Wednesday, 29 January 2014

So you want to be the RUSU Community and Development Officer?

It is strange to think that this time last year I was in my third year of English Language, wondering what to do when I graduated. Whether I would move home, go travelling, stay in Reading or continue my studies on a postgraduate course. Being a Student Officer never really figured as a possible option. I thought it was for super confident students, who were engaged with politics and understood democracy, all attributes that I thought I didn't really have. However, I really could not have been more wrong.

Being a Student Officer is about being passionate about students’ rights. It is about wanting the best for students, whether it be good feedback from assignments, more information regarding careers, or more opportunities to volunteer. It is about leading a multi-million pound organisation with 4 other Officers, being a Trustee of a charity and being part of something that can really make a difference to over 15,000 students.

If it wasn't for one of last year’s Student Officer’s giving me a gentle nudge, I would never have had the confidence to run and would have never had the great experiences and skills that I have acquired. So now it is my turn to encourage you to stand for elections and to have one of the best experiences you will ever have.

So why run to be the Community and Development Officer? There is no simple response to this question because the reality is there are a multitude of reasons why you should run for this position.

Firstly, the role is still very new, there is so much scope to tailor the role into what you think a Community and Development Officer should be. This is even more true now that the role has slightly changed. You would be the Officer responsible to take the lead on the issues and campaigns that relate to student housing and halls of residence. Something that every single student experiences and a chance for you to make a real difference to these students time at Reading.

Secondly, you are responsible for the direction and expansion of volunteering, a huge but very exciting task.
RUSU recognises the importance volunteering has for both personal and career development. Volunteering has grown so much in the last two years, but there are still so many opportunities for students to get involved with and it will be up to you how to regulate those opportunities and to decide how you best feel students will engage with volunteering.

Thirdly, and this is the best reason by far, every single day is different. One day you might be going to Lakeside Care Home to help out with a tea party, you might be helping another Officer with a campaign they are running, you might be speaking on Junction11 one day, the next you might be in a University board meeting representing students followed by meeting community members to tell them about the great things students’ do, and even end up having tea and cake with the Mayor. There are certainly tough days, but they are way outweighed by the great days, when something positive is achieved for students. Every day brings a new experience and a new skills set. It is great to put on the CV and it is possibly the best introduction to working life.

Being a Student Officer gives you a great experience that you will always look back on and could lead you into having an incredible job. Even if you are undecided about running, come and speak to one of the Officers now, our doors are always open, and we can support you in any way we can.

Katy Ashford
Community and Developemnt Officer 2013/14
Follow @RUSU_Community

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