By Emili Peake – Features Editor
As freshers week draws near, we spoke to the five members of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) to find out a little bit more about them. As well as having their own individual roles, the SAC are elected officers who sit on the board of trustees. The board is responsible for approving motions passed at council, discussing Union strategy and ensuring the Union is financially stable.
This week it’s the turn of Hannah Mason, the Media Officer. Hannah looks after the TV station PSTV, Frequency the radio station and of course Pluto.
Question: So Hannah, what did you study?
Hannah: I originally chose Film Production & Screenwriting and then after first year changed to a Film Production and Film & Media.
Q: What made you choose UCLan?
I looked around quite a few different universities but when I was visiting their campuses none seemed to stand out, I couldn’t imagine myself being there for at least 3 years. The moment I came to look around UCLan it just felt right.
Q: Sounds like fate! So what would you say your best achievement was whilst being a student?
Probably when I got 83 on a short film I produced in second year. I absolutely loved making that film and felt I put so much effort into it, everything from the cast and the crew was amazing and it made me really want that kind of hands on role in the media.
Q: Congratulations! It’s not all about achieving, so tell me a funny story from when you were a student?
Ha! There’s too many and probably some which couldn’t go to print in fear of any of my friends dying from embarrassment! On the very first day of uni, I’d moved into Roeburn and had just met all my flat mates. We were in source having one of those awkward “so who are you? Where are you from? And how many pets do you have?” – get to know you conversations and I discovered one of the lads was from Cambridge. Now, being from Liverpool meant I’d never really met anyone from down south. So I decided to nickname him Cambridge and it stuck… For the entire three years, I still call him it now! Whenever we met anybody on campus or in town it’s how we introduced him, so nobody ever knew his real name and genuinely thought he was called Cambridge. I don’t know how he coped living with that as his name for three years! Sorry James!!!
Q: Going on to your life now, why did you choose to stand for Media Officer?
I had stood the year before. I used to work for the Opportunities Centre and I hadn’t been working there long so didn’t know much about the Union. It was some previous officers and some staff members who convinced me to run for something, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for! Obviously I didn’t get it [as someone else did]. Over the year I got more involved and literally lived in the SU, so I re-ran with a lot more understanding and determination.
Q: When did you know you wanted to be the Media Officer?
The moment I lost [the first election] I knew that’s when I really wanted it. I always thought I could be quite good at it, I just needed to prove it to everybody else. I almost felt I ran in a year long campaign to prove to everybody why I’d be worth electing. I suppose I knew I’d always wanted it, I just never realised how much.
Q: How is it going so far, is the role how you expected it?
It’s going well, I’d say it’s what I expected. The summer is always quieter because most of the students are off campus. Maybe ask me that question again after September, the role could completely change after the craziness that is Freshers!
Q: Can you tell me about what you have been up to since you started?
Since I started I’ve done all sorts of training, I’ve been to NUS events, I’ve done the recruitment for all the media volunteer managers and editors, I’ve been planning training for the volunteers as well as creating guidebooks with everything you need to know information about each platform, hopefully these will help the volunteers while working within the platforms. Summer is really all about planning for the year ahead, so lots of plans have been made or are in the process, including a possible Media Awards ceremony – little exclusive for you!
Q: We shall be looking forward to that! Matthew Murphy was last years Media Officer, what do you think was his biggest achievement?
Matt did a lot of good work last year but I think the biggest thing for him was to host National Student Television Awards here in Preston. it’s a huge event in student media and he did such a great job with it!
Last year Pluto’s online presence improved a lot and I intend to continue working in that. We’ve already had a good start with a recent article becoming the second most read online and another with a great debate between students and members of the SAC.
Q: Is there anything that you won’t be taking forward from last year to this year?
I think the only difference is going to be that Matt and I have different degree backgrounds meaning we’re bringing different skill sets. I do think we’ll be different in the way we do the role and manage volunteers, but that’s just a difference in personality.
Q: Moving forward to this year, what are your key goals for this year?
To have student media known more on campus – so much hard work gets put into it by volunteers and a lot of people don’t get to see it because they don’t know it’s there. Bringing Frequency back to its best and getting it to a standard where it can be potentially broadcast in the Union. Getting more recognition! Whether that be more recognition for the volunteers involved, or for the platforms in terms of award winning. Essentially I just want to make our student media bigger and even better!
Q: What do you anticipate being your biggest challenge this year?
I think the diversity of the role, it’s all about wearing different hats. One minute I can have my SAC hat on, the next my Media hat and then I’m also a trustee of the union. Previous officers have always said there’s conflict in the role between being the media officer as well as a trustee. Hopefully I can find the right balance.
Q: Which project from the student council are you looking forward to seeing in action?
Council seem to have a lot of good plans this year, I’m going to have to back my successor though! Abby (Film, Media & Performance President) has some great ideas for her school and she has some ideas for networking events which are vital for media students.
Q: It’s not all hard work though – so who is the funniest person in the SAC team and why?
That’s a tough one!! I think we all have different senses of humour and you can have such a great laugh with this team. Tom’s quite funny, you can never really be in a bad mood with Tom around because he normally does something to make you laugh! Lucy is quite funny too, to be honest I think that’s because she’s a little bit crazy. Can I say myself? I think I’m pretty funny, I think…
Q: If you could wave a magic want to make one student problem go away, which one would it be?
Firstly, can I have a wand from Harry Potter? Secondly, I think I’d get rid of student debt. It’s not just the debt after uni, it’s during too! A majority of students just seem to be constantly skint, I know I was when I was a student. At one point I was working three part time jobs just to get by reasonably comfortably and that’s not healthy when studying full time! Maybe I could make student accommodation free? Imagine!
Q: How do you relax after work?
According to my family and friends, I never seem to fully relax, I like to keep busy. Music is probably the ultimate thing, I couldn’t survive without it!
Q: Looking to life after SAC, what do you hope to do after finishing your term of office?
I’ve always wanted to go into the music industry, I wanted to study music or music production for GCSE and A-Level but it wasn’t a family approved subject so I backed down and picked other things. I’ve gone down a few different paths to get where I am now. But music always plays some part, I’m torn between going into radio, such as being a radio host or a producer, or being a manager for an artist or a record label. But then I still have a small desire to work on a TV show, it’s a hard question to answer and so many people ask it. For the last 7 years I’ve dabbled in a bit of everything media related, hopefully this year I’ll finally find out what I want to choose. If not I’ll just have to become a master of all trades!
Q: If you could try one new thing at UCLan this year, what would it be?
I’d probably say a society or a sports team, it’s something I’ve never done while I’ve been here. Tom wants us all to go and play Ultimate Frisbee so maybe I’ll try that.
Q: Final question, can you give us details of the next immediate thing you are working on?
Currently I’m planning the training for the all of the media volunteers and hoping to get some people from the industry in to come and do some workshops!
Thank you very much to Hannah for answering the all questions so well.