The new team elected to lead the award-winning Scotland’s Rural College Students Association (SRUCSA) through 2017/18 have taken up their posts.
Gemma Jones (24) from Oldmeldrum in Aberdeenshire, is the new president - stepping up from her year as vice-president Gemma graduated BA (Hons) in Outdoor Pursuits Management at the SRUC Ayr Campus in 2016.
Martina Bradacova (28) from Prague in the Czech Republic is the new vice-president. She also studied at the Ayr Campus where she gained a 1st Class BA (Hons) in Activity Tourism Management.
The two sabbatical, full-time posts are salaried. The new pairing are the fifth joint presidential team to represent SRUC students across all six campuses, with 2,500 full time and 5,000 part time students studying courses from entry level to PhD.
In 2016 SRUCSA won the Best Small and Specialised Students’ Association Award from the National Union of Students (NUS) in recognition of the progress made since it was formed in 2013.
Gemma – who is well known among students having already served as a class representative, campus officer and vice-president - says her main aim is to increase student engagement and improve the current representation of students.
“Last year I worked hard to improve the visibility and accessibility of SRUCSA. After a year working with the students, I know that we need to work on better ways to communicate with them. This year I would like to work on engaging the student voice and getting feedback from SRUC to the students faster.
“I would like to see as many student’s as possible engaged with their students’ association whether that be through representation, campaigns, awareness projects, sports, clubs or societies.
In addition to representing SRUC students Gemma, as Student President, will join the Board of SRUC.
“I look forward to taking on new areas of work as President whilst continuing current campaigns and projects. Working for SRUCSA has its challenges - with six campuses across Scotland - but I’m ready to get out there and help as many students as possible.”
Following her year as president, Gemma hopes to secure a job in outdoor education.
New vice-president Martina was a student representative in the past and her focus will be on strengthening the equal access and awareness of study support services. She will also concentrate on work experience opportunities among all courses across all SRUC campuses, and raising awareness of international study opportunities.
“SRUCSA has done a great job in the past in student voice representation and I want to continue this legacy through more personal engagement with students. I would also like to conduct an investigation involving students on how SRUC can ensure their education and student experiences meet their expectations.
“SRUC already offers study support services and as a student I sought a wide range of study support which assisted and encouraged me to achieve my best over the four years I was studying. However, some student support is not very visible. When speaking to students some were not aware about available range of study support opportunities. I would also like to see that the level of career support is same across all campuses.”
Gemma and Martina will serve on the nine person Executive team of Campus, Sports and Activity Officers. They formally took up their posts on July 1.