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Uzma Arif-Fryer
Deputy Chief Executive, Head of Membership Services
Greenwich Students’ Union

As Deputy Chief Executive, Head of Membership Services, my role involves providing strategic leadership to Greenwich Students’ Union (GSU) and the Membership team to ensure we deliver the best possible student experience and membership services to our 20,000 members. Essentially, we’re here to ensure students at the University of Greenwich are empowered to have life changing experiences which helps them to shape their futures and world around them.

In November 2018 I was sat in an interview at Greenwich Students’ Union, speaking about why I should be their new Deputy Chief Executive, Head of Membership Services. It was only then did I realise and reflect on the journey I’d been on.

Seven and a half years earlier I’d applied for a role at King’s College London Students’ Union and admittedly, I didn’t know a great deal about Student’s Union’s! I had just spent the previous 3 years working in local government and I thought I’d give Student’s Union’s a try…. I instantly fell in love with my role and the Union and I spent the next 7 years progressing into 3 different roles.

When I heard about the opportunity at Greenwich I knew I had to apply. I was struck by GSU’s vision and values and after meeting the CEO, John, for a chat before I applied and hearing about the transformative journey GSU had been on, I knew it was the right place for me.

My day to day role at GSU involves meeting with key university stakeholders to discuss progress of projects, supporting our Officer Team to work through any up-coming opportunities or challenges and catching up with Union staff and the Membership Team to discuss on-going work.

My favourite moment since being in my role was overseeing the GSU Elections which were an incredible week of excitement and anticipation as well as a brilliant demonstration of the staff team coming together to encourage students to cast their vote. The last hour before the polls closed saw most of the team gathering outside in the hustle and bustle to put all their energy into getting those last few votes, the atmosphere was amazing, the students loved it… and I think the University enjoyed it too!

What I love most about working in Students’ Unions is the breadth of what you can be involved in day to day and this still ceases to amaze me. On Monday I could be reading Trustee Board papers and by Friday I could be setting up table centres for an awards ceremony. You get to do it all, which I don’t think you can say for all jobs!

My advice to someone starting out in a Students’ Union is to try and get as much experience as you can and say yes to opportunities that can develop you and enhance your skill set. Also, I’m pretty sure an academic year goes quicker than an ordinary year so try to build in some reflection time to take in all of your achievements.

– Uzma Arif-Fryer – Deputy Chief Executive, Head of Membership Services – Greenwich Students’ Union

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