A record turnout should be celebrated but the hard work starts now

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It is a truly fantastic achievement that for the second year in a row, SCAN’s front cover on Week 19 is reporting a record number of students turning out to vote for the new Full Time Officer team.

As the hangover of Friday night fades away, the new Full Time Officer team can look forward to a year of setting the vision and direction of a Students’ Union in a financially healthy position. The Sugarhouse has seen huge numbers going through the doors, LUSU Living has let a large number of bed spaces and the shops continue to provide a healthy trade.

But that is just the beginning of the story. For the past two years, the words ‘£9k fees’ has become etched in to any literature relating to universities in England. After two months in the job, the new officers will be faced with a new batch of students who are paying fees which are triple the amount current students pay. Officers will be expected to deal with expectations and help to deliver a student experience that students deem ‘good value for money.’

Then there is a potential collaboration between Lancaster and Liverpool that is very much on the horizon. The new LUSU President and LUSU Vice President (Academic) will have to work closely to ensure the students’ voice is heard as important decisions are made in relation to any potential collaboration. Ultimately though, the result of the talks could well affect the entire team and the student body as a whole.

Whilst it’s all gone quiet on the Business Process Review, it doesn’t mean that it has gone away. As the University reflects over the process so far and decides on a future course of action, student officers need to continue to fight for proper consultation and to ensure that the student experience will not be hindered by future plans deriving from the process review.

Finally, space. There is no hiding the fact that the current LUSU building is simply not good enough. If LUSU wishes to continue to develop its services and activities, more space is required. The breezeblocks of Slaidburn House were practical a decade ago, but now a new space is required.

With a new Vice Chancellor at the University, it will be the President’s responsibility to lobby and strive for a new space that fits the agenda of an ever-expanding union.

2012/2013 will be an incredibly challenging year for the Higher Education sector. It is unclear how students will respond to paying £9000 fees and we can only wait and see what happens.

But despite all the uncertainties and challenges ahead, the chance to represent students at the highest level and the chance to deliver a student experience to over 12000 students should leave six (very tired) people very excited about the year ahead.

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