Over the weekend of 22nd – 24th April, I was amongst those selected to be an ‘Observer’ at the CEC (Central Executive Committee)/Student Leadership weekend. I’m so glad that I applied and grateful to have been one of the chosen few to have had that privilege. At each of the quarterly ‘CEC weekends, observers are invited to attend and take part in proceedings, both a couple of social events and the business side of things, which is what it’s all about really. Sometimes there is also a workshop too however on this weekend we didn’t have one.
It all begins with receiving an agenda of the weekend and several papers of matters to be dealt with. Some of these matters are updates or informational documents which the CEC members are asked to note, and others are to be discussed during the relevant part of the weekend.
There is a forum set up a few days prior to the weekend for CEC members and observers where each paper can be noted by CEC members and points can be raised to be discussed at the weekend itself.
The social events were great and really give you a chance to see that the members of the CEC all have the best interests of the student body at heart. Also realising that they are also students, just like the rest of us, who have assignment stresses as much as we do and day-to-day issues to deal with helps to bridge the ‘us and them’ gap. The business meetings, which take up the majority of the event, when the papers are discussed, are so interesting. As an observer, you can also contribute to the matters being discussed (except for any confidential ones, which are held after the observers are no longer present) and it gives a real insight into what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ and how much work, time and effort that the CEC members and Students Association staff do for students, purposely to improve individual student experiences.
This weekend event took place entirely online due to pandemic restrictions still having been in place, but usually, they are held on campus in Milton Keynes and, in a way, it was sad that I hadn’t been able to attend the meeting in person, but I’m really hoping to be able to do it again in future, and actually meeting those involved ‘backstage’ would be terrific.
So next time you see or hear of an opportunity to be an observer at one of these weekends, I really suggest you consider it. It’s a brilliant experience. They advertise for observers on the Student Association website along with other volunteer (and even micro-volunteer) roles which you may be interested in. You can find find more information about volunteering opportunities with the OU Student Association on their website. Who knows, it may open up a whole new world for you