It’s Valentine’s Day and on a deserted reading week Monday morning in Crosslands I meet up with Katie Blow for a quick chat about the aftermath of her victory following the epic Sabb campaign week.
Thomas Seal: How does it feel to have been elected VPEW?
Katie Blow: Very, very weird! I honestly didn’t think I was going to win. Me and my team were actually stood at the back of the bar, and they were going to put me in the lift and I was just going to leave via the lift…so yeah it’s taken a while to get used to it…and now it’s like ‘I’ve got so much I need to do!’
How soon do you need to start doing things? Is there a good handover period?
Yeah, basically me and Beth start handing over 1st July and then 1st August she leaves and it’s…all mine! (laughs) So basically it’s a month of meeting everyone I need to meet.
So tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’m technically a 4th year even though I’m in my final year here, because last year I went abroad to Japan. I do Psychology, I rowed, I’m in RAG, and I’ve done Strictly Come Holloway! A bit of a mix, I suppose.
What’s happened so far post-election? Have you had a chat with [current VPEW] Beth Rowley?
Yeah it was really nice, because Beth and I are actually best friends. We didn’t talk the whole of the election period and so the next day it was just like ‘I’m so glad to have you back in my life!’ We’ve had a chat and she’s told me not to think about anything until handover and not try and feel like I have to do anything, so that’s quite cool.
So you can concentrate on finals!
Yep! (nervous laugh) All the work that’s been neglected for the last three weeks!
What are you most looking forward to about being VPEW?
Umm…I think meeting people. And being able to have my manifesto in front of me and being able to tick things off it, so I’ve done this or put that in place. Feeling like I’ve achieved stuff. …I’m excited about it all really!
Regarding a couple of your manifesto points: firstly, how will you go about changing the lighting?
Well, obviously outside of campus is a lot more difficult because you have to liaise with the community and police and stuff, but on campus there are still a few dark spots. Even motion lighting would do…for example, if you walk from Bedford library to the Union – past the physics building – there are some steps, and that’s just pitch black, and it would be great if there was just something so you could see where you were going. A lot of the time it is just about persuading people and getting the ball rolling but hopefully I can smile my way through!
One of your other promises is to have 48 hours between each exam for students. That sounds quite ambitious…
Yeah, everyone said that! We had a big chat with my campaign team when I printed my manifesto and I said ‘do we think this is too high?’ I felt that if I go in with a high number and then negotiate down then I can achieve something, rather than to go in with 24, and get 24, and be like ‘actually I could’ve done better’. I know it will be difficult and there will be a lot of subjects where it might not be possible yet – especially for joint honours students – but I definitely think something needs putting in place. Holloway has a whole term of exams, and there’s got to be something done so that it’s easier and less stressful. That’s my number one thing.
So would you say that’s what you’d do first? If you had to choose one thing?
Definitely. And also making students more aware of the services that are available to them. For example, I live in Founder’s now, and there’s a little sticker on my mirror that says ‘Nightline’, which is really out of date, and I think something like that, put in every single room, something that isn’t obvious, that you can look at and think ‘actually I might need some help’, is a subtle way of getting these messages across.
Is there anything else you’d like to add? Anything you’d like to say to those who voted for you?
Yes, thank you very, very much! Thanks for taking the time to read the manifesto, and watch all the videos, and thank you everyone for coming to Question Time. It was hard this year because you had to register online and there were issues there so…thanks so much!