The Kids Are Alright

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Bruce Galliver’s time as president of the Students’ Union comes to an end today. At 3pm!
Bruce graduated in 2014 which is when his 2 years at the SU began.

This month’s CM Grads post is a Galliver special.

On Commercial Music we have a long session at the start of the year where the new students stand up one by one, introduce themselves to the cohort, talk about their musical influences and play some songs. When Bruce was in the 1st Year he volunteered to go first. I’m not saying that volunteering to go first will necessarily lead to becoming the president of the SU, but it’s certainly an idea worth considering.

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We sat down for a chat this week and talked about Bruce’s journey and his approach to the job. So here for your enjoyment is Bruce’s last interview as the president of Bath Spa University Student’s Union.

How did this journey begin?
The first time I ran for president I was a 3rd year student and a lot of the motivation behind that came from how broad my student experience had been. As well as doing the coursework on Commercial Music I was also in 5 or 6 clubs and societies as well. I joined the Meditation Society, the Surf Society, started the Gymnastic Society, ran the live sound at the SU and attended the course rep meetings.
I felt that through the things I was doing, the people I was meeting and the different facets of the university I was involved in, that I’d gathered a broad understanding of what the place meant and was starting to get ideas about things that I thought I could improve.
I really started entertaining the idea of running for president and after talking about it to a few people and realising how much I enjoyed the leadership elements (such as the leading the gymnastics society and feeding back about how other students felt about the course etc) that to take it to a more significant level of responsibility felt like a natural progression.
It just felt really good!

What were some of the ideas that shaped your approach to the job?
We had a hustings with all of the candidates for the roles answering questions from the floor and I was asked about great leaders that I aspire to. I cited Carl Sagan. I was really inspired by his idea of the planet being a human family, one home, and you can say that a university is a microcosm of that.
I felt that I was right in the centre of the community and that I’d turned a lot of the stones over that were available to turn over during the student experience and I’d got a feel for the potential that was beyond that. I felt strongly drawn to the idea of being able to have an influence on it.
The journey that I’ve been on has been about understanding more and more ways of making a significant impact. I wasn’t interested in quick wins that are difficult to see, easy to miss and quickly forgotten, so the way I approach the work is to focus on the areas where I see the greatest potential for impact.

What are you going to do next?
Because the intensity of this role means that I haven’t seen my family and friends as much as I would have liked to then what I’d like to spend quite a lot of my time doing before taking any developmental next steps into a career or anything, is to go and say hello to them, talk to them and find out what it’s like outside my life here. To be honest, it’s quite difficult to know what it’s like not doing this job now.
So I’m going to understand that first in a pretty laid-back fashion. And then probably towards the end of the summer I’ll start thinking about which of the different things that I’ve learnt in this role I want to pursue.
It’s given me a lot of options. Everything that surrounds what it means to work in a big organisation, things I’ve learnt about organisational culture, how to write a strategy for a charity, everything I learnt as a student, the creative stuff…
One thing that I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to is creative personal expression outside an agenda related to a job.

Are you still playing the guitar?
Erm…….…(thinks)………I can still play the guitar!

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This is not a complete list, but during his time as president Bruce has:

  • Led on the development of a new strategy (The Big Plan) with the SU which has just been launched.
  • Introduced another sabbatical officer position (Vice President – Education) so there are now more student leaders and more opportunities for the union to be more effective.
  • Improved the transport available to students. Including the free bus from Sion Hill to Newton Park.
  • Hosted “Who Should Run Your Bath?” at Komedia prior to the general election with all of the Bath parliamentary candidates. Students were invited to hear from and put questions to the prospective MPs.
  • Created Facebook groups for every block of accommodation in order to shield the freshers from aggressive promotion from venues in Bath and create a cohesive network for new students.
  • Got an in principle agreement from a University committee that students shouldn’t be fielding the cost of printing for work that can be marked online.
  • Organised a conference to give students the opportunity to feed into the university strategy.
  • Submitted a response to the government’s Higher Education Green Paper.
  • Ensured that the student voice is heard through the university’s undergraduate framework review (ahead of the new scheme’s launch in 2017.)
  • Raised £600 for Comic Relief by shaving his head. His hair went to the Little Princess Trust.
  • Ran the Teaching Awards (re-branded as the Staff Oscars for next year) and sent feedback to every member of staff that had been nominated over the last 2 years.
  • Helped to revamp the Student’s Union Awards.
  • Organised cleaners for the kitchens and communal areas at the Gardens accommodation.
  • Successfully responded to the student request for a microwave in Commons.
  • Ran workshops with a local creative collaboration organisation to give students more opportunities to collaborate across courses and with people from outside the university.
  • Organised a series of Wellbeing Wednesdays to promote conversations about wellbeing and signpost students to the university’s support sevices.
  • Bought a dimension of student engagement to the Board of Governors (the university’s most senior group) and increased the degree of student representation on other senior university committees.
    Worked with students on numerous campaigns such as the EU referendum, trigger warnings on course material, timetabling issues for joint honours students, more events at Sion Hill, hidden course costs and international students rights.

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Bruce didn’t get where he is today just by making great videos for campaigns and initiatives. But he certainly made a lot of them on his way there.
Here are just a few of them:



Good luck with everything in the future Bruce.
Don’t forget to come back and visit!!

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