Hi everyone, Ali here!
I thought I’d use this week’s blog to shed some light on a topic that I feel isn’t clear enough… what do I actually do as a job?
With nominations for the roles coming out soon, I thought it’d be a good idea to explain what I do which most people don’t know about. Each officer’s role is different so not everything applies to all of us, but we all do things that people might not necessarily know about!
Everyone knows of the role title ‘Activities and Opportunities’ and common knowledge links that to clubs and societies, which isn’t wrong. In this role, I am the student representative for clubs and societies; I represent their interests in front of the university and other bodies. I campaign and lobby for better opportunities for them as well as improvements. In order to do this, I hold regular meetings with sport and society executives, president’s meetings and general work with clubs and societies members. But most people think that’s all there is to this role… well surprise, it isn’t!
As a student officer, we also get the role of trustees. I sit on the trustee board, alongside the 4 other Full Time Officers (FTOs), 2 Part Time Officers (PTOs), 2 student elected trustees and 6 external trustees. The trustee board sets the strategy of the organisation and makes sure we stay on track, as well as dealing with other issues such as setting the CEOs bonus, overseeing Union Council approved policies and making sure there’s no financial risk to the Student’s Union. In this role, sometimes we might need to make difficult decisions which can’t always be explained to the wider student body due to legal issues such as non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality.
There are also 5 committees within the Student’s Union, and each FTO gets to chair one. This year I am the Chair of the Finance committee. This means I deal with the university in regard to our accounts and the block grant we get from them, while working alongside staff to make sure the Student’s Union is financially stable. This year I have been holding monthly meetings with the university to work together on a better situation for the Union.
Aside from assisting clubs and societies, being a trustee and the chair of Finance committee, I also have my manifesto work. These are the aspects I wanted to improve and the reason why I ran for the role. These include international students funding and housing situations, better connections with students in clubs and societies or wellbeing – I am currently working on all of these aspects.
This job has been a rollercoaster and completely different to what I thought it would be, and completely different to what people believe/expect of it. There is a general lack of understanding about the SU and our roles, which I am hoping to fix this year through clearer communication and transparency from our end. However, if you have any questions about what the SU does or how it works, please feel free to send an email over, we are always happy to answer any questions!
I hope this throws some light on what I do, although it is not an easy job to explain or to carry out. If you are interested in running for the role, nominations will open in the New Year and I am happy to answer any questions you might have at firstname.lastname@example.org