Opinion | Society presidents deserve to be paid – not abused

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By Sabrina Miller, Epigram Opinion Editor

Society presidents do so much to make our lives at university better.   Yet, all too often they are met with hostility. Surely, for all the hard work they put in they should be getting paid, not abused?

Every society president I know is dedicated to their craft. I’m on six different committees so I’ve had the privilege of watching six different society presidents sacrifice a year of their life to enrich the student experience.

They do so much, every single one of them. Their successes are rarely praised, and they get hounded for their failures on Bristruths. Abused and criticised endlessly, often scrutinised on things they have no control over or have happened well before their premiership. It is a thankless task and yet many of these society Presidents plunder on, putting blood, and sweat and time into making student life better.

JSoc Committee | University of Bristol Jsoc 

Their successes are rarely praised, and they get hounded for their failures on Bristruths

A society president is forced to juggle many responsibilities and play many roles. They are a therapist, sharing salty tears with their distraught members. They are a friend, making sure every person feels included. They are a banker, making sure the account stays balanced. They are an events manager, contacting speaker after speaker, sending email after email to put on a variety of fascinating talks. They are an activist, fighting for important principles and ideas.

Let’s not forget that these people have degrees!

They are all balancing supposedly a ‘full-time course’ with what is essentially a full-time business venture. These people do all of this this vital work for free. They spend 15, 20, 35 hours a week in meeting after meeting, rehearsal after rehearsal, speaking to members, liaising with the university, cooking meals for angry critics, trying desperately to make sure everything is perfect! They are winning sponsorships, managing committees of over sixteen people, having upwards of 200 demanding members. It is not easy. And I promise that presidents (or at least the ones I know) really care and are really trying.

They deserve to be paid by the SU, because the SU would be nothing without these societies. The student community would be lifeless and bare without these leaders. Yet all the wider student population do is moan, and berate, and threaten, and abuse these people who (trust me), are trying their damn best.

Students leaders deserve to be paid because instead of getting a job, and spending 10, 15 hours a week behind the bar, they spend that and more, making the student community a place rich with opportunity.

2018/19 Dramsoc| University of Bristol Drama Society 

Students leaders deserve to be paid because instead of getting a job, and spending 10, 15 hours a week behind the bar, they spend that and more, making the student community a place rich with opportunity. They represent us. They campaign for us. They are our friends. They are our leaders.

No longer should society presidents be treated like scapegoats. They deserve some thanks. They deserve some recognition. It’s about time this SU starts supporting society presidents and committee members more. They deserve a salary. Cold hard cash as thanks for the hours of time they are choosing to invest into the university as opposed to into themselves. I’m incredibly grateful for all of their hard work, the SU should to be too.

Featured: Kofo Ajala


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