Hi, I’m Zac Walker and I do not shut up about the union. I’ve been a course rep, a committee member and now I’m the current Media Rep. There are times in the past three years that I have really struggled; moving away from home, living with new people, and the stress of deadlines...deadlines...DEADLINES. The one thing that kept me on track in Leeds was the love and support of the societies I had the honour of being a part of. Activities are much more than just the sport, hobby or interest that brings you together, they’re (prepare yourselves) a family. Awful I know, but I love the difference joining a society can make to a person’s life, learning new skills, gaining confidence, finding the people who like you for exactly who you are. I want to be activities officer because I’m so passionate about making sure every single society can function to their maximum potential so that they can be the life line for someone else, just like they were for me.
CHANGE, SUSTAIN OR GROW
I want to ensure that societies can achieve one of these three goals during my time as Activities Officer. Around 27,000 students take part in soceities, so there seems to be plenty of people to get involved, but a lot of societies are facing difficulties, particularly newly formed and smaller societies. Many societies are being left to fall apart due to lack of funding or an incoming committee. I want to do everything I can to give them the tools they need to keep them going. I’m lucky enough to have received training in digital and social marketing for this leadership race, but I want to offer those kinds of workshops to any society that wants to participate, especially in the run up to freshers so they can build up a membership before term even begins. If it’s proving that the way things are aren’t working, then I will help societies to make positive changes in order to survive and thrive.
And of course I would love it if every single society is able to grow, in members, funding and in what they feel like they can accomplish with the support of the the activities reps and myself.
EXPLAIN THE CHANGE
If you ask any student on campus how the union forums work, chances are they won’t know unless they’re heavily involved in the union already. This needs to change. There needs to be a much more open dialogue between the union and its members about how exactly the forums work, for example, why committees need to run AGMs, and what leads to real change within the union. As was highlighted in the previous forums, the lack of bottled water in the union was a decision made by students NOT by the union and when I explain that to people and they realise that that case, they’re less mad about it.
The union has also started to take a closer look at the way societies are running in the past few years. This has resulted in some societies being told they cannot do the things that they’ve always done, without explanation as to why this is the case, and getting that information can take months. I will use my position within the union exec to find the information that explains exactly why certain decisions are made and communicate this to societies, pinpointing the exact issues and collaborate with them to make adjustments that mean they can achieve what they set out to do.
Treating our members fairly is key and they deserve to understand what’s happening around them - if there’s anything you ever don’t understand or feel hasn’t been explained properly, tell me and we’ll get to the bottom of it together.
POWER IN OUR UNION
Everyone should feel that they’ve helped to make a change before they leave Leeds University and The Union. There are huge groups of students who are doing incredible things everyday to support other students, particularly in the schools where students spend more than the typical three years at university. It’s a shame that these groups often feel alienated so I will strive to engage with them and work to understand how they work. Then, how we can build a better relationship to support what they’re doing whether that means bringing them under the union’s wing or allowing them to still be very independent, but with some guidance and support from us.
GET IN TOUCH @ZACTIVITIESLUU
ON INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK AND TWITTER