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The Students' Union (SU) is the student voice, elected by students, for the students. The University of Chester team consists of the President, Vice President for Acitivites, Vice President for Education, and Vice President for Warrington. We decided to sit down and have a chat with the SU President, Ben France, to find out a bit more about the Students' Union and what the new team are planning on doing during their time representing the University of Chester's students this academic year.

Why did you want to become the Students’ Union President and how is it going so far?

I wanted to change the University of Chester student experience. When I was studying here, I had some ideas of how I could make it better and although I enjoyed my time here, I could see further opportunities for students to grow, for the SU to connect more with the students and to enhance the overall experience. At first it was pretty overwhelming getting my mind round the fact I have so much responsibility, which includes but is not limited to sitting on the University Council board, being Chair of the Student Union Trustees, and representing 20,000 students. After a few months in the role, I feel more confident in what I do but accept there is always more to learn.

Over the summer, myself and the Sabbatical Officers got together and agreed on one group manifesto which we would all work from to deliver effective and realistic change. So far, we have organised events, such as celebrating Black History month, becoming more involved with national events, worked on creating the first ever student housing awards and organising Union on Tour.

What is a typical day at work for you?

It ranges from day to day, but generally I answer student enquiries, attend board meetings, and ensure we are working towards goals set out in the sabbatical manifesto and lead the Union in the right direction.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Working with students. There’s a lot of satisfaction in putting a smile on someone’s face. For example, being a Glam Witch for the SU this week has been great fun as we’ve been visiting the nine different campuses as part of Union on Tour. I really enjoy trying to make improvements and to continue to help students put themselves in new and exciting environments and push themselves to grow.

Do you have any exciting upcoming projects or events?

One of the main events I’m excited about at the moment is our forthcoming Brexit debate and Housing Awards, as neither of these have ever been done at the University before. We’re also one of the first Unions in the UK to do a Brexit debate and I hope it encourages students to consider a post-Brexit Britain and engage more with national issues.

Choose a movie title for the story of your life.

Finding Nemo. Because life is a great adventure and Nemo is on a journey, learning life lessons, broadening his horizons, and learning not to take life too seriously.  

If you could have a superpower what would you choose?

I don’t think I want one, I’m pretty happy how I am. Work with what you’ve got.

What has been your proudest moment whilst working at the University?

I haven’t got one yet. But I know it will be at the end of the Brexit debate and the Housing Awards as I will have been the first Chester SU President to organise these events. I’m hoping this will also encourage future Presidents to engage more with national events.

How can students get involved with the SU?

All students are automatically a part of the SU when they become a student at the University. Currently, around 4,000 students are a part of our 134 sports or societies. Students can also become part of the Student Council which gives them the opportunity to represent fellow students on their course or campus. There are also opportunities to become a student experience rep, a student trustee or even work in the Union.

How would you summarise your Chester story?

One word, SICK!


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