Brent Oates says he is dedicated to making activities in the university equal; for all societies and clubs to be given more resources and promotion rather than focus to be directed towards sport.
“There’s a lot of people with ideas, but there’s no one who really refines anything,” Oates said when asked about his motivations for running for the role. He stresses that he is familiar with how things are run behind the scenes of activities at Lancaster, having been made the President of the Gaming and E-Sports Society in his first year. Oates discussed having experience working alongside the Union and being a part of the societies committee as other reasons for his suitability for VP Activities.
Throughout the interview Oates referred to how he would be looking towards tackling the issue of funding in the university’s societies. “Groups haven’t had a clue how much they’ve been allocated,” and stressed that a main priority would be to effectively sort out the issue of funding for activities.
He said that if he was to be voted in he would immediately sort out a fair and equal method of funding for the different university societies. This was detailed in his manifesto; in which Oates claims that he would give a “fresh lease” on financial support for societies.
When asked about what he would want to change about the current Students’ Union, he stated that he did not think that the previous VP had done much to represent all societies and that the main focus was on sport, stating that others should be given attention and “not just the ones we want to represent.” To tackle this issue, Oates suggested that the implementation of committees for funding and randomly selected student juries would be the fairest solution for financial decisions, as a way to allocate funds to different societies.
This approach of supporting smaller student societies was reinforced by his suggestion that the University’s recent ‘Geek Fest’ was a success and that similar events for non-sporting events should be made much more frequent and given a greater platform. Oates believes that this could be achieved by a greater use of both Alexandra and Lancaster Square to showcase what they have on offer to students.
In regard to his proposal to reinstate the Just Play scheme mentioned in his manifesto, Oates said, “Student groups really want to get people involved, we don’t need the money to do it, it’s having that one brand that all the groups and societies can put under for the welcome week.” Oates claims the opportunity for students to try out different sports is important and has pledged to have it reinstated for the upcoming years.
Throughout the interview and in his manifesto Oates has reiterated that more action needs to be taken behind the scenes to make an equal system of funding and representation for both sporting and non-sporting activities in Lancaster. He believes that this can be achieved with his prior leadership experience and with greater interaction with all of the University’s societies.