by Shalaka Darshane
Friday 1st February marked the beginning of the 2013 Student Leadership Race with the opening of nominations.
This year sees the creation of a fifth sabbatical position and the redefinition of the remaining four positions, in a shake-up announced at the DSU Assembly last week.
In the coming academic year, the sabbatical team will now consist of five positions: DSU President, Academics Affairs Officer, Activities Officer, Community Officer and Development Officer.
The DSU President, currently Archie Dallas, will remain as chief ambassador for the Durham student body, and responsible for tackling any issues that they feel it is necessary to address.
However, significant changes have been made to the remaining positions. Notably, the position of DUCK Officer is no longer a sabbatical position.
The DSU explained this decision:
“To ensure DUCK remains one of the most successful RAG operations in the UK, the current remit of the DUCK officer has been divided across other positions.
“Further staff support will be introduced to support DUCK and the DUCK Executive Committee will ensure consistent student leadership and ownership of DUCK.”
Some of the responsibilities previously assigned to the DUCK Officer will be transferred to the Activities Officer, another sabbatical position. The Activities Officer will support and aid the success of student groups, including those involved in fundraising, volunteering, media and societies.
The previous role of Education and Welfare officer has been split into two positions: Academics Affairs Officer, who will ensure that student’s receive a high quality education, and Community Officer, responsible for student welfare, promoting charity fundraising and supporting equality and diversity within the University.
The final role, Development Officer, springs from the former position of Societies and Student Development Officer. The position involves helping students to become more employable through extra-curricular activities, delivering training and skills to student groups and mediating between the University and Careers departments.
The Assembly has suggested that the redesign of the Sabbatical team will better serve the needs of students.
Asked about this year’s student leadership race, DSU President Archie Dallas commented: “I struggle to believe that there is a better experience that you can have at an early age than being a sabbatical in the Students’ Union.
“We’ve gone from four to five positions, which includes adding a new role of ‘Development Officer’, which is the first time anyone in Durham as taken a focus on training and developing student groups.
“I’m incredibly excited, and a little bit jealous that I can’t run for one myself.
“The only qualification you have to have is enthusiasm and be passionate about students: no experience is needed.”
For more information, or to nominate yourself or a friend, visit: www.dsu.org.uk. Nominations will close on Monday 11th February at 4pm.
Photograph: Durham University