An interview with the College Voice chairman
City College Peterborough’s College Voice committee is at the heart of student spirit. With initiatives to make a difference to every day college life, the College Voice chairman Lesley Hull is dedicated to making sure the student’s comments, suggestions, concerns and ideas are heard by the right people.
With College Voice always looking for new committee members, we spoke to Lesley Hull about the difference College Voice can make and just how easy it is to take part.
To help us understand exactly what College Voice is, Lesley explained “College Voice is quite simply a group of students we call the College Voice committee. The group meet in the second or third week of every term to discuss what matters to them at the College with each other and managerial staff.
“There is no limit on the number of members we can have in College Voice, the more the merrier! We try to have at least one representative from each class, so that we hear about issues that are affecting everyone including those specific to different subjects.”
Having been chairman of the committee for 10 years, and a member for three years prior to that, Lesley knows how important it is that students get their say, “our College Voice meetings are the perfect way for students to air their ideas. Whether they have a compliment or complaint, a suggestion or concern, they can speak directly to a board of the College’s managers.
“Every meeting we’re grateful to have the College’s principal, vice principal, marketing manager, quality manager and more of the managerial staff present. Simply put, students can talk directly to the people who implement the changes.”
Lesley has been a student at City College Peterborough for a number of years and has a real passion for making sure College Voice helps students make a difference, she says: “In my opinion, the students are the most important part of this College. Without students, the College simply couldn’t exist!
“College Voice ensures students get the best experience they possibly can from their time as students at City College Peterborough. Not only that, but it’s also hugely beneficial for the management team as they get the opportunity to gauge feedback straight from students. They then know what is most important to the students and what they want changed.”
The College Voice meetings usually start with a quick introduction and then:
1. The management team read their reports to the committee. These will run through plans for the College and a look at what has worked well and what hasn’t recently.
2. The committee will then be invited to ask questions based on the reports.
3. Next, there is the opportunity to discuss upcoming events at the College.
4. Finally, each student will have the opportunity to raise any compliments or concerns they or other students may have.
Of course, College Voice does actually make a difference too. Lesley told us about just a few of the successes they’ve had: “One of the biggest differences we were able to make was when the Government requested that individual learner plans were to be completed by each student. It was a requirement for the College, however, the forms were wordy, long and there simply weren’t enough students completing them.
“We requested that the forms were changed and gave our suggestions at a College Voice meeting. The managerial team were quick to make the changes and since then the forms have been much more successful and less of a bugbear for students.
“We’ve also recently had a say in seeing the quality of food at the College Coffee Shop improve, along with better, more comfortable seating.”
The influence of the College Voice doesn’t stop there though, Lesley explains how the committee also raises funds for new equipment and more at the College: “Every year the College holds a Celebration of Students Work event. During the day students of the College sell the work. Some of the stalls are fundraising for College Voice and initiatives to raise funds for the College.
“We also have a book stall in the College, where people can choose a book to take away with them, and, if they like, provide a donation in the honesty box. In 2014 we raised in excess of £400!”
The funds raised by College Voice have provided music classes with a new stereo system, brand new equipment for the jewellery making classes and they’re currently working to raise funds for a new kiln in the pottery classes.
College Voice is eager to have as many students on board as possible, Lesley says: “All you need to join College Voice is enthusiasm! It’s a great committee to be a part of and you just need to be a current student at the College.”
If you would like to enquire about taking part, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a note at the College reception for Lesley Hull.