This blog comes a little earlier than is normal for full time officers, but I am, sadly, saying a fond farewell to Aber slightly before the end of my term as Academic Affairs Officer. I’ve been offered a fantastic opportunity to work with Newman Students' Union as their Representation and Activities Coordinator, which means that my last day with AberSU is Thursday, 3rd May. Throughout May and June I will be leaving the academic side of things in the capable hands of the other officers and staff in the SU. The other officers will be monitoring my email inbox over the next few months and I will be ensuring that I hand over to both the rest of the current team and the new incoming Academic Affairs Officer, Megan, before I leave.
It's no secret that my journey through Higher Education has not been 'normal' or particularly straight forward, and a few years ago I never would have seen myself moving on to work in Higher Education and Students Unions properly. As your Academic Affairs Officer I've had so many fantastic experiences, from running Fresher’s week activities, to meeting and working with a fantastic new team of 230 Academic Reps and, of course, being trusted to take the views and voices of nearly 8000 students to national UK and Welsh stages to try and make your time at University the best it can be. As cheesy as it sounds, I've been inspired by the incredible students I've met over the past few years, particularly this year, and I've definitely discovered that my passions lie in student experience and representation.
It's been a busy year, but some of the things that stand out to me are:
- Starting our first ever Part Time Jobs and Volunteering Fair and our February ‘Final Year Hub’
- Co-presenting a national Rep Conference right here in Aber
- Rewriting our Student Rep Policy in collaboration with students and staff
- Collaborating on a university-wide Hidden Course Costs report (to be published soon!)
- Attending several national conferences on behalf of AberSU and having the opportunity to influence national education policy, sitting on strategic boards with the QAA and HEFCE to name just a few
- Working with the University to complete a full exams processes audit, which has resulted in the writing and printing of exam papers becoming a much tighter and more reliable process
- Seeing a fantastic record-breaking 35% voter turnout for our annual Spring elections!
- Planning and hosting our annual Staff and Students Awards (26th April, you’re all invited!)
As an officer I've worked closely with both University and SU staff and I've learnt a lot of things. I've been inspired by seeing how excellent members of staff can support students and officers to become the best versions of themselves in whatever they choose to do. I hope to be able to take everything I've learnt over the past year and use that knowledge and skills to help other students become amazing and empowered leaders, campaigners and change-makers in a sector where student voice is an increasingly extremely powerful tool.
I'm leaving Aberystwyth after 4 years with a big hole in my heart for a place that has become my home and where I have found people who have most definitely become my 'Aber Family', but when opportunity knocks, you know what they say! I will most certainly be back (I've got my fingers crossed for graduation week), as I definitely won't be able to stay away for long. I've loved being your Academic Affairs Officer more than I could ever put into words. Thank you for putting your faith in me to represent you this year - I really do hope I've done you proud.
I wish you all the luck in the world for the future and I know that each and every last one of you I've had the pleasure of meeting this year will go on to achieve amazing things once your time as a student at Aberystwyth University is over.
Lots of Aber love,