As the nominations open for Esher College’s new Student Council, the current Vice President reflects on another successful year of the student voice.

When we began our term in January of 2012, we were a team who knew little about each other – except for the fact that we were all passionate about student voice and making positive change within the college community.

We kicked off early in the term with a raffle, top prize being a pair of tickets to the famous Isle of Wight festival. It was a huge success, raising money for the Esher College Africa Trust. This Trust gives African students a chance to sit their A Level examinations by funding the teaching and exam fees.

In February we were once again raising money, and this time for a charity that cares for premature babies by providing family support and supplying hospital equipment. Students sent hearts and roses to each other...delivered by council Cupids!

One of the most exciting events of the year is the Leavers’ Day Festival, which we hold every year on the sports field so students can relax and enjoy the barbecue and activities that we put on for the last day of college. This year, Radio Jackie made a welcome appearance, providing music, games and prizes for all, along with the traditional ice cream van and funfair dodgems.

When we came back from our summer holidays, we went straight in to producing our Student council video that welcomed new students to the college, and showcased some of our work that we do around Esher. We also finished preparing for the Peace One Day event that was held worldwide on 21st September, marking an international day of peace that is recognised by the United Nations. This was an inspiring day, and one that we hope to honour year after year at Esher.

The Student Council are also in charge of the Freshers’ Party that is held for new 6.1 students at McClusky’s in Kingston. It’s a great chance to meet new people and to kick back before coursework deadlines kick in! The theme was voted for on Facebook – and so on 16th October, Kingston town centre was packed out with Heroes and Villains (or at least, some very convincing fancy dress).

The Student Council of 2012 has also started a new initiative – the Voice. This is an opportunity for any member of the college to come and talk about issues within the community that they’d like to change. It’s a great platform for discussion, as well as meeting new people (and getting a free lunch!) It has been great to be a part of for the last year, and I really encourage everyone to get involved with student democracy at their school or college. Or, if there isn’t one where you are – start one! It’s great fun, and a really good chance to bridge the gap between students and staff and to amplify the student voice.