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What is your role?

As Societies Executive Officer, I am responsible for overseeing the Societies Section – currently consisting of over 120 societies, around 3500 members, of which include around 600 committee members. This involves working with the Societies Executive Committee, and Student Activities Admin team to host events – such as the societies bazaar and winter showcase – that give students a chance to get a taste of all that the section has to offer, and working to ensure that our Societies are developing well and committee members effectively training, members are enjoying their experience, and that our activities are Health and Safety compliant.

What have you been focusing on this year?

This year started off with a large re-evaluation of the health and safety compliance within the section, which has been taken up a level now and is a key component in the way societies now operate. Following that, we had our most successful Student Activities Bazaar to date, and completely revamped our Winter Showcase to give more opportunity for Societies to show off what they do best! I have also introduced the idea of Society Forums this year, to make sure we are getting effective feedback from our members, not only on the Societies Section but also the Union as a whole. Over the coming months, we are expanding the Societies Employability Award, hoping to encourage some inter-university Society competition, and looking to revamp the structure of the Societies Website.

What is the biggest challenge of your role?

I think the biggest challenge of my role is to adapt to the ever changing needs of the section – societies work almost autonomously at times, and their priorities, focuses and targets can change almost spontaneously. Similarly, the section is so reliant on incredible people volunteering their time to organise sessions and lead societies, so volunteer management is a crucial element of the role. We are also facing a pressing challenge in terms of space for our societies to operate within – I would like to see candidates think practically about how the section looks to expand and develop, to ensure societies keep operating well in a changing environment.

What makes a good candidate for your role?

Any candidate running for my role needs to have a good knowledge of the section and some of its challenges – but more importantly, on a base level, needs to be very adaptable and flexible, be patient when priorities may need to change, and needs to have a strategic approach to how the section looks to expand and develop. The Societies Section is an incredible resource to Loughborough Students Union, and there is a lot of scope for collaboration and idea-sharing with other sections, so a strong understanding of other Union sections is also highly beneficial. Finally, confidence in event management and volunteer leadership are crucial elements to the role.

Joe Ross-Nelson
Joe Ross-Nelson
Societies EO 2016/17