Exec Officer Hall of Fame
Every March eight students are elected to become Exec Officers at the Students’ Union for the next academic year. For that year, they work tirelessly in their roles to amplify students' voices and make the change that students want to see. From longer library hours and living wage to supporting student safety on campus, let’s take a look at some of the greatest Exec Officer achievements in recent years.
If you've been studying at the University of Manchester for 2 years or longer, you will have heard and seen the word ‘NSS’ all around campus. If you lived under a rock last year, the NSS is a survey sent to final year students to measure their satisfaction with their course. Whilst it sounds harmless, the feedback given by students is used to increase tuition fees for future generations. Emma Atkins, Education Officer for 2016/17, led the #DontFillItIn campaign for the Students’ Union. The result? Less than 50% of students filled in the survey rendering the results unusable.
Reclaim The Night
Every year thousands of students take to the streets of Manchester to ‘Reclaim The Night’ and protest sexual violence, harassment and victim blaming. In 2018, over 3,000 students marched from Fallowfield to the Students’ Union in a display of solidarity. ‘Reclaim The Night’ is organised annually by the Students’ Union Women’s Officer. “Reclaim the Night is so much more than just one night and one street. It's about a movement of people who can build unity to stand together, to break the silence and to say enough is enough.” Jess Lishak, Women’s Officer for 2015/16.
Throwback to 2006 when a group of University of Manchester students decided to throw an all-night party in Manchester Academy. Little did they know that party would grow to become the largest student festival in the UK. Three times a year, over 7,000 students come together for the biggest night on the student calendar, with spectacular lighting and decoration masterpieces in 15 indoor and outdoor spaces. The festival has hosted internationally-renowned headliners, including Ella Eyre, Example, Fuse ODG and Wiley, alongside the best up-and-coming student talent. Who helps organise the festival, you ask? The Exec Team’s very own Activities and Development Officer.
Following the University of Manchester Living Wage campaign and the work of our Exec Officers, the Students’ Union became a Living Wage accredited employer in 2015. This means all permanent, student and contracted staff are paid an hourly minimum wage of £8.75, rising annually in line with the basic cost of living in the UK. The accreditation marked a great step forward in making the Students’ Union a fairer and more ethical employer.
In 2015 the Women’s Officer for the Students’ Union, Jess Lishak, launched the nightly shuttle bus service from Ali G to Fallowfield. The service was launched in response to increasing reports of sexual assault in the area and to stop students walking home alone after a night of studying. Journeys on the bus cost between £2 and £4 with fares going to services supporting students who have experienced sexual or domestic violence.
What do we want? Longer library hours. When do we want them? Now. Thankfully, the Students’ Union General Secretaries and Education Officers have worked with the University over the years to extend opening hours during exam period. Between April and June 2015, Main Library was opened until 2am, and in January 2018, other buildings around campus, including Roscoe and Zochonis, were opened until 2am.
Running for election is an unmissable opportunity to improve and leave your mark on student life at the University of Manchester. Whether you’re a student with a passion for campaigning or you’re simply frustrated with the status quo, now’s your chance to make real change. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up in the Students' Union Exec Officer Hall of Fame next year.