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Opinion | Why you should run for a ‘student leader’ position

As nominations for the next Bristol SU election loom, the question is – should you run for the position of student leader?

Lara Inglis-Jones, Ancient History, Second Year

As nominations for the next Bristol SU election loom, the question is – should you run for the position of student leader?

At first glance the idea of running for the president of a society or academic subject can be daunting. University is a stressful place and adding a society to run on top of studies and a social life can be demanding.

However, watching my friends take up leadership roles on committees and societies, I have witnessed the advantages of running for the SU elections, in particular the position of student leader.

One of the greatest benefits of university is the opportunity to bring about change. At its core, university revolves around freedom of expression - the thought that scholars and pupils should have the independence to express ideas. Being a student leader allows you to transform these ideas into real, tangible outcomes.

Look at the reforms introduced by previous Bristol SU leaders. For example, Bristol students Hannah Rose and Elspeth Taylor led a campaign for the University to make a change to Ecosia – the environmentally conscious alternative to google - as the search engine on university computers.

Begin the new term by shaping the societies that you are passionate about

Apart from benefitting your own agenda, being a student leader greatly improves the lives of fellow students. The opportunity to represent the interests of students is, without a doubt, the most rewarding aspect of running for student leader. Taking an active role allows you to shape the experience students have at university.

By leading campaigns and orchestrating events, you can guide societies, and drive the causes that will benefit you and your peers.

Credit: Bristol SU

Perhaps the biggest advantage of running for student president is the boosting of your employability. A student leader role allows one to meet a variety of different people – such as staff, lectures, undergraduates and postgraduates.

This inevitably expands your professional, but also social, network. This forges social bonds which may prove invaluable when searching for a job or internship in the future.

It also adds a sparkle to your CV. Employers look for transferable skills when hiring, such as time management, leadership, juggling several projects, creativity, adaptability and drive. All these skills are refined and developed when holding a position of such responsibility.

Head to the SU website to find out more about the elections / Credit : Bristol SU

As a result, scoring that new internship or job can become a whole lot easier after having been a student leader.

Employers are far more likely to hire the graduate with impressive references and a chunkier CV than the graduate with zero experience.

Running to become a student leader means getting the most out of university life. Most likely, your time at university will be filled with lectures, work, essays, and going- out. Although this may seem fulfilling, are you truly experiencing what  University has to offer?

Becoming a leader of a society or academic subject adds a completely new and exciting dimension to your time at Bristol. You are given the unique opportunity to inspire change and watch your university evolve.

With the new year starting, there is no better time to run for the position of student leader. Although it will be demanding; the payoff is immeasurable. Begin the new term by shaping the societies you are passionate about and leave university with valuable a experience that has the potential to last a lifetime.

Featured image: Bristol SU

Head to the SU website to found out more about the upcoming elections.

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