Officer Roles

George Walker

President

David Evans

PG Academic

Meg Haskins

Welfare Lib

Charlie Walker

Opportunities

Saul Cahill

UG Academic

George Walker, Current SU President

Thinking of running to be the next Durham SU President? George gives you his behind-the-scenes insights into the role. You can also find full details on the role below.

Describe your role in three words:

Hectic, stimulating, rewarding.

What’s your proudest moment so far as an Officer?

Launching a campaign on student worker rights, resulting in University Council supporting work to tackle the mistreatment of casual staff at the University.

What unexpected opportunities have you had as an Officer?

I was able to attend the International Town & Gown Conference at Stellenbosch University in South Africa and I also met the Secretary of State for Education. Unexpected opportunities come up all the time though; no two days are the same!

What skills have you needed in your role?

Effective communication skills are really important, so that you can make clear asks of the University and articulate your priorities to students and the staff team. I’ve also needed to be able to manage my time well, making sure that I focus on the most important actions and get enough time to rest!

What top tips would you give students considering running to be an Officer?

Speak to the current officers, it’s such a unique role that it’s hard to understand exactly what it entails without speaking to someone who has experienced it. Also speak to the SU staff team – they have a huge amount of knowledge to offer and can help you develop your vision for the role!

And finally, what inspirational quote do you work by?

“We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run down.” – Nye Bevan

You can view more information for the President's role here.

You can download a job description for all officer roles here.

David Evans, Current PG Academic Officer

Thinking of running to be the next PG Academic Officer? David gives you his behind-the-scenes insights into the role. You can also find full details on the role below.

Describe your role in three words:

Collaborating, speaking-out, meetings.

What’s your proudest moment so far as an Officer?

Being invited to meetings with the University and Colleges Union to work together on lobbying for improvements to pay and conditions for postgraduate teachers – we had a real sense of wanting the same goals, and I was able to contribute plenty as to how the University works and who to lobby to advance our work, as well as securing lots of additions to their own work which help progress one of my key priorities.

What unexpected opportunities have you had as an Officer?

I wasn’t expecting there to be so many other postgraduate students’ union officers around the country interested in working together, we are facing similar issues at our respective Universities and I’ve inadvertently begun trying to have some of these issues addressed nationally by submitting policy to NUS with their support. I also get to sit on many senior committees in the University, so I get so much information about the direction the University is going in and have an opportunity to shape it.

What skills have you needed in your role?

Being able to read reams of paperwork and pick out salient points that might affect students; being able to follow through with and stay dedicated to projects that may take a long time to get through the University; being flexible in terms of going to events at all times of the day and managing work around this; and being able to negotiate with people to build a consensus and keeping them on task to get things done.

What top tips would you give students considering running to be an Officer?

Do it for the love, not the money. Make sure you’ve got support around you for the campaigning week – having done it pretty much alone I can tell you it takes a toll! Try and understand a bit about how the University operates and who does what in the University’s senior leadership – it’ll help you shape a realistic but ambitious manifesto, and you’ll realise being able to understand just a couple of people can get things you want done with surprising speed.

And finally, what inspirational quote do you work by?

“It’s not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it.” – Terry Pratchett

You can view more information of the PG Academic role here.

You can download a job description for all officer roles here.

Meg Haskins, Current Welfare and Liberation Officer

Thinking of running to be the next Welfare and Liberation Officer? Meg gives you her behind-the-scenes insights into the role. You can also find full details on the role below.

Describe your role in three words:

Rewarding, interesting, testing.

What’s your proudest moment so far as an Officer?

Hearing from students that our introduction of pronoun badges made them feel welcomed and represented within our community.

What unexpected opportunities have you had as an Officer?

Appearing on Look North twice for two of the issues that I care about the most – student housing and student mental health!

What skills have you needed in your role?

Determination, patience and a sense of perspective. Knowing, forming and articulating my own positions and viewpoints has also been key.

What top tips would you give students considering running to be an Officer?

Spending time thinking about why you want to do the role is key and helps you work out what you believe the priorities are for your role, so that you can best communicate them and have a strong vision for your campaign. Once you know what your priorities are, I'd make sure you spend time developing a strong, easily recognisable brand for you campaign and then try as hard as possible to have a strong presence on campus. Campaigning definitely isn't super easy, but I found that having a strong group of people around me kept me going!

And finally, what inspirational quote do you work by?

"There is nothing we can't do if we work hard, never sleep, and shirk all other responsibilities in our lives" – Leslie Knope

You can view more information for the Welfare and Liberation role here.

You can download a job description for all officer roles here.

Charlie Walker, Current Opportunities Officer

Thinking of running to be the next Opportunities Officer? Charlie gives you his behind-the-scenes insights into the role. You can also find full details on the role below.

Describe your role in three words:

Fun, varied, challenging.

What’s your proudest moment so far as an Officer?

When we got Living Wage Foundation accreditation at the SU.

What unexpected opportunities have you had as an Officer?

I didn’t expect to go to Scandinavia. Mind you, I didn’t expect to have to go to Birmingham as often as I do…

What skills have you needed in your role?

Working with complex problems, building relationships, knowing what you really care about (and when to say it).

What top tips would you give students considering running to be an Officer?

There’s plenty of the officer role that happens behind the scenes, so come and talk to me about it!

And finally, what inspirational quote do you work by?

“What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring really loudly at me.”—Leslie Knope

You can view more information for the Opportunities role here.

You can download a job description for all officer roles here.

Saul Cahill, Current UG Academic Officer

Thinking of running to be the next UG Academic Officer? Saul gives you his behind-the-scenes insights into the role. You can also find full details on the role below.

Describe your role in three words:

Fulfilling, inquiring, reading.

What’s your proudest moment so far as an Officer?

Ensuring departments will have to consult students on issues of equality and diversity in the curriculum as part of the University’s Curriculum Review.

What unexpected opportunities have you had as an Officer?

Being on the interview panel for the University’s new Chief Information Officer.

What skills have you needed in your role?

I’ve needed the ability to critically assess proposed University policies and coherently challenge these when necessary in committees, as well as being able to understand the links between the national policy picture and changes happening at a University level.

What top tips would you give students considering running to be an Officer?

If you’re passionate about education and have a vision for how to improve it here in Durham, definitely consider running for the role!

And finally, what inspirational quote do you work by?

“The purpose of getting power is to be able to give it away.” – Nye Bevan

You can view more information for the UG Academic role here.

You can download a job description for all officer roles here.