On Monday 24 July, the Officer team travelled to University of Bath for this year’s NUS Lead and Change conference. This was an opportunity for us to interact with different Officers across the country to discuss national campaigns, and also to share ideas and solutions to some of the challenges we face on campus.
Following on from the changes to NUS with their year of transformation, this was a chance for us all to see how the newly reformed NUS operates, how we can utilise their support services as elected Officers, and also how we can work with the NUS to improve your representation and your experience.
All of the Officer team attended, and we were quickly split up into different groups so that we could best utilise our time there. This meant that we were able to discuss issues such as housing, student opportunities, involvement, the BAME attainment gap and student mental health.
VP Education, Kate Roberts, highlighted the value of networking with other Officers:
“One of the most helpful and exciting parts of the training was the opportunity to meet other Students’ Union Officers from across the country and network with them. Whilst we all have a common goal to improve student experience at our respective universities, it was wonderful to hear a huge range of manifesto priorities and exciting ways we can fulfil our own plans to make student life better here at Royal Holloway.”
Lucy Simpson, VP Welfare & Diversity, added:
“We all had the chance to attend workshops based on specific topics of interest to the student community. These workshops were aimed at educating and empowering us to make change in each of these areas; we have all started looking into ways that we can make positive change in a wide variety of topics, stemming from the workshops and discussions we took part in.”
VP Societies & Media, Sophia Bolton, found it useful to discover what NUS actually is, other than a cheeky discount!
“It was really interesting to learn about the history of NUS, as well as all of the millions of students that they represent across the country – made up from Higher Education and Further Education. Learning the huge range of what the NUS does was useful, from campaigning on a national level, organising on a local level and ensuring that commercial services serve to benefit students.”
Dom Brown, VP Sport, found this year’s Lead and Change a good step up from last year’s, and essential training for second year Officers:
“Returning to Lead & Change as a second year Sabbatical Officer brings a new perspective on your time in office. We were able to effectively evaluate our first year with the highs and lows, whilst bouncing off other Officers who may have been through similar experiences. Leaving a “legacy” was a key topic over the few days we were there, exploring the meaning of the word and how we can achieve leaving our own legacy at our respective students’ unions and institutions.”
We are all back in the office now and raring to go for the year ahead!
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