I recently ran in the student elections at University under the ridiculous alias of Emma 'Burgundy' Barlow (see one of my self-designed logos above) aka. Anchorman, the role made famous by Will Ferrell. I was running for the position of Head of Student Media and gair rhydd Editor, unfortunately I did not win!
Despite the end result being incredibly disappointing, the whole process was a fantastic experience as well as exhausting! The very nature of student politics means you have to leave all inhibitions at the door - donning a ridiculous outfit and adopting a gimmick is a standard requirement and unfortunately decent policies and experience seem to feature as rather less important.
However, I really did throw myself into the week and a half long campaign. Presenting a speech and dealing with some difficult questions in an official 'hustings' evening was a great opportunity to start flexing my self-promotion muscles and was in fact my first experience of proper public speaking. I also visited the various schools throughout the University to make announcements at lectures and speak to fellow students while they sat in cafes and refectories - taking me totally out of my comfort zone. It was testing too, when students wanted to question my ideas and ask me about my own political views but at the same time was also immensely satisfying to learn that people were interested enough to talk to me about it.
One of my main policies was to get all of our fantastic student media, Xpress radio, CUTV and gair rhydd, working together. I felt this was important as other media-savvy students would then be able to work together and share their skills. It would also raise the general standard, for instance Xpress and CUTV could benefit from working with the more experienced writers of gair rhydd. It is of course, also exactly the way most professional newsrooms now operate and I really think my experience at the BBC and at Honduras This Week would have helped me to get a more convergent media department up and running.
However, one my fellow News Editors, Emma Jones was elected and I'm sure she will do extremely well. I had been really unsure about nominating myself for the job a few weeks ago but even though I lost I am convinced just the experience of campaigning itself was worth its weight in gold.