VP Union Development: Chris Fairhurst

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Chris Fairhurst is a third year History and Politics students who, when asked by SCAN, told us he wants to ‘keep trying to rebuild the union by getting students involved’.

As a current Events Officer on Pendle JCR, he think he can “bring some good ideas to the table for events”. As a current member of staff at Sugarhouse, Chris always has his ear to ground, saying “I know which events have worked in Sugar, and which events haven’t”.

When asked about the recent housing developments near Sugarhouse, Chris was keen to “encourage protests” alongside “petitioning government, petitioning council” and “making sure that money is invested to soundproof Sugar”. Chris wants to continue to fight for the Sugarhouse through any means possible, urging students to “be savvy and vote with your money”. As a result, Chris would “actively discourage students from taking those flats” by telling them they would be at risk of frequent noise disturbances.

On that note, Chris said his unique selling point was his “first policy proposal, which is of course a NUS referendum”. He acknowledged that this proposal is controversial but said it was a “conversation we need to have for the sake of our student democracy”. He argued that whilst he knows what the NUS does on behalf of students, he also knows “we are paying a great deal of money for it; around £35,000”. His referendum would be “fairly ran and get that nuance across as to what the NUS do for us, and what we can do without the NUS”.

However, Chris was also aware that the buying power the NUS affords the Sugarhouse, allows it to access it’s purchasing consortium, granting them to better deals on bulk purchasing. But Chris saw the Sugarhouse as a “students and LUSU Issue” and the NUS as an “NUS issue”. He further stated that we should “fight our fight as LUSU…to stop Sugar from closing, but this conversation about the NUS has been a long time coming”.

He further acknowledged that Sugarhouse may suffer if LUSU disaffiliated from the NUS, but Chris saw “other factors and benefits we may receive as a result of leaving as well”. These benefits include “more autonomy for our Students’ Union and bringing the fight back to a campus level”.

And how would Chris spread awareness of the fights we hold on campus? “Incentivise people to come…£1 off Sugar entry or bringing food to the meeting”. In his experiences, Chris has found you need to give people a reason to attend meetings and demonstrations. He went on to say that LUSU could absorb the costs of incentivizing students to attend important meetings and that “you’ve got the spend a little to earn a little”.

To wrap things up with SCAN, Chris said we need to make students “want to learn about the union and make them proud of this organization”. He saw that students after think the LUSU makes decisions without consulting students, but reiterated the importance of addressing students and saying “you do have a say in it, you’re a member of the students union and you guys made this possible to do”.