Profile image of Students' Union Activities Officer, Joe

February 13, 2023, by Leah Sharpe

Could a Role Within the Students’ Union Be for You?

By Joe Paternoster, Students’ Union Activities Officer

Have you got what it takes to lead an organisation, influence senior stakeholders and represent students? 

With nominations now open we wanted to de-mystify the role of being a full time University of Nottingham Students’ Union Officer. 

Successful candidates will have access to a bespoke development programme, a tailored career development plan and opportunities to gain valuable leadership experience, a range of skills and most of all have fun all while being paid!  

If you think you could be the right person to lead an organisation, drive change and enhance the student experience then being a full-time officer could be the right next step in your career. 

We spoke to your current activities officer, Joe Paternoster, to find out more about being an elected officer.  

What’s involved in the election process?  

You will start by crafting some manifesto points of what you’d want to do as an officer. You then pull a fantastic election team together to support you on the campaign trail. What comes next is a hectic but brilliant period of leaflet creation, social media promotion and campaign video production, followed by a week of going round talking to students and telling them why they should vote for you. There’ll be a Question Time style event or two, before a final high profile night where results are announced. 

What made you decide to run to be an officer?  

My role means I look after societies, and societies had formed such a huge part of my university experience that I wanted to support and showcase them and help them perform to their fullest.  

What does a ‘typical’ day in the life of an officer look like? 

It is literally different every single day. I might meet with representatives from a couple of societies, attend a university meeting, create some content on Canva for the Instagram account, have an event planning session with some SU staff and end the day going to a fun society event. All the while I’m having fun! 

What’s the best thing about being an officer?  

The people you work with and the freedom the role provides. There is no one telling you what to do in this role – it’s all about your vision and doing your best to get there. All the SU staff support you on this journey, and all of them are unbelievably kind and knowledgeable. 

What have you learned and how has this enhanced your employability?  

I’ve learned a ridiculous amount. I’ve distributed large amounts of funding, organised and presented live events by myself, spoken in front of hundreds of people, argued the case for societies in university level meetings, had one-to-one meetings with the Vice Chancellor, and ran a growing social media account by myself. All of these have given me huge boosts to my employability. In recent job interviews I’ve had so much to talk about as a result.

Why should people consider being a full time SU officer? 

It’s a job like no other. You are a leader of an organisation responsible for nearly 40,000 students, where you make your own work and have the ability to inspire and positively benefit the student experience. I have no regrets about it, and would recommend it to anyone! 

If you think you could be the right fit for UoNSU, then find out more. 

Posted in Applying For Jobs