3 years ago a shy but highly optimistic Black Girl started University with no knowledge of how I would survive being by myself and confused on how I could navigate through life while studying a Degree in Politics. 3 years later, I manage to survive university with less than 6 months to go before I graduate and I can definitely say that shy Black girl is still confused about life but is outspoken and trying to challenge the status quo in student politics at University.
I think the first time I thought about getting involved in student politics was the first National Union of Student Black Student conference. The conference was the first event I attended after being elected as my University’s Black and Ethnic Minorities officer and I did not know what to expect. After 2 days of debating, many discussions with other BAME students around the country on social activism and political engagement but most importantly seeing the benefits that came with engagement. I left the conference feeling so empowered and ready to empower other students like myself back on my campus to start engaging in activities with those who represent Students on the National level.
When I first started there was a lack of representation of non-white student when it came to those who represented students on the National level. Although there was the one or two BAME student who ran to be a Sabbatical Officer ( full-time officer elected by the members of a students’ union) or in high authority majority of elected officers are white including part time officers* and this meant it is very easy to ignore issues and disparities occurring in these institutions particularly when it came to student success. I saw an opportunity to change this to empower others and to most importantly show the benefits of getting involved and being that voice of change. Although, University can feel like a short period in our lives it is also moments of making definitive change and character building particularly when it comes to engaging in activities outside our degree whether it is starting a business, creative ventures or getting more engaged in politics. I always say that we do not pay £9000 to just graduate with a degree but University is a place of opportunity and it is our duty to utilise and reap the benefits and enter spaces where our voice is missing
We should not just be a face for diversity and inclusivity for Universities but becoming leaders in Higher education or Further education Institutions to enact and bring forth change in these institutions .