyd Rants, and doing the most that we can to advocate for everyone going into next year. And that is where I will leave that answer.

ATC: The past two years have pushed universities to a critical state with widespread attacks from the government and university management in the form of austerity measures. How will you turn the tide? What will you do for education if elected as SRC President?

LL: So next year is going to be pretty singular in terms of the conditions in which my presidency will hopefully go ahead. You know, by all accounts, we’ll be coming out of COVID restrictions. And we have a federal election, and the staff enterprise bargaining, and I’m sure many more FASS and school-based cuts will also be on the agenda. So because of that, we really do need someone who has extensive education activism experience already, and familiarity with the various University bodies that try and push through a lot of those changes. My time on the committees, which you can see in my CV, but, you know, various Academic Board and Senate Committees has really given me insight into how we can best be advocates for students there. Because these cuts don’t just happen. They’re a result of people voting on things in the Senate, and Academic Board. So they can be stopped with effective work and effective advocacy. In terms of the federal election, I think it’s really important to note that I am a fully independent candidate who is not beholden to one of the youth wings of either of the major political parties. I’m running for election next year because fundamentally, I think that Labor and the Liberals are going to put up policies that shortchange young people, that shortchange the environment and that undermine tertiary education, because that is the pattern of behaviour that we’ve been seeing from federal and state governments. And so, I don’t think that we can rely on the youth representatives of those parties, on our university campuses, to actually act in our best interests as student leaders. I’m accountable to the student body and that is who I serve, you know, So I’m confident that I’m the best person to lead the education movement at USyd alongside our amazing Office Bearers and Action Group members next year,

ATC: Particularly, as you’re mentioning, in the lead up to the federal election, do you think that your opponent Matthew Carter is beholden to his faction and the ALP, or will be?

LL: Yeah, that’s the structure of Unity. We’ve seen Student Unity around the country mount pretty reprehensible attacks on the very structure of student unionism. We only need to look at LaTrobe, which just under Student Unity dissolved their Student Union, you know, to form some undemocratically elected board of people who don’t stand up to the vast austerity measures that are being put through there right now. And the staff have been cut. Yeah, fundamentally, the nature of young Labor Right, the young Liberals, with whom they’re doing deals, is one that funnels them to certain positions later on. And it’s not one that has student interests, and progressive politics at heart. So I consider myself to be far more independent than anyone who is a member of Student Unity could claim to be.

DE: Moving on from politics to student welfare. Obviously, students have been left behind by the current economic crisis with many losing work, struggling to pay rent and you know, struggling to put food on the table. In your policy document, you suggest a number of dot-point policies around student welfare, including demanding rent reductions for all on-campus housing, building welfare campaigns for stable and affordable living conditions, and streamlining access to caseworkers, the Legal Service and FoodHub. While these are admirable policies, they’re pretty sparse on details and implementation. So what are the steps that you will kind of take to improve student welfare in 2022?

LL: Okay, so I’m going to focus on three main things that you mentioned there, the first being legal service, the second being student welfare, and the third being the food hub. Actually, let’s make it four — I’ll talk about the caseworkers. So, first on the legal service, I have already been involved with the President and our principal lawyer to recruit, as part of the selection committee, more lawyers into the SRC legal service. In terms of what that’s going to look like next year, it means more people working for us, and hopefully, a more collaborative relationship with the Sydney Law Society, and faculty societies, as to making sure that our image in terms of what legal advice students can access for free at the SRC is made really well known in all Welcoming material and inductions into faculties and schools. My dream there is to expand the USyd legal service to resemble something like the Redfern community legal service, and also work with legal bodies in the community to make sure that students can access the best advocacy when they face, like, migration, criminal, civil, tenancy issues. In terms of student welfare, the SRC president is obviously a conduit and liaison to work with local, state and federal politicians, on housing campaigns, welfare campaigns, campaigns for young people. So it’s important that those relationships are maintained, particularly when we look at the local member for Newtown and all the great work we’ve been doing with her. That is something that we need to continue. In particular, I note the housing crisis in Glebe, and a bunch of students who are working on on-campus housing protests at the moment. So I’m going to be working closely with them and with politicians to make sure that that’s all on the agenda next year. You know, closer to the ground, I suppose, our food hub has been an excellent service that students have been able to access. And I think that that ties in more widely with, like the image and availabilities of information about the SRC, because having those hampers is incredible, we will have more of them, they have attracted, you know, like the admiration of politicians and have been a great resource for students who are struggling to feed and care for themselves. So clearly, that should be continued and formalised and expanded. But that must go hand-in-hand with better SRC social media and website material, more multilingual content, so that everyone knows and is able to access the amazing services that we do have on offer. We don’t suffer from some sort of drain of student welfare. But at the end of the day, it is about making sure that students know that those things exist and that they are available to them at all times. And last thing to note is that our caseworkers are truly incredible. Having personal, you know, experience interacting with them, they are some of the most compassionate and talented people. And we need to ensure that they are run effectively next year by someone who understands them and by someone who has a real interest in making sure that they continue their amazing work, and all of those publications and our media and make those things really really well known.

DE: This week, Universities Australia began its national student safety survey on sexual harassment and assault. In your policy statement, you hope to work with collectives and other activists to end sexual violence and racism on campus. How exactly will you do that and what changes will your leadership bring?

LL: I have been an active member in the Women’s Collective and feminist organising, I’ve been an active member in WoCo since I came to Uni. But I’ve been involved as like a youth activist with groups, you know, back in high school, and things like that. As a young woman at a university, it is of personal and deep concern to me that every single student feels safe and welcome and included on our campus. That’s not just a gendered statement that is a racial one as well, and one for disabled people and First Nations people. Because ultimately, we have so much scope to create an environment that celebrates everyone through the collectives, and, you know, just as a university community, and we should be taking that up. In terms of specific women’s organising. I think that the leadership of the Women’s Collective this year have been incredible. Next year, I’m sure that we will have Women’s Officers who are just as competent and motivated and radical. So I look forward to, you know, respecting the autonomy of the collective to decide where they take campaigns next year, and supporting those wholeheartedly. I think that the safety survey will probably tell us similar things to what we already know about sexual violence on campus. But you know, it strengthens our resolve as activists to make sure that we do end sexual violence on campus once and for all.

ATC: So second-last question. Do you think your opponent, Matthew Carter, could win the election?

LL: I don’t think it’s helpful to speculate. I’m going to put my best foot forward for this election. I’ve outlined that I have extensive experience. I care deeply for the future of our institution, and for the future of the SRC. And I hope that students will trust me, and Grassroots and Switch and the Left on campus more generally, to realise that next year. We’ve had so many wins over the last while in terms of 12 weeks semester, we’ve won better special considerations, we’ve had amazing environmental and women’s organising, and education organising on campus and beyond. We have established great connections across university campuses in Sydney and Australia. And so I think we’re in a very, very strong position to really represent everyone next year, and yeah, I’ve got big plans. So I know people are keen to see those through.

DE: Just to wrap up, why should students vote for you? 

LL: I am experienced, I’m passionate, I have the backing of incredible people who have proven themselves to be excellent organisers. I’m a woman who is excited for next year to be a really defining moment, I think, in USyd’s history. There’s so much scope for you know, environmental activism, education, the better provision of student services regardless of whether you’re on main campus, at the Con, offshore, overseas. What this year has really shown us I think, is that students will no longer accept having the short end of the stick handed to them all the time. And we need people who understand how to push for real wins next year, to be the ones leading as student organisations and so I’m really excited to be that person. And yeah, I can’t stress enough how passionately I feel that next year will just be so promising.

Disclaimer: Editors Vivienne Guo (a candidate for Council) and Marlow Hurst (involved with DRIP’s campaign) have declared a conflict of interest for election coverage (including this edition) and are not involved in any of the 2021 coverage of Honi Soit, NUS and SRC elections.