It is the end of the academic year and our current Student Officers end their posts too, making room for a newly elected officers for the upcoming year, David, Skye and Luna. It has been a difficult year for everyone with Covid-19 and restrictions in place, preventing students from having a full Campus experience. Even though restrictions eased at the beginning of the year, it took a long time for all the students to get back into the campus with many still facing limitations. Our Student Officers were working hard through the whole year ensuring students' rights and wellbeing has been looked after. They all took part in housing protest outside of the Scottish Parliament to convince ministers to intervene in worsening conditions of students housing, rent and lack of rights as tenants. Student Officers also actively supported rights of those from LGBT+ groups ensuring their voices across the Edinburgh College are being heard.
Our President, Rose, worked this year on providing students with laptops as well as on improving the bursary system so that students don’t have the added stress of financial worries whilst they study at Edinburgh College. She attended the meeting with Minister for Higher Education and Further Education Jamie Hepburn to discuss challenges that students have faces during the pandemic specifically emphasising the importance of access to laptops and Wi-Fi. She has been representing students while working with NUS on improving students' rights and financial support. Rose was also working closely with Class Representatives, listening to their concerns and trying to solve issues that students struggled with.
"It's has been an amazing experience representing our brilliant students. Thank you all for giving me that honour! And wishing you all the best of luck in the future."
Our VP Welfare, Jordan, focused this year on a wellbeing as many students struggled as a result of pandemic. He hosted virtual check-in sessions where students could pop-in and share any worries they might have or even if they just needed talk to someone. He also took part in a campaign marking 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. Jordan also organised donations from students and staff for Ukraine which was then delivered to those in need by the OPIR, a charity organisation.
"Each and every one of you who have made it this far should be proud of yourselves and go on in life knowing that you have an inner strength and tenacity that will allow you to face any unexpected challenges. Because you have already proved to yourself and the world how strong an individual you are just by making it this far."
Our VP Activities, Victoria, had a particularly difficult role this year since any activities and events that she wanted to organise were restricted due to Covid-19. Despite those challenges, she managed to keep students busy with activities. She organised a Black History Month Walking Tour across Edinburgh exploring the city’s deep links with Africa and the Caribbean over the past 500 years. Victoria also hosted an Edinburgh College Cop 26 in Conversation panel event which gave an opportunity to discuss the ways in which our College is playing its part in tackling the climate emergency. With the ECSA on Tour events, she was able to meet with students across the campuses and engage them in fun activities and a good conversation.
"If anyone asks me what being a student officer for the last few years was like (they won't, but go with me), I will honestly say it was the strangest time but greatest experience. I have stories to tell and memories to last a lifetime.
It was a privilege to witness the determination, resilience, passion and patience you have all shown and I want you all to be sure that no matter the journey you have taken or the journey you are on, you should be proud of everything you have achieved. Take a breath and know whatever life throws at you, you are prepared. The world won’t know what hit it!
Thank you for being part of this incredible, unexpected and formative journey. Take care of yourselves and I wish you all the best, wherever your journey takes you next."
All three Student Officers will be missed at Edinburgh College Students' Association but at the same time, we are excited to meet and work with newly elected officers which will start their posts on 1 July.