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Comment: So You Want to be a Gen Sec?

Outgoing two-time General  Secretary of the LSESU, Zulum Elumogo offers his top 3 tips to aspiring candidates:

  1. Be in it to Serve – Being Gen Sec is a fantastic opportunity to serve and support students to maximise their potential at LSE. Attending university is a transformative time for us all and as Gen Sec, you are one of the main architects of the student experience and LSE culture as a whole. It is a position of real influence and privilege – use it to serve the student community and improve things for future generations of students who will benefit. A great Gen Sec should have a clear vision, a genuine desire to see others flourish and the determination to make that into a reality. It’s not a CV booster, it’s a vocation – something you feel called to. Candidates must sincerely care about and believe in the potential of this great community of people – you will find the role exhausting otherwise!
  1. Have a Collaborative Mindset – The creation and delivery of an outstanding student experience is a collaborative effort. Students experience LSE as one continuous journey and don’t really distinguish between the SU and various other LSE providers and divisions. Therefore, as Gen Sec you will need to work frequently with academic departments and professional services teams, such as the Estates division, to get things done. The best example of this is the Welcome Steering Group (WSG), which the Gen Sec chairs alongside LSE’s deputy Chief Operating Officer. The WSG is an ambitious cross-LSE committee that is coming up with ways to best improve the LSE welcome experience for new and returning students. Collaboration is the key to success. 
  1. Keep an Open Mind – There will be innumerable opportunities to serve and deliver excellent results for students throughout your term. Whilst manifestos are important statements of intent, they are not legal contracts. The truth is that many of your ideas are likely to already be in progress elsewhere in the community so you would be better off endorsing and enhancing them instead of doing everything yourself. Focus less on “your” ideas and more on simply giving students what they deserve, wherever that may come from. Here’s an example: as Gen Sec you will be a member of the LSE Council (Board of Governors) and will have ample opportunity to shape policy at the heart of LSE. I was enough fortunate to be on Council during the drafting of LSE’s 2030 strategy and there I was able to guarantee that LSE will cap overall student numbers at 12 000 until 2030. This means that as new buildings open, there will be more space per student than ever before. This was an unforeseeable opportunity when I initially ran for the role, but I was able to seize it for the betterment of the student experience. Keep an open mind so you’re ready to seize opportunities when the time arises.

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