Colin Offler, SU President
It’s been both a pleasure and a privilege to have spent two years as President at UWESU and now it’s finally time to hand on the torch. Being held to account as a representative of 30,000 people is no easy job and on most days, it’s a thankless one too!
I’m proud of the tough decisions that we’ve taken as a Union, from reducing opening hours at Glenside SU, to rallying students to the National Demonstration against cuts in 2010. It’s crucial we remain a campaigning organisation with a fiery ambition to changes students’ lives for the better.
The new funding mechanism for Higher Education in England is flawed on so many levels, and the impact of further changes on the horizon will continue to have a detrimental impact on students’ lives. Reforms that are still to come will inevitably beat down the quality of provision for learning, as well as see the reduction of support available for people who don’t have the luxury of being able to walk into Higher Education. We know this because the new funding mechanism with £9000 fee loans being dished out across the country is unaffordable for the Government! Now more than ever, students need to engage with these issues and UWESU must show strong leadership on them.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have the continued support of our staff team at UWESU, my friends and my family; I really couldn’t have kept going or got to where I am today without them.
As for me, I’m sticking around to finish my third year next year so keep in touch! Best of luck to Emmanuelle, your new SU President as of June, who I know will do great things in the role.
A final thought. If you’re reading this thinking ‘I could never do all that’. We need more people like you standing in elections. I thought that once…
Louise Goux-Wirth, Vice President Community and Welfare
I remember very clearly the moment when I won my first election, the feeling of sheer happiness, to have achieved something big. This is definitely the most challenging, demanding, yet exciting job that I have ever had.
The best bit of my job this year has been supporting students share their culture and beliefs with others, and champion issues of equality and diversity.
Being a Students’ Union Officer is definitely harder than it looks. I spent the first three months of the job rather dazed out with all the information, and the realisation that this is all for real.
Next year is going to be even more challenging. But with challenges come opportunities. No one can ignore that the increase in fees will mean a massive shift in how students see education, and also the type of experience they expect from their Students’ Union. And quite rightfully so.
On my re-election manifesto, I said that I would work more closely with sports and societies, to ensure that they are inclusive and accessible for all students. Exciting projects for next year such as tackling homophobia and racism in sports will hopefully push the VP Community and Welfare post to the next level.
I am always keen to support students to make things happen within their Students’ Union, I am around all summer, so please get in touch if you have any questions! Good luck with exams, enjoy your summer, and see you in September!
Safiyyah Henderson, Vice President Societies and Communication
It has been one exciting year working as Societies and Communication’s President. I couldn’t be more pleased with my achievements, and the achievements of all the Societies, and the Raise and Give (RAG) team.
Throughout my time as VP Societies and Communications, I have seen societies at their very best, with the Paintball Society handing over trophies from coming first in the southern masters paintballing divisions, PAIRS (Politics and International Relations society) organising a conference that has gained an interest from students worldwide, LABS (Land and Animal Biology society) organising amazing trips to survey animals and Hub Radio aiming to host a national student radio conference at Frenchay. There are so many societies that have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that their members have the best University experience and are getting value for their money. It truly was an honour to work for all 42 Societies, collating everyone’s achievements to celebrate them at our annual awards dinner-The Societies Soiree- was an overwhelming experience.
The Students’ Union is a great organisation, here to enhance the student experience, and so is only standing because of you, the students. Without any students there would be no Students’ Union or University for that matter. My last advice to you all is for you to take pride in your Union, put forward your ideas for change and let your creativity bubble to the surface. Every year our Students’ Union and Unions worldwide improve significantly when the right people pay attention to it and assist in its development.
VP Societies and Communications is my title, Safiyyah is my name. I bid you all adieu, and thank YOU for enhancing MY student experience.
Olly Reid, Vice President Education
My first year as your VP Education has been an interesting and challenging one, but I feel we have really taken steps forward in building better relationships with the University to influence positive change and ultimately enhancing the Student Experience here at UWE.
Since my election I have fought for, and represented students on a number of issues, but I still do not see myself as any kind of politician! I’m just an ordinary student striving for what I believe in and working to ensure other students have the best possible chance at success.
My achievements as VP Education range from getting the library open over the Christmas and Easter ‘shut down’ periods and getting the University to change the academic calendar, so students won’t have exams in the first week of January; to compiling Student Support Services onto one page, and lobbying the University for it to be made available through MyUWE so students can access support more easily.
I have also worked on many other projects, such as: informing the reading strategy and getting the University to look at the types of books/core texts they are asking us to buy, and helping to set up UWESU’s first Mature Students Network.
Student Reps have been vital to my success and the role they play in improving your education is extremely important. Reps have made positive changes within their programmes to things like Blackboard, hand-in dates, structure, study support and a whole host of other things that affect the quality of your education.
With the introduction of increased fees the role the Students’ Union plays in your education will become more and more vital to your success, development and experience here at UWE.
So whether you’re a Student Rep, a member of a sport, society, network or just Joe Average please get involved in YOUR Union and really make a difference. Join me on Facebook at: UWESU VP Education Olly Reid
Ariana Sefre, Vice President Sports
For those who don’t know me, I have been your VP Sports throughout this academic year. It has been a year full of action, amazing wins, some blows, fantastic events and changes that mean things will always get better for students. We have seen a host of campaigns to engage students in sport, such as Body Beautiful, outrageously entertaining sports fundraisers, such as UWE’s Take me Out, and totally off the wall concept campaigns, such as My Culture, that prove a difference can be made if you just work at it.
It has been the biggest privilege spending a year working with all the sports teams at UWE, and undoubtedly the best year I have ever had – the harder the work means the greater the reward. We have very nearly seen all our Varsity matches take place, with the most recent being the Rugby Varsity. Whilst the men’s team experienced an unfortunate defeat against Bristol, UWE’s women’s team wiped the floor with their local rivals. Nonetheless, the event was fantastic, and even though we have just stepped into exam period, we saw a good number of UWE supporters.
This year has been the first year ever that Sports Ball tickets have completely sold out. So much so that I have released more tickets. The 25th May is set to be the wonderful evening that will see this year of sports go off with a bang. I hope all those who have tickets are looking forward to it, as we have a treat in store for you.
I am sure in years to come, sports at UWE will only improve. When we see the realisation of the UWE stadium, and our new super-campus, Sports will be privileged to the facilities we very much deserve. I hope you’ve all had a fit, healthy and fun year and have an amazing summer.