Why I ran for election...twice

Friday 21-05-2021 - 11:24
Why i ran daisy article

I am gutted to have to say goodbye to Brookes Union and end my time as an officer. I have loved (almost) every minute of it! Facing a global pandemic was an unexpected challenge, but it taught me a lot and the experience was still worth it!

Whilst you might know me as your current President, the year before that I was VP: Wellbeing. You may have seen me in real life around campus in my orange trousers chatting to students! And I loved both roles, even though they are very different.

VP: Wellbeing gave me the chance to make sure every student is supported. I wanted to run as I felt I had loads of ideas on how to improve life for students at Brookes and I wanted to see them put into action.

A few things I’m most proud of from my time as VP: Wellbeing are:

  • Hosting a WellFair for World Mental Health Day that made it onto BBC South news;
  • Supporting individual students with issues with their accommodation or access to campus;
  • Free emergency sanitary provision, extra lighting on campus, free self defence sessions for students.
  • And of course hosting Pets as Therapy or Meet the Guide Dogs on campus is always fun!

Being Presidentin a pandemic was obviously not what I expected when I ran for election! But once again I felt like I wasn’t done - I still had so many ideas for change and things I wanted to do. One of the best parts of this role has been meeting with different students, hearing their ideas and helping to represent them. It’s been a really tough year for students and it’s been an absolute privilege representing them over the last year.

Some of the things I’ve done this year:

  • Led on the development of the Union’s new strategy which will ensure the Union focuses on supporting Black students at Brookes;
  • Developed and led the Mind the Gap campaign focused on tackling racial inequality on campus;
  • Lobbied for students throughout the pandemic - whether that was getting refunds on accommodation, longer library opening hours or better access to wellbeing support.

The experience of working with senior management at the University has been really valuable. I’ve sat on the Board of Governors, been part of EDI committees and the University’s Major Incident Team (responding to covid.) I’ve also chaired the Union’s trustee board. Plus of course, gained a whole bunch of skills in things like: negotiating, campaigning, report writing, presentations, budgeting, planning events and so on. I genuinely don’t think I would have such experiences and skills straight from university - spending time as an officer has opened up networks and opportunities that I wouldn't have had otherwise.

And of course you get to work with a bunch of people who are just as excited as you are about making change. I’ve loved working with the other Officers, staff at the Union and across the University. And of course, you, our students!

My top tip for running for election would just be - Be Yourself! Be authentic and genuine. Campaign on what you believe in and people will respond. It’s a great experience and (a surprising amount of) fun!

If you’d like a chat with me about either of these roles, or the elections process in general, I’m very happy to chat! Email me on su.president@brookes.ac.uk.

All the best,

Daisy x

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