After reading Harry Walter’s report on his aims and achievements as VP Activities for the SU, we decided to speak to him to find out just what was really being done.
What does Harry’s role actually involve?
As VP Activities, Harry supports all of the university’s societies, media (BeMedia), RAG and volunteering. His day to day tasks include sifting through emails to resolve any issues and talking to students to encourage involvement.
How has Harry made efforts to get to know the new roles of the officers in the SU?
Harry was on the interview panel for the Accreditation and Alumni role, which Sam Hunter now has. This role involves building the alumni scheme, helping students to develop their CV skills, and communicating with committee members to encourage employability. These elements are all very important to the SU in general, and to Harry.
Why was the rebranding of BeMedia so important and what steps did Harry take to make it happen?
Originally, BeMedia only had two logos and Harry thought it was unclear what each of the three elements of BeMedia actually mean (BeRadio, BeTV, BeOnline). It was important that the areas had their own identity so unique artwork was created for each, but it was done so in a way that the area logos still linked to one another. Harry helped to develop the umbrella branding of BeMedia through talks with the marketing team to help come up with something entirely new.
The official relaunch of BeMedia will take place during BeMedia promotion week, commencing 28/11/16.
Since Varsity, what has been done with BeMedia to promote sports teams and to increase the volume of TV content?
Harry met up with the camera operators from Varsity, and collected the raw footage which will be made into content in the future. The rugby match videos were sent to the AU club coordinator to show to sports clubs, who were very grateful.
There are two new members of staff to support BeMedia now. One of these, Holly, is involved with the women’s rowing team, and so has many AU student and staff contacts.
BeRadio is also involving more sport than ever before, for example there will soon be a 12 hour stream, where sports teams can come in to talk about what they’ve been up to and to play their choice of music.
BeOnline is now heavily involved with sport, as Dan Wood, the Sports Editor, is continually covering AU articles and meeting sports teams for updates.
Harry said that he would be working with the new volunteering team staff to increase the number of students engaging with the Beckett Award. But how has he done this?
Harry works closely with Sam Hunter to actively persuade students to do the Beckett Award. Harry finds the students for Sam to engage with.
When does Harry expect to launch the micro pilot of the Society Reward Scheme?
The full pilot will be launching January/February time 2017, so the micro pilot isn’t as much of a priority any more. Some aspects of the scheme are already being measured, but Harry expects to finish all aspects of the scheme by December this year.
Harry admits that it can be difficult to launch new projects like this, as it is impossible to predict how many students are going to engage with it and so the time with designers may have to be limited. However, the full pilot of the scheme will help to calculate a specific budget and plan.
How will the Society Reward Scheme benefit societies once it has been launched?
The scheme is designed to help societies measure how well they do across three levels. It encourages them to have bigger events, engage with other societies and university media, have more training, be more involved with social media and to be self-sufficient. The scheme isn’t designed to bring extra hard work for the societies, but rather to focus on what they’re already doing well. Societies can focus on just one element, such as events, and carry this all the way to level three, or as many elements as they like.
Some niche societies have different strengths than bigger ones, so it pushes all societies to be better for the following year.
Why does Harry agree that it was right not to boycott the NSS?
Although some say that the NSS contributes to same universities charging more, Harry says he’d never heard of a viable alternative to the NSS from anyone in the SU or NUS. He also added that some questions have now been changed, so as a team, it was agreed to not boycott the NSS.
What is the Gateway project and how will it benefit students?
The Gateway project was designed by the university to provide career advice for students. This includes help with writing CVs, interview tips, drop in sessions and talks from employers. It also functions as a bookable space for groups of students, and as a venue for societies to potentially use. The plasma screens in there are also used to promote key SU events such as awards, elections and campaigns.
Are there any societies that Harry thinks are worth looking out for and getting involved with?
BeMedia– It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, you can apply yourself to some aspect of BeMedia. Whether this is writing about a topic of your choice, having your own TV show idea or playing your own music on the radio. BeMedia is open to everyone and there are no limits to what students can do as apart of it.
Film Society– This was the first society that Harry joined as a student. Its just a group of people that hang out and watch films, so its super easy to engage with.
CosPlay– A brand new society. The committee is full of passionate first years and it is very flexible with engagement. It can potentially engage with 8 other societies, such as the Harry Potter society, the Film society, the Geek society, BeMedia and many more.
Harry believes that all of the university’s societies are fantastic but really different to each other. They all have lots of successful events and are a great way for students to enjoy uni life even more.
Are there any particular projects that Harry is excited about?
The Bright Ideas campaign by the SU is especially great as it asks students what changes they want to see. Students vote on good ideas in order to see these changes happen.
It even brought free printing to the university, through using an app. The printing can’t be used for dissertations due to a small advert on the bottom of the page which was essential to making the printing free. But it is a great service to use for printing out lecture notes and presentation slides.
“The SU is all about asking students what they want”
If you would be interested in interviewing other SU officers and writing articles like this one, email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about our committee role opening for a Political Editor.
Written and edited by Charlotte Crouch.