“When they announced I had won the election it was incredible,” smiles Lauren Ramage, the new Student President of the GCU Students’ Association. “I think I’m still in shock. It’s an unforgettable feeling and it means so much to know that people voted for me and believed in me.”
It was perhaps inevitable that the 22-year-old Business Management graduate would involve herself with student politics at GCU.
Her relationship with the Students’ Association goes back four years to when she first joined the University.
“I’d played sports all through high school so, as soon as I came here, I knew I wanted to join the sports club,” she says.
A keen swimmer and hockey player – she played in GCU’s first team of the latter throughout her studies – Lauren credits herself with establishing the GCU women’s volleyball team and transforming it into one of the best sides in the UK.
“When I joined the volleyball club, there was nothing to it,” she says.
“It was just really me and a friend and we both built it up to where it is today. I won an award at the GCU Sports Ball this year because of what I achieved. We’re in the top eight teams in the country now; we didn’t even win a set in our first year!”
Having also represented the business society for four years and appearing as a committee member in her final year, Lauren was encouraged to run for presidency by her friends and colleagues.
She believes she won because of her hard work and visibility around the campus.
“I was out campaigning from morning till night,” she says. “I think I came across well, people were able to talk to me and tell me their problems.”
One of Lauren’s key aims is to involve those she describes as “hard-to-reach” students.
“They include part-time, mature, international and postgraduate students,” she explains. “I want to make sure I can get out there and listen to their concerns and resolve their issues. It can be hard to get them into the Students’ Association and that’s something we’ll be working on this year. I want to make sure every student is represented.”
The Students’ Association is currently using a ‘Be part of…’ message to encourage students to engage in new experiences. Lauren says: “As the University for the Common Good, we believe that our students have a bigger part to play in the wider community. By taking part in activities which celebrate the diversity of our wider community, our students will develop themselves not only into employable graduates but into responsible, inspirational and global citizens.”
Although she is only weeks into her tenure, Lauren is keen to make a positive impact over the next 12 months.
“I want to be remembered as someone who listened to the students, as someone who kept her word and followed through to make the changes they wanted, who engaged with them and made a big effort.”