Mature Students Officer, Debbie Doyle, has spoken to The Voice about her new role on the student council.
Debbie, a third year mature student, was one of the two candidates who ran for the position during the by-elections that took place over a three day period from Wednesday 21st October to Friday 23rd October 2015.
Discussing her reaction upon winning the by election, Debbie said;
“I wasn’t expecting to win, it was an honour to have won in all honesty, it was quite a shock when they read my name out as having the most votes”
Debbie also went on to highlight some key benefits of her new role;
“It’s been a real learning curve” Debbie said “There’s so many people I hadn’t known in the University after being here for 2 years who I’ve started to know now… it’s like taking a step up a stage I wasn’t even aware of existing”
Her new position has helped to raise her profile around campus.
“People start to stop me in the University to say Hi and I’m a bit taken aback by the fact that they know me but I don’t quite know them yet.” Said Debbie.
However the position of Mature Students officer has been vacant before Debbie was elected for the role, which she finds something of a problem.
“I didn’t have anybody to follow so there’s nothing really set in place at the moment” Debbie said.
She went onto explain, how she was planning to overcome these obstacles and define her main priorities during this time.
“At the moment I’m trying to find out what everybody wants, what everybody needs and trying to incorporate that into University life for all of them and making sure they’re getting everything out of the University experience… Because it’s quite a diverse group with the mature students”
Debbie also described the age range of the mature students she planned to include;
“We’re trying to make sure we catch the 21 to 30 as they don’t tend to feel themselves to be mature students” Debbie said “Because some of them have not been long out of college or education… and it’s making them aware that they fall into that catchment group”.
When inquired on the biggest issue she had faced in her role on the student council, during her time as Mature Students Officer for the University, Debbie replied;
“Being able to find out what everybody needs” Debbie said
“Whether it be their home life or their university life, trying to fit that all together and making sure everyone gets what they need out of it and too make sure their experience here is a good one and not something they sit and regret doing, because with mature students they do have to think a long time before coming to University”
Talking about her future plans, Debbie said;
“I’m having a meeting with our satellite universities down in Cornwall, they’ve asked for me to go down and see them… and I’m actually going to Birmingham City University… to see the part time officer there and to see how they engage their mature students”
Debbie went onto describe the benefits of having mature students within the University:
“I think it brings a whole new depth to lectures and field trips and I think having them integrated together brings life experiences that some of the younger students don’t have and it helps them in some ways prepare for the world outside of University”.
You can get in touch with Debbie by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Alex Mulligan