I started to work for BSU in the Hastings’ campus in October 2008, when we only had one building and under 500 students, many of which didn’t know they would end up in Hastings and not in Brighton! This week I started to clear the office and as I looked through old paperwork memories of the last 10 years started coming to mind.
We had one society called the "Hastings Society" which was an umbrella society to cover all students' activities on campus, students were sent to Brighton and Eastbourne for events such as the Holly Ball, Freshers Fair and Graduation Ball, there was very little student activities organised on campus or in Hastings.
As our presence on campus began to be noticed, students started coming to us asking for help to organize their own events in Hastings and in the summer of 2009 we had our on Graduation Ball and by December of that year we worked with students to organize our first Snow Ball, the students’ involvement in the organization such events were key as there was a sense of ownership of the events, thus ensuring high attendance which made events financially sustainable. Also in 2009 we had our first Hastings Freshers' Fair, once again this was a collective effort, with BSU and students working closely together in the organisations of the fair and taking decisions on which local businesses and organisation to invite to the fair.
Another of the qualitative changes that our presence injected on campus was related to BURST (Brighton University Radio), when students started getting involved with the running of the radio and by 2010, students had 100% control over programming, content and schedule of the radio station, which became integral part of the wider BSU media channels. By 2015 with our support and UoB staff the students built their own studio which was an extremely important for the professional development of the students involved in BURST - which later turned into Buzz Radio.
As the years passed and the campus grew, we saw an amazing growth in student-led societies, by 2014 we had over 15 active societies on campus from Ball Room Dance to Christian Union and all courses had an active society, what made the difference is that on a small campus, students managed to create a strong sense of community and they supported each other attending their societies events, even when they were on different courses.
Although I am sad to see the campus closing, I am also very proud of the students' achievements over the last 10 years and I feel privileged to have been part of the many great things BSU and students accomplished in Hastings.
Good luck to everybody that is graduating this year, I wish you the best in the future.
Hasta la vista!