My main duties: Lead spokeswoman for Chester Students’ Union, Trustee member, student representative, Governor for the University of Chester, national and local voice.
Since being elected as Chester Students’ Union president in 2016, I have felt most excited, challenged and motivated to represent and stand up for students during a time when Higher Education is at a challenging time. Under the current challenges within Higher Education, it is important that we reinforce our national connections to work in solidarity with the National Union of Students and fight for the best student deal. One of my aims is to encourage students to get involved in politics and be sure to have their say in local and national elections, especially for the sake of our own futures and future students. Last year we represented and protested against the cut in grants, abolished NHS bursaries, introduction of TEF and rise in tuition fees at the National Demo in November 2017; students from the University of Chester joined us down in London with another 3,000+ students across the country to show our resistance against the government initiatives.
Moreover, Chester Students’ Union want to create the best student experience to relieve students from their academic demands and wider social issues; creating inclusivity, safe environments and overall student satisfaction. So what have I found most challenging? Trying to represent 20,000 students! I mean if you have seen my superhero themed campaign you might have been led to believe that I quite possibly can… Sadly not. After taking on as much student feedback, it is important to ensure each campaign and activity is relevant to our University of Chester student demographics. However, as much I would love to please everyone with my heroic charm, I find this to be the most challenging to ensure every student at every satellite campus is represented and listened to in the most effective way. Taking this in to account, we have put a lot of effort and training towards our 22+ elected student representatives who sit on our student council by inspiring students to lead on their own engagement strategies and student feedback forums. From this, we as sabbatical officers are held accountable to the actions we take as elected full time officers for students; delivering our reports, plans and campaign activity. I am pleased to say that we have successfully campaigned for LGBT+ inclusivity, Sexual Consent, Sexual Health and Guidance, Mental Wellbeing, Women’s International Day and lobbied the University for better Facilities and opportunities, eased car parking on each campus, implemented and restructured common rooms on satellite campuses, and increased career opportunities and networks for students.
I have particularly been very interested in Health and Wellbeing, where I have driven wellbeing campaign activity with self-awareness activity, promoted time to chat groups, yoga, and mindfulness and worked with Student Support and Guidance in having more presence on satellite campuses. We will be pushing active lifestyles even more this year to increase healthier student wellbeing, to in turn reduce mental health issues. Healthier options on campus has also been a priority of mine, after working with the University to ensure a wider range of options are available for students to choose healthier choices.
At a time when everything is far more digitalised and online, we have made the transition of changing our online platform to become more transparent and allow more student control opportunities. With the new site in place, CSU have the scope to reinforce our volunteering opportunities, increased work experience, events and activity exposure across all satellite campuses and promotional activity of students. Our NEW media team this year also allows students to write their own articles and media coverage; whether that be videography, photography, journalism or social media updates. Not only will this platform increase student participation and engagement, it will allow students to add skills, hobbies and experience onto their personal profiles.
There has also been a significant demand for the last 5 years to have our very own end of year celebrations. After receiving 80% response rate FOR this, we came to the conclusion of #Chestival17. An event where staff and students can attend and celebrate their final year at the University of Chester, with the help of students to plan the event we are excited to officially launch our students big end of year celebrations. Please look out for more of our new ideas and plans moving forwards for 2018.