Vice President Community on student housing and sustainability

Edinburgh’s student housing and sustainability are just some of the issues currently being addressed by Edinburgh University Student Association’s newly-elected Vice President Community, Rosheen Wallace.

Speaking in an interview with The Student, Rosheen, a recent graduate of French and Linguistics, spoke of her focus on students as ‘citizens in Edinburgh’.

Heavily-reported issues of shortages of affordable student housing and accommodation in Edinburgh, are Rosheen’s key priorities in her original manifesto.

She expands on this by telling The Student that she opened up a conversation on this high profile issue and has flagged this to the university. She said, “I’m hoping to get that message across and also make the link between student’s well-being and the cost of living along with housing prices.”

Currently, the guarantor scheme in place for students without a UK-based guarantor is also something she is hoping to tackle, of which she says, “The reality is it doesn’t work very well and there’s a lot of issues meaning people can’t use it.”

The current focus on the climate crisis is also central to Rosheen’s role, with sustainability being a key aspect of her manifesto.

She then described her experience of the recent Global Strike for Change in Edinburgh on Friday 20 September: “It was incredible the amount of people that were there and the university also hosted an event which I thought was really positive.”

Rosheen spoke at the event held by the university, ‘Responding to the Climate Crisis’, which involved staff and students learning about the university’s approach to the crisis, along with the commitment to become carbon neutral by 2040.

She described it as being, “Really positive as [the university] are really open to hearing from students about what [the students] are thinking about it and what the university should be doing more.”

Rosheen claims her proudest achievement to date in her role is the opening of the Zero Waste Corner in David Hume Tower block, unveiled on 2 October on campus. Along with Beth Fellows, VP Activities and Services, Rosheen helped to set up the shop which focuses on cutting out the use of individual plastic packaging.

She says, “We started off with an idea at the start of the summer and we sat down to try and find out what we could do, and a few months later something is up and running. I’m very excited about it.”

When discussing the benefits of such a sustainable option at the university, she said: “It’s on campus so it’s a lot easier for people just to go from their lecture and get your food shopping on your way home!”

Rosheen’s work is ongoing, having been elected for the full 2019/20 year, however she admits she has already learnt a lot in the past months.

When asked about what advice she would give to students hoping to follow a similar path in a sabbatical role, Rosheen stressed that it’s important that her role is not just ‘nine till five’ but outside of this too.

She advises: “I think it’s important to realise how much time a project will take. It’s like a job but it’s also quite a personal thing because you run a manifesto and it’s stuff that you really care about.”

Rosheen Wallace’s term as Vice President Community ends in May 2020

 

Image: Andrew Perry

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