As my two years as President of Marjon Students’ Union comes to an end, it’s time for me to look back on just what I’ve managed to achieve whilst in the role. Being the President of the SU allows you to become a key influencer in decisions made by the University and I have been able to use this to enhance the student experience. I’ve also managed to get two really cool caricatures of myself to commemorate my time in office.
So other than sitting on the Iron Throne and conquering the galaxy, what have been my proudest achievements?
Changing the academic timetable.
Some students complained to me that they were not receiving sufficient lecturing time and that there were gaps of weeks that had no timetabled lectures, mostly after the Christmas and Easter break. This was also affecting retention rates and the student experience as the more time people spent back home the less likely they were to return back to university and the longer people were away from campus, the less of a community buzz there was. The Vice-Chancellor listened to our student feedback and the University embraced this change. Now by having more students return after these holidays we are able to put on more events which previously we couldn’t have done due to a lack of numbers.
Securing £750 from the local councillor
With this money we were able to invest in tools, seeds and accessories for the allotments which has been an on-going project for Rhys and I. It’s taken a while to get things going but we have interest from various community groups who would like to make use of the allotments and it will be fantastic to get the local community engaged with the University. Part of the money has also been used to buy the student community volunteer award that is given out at the Inspiring Student Awards.
Getting Marjon into the papers and on the radio
After Plymouth Students’ Union decision to stop selling certain newspapers on campus, Haden and I took it upon ourselves to respond with a sarcastic statement standing up for free speech and freedom of choice. Not only was it good publicity for the SU, it also showed that we had these discussions in previous years and our students are happy to let others make their own decisions.
Providing students with activities to do on campus for free
I’ve managed to acquire a Piano, Air Hockey Table, Pool Table, Table Football and Darts Board that have all been hugely popular amongst students and offer them a chance to take a break from their studies to relax. I was also able to do this at no cost to the Union by getting the items sponsored or donated.
I’ve always enjoyed being in the limelight, so the opportunities to give speeches have been a personal highlight of role. Open Days, Graduation and Leavers Dinners being the main three (as they have the biggest crowds!) In all of my speeches I try to incorporate humour and personal touches as I want it be engaging and different so people remember it. Having sat through countless numbers of boring speeches over my life I’ve learnt what works and what doesn’t. Perhaps my best moment was at the most recent Graduation when I stopped mid speech so I could send a Snapchat to my mum. It’s always a bit risky doing these like these because if people don’t see the humour in it, you’re left with a very awkward silence! I like to think that I have shown people that it’s okay to go against convention and you should never be afraid to try something. My final speech was at Leavers Dinner and I was honoured to receive a standing ovation at the end. I should probably retire from speeches as it won’t get much better than that for an ending!