Meet Your School Reps: Vaanee Sarihyan

School Reps play a key role in improving students’ academic experience, working hard to make sure your ideas and concerns are heard at the highest level. If you're from the School of Humanities, make sure you get to know your School Rep, Vaanee Sarihyan.

Tell us about yourself

I’m a second-year History, Politics and International Relations student. I’m heavily involved in Debating Society and I’m passionate about increasing awareness about diversity on campus, which is one of my biggest agendas when I first ran; that’s what I aspire to hone in on this year.

What made you want to become a School Rep?

I got involved with academic representation in first year as a course rep for History and I saw how collaboratively students and staff are working together in all aspects, from nuances of courses to making the student experience better, and I thought the process itself was incredible. I wanted to be involved as much as possible in taking ideas to a higher level to contribute to discussion.

I would definitely encourage anybody thinking about it to sign up to be an academic rep - student voice is the most important thing about university, it’s a great way to gain control of your education and it’s what differentiates school education from Higher Education. You have so much more of a role in deciding what happens to you and what you’re being taught – so I’d highly encourage you to sign up!

Which part of your manifesto are you most excited about?

Because of the Covid crisis, my agenda has changed somewhat, and a lot of things I aspired to do like increase accessibility has already happened. I can only hope that this tendency to put lectures and resources online continues long after the virus has gone.

Now would like to hone my attention on improving individual students’ experience - understanding their concerns that don’t necessarily affect every student, but individuals.

I’ve already had a lot of queries about BAME issues, LGBT+ inclusivity, and the nature of reading lists and I would like to take into account every individual student experience and try and make the courses customisable to them, making their experience feel a lot more inclusive and consistent.  

What are you most looking forward to this coming academic year?

I’m looking forward to getting us back on track, to return to some sense of normalcy, and recreate the student experience as much as we possibly can – both the social and the academic side. It will be challenging, but if it works well it will be very rewarding. University can be an intimidating experience, especially coming from the strict regulations of high school, and the onus of your education is entirely on you. I recommend that all students jump in, get stuck in, and immerse themselves as much as can as that’s the best way to make the most of the university experience!