What year did you nominate yourself? 2016
What did you study? Mathematical Physics with a Semester in China and a Semester in Industry
Why did you decide to nominate yourself to be a Student Officer? I wanted to make a difference. That’s a bit naff-sounding, I know, but it’s true. There were some common, small-ish things I thought students were ignored about.
I wasn’t massively involved with the Guild but had been involved in charity fundraising and wanted to do some new stuff on campus. I met some barriers to doing this and, when I asked how to overcome then, one suggestion was ‘Why not become President?’. So I did.
What was running in the Elections like? One of the steepest learning experiences I ever had, but also steeped in fun! It meant getting to chat with so many people across the university and hear a wide variety of experiences. It was also an experience of humility and gratitude; having people willing to support what I was standing for and help me achieve it.
Is there anything you wish you’d know before you ran in the Election? Find out what campaigning activities come most easily to you. I was rubbish at social media so enlisted some pals who weren’t. Whereas I found the most effective way to get votes was to have as many conversations as possible. There is a lot more to it than delivering manifesto promises.
I hadn’t realised just how much development I would gain from the Guild.
Oh, and they’re not lying – you really do get put in charge of the Guild!
How has being a student officer impacted your future? It guided me from a degree in mathematical physics to learning about policy and campaigns, which set me on track for wanting to effect change in new ways. It also gave me the best education in appreciating the diversity of communities. It allowed me to contribute to things beyond the typical education and experience of someone my age at the time. Leading the Guild meant I picked up skills in finance, law, business, public speaking... the list of things I owe it could go on.
What was a highlight from your time as an Officer? Winning Asylum Seekers Scholarships was a top highlight.
Beyond specific wins, it really was a joy going to work in the Guild every day. There would always be a new stall on the street, a new sound from upstairs, a new smell from the kitchens, and a new student to support.
What are you doing now? Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer at the charity School Food Matters. Most of what I do is trying to convince the government to feed the kids and feed them better. Surely an easy argument to win…
Any advice for people thinking of running: Do it! You will meet some incredible people and learn all sorts of new skills. If you don’t like it, you can stop, but you have to be in it to work that out.
Start speaking to your friends now, people on your course, people in societies and teams. See what they think and what they would like to see.
For the election week: drink lots of water, guarantee yourself some rest, but remember there are always more votes to be gained.