|24 Jan 2023|
|Written by Honey Wyatt|
Samantha Bronheim, former Head Girl (2017/18), is now working at the University of Manchester as Union Affairs Officer at their student union.
While studying zoology for her undergraduate degree, Samantha decided to run as an officer for the student union at her university. After campaigning for three weeks, handing out stickers, going to society events, putting herself out there on social media, and a three day election period, she won.
A week after graduating, she started her training. The job itself is multifaceted—part student activism, part leadership and part charity work— so as you would expect, the training period is intense but it means that now she’s learnt a plethora of skills from running a charity, making content for social media, fundraising, to writing papers for campaigns.
This year has also given Samantha insight into the inner workings of senior leadership at universities, where she says the warning ‘you don’t want to see how the sausage gets made’ particularly stands, but this allows her to pursue what she’s really interested in, which is to incite change in the university system, to encourage them to make it better for the students.
“It’s a fairly thankless job,” she explains, because most students aren’t aware of the work the Student Union officers do at their university (only 8000 of the 40,000 students voted in the election). But “even if you don’t know who’s fighting your corner, I feel very proud that I am that person, even if nobody knows about it.”
Recently, she was able to secure a one-off payment of £170 to every student at the university to help support them through the cost-of-living crisis. This is a step ahead of the Department for Education, who only announced extras support for students on 11 January. Having just finished university, Samantha understands better than anyone the help students need to assist them through their studies and she's now equipped to go in to whatever she decides to do next.
Congratulations on your role, Samantha, and best of luck in future!
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