This blog has been written by Ella Mathiot, the Communications Associate at Brighton Students’ Union. Ella has worked at the SU since September 2018. There are also contributions from Amy Jaiteh and Jordan Landsborough.
Since joining the SU in September, I quickly realised the union is run completely differently to any other organisation I’ve been a part of before. It has an engrained culture with many long-standing employees who have been here for up to 40 years, with a real family-like dynamic.
The most I’ve learnt about my university, how it’s run and how much the SU offers has come from the past academic year. It’s opened my eyes alongside providing me with valuable experience, and now I only wish I’d got involved in the SU earlier in my degree. I would recommend it to anyone who would benefit from a flexible role alongside their studies. I’ve been able to choose my shifts and the SU has been incredibly accommodating to my personal commitments, which is really rare to find.
Ella Mathiot at the Re|Freshers' Fair in February
I’m grateful for my experience being a part of the Comms Team in Falmer who have been supportive, friendly, informal and fun to work with. The team in Falmer work behind the scenes, making sure everything runs smoothly and being the student-facing comms department to deal with any public issues. They work collaboratively and support each other when needed, and I’ve always felt there is positive reinforcement from individual achievements.
Jordan Landsborough, Health and Wellbeing Student Staff Member
The SU is extremely diverse, which makes it a dynamic workplace. As VP Welfare Amy Jaiteh describes “every single day is different; it is so exciting working with a variety of people in diverse environments, all with a shared vision”. Health and Wellbeing Student Staff Member Jordan Landsborough adds “it’s a fun and accepting environment with lots to offer” and her role has enabled her to “network with new people that may help in my future career”.
Ella Mathiot accepting her Membership Student Staff of the Year award
The union celebrate their staff and members through initiatives like the Union Awards. I didn’t know what to expect from the event before arriving, however quickly realised there was a real sense of pride in the room for all the nominees and winners. It was lovely to attend and even better to win an award. This recognised my student staff membership which was a great achievement from the year.
In summary I would describe the SU as:
- Supportive and family-like for the highly engaged members
- Closely knit, you will work closely with senior management and the CEO
- Politically and socially engaged in matters that affect students
My advice to anyone considering an SU role for the next year is to throw yourself into the role and get to know everyone. There are a wide variety of departments including health and wellbeing, campus administrators, finance, HR and student voice. You will benefit from understanding what everyone does and as it is such a tightly knit organisation it’s important to build relationships. Also expect to get involved in events set up, management and take down whatever your role is. Name another organisation where you’d see the CEO litter picking after an event… I’ll wait.
Special thanks to Amy and Jordan for their contributions.