With nominations closing later today and elections coming up shortly, I thought it would be the perfect time to give you all an idea of what being Undergraduate Officer is like! Similar to the other full-time officer roles, no day as an officer is the same, and this is something that I love about the job...
So, I normally have 1 or 2 university committee meetings each week in which we can talk about a variety of issues, for example, I have previously gone to discuss learning and teaching spaces with the university’s most senior academic committee- the senate.
In total there are about 15-20 different groups that I attend to represent student views on a wide range of topics and to lobby for change on a faculty-wide level. I use these meetings as an opportunity to work on the priorities outlined in my manifesto, to work on policies passed at union council, and to address issues that have arisen through student feedback.
As well as the more formal meetings, I regularly meet informally with senior members of the university to raise concerns, work on future policies, and to work on my manifesto. For example, this year I have been lobbying for a few things: for lecture capture to be introduced on a university-wide level from September, for there to be more transparency when it comes to course costs, and for there to be more mental health first aid training for academics.
As Undergraduate Officer I also sit on the Education Committee, which is made up of school and faculty convenors. We discuss education-related issues and organise campaigns with the aim of showing students know how they can give feedback on their course, predominantly through their course reps who I train at the beginning of the year.
Being on the Student Officer Committee is also an important part of my role. On this committee we plan campaigns, make decisions concerning the Union, and work on council motions.
Generally, in this role it is my responsibility to be aware of what is happening in the wider Higher Education sector, including being aware of any policy changes made by the government, and working with other education officers across the country to lobby for change and to share ideas.
As you can see already, being a full-time officer comes with a wide range of responsibilities, and it doesn’t stop there! As full-time officers we get to sit on the trustee board that oversees the running of the whole union and we are currently in the process of creating the overall strategy for the SU. We are also directors of the commercial services including the shop, bar, union and the LCR, so we really are responsible for making key decisions within the Union.
We are the face of the SU, so this also means doing induction talks in freshers, talking to as many students as possible throughout the year, and hosting our very own Transforming Education Awards and Student Transformation Awards at the end of the year.
This only scratches the surface, and the role is what you make it! You’re in charge of your own time and you’ll never find another job quite like it. I encourage any of you who think you might be interested to nominate yourselves today! If you’d like to know any more about my role or what it’s like to nominate yourself then please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.