My second year as Community Officer at The Union has been challenged due to 3 months off work for health reasons. At times I have felt that this time off has created limitations in the active work I had been doing before I left, in honesty it has been challenging to return to know where to start and what is the best I could do in the time I have left. I am currently on a phased return, not to rush and overwhelm myself straight away but this too can make planning each day quite hard. Today I came in to work with a rough idea of things to work on, however when I saw the Engagement Manager leaving the office to go onto the election stalls in the Brooks Building, I offered to take her place instead to allow her to focus on her priorities.
When I stood for my first election, in my final year at University, I had quite a low level of self confidence especially when it came to speaking to strangers. The position of an officer is so varied but one thing I have changed in myself is the ability to go up to anyone and start a conversation. Small talk isn't my thing, but in having a topic to talk about I can feel confident and comfortable in sharing this with another.
I spent just an hour on the stall, in that time I spoke to a number of students about the elections, the chance of leading The Union, becoming a representative of students in a wide range of different communities including the University senior management to have the student voice shouted out loud, becoming an activist in student issues and the chance to be a Trustee of the huge charity that is the Student Union.
We managed to have 9 students sign up and register their interest for this years elections. Even in the lift going to write this story I asked a student if they knew about the elections and they were interested and said they would look at the website!
Our students are at the heart of The Union, and the elections are just the place to be in a position of power and make positive change in the student movement at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Today has taken me right back to why I love my job, sharing what potential each and every student has through engagement and communication!
Good of luck for all those who stand in this years elections, let's make each vote count!