Big Student Elections are coming up and nominations are now open! We caught up with current President Sarah Hay & current VP Welfare Beth Anderson, to chat about their time as student officers at Edinburgh College Students' Association.
Sarah was elected President in 2018 and is coming to the end of her term. She is eligible to run for a second term however as much as she has loved her time as President her ambitions are far ranging and she wants to contine her education in Social Care at Edinburgh College. Beth chose to do her two terms as VP Welfare and is equally ambitious having undertaken a counselling course at the same time as being a student officer. Beth fully qualified before taking office and is therefore hoping to gain full time employment within human resources. We asked both Sarah and Beth about their experiences as student officers.
Q: Why did you run to be a student officer?
Beth: I had heard how great an opportunity it was and after speaking to the Students' Association team and the officers at the time I was hooked. I have always had a keen passion for student well-being and I was eager to learn and implement changes to the way students are supported during their time at College.
Sarah: Oh, I ran for so many different reasons! I was a Class Rep and got involved with running a Mental Health workshop for both students and staff and like Beth, I was quickly hooked into working with students. I had loads of ideas and after speaking to the officers I decided to just go for it!
Q: And now, at the end of your terms, what have you gained from being a student officer at ECSA?
Sarah: I'm not going to lie, I have had such a hard but amazing year! I have met so many great people across the student movement and the College. The role has built up my confidence and I am hoping that this will help me in my future career in Social Work. Being President has been such a great opportunity for me to develop while helping others and then it of course looks great on my CV for University not to mention being paid for doing what you love!
Beth: Where do I start! The two years I have had in the role as Vice President Welfare have been absolutely fantastic! The vast amount of opportunities, skills and confidence I've gained has been incredible. Alongside working with an extremely supportive team I can honestly say that everything I've worked on and gained in this role will be extremely useful in my future career but will also leave a positive impact on the lives of Edinburgh College students
Q: It sounds like you both have had an amazing time - what is your proudest achievements?
Beth: Not to boast... But it is extremely difficult to pin it down to one thing. You get so many amazing opportunities to implement change. I would say though that my proudest achievement has been running successful mental health campaigns such as the 'It's Not Just You' video campaign as well as 'Tea and Talk' events to encourage students to support and talk to each other about their own well-being. Binding all of my work together has been the writing and launching the Student Mental Health Agreement which has been signed by Audrey Cumberford, Edinburgh College Principal! For more information on the Student Mental Health Agreement click here
Sarah: I have to say my proudest achievement has been setting up the Student Parent Working Group and devising a policy that will protect and support Student Parents & Carers during their studies but also while enrolling or considering enrolling in courses at Edinburgh College. It was not an easy task so I am proud to see this as my lasting legacy. If you would like more information or if you are a student parent please join our closed Facebook group to keep up to date on anything Student Parents & Carers related.
Q: Finally, have you got any advice for anyone considering running in the election?
Beth: Just be yourself! If you are unsure if being a student officer is for you or you are unsure which of the roles would suit what you'd like to achieve, pop into the office or get in touch, we are more than happy to talk through the roles. You will never know what it is like being an officer if you don't try!
Sarah: My main piece of advice is to get out and speak to other students! Ask them what they'd like to see changed and show them why they should vote for you. I had a bit of a confidence issue about whether I would actually be a candidate but after talking to the President at the time I came around to the idea that you don't have to be super confident to be a good President. I am so glad he convinced me to run!