Natalie Brown, third year Law student and winner of the Activist Award at the SU Awards 2018, shares her experience of winning an SU Award, and what it took to get there.
I feel over the moon to have won the activist award! It has been a busy year and it was such an incredible moment hearing my name called out at the SU Awards ceremony. To have my work recognised tells me that I am doing something worthwhile and this achievement will be a driving force for my next projects. I am grateful that as my time at ARU comes to a close, I’ve impacted students and my community.
I have invested my time and finances to gain a better understanding of the private rented sector from gaining CPD through attending conferences to engaging with the public to strengthen my campaign. There have been moments in my journey as an activist where I have questioned whether my work and all of the noise I’ve been making has really been impactful. I’ve wanted to call it quits numerous times but I am so glad that I didn’t.
My friends and family have been great in encouraging me to keep speaking, writing and advocating. Now that I have won the award, I feel like I have more confidence to keep advocating despite of all the challenges and shortcomings.
I vowed to get involved with the SU before I left ARU, it’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do but kept putting off. So at the beginning of the first semester in my final year, I approached the Executive Officer team with my idea to write a renting guide for students because I felt as though many students did not know the law and their rights as tenants. I uploaded my idea on the SU ideas page and then once I got enough votes from students, I started writing and the Executive Officer team helped oversee the creation of the guide. It has been lovely to work with the SU and I am so happy that my idea received the support that it did.