Tell us your story – How did you get here?
Previously elected officer at the University of Cumbria Student’ Union in the North West of England where I also completed an undergraduate degree in Business and Applied Social Science. Upon leaving my elected role I soon joined the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Students’ Union as their first Course Rep Coordinator and over the the following 5-6 year’s developed my knowledge and experience through additional responsibility for multiple areas of work. I left as Advice and Representation Manager in 2016 to join AberSU where I’ve been working since in a similar role until now.
What does your role involve?
My role as Student Support and Representation Manager covers responsibility for a range of areas supporting students through our advice service; ensuring their are a range of exciting volunteering opportunities for students to engage with; that the union runs in a way which is democratic and led by students with them able to influence change both via the union, university and wider community. Common areas of work include responsibility for all Students’ Union elections, developing our work around student voice via the Academic Rep system, influencing decisions that affect all or groups of students by supporting our Student Officers (both Full-time and Volunteers) as representatives and ensuring our Advice Service is free, independent, confidential and catering to the needs of Aber Students.
What’s the best thing about it?
Diversity of roles and individuals, no typical day is the same from internal meetings planning elections, sitting in with a student visiting our advice service or meeting colleagues from departments to discuss the academic rep system no two days are similar. At the same time meeting a variety of students all with very different circumstances whether dealing with a student who is quite distressed and in need of advice to celebrating the success of one of our volunteers we probably see the breath of the student experience.
What’s the most helpful piece of learning you have picked up along the way?
There is often a careful balance to being strategic and introducing a new piece of work that is fully though through and to missing an opportunity to make difference in the here and now before it passes and you are yet again waiting for the hamster wheel that is the academic calendar to come round again. I very often use what others have often referred to as the Team Sky approach… the aggregation of marginal gains. How small improvements can often come together to have a greater impact than their individual parts.