By Hannah Reilly – Chief Features Reporter
If you are reading this, congratulations, you survived Fresher’s week. We spoke to the five members of the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) to find out a little 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 Lucy Haigh, the Campaigns Officer. Lucy looks after the welfare of students, supports the liberation groups and campaigns of change on campus.
Question: What did you study?
I graduated in 2014 from a Policing and Criminal Investigation degree which gave me a really good insight to the industry.
Q: What made you choose UCLan?
When I visited UCLan I found that the campus was far more modern than other universities that I had been to see. It seemed very progressive and I liked the fact that it was so close to the city centre. The course content was also just as I wanted it to be and the lecturers were really enthusiastic.
Q: What would you say your best achievement was whilst being a student?
I put in lots of hard work whilst I was a student and graduated with a first class degree so it was really great to know that that paid off. I also did a year studying in Australia, in which time I did a lot of growing up, making me ready for third year.
Q: Tell me a funny story from when you were a student?
Back in first year I nearly fell out of a window on the third floor of Whitendale because I was a bit too drunk in Freshers. I don’t know if that’s funny? I don’t encourage students to be getting too drunk, it’s important to be careful and look after yourself – don’t be letting your friends fall out of windows!
Q: Why did you choose to re-run for Campaigns Officer?
I had a lot of unfinished business around student housing, welfare services and student support on campus. I felt like I hadn’t yet finished what I needed to do, and that another twelve months would give me the ability to finish that off and do more. I did a lot in my first year around mental health and a lot of events, but there wasn’t much change so I really wanted to do that this year and really make a difference with regards to making change happen. I want this year to be the year of change for me – it sounds really cheesy!
Q: When did you know you wanted to be the Campaigns Officer?
In January 2014, one of my friends said to me I’d be really good and explained what it was about so I went to talk to the Campaigns Officer at the time and got more information from her. After that conversation was when I knew. I didn’t know until really last minute that I was going to be rerunning!
Q: How is it going so far, is the role how you expected it?
It’s going good! I’ve done a lot of change already and the role is how I expected it carrying on from last year. There are different things I’m trying to tackle, working with Preston City Council and working more with the university. I’ve done a lot around anti-sexual harassment, the #SayNo campaign has been my main priority over the Summer and we’ve really got that in full swing ready to be launched properly for Freshers to get students really interactive with the campaign. Please do go and sign the pledge online!
Q: Can you tell me about what you have been up to since you started?
The #SayNo campaign has been a big thing as I just mentioned. I’ve been working on housing and putting things in to place such as our Stop.Wait.Look campaign which was launched last year, it is about getting students to not sign contracts too early and look around at different housing options rather than signing the first contract they come across. It’s also about getting your contract checked by the Advice and Representation Centre before signing it to see if there are any problems that could arise from it further down the line. As well as this I’ve been organising tenant and landlord forums to figure out what the main issues are around housing and finding out what second and third year students would have liked to have known before house hunting. Also finding out what the first years are worried about and what information they want providing to them by the Student’s Union. Alongside that we’ve been organising the housing fair. Also working on careers, there’s new technology being implemented at the end of this year to improve information for students about employment, how to be employable and careers opportunities, as well as what they should be doing to put themselves in the best stead for getting a career. There’s also the Multi Faith Centre, where I’ve been working with the university and the new master plan to incorporate a really good facility for students that are of faith working with the council chair. Oh, and telling students to get jabs for meningitis – and anything else that comes this way, there’s been loads of stuff!
Q: You were also last year’s Campaigns Officer, what do you think your biggest achievement was?
The Puppy Room for stressed out students – we want to do more rooms this year and also improve the amount of stressed out advice we’re giving to students around really stressful periods of the academic year. Also the mental health was a biggie because we were interacting with a lot of students getting them to think about mental health, talking about stigmatisation around it and moving away from it. 1 in 5 students will have a mental health issue whilst at university even if they have sound mental health before coming, stress, depression, anxiety can really get to them, it’s important to recognise and support mental health and recognise and improve what support is already in place. Over the summer I’ve been working on mental health advisors that we’re getting and our mental health clinical lead, we’ll hopefully get another councillor and another welfare officer to work within student support.
Q: Who is the funniest person in the SAC team and why?
Me because I drop jokes like they’re hot! Hannah and Tom are pretty funny too though, sometimes they amuse me. But not as much as I amuse myself, but then again I am a bit crazy.
Q: If you could wave a magic wand to make one student problem go away, which one would it be?
I would like happy, content students. Whether that’s to do with money or accommodation, whatever it may be. I just want students to have a great experience at University!
Q: How do you relax after work?
Netflix and chill.
Q: What do you hope to do after finishing your term of office?
I hope to go into the Police and work my way up to becoming a Detective.
Q: If you could try one new thing at UCLan this year, what would it be?
Playing for a sports team because it’s something I never did as a student, I’m looking at joining Volleyball.
The keen eyed amongst you will notice that Lucy’s interview was a little shorter than the rest of the series. Lucy is incredibly busy and we thank her the answers she was able to give us. If you don’t see Lucy zipping through campus you can find her here on Facebook and Twitter.