SU Executive Election: “This is something that I care a lot about and I am willing to learn in any way I can.”

Sam Bouch is an English student in his third year. He wants to make a dynamic impact as the new Officer for Wellbeing.

LSM interviewed Bouch to discuss his policies and plans if he is elected as Wellbeing Officer. On his motivations to run in the election, Bouch says: “This is something that I care a lot about and I am willing to learn in any way I can.”

“Mental health is an issue I’ve struggled with in the past, especially in university.”

“If I were in a position where I can make that easier for students and the resources available, then that’d be a position I’d find quite attractive.”

Bouch feels that living an active lifestyle and access to sport can lead to a more healthy university environment. He is clearly passionate about the benefits of physical activity on mental health.

“When you’re struggling with mental health, it’s very easy to close up and not leave your bedroom.” Involvement in sport “gives you a reason to get out of your house, even if it’s just for an hour and a half.

“Being active increases serotonin, so on the scientific side and social side, it really helps.”

On improving access to sports: “It is a very daunting prospect to join a sports society with people who likely played it for their whole life. That’s not an easy thing to combat.”

Bouch proposed the idea of improving the intramural event profile, as there is currently a small offering of sports to choose from. Expanding the selection of non-competitive sport may encourage students to join competitive teams.

New initiatives such as running or walking clubs may help students to feel “part of a community” without worrying about training and competition. This would also benefit international students, mature students, or anyone with less free time.

To fulfil his plans, Bouch discussed working with the Sports Officer and Activities Officer to increase accessibility in sport. He wants to provide an opportunity for LGBT+ sportspeople to tell their experiences to “create a more accepting environment.”

Bouch spoke about the lack of trained counsellors in the university leading to long waiting times. Bouch wishes to expand on one of Karli Wagener’s (current Wellbeing Officer) policies of using psychology postgraduate students to offer support to students while practicing counselling.

“They are neutral people who are willing to listen to you and let you unload your feelings.”

Building on Wagener’s work, he applauds some of her most “successful” campaigns, including the mental health debunk day and sexual violence awareness week on campus.

Bouch aims to continue spiking awareness on campus as it can be “intrinsically linked” to sexual violence. He wants to ensure the ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme in the O2 Academy is properly utilised and bar staff are properly trained if students need help.

On the topic of drug awareness on campus, Bouch says: “It is fairly obvious that a number of students will come to uni[versity] and get involved with drugs. I think accepting that and looking at ways, if it is going to happen, to look at the best ways for it to happen.”

Bouch wants to provide free drug testing kits to students and hold drug awareness days to provide information and awareness. 

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.

Jeevan Bhogal is a second-year History and International Relations student at Leicester. He is the social secretary for the Film Society and is interested in reading (mainly science fiction and fantasy), film and media, as well as travelling. Find him on Instagram at jeevanjay7.

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