What experience do you have that makes you suited to this position?
Obviously, I’ve been the executive officer for a year already, and by rerunning I ultimately have the best experience for the role. Having been both a college student and university student before too, I’ve seen both sides of the experience and can also see where the differences are and actually how the college students get less out of the union than the university students do. We’ve got so much here on offer at LSU and I think it’s a shame that more students aren’t taking advantage of it really, it’s a unique offer that you don’t see it anywhere else in the UK and there’s no other college that gets the same offer that Loughborough College get from LSU, so I think having done the role for a year, I’ve seen directly through being both a college and university student the differences in those experiences.
All union sections work differently, so how will you make sure college representative sitting on union section committees works and is fair?
Most, if not all sections currently have a representative on their committee that’s there to represent the college, sometimes vice chair, sometimes a collaborations officer, they kind of get ‘lumped’ under one role. They’re not necessarily passionate about the college in the same way as a college student would be. College students are clearly passionate about LSU and with the fact that they want to be on committee or part of a section shows this. To make it fair and even it’s difficult because each section varies. Rag and Action for example are very simple; you attend committee meetings the same way as any other officer would do, however, Rag meetings are held late Tuesday evening, so for example an FE student might live far away and won’t be able to attend. The fairness might bear some teething problems, so we can only work closely with the sections to do the best to make sure it will work. We can’t count on this moment or predict how it will go. Right here right now we can’t say, it changes year on year, so I can’t say who will be on what committee as of yet, we can hopefully work as we go along and obviously I’ll be there to guide the people from my committee and help them with what they’re doing on other committees.
Tell us more about the Learner Rep scheme and elaborate on the difference student feedback is making?
The learner rep scheme is very similar to what the university call program reps, here they run through student voice, which is traditionally run by the college, this year we’ve fully taken over the scheme, the same way we would run a program rep scheme: we train them up on student voice/feedback and then they basically become the same as program reps at the college. From that we obviously get direct feedback from each subject area, in theory each subject or class should have a couple of reps, they bring feedback directly from their course. From that we get feedback such as requests for a more accessible security gate or more vegetarian options in the café, for example, and course-specific things like needing better computers for game design courses and things like that. It does vary, but this year we did the student forum, similar to the LSU’s student forum which we call the ‘college forum’. Reps come along and they get specific subject-area feedback, I take all the feedback in and collaborate that into a document which then goes to the senior management of the college, who makes sure that every senior member of staff in each department that the feedback relates to gives a direct answer to it. They all have a direct link through me so I can make real changes in the college.
Why do you think the loyalty point scheme continues to be a problem for the College each year?
It was originally a problem because the union couldn’t get the cards to work, which is the current problem. I then started to get feedback from students whose cards weren’t working, but it is being fixed, hopefully by the next term in office they will be fully working. From that we can use this scheme to develop offers.
Where will the piazza type installation in the College go and how will this be funded?
We already have a space, it’s near the LSU shop and recently a Starbucks has been installed there. There’s a space out there which is perfect, it’s there and ready to use. We could really get going on it and use some screens in there like our LSU piazza, having constant info of what’s going on, which would be a great way to get messages and opportunities out there so college students can feel a part of LSU. For some reason, college students coming across the road to the union is a bit difficult. They’re happy at the college, but by having that piazza space there will solve that issue. With regards to funding, as I’ve said, the space is already there and it’s just a case of putting some screens in. With regards to funding, we get substantial funds from the college anyway room in the budget. An issue this year is publicity, if we have the branding in the piazza and our mottos constant screens, people will see them rather than looking at social media, they can go there and get involved that way.