SU Executive Election: “I’ve always made it my mission to come to university and make sure that I leave it a better place than when I started.”

Leicester Student Magazine (LSM) spoke to Jade Thomas, a candidate for Wellbeing Officer. Thomas is a third-year Geology student.

Thomas drew on her personal journey through university and the support she received from the wellbeing services at the Student’s Union (SU). She was diagnosed with a hidden illness called adenomyosis in 2017. While this has affected her studies, she is proud to be graduating this summer.

“I know that me being here, in my final year getting ready to graduate, wouldn’t have been possible without the services provided by the university and all the help and assistance that I’ve got with that, both the university itself and the students union.”

“I’ve always made it my mission to come to university and make sure that I leave it a better place than when I started.”

She tells LSM, “One thing I intend to do if I am elected is improve the visibility of the services, and ensure that illness, financial hardship and a variety of other things that crop up, are not the reason why somebody leaves university.”

In her roles as Department Rep and Student Voice Project worker, she oversaw the #LeicsDecolonise campaign. During her role as Peer Mentoring Coordinator, she learned that it is “important to provide it [help] to people even without them asking so that way they have access to resources without feeling the anxiety that comes with needing to ask for help.”

Thomas is inspired to continue Karli’s work on period poverty and has made a pledge to ensure that period pain is a valid reason for mitigating circumstances. This is a cause that is particularly close to Thomas’s heart due to her own health condition.

“Period pain is something that women just have to grin and bear, and my issue is with this self-certification thing coming through, I think the idea is that you’re only allowed to submit three for the same reason before you then are required to have evidence but the people who menstruate, that is generally every month.”

One of Thomas’s proposals is to create a student pantry. Access would require a referral from the SU. Her plan is to stock the pantry with donations from students and staff.

“If you’ve got no money and you’re hungry, you need food on the day. That’s the basic thing you need to survive.”

By collaborating with the Sports Officer, Thomas aims to recommission the Roger Bettles running track and introduce an ‘add-on’ bus pass to the gym membership.

“I just want to create a safe environment for students to work out if they don’t want to get the gym membership and if they don’t want to run on streets where the lights literally turn off by a certain time every night.”

The ‘add-on’ bus pass to the gym membership will improve safety and ease financial hardship.

Thomas is also committed to reintroducing Nightline, a volunteer-led telephone support service.

“I’m very excited about the idea of bringing it back and providing the training for students and making sure that both students who are running the night end service and the ones who need the help are getting the most support.”

All candidate manifestos can be read here.

Vote on the SU website here. Voting closes at 12pm on Friday 11th March 2022.

This article is part of a series of articles covering the SU Executive Election. You can view all articles here.

Rebecca Dawson is a third-year Geography student at the University of Leicester. She is vice-captain at UOL Tennis and is interested in mental health, popular culture and current affairs.

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