RHIANNE HILL – FARNHAM CAMPUS OFFICER CANDIDATE[OTHER FARNHAM CAMPUS OFFICER CANDIDATES: CHARLOTTE LAWRENCE]
Hiya, I’m Rhianne Hill, a third year student of interior architecture and design.
I have been at UCA a total of 5 years (2 years pre-degree at Rochester, 3 years at Farnham) and over the past 2 years especially I’ve really tried to make a difference. I have a get up and go attitude, and rather than complain about things, I’d much rather take proactive stance and try to productively make a change! Becoming LGBT Officer in my second year was all about that. I had friends struggling to find a community that represented their views and also provided a place to hang out and meet other likeminded people. I took it upon myself to represent these people in the student council, and began building a society in my third year. It’s been pretty good; friendships have come from it, and some lovely campaigns, regular meet ups, SU events. You name it, we’ve probably tried to do it!
Becoming Campus Officer to me is the next step up, taking what I’ve learnt from running a society, attending student council meetings and events, being a student on the SU trustee board, and a student rep for my course, and applying it to all students! I really want to encourage and help everyone make the SU a much more fun and exciting place that we students can truly be proud of.
IF ELECTED, HOW WOULD YOU CREATE MORE OF A COMMUNITY?
There is a real problem with student engagement with the SU, from voting at elections to attendance at Glasshouse events. I personally feel as though students have become disconnected from the SU, and have forgotten the power it holds! I want to break down the idea of “that place we sometimes go on a Friday night” and turn it into a vibrant hub of student activity.
The more I think about it, the more I realise that if students won’t engage with the SU, the SU should engage with students. This would mean:
– Regularly gate crashing lectures to say hello and offer support. People aren’t always aware of what the SU can do for them, so face-to-face conversations are key to explaining this.
– Encouraging students to run their own SU nights. The Malakas nights have been pretty successful this year and have proven what students can do! The more diverse the student nights are, the more students will find something they enjoy.
– Making it easier to set up a society. New groups could be given a temporary permit with SU support and minimal funding to see who’s interested before bureaucracy kicks in.
– Rethinking the SU space as more than where you eat and play pool, but as a space that represents students. Daytime events should be held to support this.
If people have a good idea, I’ll tear obstacles down and fight to make it happen for you. The SU should be for the students, by the students, and I want to kick start a strong community that supports this ideal.
WHAT OPPORTUNITIES WOULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE AVAILABLE FOR STUDENTS?
This is always an interesting question, because whilst students I’ve spoken to would love to share their skills and expertise, there’s often a deadline looming and simply not enough time for a side project, as well as that part time retail job and those social commitments too. It’s more about making the opportunities realistic, time efficient, and worthwhile. It’s a small example, but in the Gender and Sexual Diversity Society this year, I organised a collaboration between a graphic communication and an illustration student. The leaflets that came from that not only did the job of advertising the society and its events, but provided those students with experience outside of their course and a body of work to add to their portfolio.
Asking students to complete small projects, for the SU or for businesses in the local area, and to actually see them as a working successful project is hugely motivating. This can lead to paid work, excellent networking connections, and better work experiences. Just working with other students you’ve never met before can be fun and beneficial.
HOW WOULD YOU INSPIRE STUDENTS TO HAVE A VOICE?
By showing students what they’ve achieved in the past and what’s possible for the future, and giving them a platform to do it all on! People aren’t always aware of their own capabilities or the resources available to them, and through simple encouragement and support we can create a very strong student voice collectively. I feel many students have good ideas and strong opinions and simply need a better opportunity and more convenient times to voice them, and I will work hard to ensure everyone who wants it has the chance to say what’s on their mind.