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QMSU 2016-2017: A Look Back

This year’s Executive Officers reflect on their time in charge of our Students’ Union

The SU election season has officially commenced. Soon Ground will be covered in a variety of colourful posters, lecture theatres will play host to prospective candidates, eagerly laying out their manifestos and, eventually, a new group of students will be elected to run the Union next year.

But before the 2017-2018 team move their knick knacks into the SU offices, it’s time to look back on what has been a particularly eventful year for the Union.  We have seen NSS Boycotts, fee freezes and a referendum on whether the university should remain part of the NUS. We have seen the SU support Trump and Prevent demos in library square as well as being the source of a protest, challenging the Union’s decision to not sell tabloid newspapers in any of their venues.

The Union has seen some successes, and some backlash. In light of this, The Print spoke to the Union’s current Executive Officers and asked them to review their time as leaders of QMSU, and offer some advice to this year’s candidates.

Miranda Black – President


What is the best part of your job?

No two days are the same. I attend student events, represent students and create change at high level University meetings, run campaigns, meet with the Principal regularly, write reports, chair boards, and make decisions on both the day to day and the long-term running of the Union.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

I’m very emotionally invested in my role, and I find it difficult when things don’t work out exactly as planned. I’ve been very lucky that my Mum is always at the end of the phone to vent to.

Is there anything you did not manage to achieve?

There’s somethings [which are] tricky to do within one year. I still have a few months, and a top priority of mine will be getting additional study space for students. In the coming weeks, there are several opportunities for me to present on this, and I hope that we will see commitment to creating more both in the short and long-term.  

What has been your proudest achievement in this role?

Is it too cheesy to say I’m proud of my team? I think that the Students’ Union officers and staff have shown how dedicated they are. I see everyone giving 110% and it’s turned out great results, including freezing the tuition fees for continuing students. There’s also a couple of very exciting things in the pipeline that I hope will be announced soon (Hint: Students have been wanting this for a LONG time).


Will Atkins – Vice President Barts and The London


What’s the best part of your job?

Being in a position where I know I can genuinely change things for the better to improve the experience of students at Barts and The London and the wider University.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Balancing the differing agendas, pressures and opinions that people bring to discussion in big organisations like the Students’ Union and the University, whilst trying to deliver the best possible outcomes for the students I represent.

What is your proudest achievement in this role?

Helping BLSA officers to work as a team when we’ve had to take big decisions this year, and to really think through issues as they arise and potential solutions. We’re so much stronger when we work together, and share opinions and ideas and I’m incredibly proud of all the time we’ve had to discuss and debate where we want the Students’ Association and Students’ Union to go in future, and how we can get there. 

Is there anything you did not manage to achieve?

Spend as much time listening and talking to students every day as the meetings and admin tasks pile up! It’s one of reasons that makes my (incredibly talented) team of representatives and officers so important at BLSA – keeping me up to date with student issues that I might have missed, and leading on campaigns, making change, and ensuring our Association and the Students’ Union delivers for its members!


Sumeera Ahmad – Vice President Education


What’s the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is the opportunities to experience and take part in things which I wouldn’t have otherwise. For example at the start of my role I was able to take a visit to the house of lords! and recently I got to welcome students from BUPT and tour them around London. It was great fun!

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is attending many university meetings while finding the time to read papers and answer emails in addition to making time for last minute meetings with students.

What one piece of advice would you give to the person taking over your role next year?

Don’t be afraid to say what you really think even if it is different to everyone else’s view or in front of scary uni staff. It is why you are invited to these meetings because you can say what many others cannot. and ALWAYS make time to go out and talk to students and attend events to show your support.


Adam Sparkes -Vice President Welfare


What has been your proudest achievement in this role?

The ‘Be Kind to your Mind’ campaign. I’ve seen the effects it’s having on students and I’m so proud the University want to buy into it and expand it across campus further.

Is there anything you did not manage to achieve?

I think canal security. I’m planning on that being my project for the summer months after exams when things quieten down a little so I can fully focus over a few months at getting the lighting we need along regents canal.

What one piece of advice would you give to the person taking over your role next year?

Be brave in your convictions, and be prepared for how emotional it can get when helping with individual students problems.


Images – QMSU

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