Previous Presidents

"What's it like to be a President?" we hear you say? Here you can find first-hand information and insights on the bits that really matter straight from our Current and Previous Presidents!
An illustration of lots of students in a line, all with different props, including books, skateboards, surf boards and more

A day in the life

A day in the life of an SU President is a wild, wonderful (and sometimes rather weird) thing. No two days look the same! What you do will vary day-to-day, offering you a huge range of opportunities to spark meaningful change, listen and act upon the needs of your student peers, pursue your manifesto priorities and make incredible personal development progress along the way. Ultimately, you'll get to be the driving force championing student voice across everything we do, which we think is a pretty awesome job if you ask us! 

Sound good? To give you a better idea of what that translates to in 'real life' terms, we thought who could be better to give you an insight into A Day in the Life of an SU President than our current team themselves? 

Check out what our current Presidents get up to in a day below!

Blog posts

Being an SU President is something which will not only enable you to significantly enrich the lived experience of your student peers and future students, but can make a positive impact on your career going forward. It will likely open doors, prove that you can achieve things you didn't think were possible, enable you to influence decisions at a really senior level for such an early stage in your career, sharpen and grow your transferable skills and give you the chance to make life-long friendships with those who you work with.

Don't just take our word for it, though!

We've asked previous Presidents the questions you'll need the answers to if you are considering nominating yourself as a candidate, like "Why Stand?", "What was the best part of your experience as a President?", "What are you doing now?" and "How has being a President impacted your career?"

Have a read of their answers below to get a glimpse of just how great an opportunity running for SU President really is. In the words of Izi Robe, President Exeter 2018/19 (BA Geography) "Being President is proof that good things happen when you dare to say yes.

Scott Pearson, President Falmouth 2012/13 (BA Graphic Design)

Why stand?

I stood, first and foremost, for the chance to make a difference to the student experience for all Falmouth Students. Not only that, but for the opportunity to learn SO many transferable skills that employers are looking for. Being President for Falmouth was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m so glad that I didn’t pass on the chance at running in the election, because I know I would have massively regretted it!

What was the best part of your experience as a President?

A personal highlight of the experience was having lunch with Prince Edward, along with other Student Reps and Presidents, during the royal visit.

What are you doing now?

Now, I have my own web design and digital marketing company and have been established for almost 4 years and going strong.

How has being a President helped you/impacted your career?

Being President really helped give me some amazing skills in a lot of aspects in life which have later given me the courage to start my own business and gave me the confidence with public speaking, reading financial reports, effectively chairing meetings and to interview prospective employees to name but a few.

Izi Robe, President Exeter 2018/19 (BA Geography)

Why stand?

The short answer is that my friends told me to do it. So, if you know someone who you think would be brilliant for the role- tell them! A little encouragement goes a long way. On top of the support of my friends, I also had a lot of ideas and things I thought I could change, and my brain just started creating a manifesto that I couldn’t ignore. I had been a Course Rep for one year, and then a Subject Chair, and this had given me a small insight into what the student community wanted changed and what it was like working with the University and Students’ Union to make those changes. Standing to be President Exeter was the next step.

What was the best part of your experience as a President?

I look back on my year as President and I can’t believe all the amazing things that I was able to do…seeing my ideas turn into real life events and campaigns, sitting in boardrooms and having conversations with people that I wouldn’t have ever dreamed of meeting, travelling to Glasgow to represent students at the National Union of Students and hosting awards ceremonies! All those things were amazing, but however cheesy it sounds, the best part of my experience were the students I got to work with and help in some small way. I had the most incredible time studying in Cornwall, and to be able to work hard to advocate for everything amazing that it is and could be was the thing that made the long hours and miles travelling up and down the A30 to Exeter worth it.

What are you doing now?

A month after finishing my job as President Exeter, I moved to Edinburgh! Since then, I have been working as Academic Coordinator at Heriot-Watt University Student Union. My role is to manage the academic representation structures that ensure the voices of undergraduate, Masters and PhD students across our three campuses in Edinburgh, Galashiels and Orkney are heard across the university. In my spare time, I volunteer with a couple of sustainable charities that focus on zero-waste living and outdoor education. If working in Students’ Unions has taught me anything, it’s that volunteering is key to everything!

How has being a President helped you/impacted your career?

Where to start! Being a President has helped me figure out what I’m good at, what I’m not, and what I think I might want to do with my life. It’s solidified my love for campaigning, problem-solving and advocacy, and confirmed that I enjoy working in charities and with volunteers. It’s given me a tonne of brilliant examples of project management that I can draw on in any job interviews and has opened up a network of people who are happy to help me with job applications and general life advice. Being President has definitely set me on a pathway that I never expected, but I wouldn’t change it. It is proof that good things happen when you dare to say yes.

Neil Heatley, President Falmouth 2005/06 (BA Journalism)

Why stand?

At the end of my first year, I had had a range of highly positive experiences with the Students’ Union that helped me transition into University life, and I had also gotten to know several of the sabbatical officers well. Moving to Cornwall from Northern Ireland was a big step, and I have no doubt that the SU team helped me settle in quickly and inspired me to seek to take part in the range of exciting events and activities that were taking place. I felt that I wanted to be part of this going forward in my studies.

What was the best part of your experience as a President?

I had a relatively unique presidential experience for a range of reasons. I was elected Vice-President for both my 2nd and 3rd year, and in both years ended up as “acting President”. By the end of my sabbatical year, I had been on the board of governors for three years, had been heavily involved in merging the Cambourne School of Mines, University of Exeter and Falmouth Unions and been involved with the design, build and opening on the Tremough campus!

The mid 00’s was a transformative time for the University, and I was very fortunate to be involved in many areas, of which there are many highlights. If I were to pick one standout memory, it would have to be being invited to have lunch with the Queen when she visited the campus as part of her tour of the UK in 2006.

With that said, I think that one of the best things I’ve taken away from my role has been the lifelong friendships that I would not have made if I wasn’t in the role. I simply would never have met them otherwise.

What are you doing now?

I’m currently Head of Student Services in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. This role means I am responsible for students on all levels of programmes, i.e. BSc, MSc, and PhD, and working as a senior member of staff in one of the largest schools in the University.

How has being a President helped you/impacted your career?

Since completing my sabbatical, every role that I have gone into has been either directly or indirectly linked to my time as President. MY first job in international student recruitment came about after my time representing Falmouth at UCAS events around the UK. I then was a senior manager in academic and student services for a private education company that led directly from my time as working with senior staff in Falmouth.

My current time in Edinburgh has come about through my passion for working with the student body and continuing to support them on their programmes, whilst also being a senior figure helping direct policy and procedure within one of the best Universities in the world. If I were to try and sum up when being President was so impactful, I would say that I’ve found it has given me credibility both with potential employers, the students I work with and academic colleagues working with professional services members of staff.

Eleanor Scouller, President Falmouth 2014/15 (BA Sustainable Product Design)

Why stand?

The reasoning behind me standing for President was two-fold. I wanted to provide more transparency to the students on how their fees were being spent?by the University (which we did) and I wanted to represent the student voice on matters of expansion, green policy, and sustainability. I also saw it as a great opportunity to learn about the inner workings of a charity and educational institution. Plus, it meant another year in Cornwall... let's be honest, that was the main reason!

What was the best part of your experience as a President?

The exposure. Being a Trustee and Governor gives you such insight into how businesses work and how decisions are made. The experience was invaluable and gave me a huge step-up when it came to leadership in my future roles. I had seen complicated, high-stake decisions and events unfold really early in my career, so I could apply my experience and understanding to help resolve issues in my future roles. I also made some great friends in Cat, Rhun, and Roger - and giving speeches to all my friends at our graduations was truly epic.

What are you doing now?

I am the Product Marketer for a tech start-up called Birdie. We're on a mission to radically improve the lives of 1 million older adults by 2023 by supporting domiciliary care agencies with the right tools to provide high-quality, responsive care. The founder of Birdie actually found my 'Vote Ellie for Falmouth President' FB page and copied a load of the photos into a slideshow when he was first introducing me to the company...what a start! Being President never leaves you it would seem...

How has being a President helped you/impacted your career?

Massively. If nothing else, it's the first thing every interviewer asks (early in your career! I'm too old for them to see that far down my CV nowadays). I think it really helped signal to an employer that I was trustworthy and resilient. I also found it made me a really?confident public speaker, which is something I've used in a lot of my?jobs. It's a skill lots of people want and need. The variety of experiences mentioned above has meant I have been drawing on resources from that time ever since. You don't quickly forget standing in front?of Governors and imploring them not to close four courses - it didn't work, but I am glad I did it.

Allie Guy, President Welfare & Inclusivity 2019/20 (BA Journalism)

Why stand?

I had always been involved with the Rep system whilst studying, and during that time I got to know a lot of people in the SU. I never saw myself running for President though... I was scared of putting myself out there like that, but I was convinced by a friend who thought I would suit the welfare role and I liked the idea of another year in Falmouth so I went for it – I was really shocked to actually get the role but so happy that I had put myself out there.

What was the best part of your experience as a President?

It’s hard to name one best experience of being a President – there are the fancy dinner parties and the Freshers events, but the best part is the people you meet and knowing that something you have done has had a positive impact on other people’s lives.

What are you doing now?

I have just started as an Investigative Support Officer with Avon and Somerset Police.

How has being a President helped you/impacted your career?

With Covid-19 affecting the job market so severely, I was so grateful for the experience I had received during my time as President. This experience made it actually relatively easy to get a job. It was whilst I was writing cover letters, updating my CV and having interviews that I truly realised how much I had done and learnt in my experience being an SU President. I’m so happy with where I am now in my career and I would have never even had the confidence to apply for something like Investigative support officer, let alone the confidence, without having been President first.

Harry Bishop, President Welfare & Inclusivity 2017/18 (BA Politics with English)

Why stand?

I wasn't a Course Rep, Student Council member, part of a society, or on any committees, I'm not even sure I entirely knew what a Students' Union did. I couldn't have been the only one who didn't, right?! So, I stood in the election to try and win for students who felt left out of the SU community.

What was the best part of your experience as a President?

Founding and directing the Voices project was, hands down, the best experience of my whole Presidency. We published 10 anthologies platforming the stories of over 200 students. I later toured around five universities in the Netherlands talking about the project. It picked up national and international acclaim with universities in Copenhagen and Berlin reaching out to us. It later inspired a 4-part Falmouth University documentary series titled ‘Lost in the Noise’. You get to do some amazing things as President!

What are you doing now?

I'm currently designing and developing a new digital collaboration platform (working with the team who do it for NASA and the US Air Force) to transform how universities engage with students - working with them as co-creation partners, not just as vehicles for feedback. I'm also doing a Master's in Marketing & Communications on the side and exploring doing a PhD in Sociology afterwards.

How has being a President helped you/impacted your career?

Being an SU President is honestly the best graduate scheme ever for whatever career you want to go into. You’re gaining skills in leadership, teamwork,?public speaking,?research, communications, stakeholder management, and project coordination. It has been 18-months (who’s counting?) since I was a President and I still look back on those experiences in my everyday job now.

Videos & interviews

Some of our Previous Presidents have kindly volunteered some time out of their busy lives doing brilliant thinks to film live, candid, off-the-wall interviews with our current Presidents. Tune in or watch them back to see Presidents, old and new, discussing their motivations behind running, highlights and honest reflections on their experience as Presidents!

We wanted to give you the opportunity to see into the more personal, human side of things and e-meet some of the people who have played a big part in creating the student experience you have here in Cornwall today. They're honest, insightful and pretty darn lovely, so have a watch to find out more!

Watch the interview

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