by Luke McCrone, GSU President
It’s been quite the ride so far. Since being elected into the role, it seems the Graduate Students’ Union has undergone quite the transformation, hopefully destined for something new and exciting. Thanks to the hard work of both th e outgoing and incoming committee, we’ve developed a new logo, promotional flyers, a website and more recently a strategy for our year ahead! And we are only getting started…
Yet I must be honest, it’s been quite the challenge. As a Constituent Union representing 7000 postgraduate students, our productivity has been limited by having only 3 members of our committee elected over the summer period: Paul and Alex, our two Vice Presidents, and I. Thank goodness, we now have the rest of our committee in post, ready to execute our plans for the year ahead. We thank Imperial College Union and the Graduate School for their continued support in that respect.
Despite challenging circumstance, I’m realising more and more how much potential our postgraduate members truly have. My impression is that these are bright, talented individuals admitted from all corners of the globe, working day in day out to contribute to the ever-growing repository of knowledge at Imperial and beyond. The question which puzzles me is how we can truly bring together people with differing perspectives to make amazing things happen?
What does the GSU Stand For?
It was this very question which led me to believe what I felt the Graduate Students’ Union stands for. That for me was the breaking down of barriers, and it was the capture of this vision in a formal manner which ultimately led to the recent development of our strategy for the year ahead.
I’ve been at Imperial for 5 years now and I must be open and honest about how intense this place can be at times; that’s the inevitable reality of putting a population of driven, ambitious individuals under the same roof for a prolonged period! We may all have our own ambitions and plans, but there’s no excitement in hiding all that energy and creativity! I compel you to reflect on your life as a student so far and remember at which points in the past your best ideas have been sparked. For me, those moments have occurred in the presence of others, whether that’s a group of friends in a bar, or during a discussion with a supervisor guiding me through my work. There’s something quite special about collaboration, the merging of minds, the formation of ideas.
Get Involved and Meet Other Students
So how can we develop a culture which is more collaborative and perhaps a little different to institutions elsewhere? Well we must start by seeking comfort in leaving our disciplinary silos. We also need to recognise that difference is the root of innovation; whatever nationality, gender or culture, we all have something unique to offer, and it may just be that your offering is the missing piece to the jigsaw.
So, our efforts as GSU this year will be led by our aim to bring people together. We have an exciting series of events planned – one of which is centred around forming research connections, the other of which is related to enterprise and the final of which will entail multidisciplinary activity with industry members! I encourage you to watch that space and look out for our promotions…
Despite making some progress so far, we acknowledge that there is always room for growth and improvement as a GSU. We therefore invite you to share ideas and get in touch: contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org