InQuire were invited by Kent Union to spend an entire day behind the scenes with Aaron Thompson, President and former Vice-President (Activities).
This exclusive view gives us a real glimpse into the life of a Sabbatical O cer at the University of Kent, with the responsibility of representing students at the University of Kent on a daily basis, from sitting in board meetings, to traveling to Medway, to sitting as a board member on the National Union of Students. Aaron is a busy individual, to the point where he spends the majority of his spare time outside of office hours catching up on his workload. With this year’s election rapidly dawning on us, everyone at the Kent Union is busy preparing and planning for the future. With that in mind, this is the day in the life of a Full-Time Officer.
Every day begins with a meeting between the President and Chief-Executive of Kent Union, shortly followed by a meeting with the Vice-Presidential Officers to discuss what took place the previous week and what the agenda for the upcoming week will be. From sitting in the meeting, I could tell the atmosphere was not only professional, but friendly and chilled out. It was most interesting to meet the other FTOs and see what their day-to-day duties involved as opposed to the Aaron’s. When I asked about the di erence between the President’s duties and the VP Officers, Aaron stated that all officers have different aims and ambitions based on their role, but they all still work collabora- tively together, with Aaron overseeing and supporting the team with everything that is carried out.
During the morning, it was back to the office for a quick check up on emails and computer work before another meeting- this time, with the Kent Union elections quickly arising, to discuss student engagement. From this point, I was impressed with how much direct contact Kent Union has with outside organisations, committees and other university staff.
After the third meeting of the day, it was back to the Kent Union once more for a more thorough catch up on emails and various amounts of educational related research carried out from recent news reports and online articles shared around with the Union members.
The schedule for the afternoon consisted of another meeting across the campus with other members of staff in contact with the Union. By this time, I was amazed at just how much involvement the Kent Union has with not only every little detail of student experience and engagement, but also external departments across the entire university.
“The role is for anyone who wants to make change, and represent students’ voices - as long as you know what to change, anyone can do it.”
As the day draws to an end, we go back to the Kent Union o ce where everyone and all VP o cers are still busy at work. During this time, I had the opportunity to ask Aaron some questions about his en- thusiasm for the role of Kent Union -resident, to which he replied: “The role is for anyone who wants to make change, represent students’ voices and as long as you know what to change, anyone can do it.”
Overall, the day in the life of the Kent Union President had not exactly been what I originally expected it to be; it was far better that at first-thoughts. It was a fascinating experience to witness first-hand how the Union helps to benefit students with their education, societies and activities to name a few, plus what the future of Kent Union will bring to everyone.