By Emma Milk
There was a good turnout on a lovely sunny day to hear Andrew talk about emerging work in the Bath Students’ Union. At the same time we could hear cheers from outside as Bath was hosting this year’s Varsity against Cardiff MET University which saw 4,500 students on campus playing sports in 13 fixtures with Bath looking to retain the Varsity trophy.
Andrew who previously worked in the Marketing Department at Bath returned as the Students’ Union Chief Executive in 2016 after around 8 years working for the National Trust, initially in the brand and marketing team at the Trust’s HQ, then as General Manager for Kingston Lacy in Dorset.
Andrew spoke about how The SU values shape their work and why. It was amazing to hear that 2,500 students work with The SU to run the societies, clubs and other activities. In doing this they are taking on great responsibilities in leading The SU which gives them an employability advantage, especially for those who go through the Bath award which helps them articulate their skills and experience in the jobs market. The relevance of supporting students in leadership positions is an important aspect of the peer-to-peer relationships that develop through The SU, which means that students can effect change which carries a lot of weight within their peer groups.
“We believe that being student-led achieves the best student experience for the benefit of students the university and for society at large,” said Andrew.
Andrew added that the enthusiasm, energy and belief that comes from them (the students) is amazing as is the desire to make a contribution on a big stage and the willingness to take risks in trying new things.
“If you believe in giving someone responsibility, and trust and support them to get on with it, they can amaze you with what they achieve,” he added.
Andrew then took some time to collect thoughts from those present and asked the following questions:
- What are our thoughts about students as leaders? Pros? Cons?
- Where are the boundaries of student leadership? Why?
- What opportunities can you see for enhancing student leadership?
Please do get in touch with Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share your thoughts on the above questions.
Andrew finished the session by sharing information on The SU’s plans for the next couple of years. This includes exploring opportunities with other membership organisations through the New Citizenship Project. This will focus on the underpinning cause of The SU, and developing clearer pictures of student engagement with The SU, and finding where The SU delivers most benefit so it can better target what it does, to name a few.