What a year it's been! We sat down with Megan and Ollie as their time as Exec Officers comes to an end. Here's what they had to say...
Megan: Where do I begin? I have had the best year possible at USWSU. From welcoming Freshers in September to fighting for changes to University policy at the top level, it’s been really challenging at times, but so rewarding! I recently started my new role with the South Wales Police Force as a Volume Crime Scene Investigator. The job is everything that I’ve been working towards for the last four years and it is with immense pride that I can say that I have achieved my goal.
Ollie: It’s crazy how fast a year goes by! I’ve had such a phenomenal experience! It’s a shame to be leaving but I'm excited to start my PhD at Cardiff University in October, it’s an opportunity I really couldn’t turn down.
What made you stand for Election?
O: After graduating, I really wanted a challenging job that would allow me to make changes on a large scale and create a positive experience for current and prospective students. I saw the Leadership Race advertised on Facebook and deciding to go for it! It was probably the best decision I made as a student! Providing vital representation and support to so many students who were experiencing difficulties has been so rewarding and I can’t wait to see those students graduate with honours in July!
My time at the SU really helped with the PhD application too! They really liked how it made my CV stand out from other graduates and it's given me some amazing skills in project management that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The role has really opened my eyes to all the hard work going on behind the scenes by the dedicated staff at the Students' Union and the University. Being able to network with senior staff at the University, and having a seat at the table at important meetings with the Vice Chancellor and University Senior Management has been a really rewarding experience.
What’s been the standout moment for you?
O: It’s difficult to choose just one moment, so I’ll list a few of my highlights! Organising LGBTea for LGBT+ History Month with the LGBT+ society was a great experience. It was great to see so many people gathered to show their support for the LGBT+ community and to hear so much positivity as a result. Going to NUS conference in Cardiff was an absolute blast with other fantastic officers from Wales fighting alongside us to pass motions to implement free travel for students in Wales, which hopefully will be discussed at a higher level very soon. And of course, how could I forget the dogs coming onto campus for exam stress relief and mental health awareness?! Seeing everyone’s faces light up when they saw the puppies was amazing, and one of them, Molly (a Pomeranian crossed with a Yorkie… A Porkie!), absolutely stole my heart!
M: Together we've managed to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness, Men’s Health and Sport Relief, to name a few. We’ve managed to win money from NUS to fund a month-long Mental Health Campaign (Have a Hygge) and get the University to provide water in all libraries. And as Ollie said, we even managed to bring back some cute pooches!
O: Working with Meg and Liam has been a blast this year, and we’ve had some great wins! Water dispensers in all library buildings, more vegan options available in SU food outlets, and the library agreeing to extend library opening hours on all campuses during exam period – a change I hope they’ll continue next year.
M: I have had an absolute blast over the last year and I cannot thank students enough for helping guide my work and for supporting myself and the Officers in our campaigns. I have loved every second of working at the Union and feel incredibly privileged to have been able to represent every single one of you.
O: Nothing that we’ve achieved this year could’ve been possible without you all. Firstly, you took the time to vote for us. Then you gave your feedback and let us know what you wanted to change. You have the power to make things happen whether you’re an officer or not. Use your voices, stand up and be heard, and make your time at USW the best it can possibly be.
I have loved every moment of this job and I wish every single one of you the best of luck for the future. If I could give students' any advice it would be to know what you’re worth and demand three times as much, and never let anyone tell you differently.