SpotLITE: Serene Esuruoso, outgoing Education Officer

Each new edition of SEB, we’ll shine a light on a different aspect of the Student Education community at Leeds. This edition sees outgoing Education Officer, Serene Esuruoso, take her turn in the Bulletin’s Q&A hotseat.

EDUCATION brief: Serene Esuruoso speaking at #SEC209.

How have you found your term as Education Officer?

It has been one of the most rewarding and shaping experiences of my life!

I’ve been given the opportunity to work with so many incredible people to collaborate on tackling a breadth of challenges and opportunities. I’ve gained so much from this year both personally and professionally and I’d like to thank everyone who’s contributed to making it so wonderful.

How did the reality of the job meet your expectations?

Nobody can prepare you for the reality of the role, there’s so much more to it than can be articulated. But that’s a good thing; stepping into the unknown has really helped my confidence and ability to rise to a challenge.

One of the most surprising things for me was how genuine the partnership is between students and staff here at Leeds. I have to admit, I was a bit sceptical as to whether or not staff would take me seriously when it came to working together, but I was overwhelmed at how wrong I was time and time again!

What achievement are you most proud of from your term?

Being able to work with students and see them create positive change! I wasn’t as engaged as I could have been as a student, so I’ve really loved working with students who are doing all they can to make the university a better place.

Teaming up with students and watching them turn their ideas into tangible things has been really inspiring.

What did you most enjoy about your role?

Partnership. We’re so lucky to be able to work together authentically here, as it’s something universities around the world are struggling to achieve.

I recently went to the World Universities Network conference, and met students and academics from the UK to Australia. The contrast in experience really made it clear that we have something special here.

What was the most challenging aspect?

The timing of everything on campus! We have so many task and finish groups, subcommittees, boards etc but they only meet a few times a year.

This makes progress incredibly slow which is very frustrating when you only have a year in office.

What advice would you give to the incoming Education Officer?

Be bold from Day 1. Not only does this help you make the most of your time, but members of staff actually want to hear what you have to say!

People are open to ideas, you’d be surprised at what it’s possible to achieve.

What’s next for you?

I’m moving back to the south to start working as an Energy Consultant! This is the next step in my long term goal; I really want to be involved with addressing the energy crisis, particularly in supporting the global south to access reliable, sustainable and affordable energy.

However, I feel much more capable, prepared for and excited about the future because of my time as Education Officer.