Rory Hughes is a third year History student and current Chair of Liverpool Labour Students. He wants to lead a “democratic and campaigning Student Union,” and to make gym membership and bus travel more affordable. He also wants to properly resource an independent, printed version of The Sphinx, since we are currently “stuck online and under-used”. His campaign video points out that Liverpool is one of the only Russell Group universities without a campus newspaper, and Rory thinks “we deserve one”.
How would you change the Guild if you were elected as a Student Officer?
My manifesto talks about a couple of things to do with the Guild. I think there’s an issue to do with democratisation in the Guild – one of my plans is to run a ‘Student Forum’ on campus. So, hold surgery as an elected representative, so students can come and discuss issues, hold me to account, that kind of thing. I’d also be writing a weekly blog, to make sure people know what I’m doing each week, and again, you’d be able to hold me to account for that. The other things include just making it more active, making it more involved in campaigning, rather than just facilitating things, actively getting involved and putting its weight and resources and money behind campaigns that can actually make a difference to students on campus.
What is your favourite Guild campaign of the past?
I think I’ve been really involved with the boycott – the National Student Survey campaign. I run Labour Students here and we co-sponsored that with the Free Education Society on campus… I think the Guild’s been really, really good with that. Again, they put a lot of resources in, put a lot of time in, and it’s great to see so many staff involved with that. That got the message out really quickly and it shows what the Guild can do when it’s pushed to actually go and campaign.
What is your least favourite Guild campaign?
That’s a hard one. I think my least favourite thing about that Guild is that it doesn’t create enough of a community for us on campus. So, I think the Guild just kind of sits in the background of our time here, whereas student unions should be platforms and have methods of bringing students together and bringing societies together a bit better, and connecting as a hub for activity. So the student newspaper I think is an issue, which I’ve raised, and student media in general – more resources behind that as a student union would get more of a community feeling on campus.
What have your experiences been like at university?
They’ve been fantastic! I did my first year at the University of Sussex, didn’t like it and was a bit worried about what I was going to do. I decided to transfer to a university that I didn’t know anyone at, at all – and had never been to the city – and it worked out as the best decision I ever made. The University’s been absolutely fantastic in terms of teaching, the people who are here, the city – everything about it, it’s amazing. It was so welcoming to me coming here.
What’s more important, facts or feelings?
I don’t know how cheesy to be on this! I’d say feelings. I think Che Guevara once said that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. I think that’s a good way of doing politics – and people connect more with feelings than they do with facts. You need to be telling stories that connect with people’s lives rather than just spouting out facts and figures to people who just ignore or dispute them.
Sum up your campaign in three words.
Three words? OK. Deliberate, radical and hopeful.