Are you an active student? What do you think an active student does? In your mind who is an active student?
When I tell people, subtly, I am part of the Open University North West Regional Assembly Executive they look at me with confused and dazed expressions. ‘Oh right. What is that?’ they say.
Let me tell you, it’s a great title and it is a great role. There are so many ways you can get involved with student life, even though you are probably a million miles away from campus and fellow students. Well not entirely. In fact some of your fellow students could be right on your doorstep.
For me, I wanted a challenge. Take a role and stick at it. I have done so far. Plus why not make the most of the distance learning experience by going beyond studying. Effectively, the Regional Executive is a group of elected students that helps in running the region. Whether it be the North West or East Midlands, there are groups across the UK and the world.
It can be a little daunting at first, getting involved and not quite know what you are doing. Getting your feet under the table is step number one. Step number two is knowing what to do. Maybe I haven’t quite mastered the latter just yet.
In the few months I’ve been in the role, I’ve held an online meeting, welcomed students to a face-to-face meeting, set up the @OUstudentsNW Twitter feed and things seem to be taking some sort of shape. There are lots of exciting things ahead – consultative meetings where the student voice is heard; training sessions; and some more social events and discussions.
How can you get involved?
You can do anything to become an active student. Writing for the OU magazine, coming along to a meeting or posting in the forums, engaging on Twitter, helping out at graduation ceremonies or even volunteering to help other students.
There are societies and groups at http://www.open.ac.uk/ousa which you can join. If none take your fancy then why not set one up yourself. You never know, it may just catch on.
To me, the student voice is very important. I enjoy reading comments on the forums about ideas and suggestions for the region. Better still it’s great to interact with some of the OU’s newer students and show how anyone can get involved.
If you have any ideas about events, groups or ways to raise money for charity then feel free to contact me or the OU Students Association.
You may not want to meet face-to-face or you may simply not have the time. Head over to the online forums at http://www.open.ac.uk/ousa and you can chat with students from your area, take part in lively debates, or even just say hello in the Welcome thread.
On Facebook, there is a great presence as well. http://www.facebook.com/OUstudents is the place where you can interact with the student association. A simple Facebook search can reveal lots of groups set up by fellow students where you can chat in a less formal set-up. You may just find groups for your local area, some online clubs or people from your own age group.
Head over to Twitter where you can simply be overwhelmed by the thousands of students who have an online account. @OUstudents is the one to follow if you want all things from the OU Student Association. There you may also find others interacting and following. Why not give them a follow and build the student community.
You’ll also find dedicated accounts to certain subjects such as the arts faculty and the sports department. The Open University Student association in your region also have accounts. @OUstudentsNW, for example, is OUSA in the North West.
For you – why not visit http://www.open.ac.uk/ousa for all information on getting involved or simply say hello in the online forums. You can also follow the Twitter accounts and Facebook to join the growing OU community.
For me – I’ve got a newsletter to plan, students to listen to and ideas to gather.
If you have any ideas or thoughts please contact me.
Student Email: firstname.lastname@example.org