Rob Clewlow - Equal Opportunities and Welfare SU Election Candidate

Rob Clewlow – SU Equal Opps and Welfare Officer Candidate 2015

Her Campus caught up with third year history student Rob Clewlow, to hear about his upcoming campaign for the position of Equal Opportunities and Welfare office.  Whilst learning about his exciting new plans for the Students’ Union, we discovered his secret cure for surviving the morning after a mad one at Ocean, as well as his hidden talent…



In your opinion, what is involved in the role of Equal Opportunities and Welfare officer?

The role has to make sure that students – undergraduate, postgraduate, mature – get given the opportunities they deserve throughout their entire experience of university, not just at certain points during their degree.  In terms of welfare, year on year there is an effort from the SU to increase the accessibility and quality of their support and services to make sure they offer their students the best experience; for example, helping them to deal with stress.


Talk us through some of the main ideas in your manifesto

One of my main ideas is to focus on the accessibility of the SU’s support network, in particular focusing attention on helping first years understand where they can go for help, whether this be online or in person, and reminding postgraduates that they deserve the same level of support as undergraduates.

I also want to look at improving attitudes towards mental health, developing discussion around the importance of sexual health and how easy it is to be tested and treated.  If you improve people’s attitudes then that will encourage those who need the support to actually go and take it.  A way of doing this will be to get people in societies, SRSs and sports teams to talk about these issues more.

Finally, I aim to look at student futures, showing that the university understands what is right for them and not leaving the students to do everything on their own.  We need to improve distribution of information about what to do next so the students realise it is important to think about their lives post-university.  Although the Careers and Employability department is great, they need to improve how they communicate with the students.


You say they need to improve how to communicate with the students, do you feel then that the email system isn’t really working? Can you think of any other strategies?

I agree with you, I get bombarded with emails.  You sign up to these sessions so they know how many people are coming, but I walked past one yesterday and there was nobody there!  It is difficult - I know they create incentives with pizza but that is too simplistic.  There are several first, second and third years who don’t even know where the Careers and Employability department is located in the SU so that needs to be made more obvious.  They did a Careers Week last term which was great and they engaged with a lot of people but they can’t do that all the time. 

So my approach would probably be connected with online platforms which the students actually use.  Most students use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter which the careers team are involved in, but it is unlikely students will want to engage with the university in this way, and then lots of first years don’t really check their email. But there are things like Moodle and the Portal which all students need to use - these could be used as a point of connection.  For example, deadlines of employer applications publicised for third years on Moodle.


One point I found particularly interesting in your manifesto is the idea of a top 50 employer application deadline.  Do you think it would be difficult to implement?

The SU in the last couple of years has had a fairly big changeover in its staff.  They’ve got some very good technical people and so I’m sure with a bit of tweaking the idea could be achieved.  Just looking at other websites shows it is possible, so why can’t the university do the same thing?  It’s in their interests to improve employability stats.


This is my last point on your manifesto, you will be glad to hear! I was interested in this weekly on-call medical support for each student community.  I was wondering if you could explain that a little bit more…

The Cripps Health Centre is great once you get there but sometimes people that Cripps is their only option.  Some don’t even know that you need to call up to book an appointment and then they can’t be treated until the next day – a problem which returns to the awareness and accessibly issue I addressed before.  After speaking to first and second years, as well as thinking about my own experience, if we were able to create a group system (clusters such as Lenton and the halls on campus) where you know that one day every week/2 weeks there would be someone going around who could give support and advice for injuries that would be really positive.  It would be for those who don’t know whether their health complaint warrants the service at Cripps.  There is also the possibility that it could be online but I appreciate that it is a fresh idea that depends on the ability of the university to gain the support of a medical professional.  It could also incorporate sexual health, e.g. handing out chlamydia tests.  It’s about bringing the services at Cripps to the person.


Moving on a bit, I noticed that you were involved in helping Chloe Averill (the current EO&W Officer) with her campaign last year.  What have you liked about the policies she has implemented this year?  Anything you would particularly like to continue?

I will definitely be including in my manifesto continuation of the peer-mentoring schemes introduced by Chloe.  I would plan on taking it further and implementing it in more societies and schools, balancing it between the two to get the perfect mix.  Chloe’s efforts to increase the awareness of mental health has been really good, in particular her work with Easy Tiger and Nightline.


Do you know much about the other people running this year?  Who would you consider to be your biggest rival?

There are a lot of people going for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, I think about twice as many as last year, and at the moment it’s an open competition.


Bit of a tough question now but what makes you right for the job, above the other candidates?

I am incredibly hardworking and in my time at university I have displayed my passion for getting involved.  I have that level of enthusiasm and desire to achieve, both individually and as part of a team with the SU as well.  They are an incredible team of eight who year on year do great things.  I want the SU to achieve as it will benefit thousands of students which will be really satisfying. I think I will be good at the job and would love to have a go!


Last year you were in charge of Events and Challenges on the Karnival executive team.  How do you think this role has prepared you for the even greater challenge of applying for Equal Opportunities officer?

Although the roles are very different, as a Karni exec I know a lot of the people in the SU building, from senior management to the senior leadership team - I know all of them by name.  I also know the Health and Safety and the Careers and Employability team.  I’ve seen how people have been challenged in balancing their role as Karni reps with their course and have supported and interacted with them about this.  For myself as well, balancing my degree with Karni exec was a challenge but I achieved it.



Quick-fire Round

Ocean – yay or nay? Yes!

What is your personal miracle hangover cure? Double fried egg sandwich with ketchup.

Dream job? Making a difference on an international level!

Do you have a fun fact about yourself, a claim to fame or a special talent? I can move my ears without touching them.

Do you want to demonstrate? (Ears wiggle)

Snog, marry, avoid – E. L. James (bearing in mind her interests…), Lady Gaga and Gemma Collins from TOWIE? Probably marry Lady Gaga and snog E. L. James, just for the fun of it!

What has been your most embarrassing moment at uni so far? A bought a couple of cocktails in Coco Tang and as soon as I handed over the money I knocked them all over and they managed to reach the person next to me, which was a bit embarrassing!

What would you say is your guilty pleasure? Going back home to my parents’ house and playing computer games with my little brother.


Check out Rob's full manifesto, Facebook and Twitter!