By Union of Jewish Students (UJS) president, Hannah Brady
Over the past week, I’ve had an excellent handover from my predecessor Ella Rose filled with VIP meetings. Getting ready for the job, it’s been wonderful learning about the role and having the opportunity to meet with Jewish communal organisations and leading figures within our community.
It probably comes as no surprise that yes, it is a little daunting. But I’m incredibly excited to start the 2015-2016 year and inject a bit of northern spirit into the Union.
On top of this, we’ve been preparing the old-school way – hard graft and lots of planning.
Seeing the year starting to shape up is really helping it all sink in. Taking my manifesto and creating a year plan has allowed me to prioritise the goals for the months ahead, and what I really want to see achieved by the time I leave.
To start with, I want to see a big change in our communications and social media strategies. As Millennials, it sometimes feels like we live online, and I want the way UJS talks to reflect the way our students do.
Through this, we can boost participation, and in turn increase our democratic mandate. It’s about tweets, blogs, and viral videos.
It’s time for UJS to catch up to its constituents.
Secondly, working on the way that UJS empowers minority groups is very close to my heart. Above all, I’m most proud of being the first disabled UJS President – belonging to and actively participating in a liberation group (women, LGBT or disabled) – and I’m aware of how it can transform your life for the better.
I hope to leave UJS with these groups of students having a Jewish liberation space that they can love and grow from.
Of course, there are always challenges in the Jewish student world that can’t be ignored.
While BDS has certainly been a challenge for some campuses, it would be wrong to suggest that Jewish students aren’t still effective, inspirational activists.
We’ll continue to agitate for what we believe is right on campus, whether it’s to do with Israel, our identities or even saving the planet!
Further challenges we face concern divisions in the wider Jewish community, but I’m sure that our new team and our students are more than up to the job.
We’re a group of graduates from a very diverse set of social and educational backgrounds, and I know that this can only engender innovative responses to any issues we may face.
Looking forward, I can’t wait to see how Jewish students thrive in the coming year.
Just take a glance at the recent Jewish News’ Twenty-Five Under 25 for just a glimpse of the phenomenal leadership within our student community.
Across the country, we’re proving that peer-leadership works.
I’ve only just started – and believe it or not, there are already whispers as to who’s stepping up to the plate to be the next UJS President.