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“The SU is heading in a very good direction”: Interview with SU President Alan Holey

With the 2018 Students’ Union Elections currently taking place, Impact talked to Alan Holey, the SU President, to learn more about his time in office.

During the interview, Alan talked about his experiences, the Inspirational Student Magazine, making the SU more transparent and more.

How would you say your time in office has been so far?

Alan: “It has been an experience. I have learnt a lot. Not only about the Students’ Union but also the University, what each department actually does, how you can actually make change and how everything interlinks and connects.

“A lot has changed, and a lot is going to change that will positively affect students in the best way possible. The SU is heading in a very good direction.”

“I am glad that it will leave a legacy since it is attached to a singular staff member”

What would you say has been your greatest achievement since becoming the SU President?

Alan: “One thing that I am really proud of is the international student experience. This year we wrote a paper to the University and towards the Trustee Board of the Union that we need something for the International student experience. So, this year we have employed two new staff roles: The International Strategy Lead and International Engagement Lead.”

Alan goes on to explain how the International Engagement Lead “will carry on the amazing Global Buddy scheme that was started 2 years ago. I have expanded it this year, and I am glad that it will leave a legacy now since it is attached to a singular staff member who will continue and expand on it in the future.”

And your greatest challenge? 

Alan: “The greatest challenge for me was the amount of stuff that you needed to know before you could actually start doing anything effectively. When I was a student I thought it was going to be easy, that I would know everything, but actually, I didn’t.

“A lot of students have no idea what the Students’ Union departments are and what the Students’ Union decision body are”

“You have to set up relationships with the SU and University staff [when] you have absolutely no idea who they were. For example, when I was a student I only knew the Vice-Chancellor, but I did not know that there were Pro-Vice-Chancellors, the Registrar, […]. There are all these different people and areas that I had absolutely no idea about. So, learning about that and how to effectively use those relationships to achieve what you have been mandated to do by students is the most challenging.”

How is the Nottingham Inspirational Students Magazine going? Has there been any progress?

Alan: “I have been talking to a few staff members and in my opinion, I think that it should encompass all the celebrations and recognition that we already give to students. We have a lot of awards that happen already, such as sports, society [and] education, which I think should be encompassed in this Inspirational Students Magazine.

“I will be working on it in the next few months.”

“it is not only the SU Officers that make up the decision-making body”

How has the feedback been for the weekly/monthly Officer updates that have been going up online?

Alan: “It is a difficult one to assess because sometimes there is a lot of engagement, sometimes there is no engagement, or there are no updates to give. On the SU website, for some reason, there were no updates from Officers. It literally just said their manifesto and nothing else, and I knew that this needed to change. Therefore, in my manifesto, I put in weekly updates for Officers, and I have put them all on the SU website now.

“I don’t actually update on Facebook because all of it is on the SU website. [In addition], the SU website will always be there. Therefore, this will hopefully start a trend with the Officers team to actually start doing it.”

Finally, what are you still hoping to accomplish before the end of your time in office?

“I want to create better transparency. A lot of students have no idea what the Students’ Union departments are and what the Students’ Union decision body are.”

“The SU is completely separate from the University and they can make their own decision without the University telling us something”

With this Alan wants the SU website to encompass a space where it gives you information of what the SU is, the different areas and departments within the SU and what they are in charge of.  He says: “Hopefully this will be a backbone for the future so students can actually know who to contact. [This] will be really nice to see.”

“Another thing [I want to accomplish] involves decision making. A lot of students have no idea of how decisions are made. Because the SU is a charity there is actually a lot of boards and sub-committees within the SU that actually make decisions, it is not only the SU Officers that make up the decision-making body.”

The last thing that Alan mentions is wanting to educate “students [on] what the SU actually is. The SU is completely separate from the University and they can make their own decision without the University telling us something.”

Sarah Lindgarde

Featured image courtesy of Impact Images. 

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