Celebrating men of the Association – Patrick Johnson, Association Volunteer

As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations, throughout November we will be shining the spotlight on some of the amazing men who have helped shape the Association.


As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations, throughout November we will be shining the spotlight on some of the amazing men who have helped shape the Association over the years, and are a vital part of our history. Patrick Johnson has been an invaluable member of the OU Students Association for five years. Patrick works closely with the Volunteering & Representation team, who have shared a little bit about him and the role he has played in the Association family:

Patrick is a stalwart of our volunteering community, and brings a breadth of knowledge, steadiness and pragmatism to the team. He has been the linchpin of the Association’s Archive Project, which involved careful handling of materials, meticulous cataloguing and an understanding of the importance of an ordered, accessible archive. And he has been able to convey and speak of this importance to others with skill and enthusiasm. The lived experience he brings to volunteering ensures he is affable and approachable in a team, and an absolute joy to work with!”


Patrick started his Open University journey in 2017, studying Social Sciences and Business Management, and has held various volunteer roles throughout his time as part of the OU Students Association. Here, Patrick tells us a little more about his experience…

Patrick Johnson stands at a podium giving a speech.

“After a very full career as part of the police service, in 2017 I found myself with 24 hours a day to fill. I examined various options, none of which really appealed to me. Then friends, who were in the ‘club’, suggested that now might be the time to pursue further education. So I knocked on the door of The Open University and they welcomed me with open arms – or was it the satisfaction of another fee? Jesting aside, I was taken under the wing of the Open degree and advised to take an Access module. I am glad I did. I started off badly, but with gentle persuasion and encouragement, I managed to get through this introduction to academic life.

“I started volunteering because I wished to enjoy and experience as much of university life as possible. That wish has been fulfilled through my various roles. It has added to my understanding of the University and higher education.

“As a mature student living in a retirement village surrounded by people of my age bracket, volunteering has brought me into contact with students of a different age group. This has broadened my understanding of the modern world and exposed me to different ideas and approaches to life. 

“Since 2017 I have held a number of volunteer positions with the Association, such as Central Committee Representative on the Access/Open Board of Studies, being part of the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship Board of Studies, and being a member of the Senate Reference Group.

“In addition to these roles, I have participated in the selection group for projects. On two occasions, I have also acted as a Graduation Coordinator for a degree ceremony.

“As part of the Archive Project, I have assisted with cataloguing OU Students Association materials at Milton Keynes and cataloguing photographs at home. I spent many hours looking at the materials that had been stored by the Students Association over many years. There were boxes and boxes of materials in the Milton Keynes offices, and I was involved with cataloguing photographs. There was also a mountain of paperwork, including the original magazine that was circulated by OUSA, and we would plough through those, cataloguing dates. They were a bit distracting at times, but it was a lot more pleasurable than one would imagine, especially that essence of working in a team.”


This article is part of an ongoing series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the OU Students Association.

Please visit the OU students website to find out more about the events planned to celebrate this occasion, and how you can get involved.


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The Open University Students Association exists to serve the interests of #OUstudents and ensure that the student voice is heard throughout the University. Find out more about what we do at oustudents.com

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