You may have noticed, but I’m really, really enthusiastic about my job.
And not just my job, but I love the Union I work for. As a matter of fact, I love all Students’ Unions. We do a lot of incredible things, individually and collectively. And when we get together, we make some powerful statements. Together, we can make some incredible change for the lives of our students.
Now, I’m not going to bore you too much with my ‘SUs are incredible’ pitch – if you’ve ever spoken to me, you’ll have heard it.
Instead, I’m going to tell you how I got involved with Edge Hill Students’ Union, and, as cheesy as this may sound, how it changed my life.
Now, when I came to university two years ago, I was coming out of a really strange situation. As a matter of fact, I was homeless pre-university. That’s a whole complicated story I won’t get into, but coming from that background made me quite different to a lot of my peers.
If it weren’t for the scholarship that Edge Hill gave me, I’m not sure how/if I would’ve managed it. (And Forest Court halls was the nicest accommodation I’d ever had. Seriously.)
So university was a life changing thing for my anyway. As it is for most people, moving is daunting for anyone, no matter where you’re coming from.
I was determined that I wasn’t going to let my background get me down, so I threw myself into everything.
That started with societies. Through joining pretty much every society Edge Hill Students’ Union had to offer, I met former Vice President Arts and Sciences, Emma-Jane Samworth.
EmJ and I became (and remain to this day,) best friends. And there’s one way that Students’ Unions changed my life for the better right there!
When March came around, EmJ asked me to be on her campaign team when she ran for president.
And I haven’t stopped being involved in elections since.
Being involved in the elections meant I got noticed by someone who’s affectionate nickname is ‘Captain Liberation.’ Alex Prestage.
The Capt. and I had a few conversations about feminism, activism, liberation and general political stuff, and then he decided that I should come to NUS Anti-Racism Anti-Fascism conference 2014. And when the Capt. calls, you don’t disappoint.
And so I found myself at my first NUS event in the Maritime Museum in Liverpool. This was my first ever experience of NUS, and looking back now I’m really glad I went to ARAF, not only was the event itself really great and insightful, and it really did give me a lot of food for thought, it was also a nice induction to the whirlwind of NUS.
In my second year I became a Course Rep. And I was the President of the Pokemon Society, and Vice President of the Murder Mystery Society.
I got involved with every campaign the union ran. Like, every campaign.
I also ran in my first election, to become Edge Hill Students’ Union’s Women’s Officer, and NUS delegate 2015.
I lost Women’s Officer by 30 votes, which was very disappointing but my opponent was fantastic. (Much love to Kiah! <3 )
I did however win NUS delegate. And so I was off to my second NUS event, national conference 2015.
Remember how I said ARAF was a nice introduction to NUS? Well, not to put anyone off national conference, because it is an incredible experience, and it’s important that we have our say, shaping the work of NUS for the next year. But it’s, full on. Let’s just say it’s full on. But hey, I’m going back in 2016, so it’s honestly not all bad.
Now as I mentioned before, I was a Course Rep in second year. And I loved it. I’ve written another blog about how amazing Course Reps are, you can read that here.
But it got me thinking, I love representing my fellow students. I love making changes, I love all the education-stuff and policies and scrutinizing the work of my department to make sure students were getting a fair deal.
So then I started thinking, what if I was doing that full time?
I was originally going to wait until my third year to run to be a sabbatical officer. But I started talking to students about it, some of them were my friends, some where acquaintances, but all told me I should do it. I had plans, and people seemed to really get on board with my ideas.
I remember getting a Facebook message late one night from someone that at the time I knew, but didn’t know too well. The message was just to say that they thought I should run, that they thought I’d be a great Vice President Academic Representation, and if I decided to run they would be on my campaign team.
It was messages like that, that eventually made me decide to run.
So I ran. And hey, I won!
I’ve come from not really knowing what I was doing or where I was going when I came to university, to being 1/4th of a team of incredible officers leading Edge Hill Students’ Union.
And I truly have my Students’ Union to thank for that.
Societies, Course Reps, campaigns, events, freshers week, Consent workshops, and so, so much more are provided by Edge Hill Students’ Union to our students. Vital things that improve the day to day life of our students.
I #LoveSUs. Tweet on the hashtag and tell us why you do too! (Or you could write a blog, there’s no way I could fit all of that into 140 characters!)