With Lead and Change 2020 just around the corner, we caught up with tutor Sam Mujunga. What has he gained from the experience and what advice would he give to future Lead and Change tutors?
Q: Hi Sam, how are you?
A: I’m doing well, early Spring is an awesome time to be working in a Students’ Union! I’m Academic Representation Manager and we’re in full elections preparation! There is also all the usual University facing work, as well as budget planning, campaign organizing, officer support and organising the Student Led Teaching Awards.
Q: Lead and Change returns this year and we’re excited to recruit a brand new team of tutors. How did you find being part of the team last year?
A: I have been a tutor for 3 years now and love it. It’s a great chance to network with other SU staffers from all over and swap notes on general SU and Representation work. From the briefings beforehand to logistical support during the week, being part of a team that contributes towards training the next year of Officers is truly rewarding. I’ve also expanded my own network and catch up with fellow tutors over the year.
Q: Was it ever difficult? It sounds quite daunting to be a tutor!
A: The biggest challenge is trying to get the right balance and vibe with your group. It can be daunting at first when you naturally have the awkward silences and the forming stage of any group, but soon you get into a super productive space. Setting clear expectations at the start and providing plenty of space for all styles of learning really helps, as do regular meetings with the amazing NUS Learning and Development team.
Q: What were the student officers like?
A: I have always been lucky to have a super keen group of officers. Their readiness to engage with a wide range of discussions and topics is always a great feeling and they are truly a delight to work with.
Q: what were your key takeaways from the experience and how has it helped you since?
A: I have learnt to empathise and support officers better. I was never a sabbatical officer myself and lacked that firsthand experience, but after working with over 50 different officers I now have a more holistic viewpoint into officer support. It has lead to further opportunities around coaching and mentoring, including support for officers as they finish their terms and move into other sectors. It has also enhanced my management skills, as well as encouraging me to think about my own personal development and how I can lead and change myself!
Q: Who do you think should apply to join us this year?
A: If you have a passion for helping others, unlocking and unleashing officer potential and interested in facilitating and training, then this is for you. It’s a great opportunity to test your skills in a different setting with a varied audience, whether you‘re a new coordinator or a Senior Manager! If you’re willing to learn, adapt, think on your feet and facilitate robust discussions, then being a tutor should be right up your street.
Q: Applications open this March. What would be your advice to anyone thinking of applying?
A: Absolutely go for it! The first time I applied I really didn’t expect to get it, and when I did, I was so nervous, but it is one of the most fulfilling things that I do in and alongside my work. It is a highlight of my calendar and I always look forward to taking on a new group. Think about what you want to get out of it for yourself, as well as what skills you can bring that would be useful for officers.
It’s also particularly important that the Student Movement is representative of the students on all our campuses. This also reflects staff representation for upcoming BAME officers. It’s important to role model and show that there is a diverse pool of staff out there, and SU’s generate and have a range of talented staff from all types of backgrounds. For myself, being able to show BAME officers that there are staff out there has been a personally fulfilling aspect of being a tutor every year. It has shown to officers that there is work to be done, and how they have the power to improve diversity at their SU’s, but also that they can transition into staff members at the end of their roles and how they can help to continually bring up the next generation of officers.
Find out more on how to apply to become a Lead and Change tutor.