Tuesday, 14 January 2014

So you want to be the RUSU President?

If you told me this time last year that in twelve months time I would be leading a multi-million pound charity that employs eighty staff and has over seventeen thousand beneficiaries, I would have told you to dream on.

I know first-hand that the thought of standing in an election is very daunting, however truth be told it’s not that bad, I’d even go as far to say that I found the election campaign to be enjoyable, so the elections process really is nothing to worry about!

The purpose of this article is to tell you what you will be doing if you were to be elected as next year’s RUSU President. I could try to provide a summary of the role of the in a few hundred words but I am not going to - I really wouldn't be able to do the job justice in such a short piece of text. Instead, I'm going to pick of just a few examples of what will sneak its way into your diary if you're elected as RUSU President 2014/15.

Trustee Board is a major part of the role of the RUSU President. RUSU is a registered charity (and from this Summer it will be an Incorporated Company also) and like all charities, RUSU is governed by a Board of Trustees. It is the role of the President to chair the Board (which consists of all of the Student Officers, a number of Student Trustees, and also some External Trustees from the community). Chairing meetings is an art and being chair of the RUSU Board for a year will give you lifelong skills that you can take with you when you leave.

It is the job of the President to maintain a good relationship between RUSU and the senior management of the University, especially the Vice-Chancellor. The RUSU President and the V-C have monthly one-to-ones where the key issues that students at the University of Reading are currently facing are discussed. You also liaise with other key University staff in University meetings and believe me there are lots of committee meetings! Committee meetings are how Student Officers feed into the decision making right at the top of the University. There are Committees to talk about basically every issue affecting students and they make decisions on some really important and interesting topics; this is how you will be able to affect the lives of Reading students for years to come.

The RUSU President is also responsible for managing RUSU’s relationship with the press. I work closely with the University’s press office to mitigate any potential risks to RUSU’s reputation or the reputation of the
University. I really feel that this aspect of the job has allowed me to build my confidence, hopefully something that will be noticed when I go for job interviews. There are many transferable skills that you will pick up during your year as a Student Officer.

I suppose the best part of being the RUSU President 2013/14 for me, has been the opportunity to make University-wide decisions that will impact the lives of so many present and future students at the University of Reading. I have met many interesting people and have picked up loads of new skills along the way. I can honestly say that doing this job for a year is one of the best opportunities I have ever been given and I would highly recommend that you give it a shot! Obviously there is so much more that I find myself doing on a daily basis but I’m sure you’re all busy writing dissertations, so I’ll save you from having to read yet another lengthy text. However, if you do want to find out more, I’ll be having a drop-in session for potential candidates on the afternoon of Friday 31st January in RUSU’s Student Activities Centre. Feel free to pop along for an informal chat or email me. Good luck!

Mark Kelleher
RUSU President 2013/14
E: president@rusu.co.uk
Follow @RUSU_President

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