During my time at Buckinghamshire New University, I studied Psychology. I was quite a nervous fresher to start off with, after taking a gap year and completely changing my educational path. Before my A Level results I was on track to go study and Zoology, however, I didn't feel quite ready for university life. During my gap year, I read a great book which made me rethink my course choice and left me feeling uncertain. I chose BNU as it was close to home and made me feel a little more safe and comfortable. It was only half an hur away from home so I could always go back if I needed too. However, once I moved into Windsor House, I really didn't need it. I met my flat mates straight away and though we were all different, once we had done our first freshers’ night out together, we just clicked and all began to feel completely at home in our new environment. In fact, it was around this time that I met Jess, your current Vice President Student Involvement, as she lived on the floor above me!
Throughout Freshers Fortnight, the Students’ Union were continuously informing us how we can get involved. I knew before joining that there were certain clubs and societies that I wanted to be a part of so when Freshers Fair came around, I knew exactly where I wanted to visit. That's where I joined Snow Soc, Swimming, and Climbing. Being a part of those clubs is where I met my closest friends in university and it's true what they say, joining clubs and societies really does help you meet like-minded people. Before joining BNU I had no experience with skiing but, thanks to the Big Deal, I got to have lessons for a fraction of the cost so when December of first year rolled around, I was able to head to Les Deux Alpes for a society holiday. Because of what the society meant to me, I put myself forward to become the Chair in my second year and also became the Swimming team Captain.
I got both leadership positions but, as we all found, it was very hard to run clubs and societies throughout Covid and the lockdowns. It meant that we couldn't socialise as we did back in first year but online socials still happened and as soon as we could, sessions were back on to bring a sense of normality. As well as this, we got the new freshers’ intakes out and experiencing university as they should. Along with both roles, in my second year, I also became a Freshers’ Helper, all dressed up in the brightest orange you will ever seee. It was great fun and really rewarding, especially during move in week as it took me back to when I was in the same position. This role then blended into being Halls Support for those who were isolating because of contracting Covid or having been in contact with someone with it. So we were there to make sure they knew there was somene they could talk to if thy needed it and we also got to deliver all the food packages provided for those who were isolating.
In third year, I continued as Chair of Snow Soc and could finally put on the face-to-face sessions and socials I had has a Fresher now that all the restritions had been lifted. After a good few years as a student leader, I took it a step further and was appointed Student Representative on the University Council. This meant that I attended meetings with the then Students' Union President, Honor, and got to take part in the discussion about the running and the underpinning of the university. Looking at the successes and failures, but also looking to the future which I found very interesting. It was in one of these meetings that I became the first student to see the development plan for the High Wycombe estates. After some pushing from the Student’s Union, it was then taken to Union Council where we learnt what a wider body of students thought of these new plans. Questions were raised and I pulled them all together for an article in the student newspaper challenging the university to make sure that we students had a voice in the plans.
It was from here that I started talking to students and understanding that the university and its' students don't always see eye-to-eye. I also made some friends who were based at the Aylesbury campus who had been going there for three years and had no idea what the Student’s Union had to offer. With my degree and a passion for education, I ran in the Sabbatical elections for the Vice President Education and Welfare role, which I lost to the wonderful Brandon. Then the Students' Union manages to pass their referendum to introduce a fourth Sabbatical Officer and once nominations had opened, I put my name forward and here I am.
I'm really looking forward to working with all our newly elected officers and help bring together our campuses making sure that all students know what is available to them, but most of all, I just cannot wait to see Freshers' Fortnight as a Sabb and have a hand in planning some of it.
-Emily Crawshaw, Vice President Education and Welfare 2022-23