Candidate Voices: Kira Orchard for President of Welfare and Inclusivity

The Anchor is pleased to offer a platform for the 2022 SU presidential candidates to make their pitch to students. The views expressed in this piece are not representative of the Anchor but of the candidate.

Students can vote online between 12pm on 28 February and 12pm on 3 March.

| Kira Orchard

My name is Kira, I am a third year English student with Exeter and I am running for President of Welfare and Inclusivity. I have spent the past two years of my degree taking part in many extra curricular activities such as publishing magazines with Voices and Penryn Press, and attending cocktail making evenings with the Cakes and Cocktails Society. I’ve been volunteering for various charities, such as the Society of Young Publishers, but perhaps the most relevant being the Student’s Union itself!

Being the Community Officer 20/21 and the Widening Participation Officer 21/22 has allowed me to have such an important insight into what you, the students of all three campuses, are asking for and how as an SU we can improve. I have been involved with all sorts of projects from safety on the streets stalls, to helping organise markets in the Stannary, and also sitting in on various forums dedicated to gathering feedback on wellbeing services.

I believe in my manifesto and I want to improve on the inclusivity of the Student’s Union by making learning as accessible as possible, and making talking to SU staff members as inviting as possible. For this reason, my fifth manifesto point is a promise to the student members of the SU to listen to feedback and act upon the collated points. I have some projects I’d love to undertake — most have come from interesting conversations I’ve had with students — but as the job of the Sabbatical Officers is to represent the student body, it seems only fair that the student body itself chooses what I fight for. Check out my Instagram (@vote_kira) and Facebook page to comment your ideas and see what ideas have already been sparked!

After being locked inside for the past two years, I believe we should be encouraging students to explore the scenic sides of Cornwall in a responsible and eco-friendly way. Being outside can, in some cases, be super helpful for your mental health; obviously everyone is different, and for some this can be difficult or complicated. However, providing accessible activities and signposting accessible wild walks gives everyone a chance to make the most of being in a county such as Cornwall.

Ultimately, your Student’s Union should be fighting for your student experience and preparing you for further in your career. By offering more life saving training such as first aid, CPR, bystander intervention training and sexual assault response training, I hope to give students the opportunity to gain transferable skills that makes them not only more prepared for whatever life throws at them, but also makes them more employable.

Periods shouldn’t be a taboo topic; many different presenting people have periods, and they are nothing to be ashamed of. By providing various period products — from pads to tampons and maybe even a menstrual cup or two — I want to help end period poverty and period shaming on campus. I want to put these products in more gender neutral spaces, near bathrooms where they are needed. Keeping them in the SU building can put students and those who need the products most off from coming to collect them in fear of being questioned, judged or rejected.

Voting opens on the 28th and closes on the 3rd. No matter the result, I hope you can come celebrate with us all in the Stannary Bar on the 4th of March when the results are announced at 4pm.