Helena Schofield is a MA Intercultural Communication student and a Student Trustee at ARU Students' Union. She explains why being a Trustee is an awesome experience.
I’m Helena, and I’m one of your Student Trustees! Wait... what does that actually mean? Well, as we’re looking for new Student Trustees, I thought I’d explain what it’s about, what you can do, and why it’s a fab thing to do during your time at ARU.
What does a Student Trustee do?
First and foremost, I sit on the Trustee Board of the Students’ Union, which is basically a group of people who meet several times a year to discuss the ins and outs of ARU Students’ Union. It’s made up of Student Trustees, Executive Officers (the ones you elected!), SU staff, and external trustees who are experts in how Students’ Unions work. Fuelled by tea and biscuits, we talk about everything that the SU does, from clubs and societies, to representation and democracy, campus facilities, and more. From how much money the SU has, to what food is available in the campus canteen and everything in between. Been there, discussed that, got the minutes. That can sound big and scary – it did to me anyway - but in reality it’s a group of people who are really passionate about providing a great experience for students getting together and putting their best ideas forward to make positive change.
Why do they exist?
Above all, the Student Trustees are there to remind the board who their decisions affect: students! We use our first-hand experience to influence board decisions and keep things student-centred. ARU has such a diverse student body, so it helps decision-making to get input from people from a range of difference backgrounds.
Who can be a Student Trustee?
Anyone who is a student! Postgraduates, mature students, part-time students... as soon as you join ARU, the SU represents you, and therefore you get a say on the changes that affect you. It’s as simple as that. It’s useful to have some knowledge of the Students Union or about any current issues affecting the University, so if you’ve been a Course Rep, a Society Committee Member, a volunteer through the SU, or something along those lines, you’ll have the insider insight that is really useful when contributing to discussions. In general it’s useful to be passionate about change.
What’s in it for me?
You can make real, meaningful change to the Students’ Union, and potentially to the University as well. You get to see how the SU works as a charity and learn about the Higher Education sector as a whole. You get to work alongside a team of amazing people who want to make a real difference. Also, it’s great for your CV: you show your skills in decision-making, teamwork, and responsibility, and it’s especially good if you’re looking to work in charities or non-profit organisations in the future. There are also sub-committees that you can be on, so if you’re interested in HR or Finance, then you can get involved and make change. It’s what you make of it!
Alright, sounds interesting... how do I apply?
Here’s where you can find further details and register your interest here.
I can thoroughly recommend being a Student Trustee – its a great way to see behind the scenes of the SU, to learn about organisational management, and to make your voice heard.