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Dear Students of Colour,
At the uea(su) we believe in equity and we understand that in previous elections you may not have felt seen or included. That is why we have created Generational Change, a programme to ensure you are given the support, empowerment, and confidence to get into leadership roles, including running for the elections.
The uea(su) are committed to creating an anti-racist culture which can be seen in our current schemes including the Students of Colour Ambassadors, which aims to tackle the degree awarding gap. (In the UK in 2019-20, there was a 9.9% 'gap’ between the likelihood of white students and students of colour getting a 1st or a 2:1 degree classification due to explained and unexplained factors.)
From research it has been found that some of the contributing factors for the attainment gap are that students of colour do not feel represented or a sense of belonging at university. Not only will being part of the programme help you to navigate the elections process, but it will also create role models for students of colour looking to run in the elections in the future, as they feel seen, heard, and have the confidence to apply themselves. We believe your voice is important and we want you to be part of the Generational Change.
Generational Change will provide equitable activities including workshops, 1-1s with uea(su) staff members of colour, and open discussions to support your journey through our elections process. UEA needs more students of colour in leadership roles across the board and not just in EDI roles. Your voice and leadership is valued and inherent to kickstart systemic and institutional change for generations to come. It starts now.
Please email us if you would like to book in a 1-1 (once nominations are closed)!
- the uea(su) team
Generational Change is a year-round initiative, with our team working hard to make sure that there is always an event or workshop going on to help empower your voice; if there's something you feel we should be doing, please email us. Simply click the event below to be taken to where you can get tickets.
"I got involved with my SU during the first term of my first year at the University of Essex, initially as a Course Rep in the Linguistics department and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
A few years later, I ran in the annual Elections when I was elected as the VP Education and I’ve stayed working in Students’ Unions ever since. I didn’t realise it at the time but running in those elections was so important to ensure that students of colour were represented at the highest level in the SU. It was also an amazing experience and one of the best years of my life, which led to start of my career in SUs and one day becoming a CEO."
"Starting my journey I did not have any political understanding and never knew the importance of advocacy, human rights, and justice until joining my Students’ Union at the University of West London. I was a committee member of the Afro-Caribbean society when hearing about the Students’ Union elections’ which at first, I was quite scared about. However, after talking to SU staff and speaking with friends, I ran and become the Vice President of Student Activities and Participation for two terms.
This was one of the best experiences of my life and looked good on my CV! I developed my people skills, communication skills and relationship building techniques too. I was able to sit on board meetings and higher level university structures and enact real change. It is the truth when they say you will not get an experience like this again. From this I have stayed in Students’ Unions and I am now one of the few black senior managers within an Students’ Union across the UK."
"I ran because I had supportive people believe I would be good to run. At first, I was completely against the idea because I didn't think I fit the description and the image of a vice president in my head and other peoples. After doing some research, speaking to other people who work with Student Unions such as Olivia Adekunle & looking at what I'm passionate about I knew I was the person for the role. I was able to identify cracks in the system that I believe I was the right person to help fix."
"The role also helped me develop as an individual in a space where people like me are not in leadership roles. I understand that just by me being elected twice and being out there and interacting with students it'll give all minorities, but especially Black Women, the encouragement needed to go for these roles. I have been able to use the resources at my disposal to further develop my own interests and start planning my next steps career-wise. I have thoroughly enjoyed my role within my SU and though it was tough at times especially in a pandemic, I wouldn't have changed it for the world."
"I ran at the time because I truly felt like I’d be the best person to represent the students at west London and make changes for them. The SU changed my life while I was studying and I wanted to help do that for other students.
I really believe that everything I’ve done since becoming an officer I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t run because this role really helped to improve my confidence MASSIVELY! There were times I was out of my comfort zone and I had an amazing team that helped me to see my potential and really believed in me. Public speaking petrified me and in my role I had to do a lot of it and now when giving presentations at work or anything where I need to address a lot of people I feel so confident which still to this day I’m like I can’t believe i did that. I wouldn’t have been able to get there without being a sabb. Being a officer also helped me realise what I’m good at and what my skills are and now i work in a sector I love doing something I really enjoy!"
"During my time at university, I was heavily involved with union activities. i was a committee member for netball and ACS. The student union has always supported me during my studies, when I was struggling with my assignments, the advice service helped me and when I needed a job in my second year, they gave me employment. I ran because I wanted better support for students with disabilities and wanted to make the union and university more inclusive. With the support of my friends and union I ran for the role of vice president of activities and participation in my first year and in the second I ran to be president."
"Since being an officer my confidence and abilities has grown massively. I went from a shy person who didn’t believe in my own abilities to running part of the senior management team for 2 years. This has helped me now in my current role as the opportunities coordinator (Widening participation and outreach). Being an officer made me realise that I was really passionate about higher education and In particular helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds have a better student experience. I now work in a role where I can question, challenge and help students. If I didn’t run as an officer I wouldn’t be where I am right now. Before running in SU elections, I was lost on what I wanted to do after I graduated from university but now, I know that I want a career in higher education working on equality, diversity and inclusion."
"If anyone is thinking of running in SU elections, I highly recommend you do! It was the best decision I have ever made!"
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