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Previous Office Bearers

Liam Burns

Liam Burns

Vice-President (Education & Welfare) 2006 - 07
President 2007 - 08

When the posters started appearing asking for candidates for the students' union elections, I had pretty little involvement. I had some involvement in being a class rep and the sports union, had volunteered during Freshers Weeks, but had secured a job as a physics teacher and was ready to graduate. It wasn't until about an hour before the close of nominations that I thought, "actually, I'm up for that."

Running for sabbatical officer at HWUSU was one of the best decisions I made at Heriot-Watt, other than applying in the first place. Running a £1m organisation, working to change students' lives, being given a huge amount of opportunities from meeting students in Dubai to organising inter-halls football, accommodation fairs and international student trips… oh yeah, and freshers week isn't bad either!

The point of being a sabbatical officer is supporting students to make change. When I was involved we managed to stop halls of residence being privatised, got a university commitment to returning all scripts after exams and helped hundreds of students with academic appeals. In recent years, students' unions have won over £50m straight from the Scottish Government and into students' pockets. It is serious stuff that student officers achieve with students and being part of an organisation that makes students' lives better is pretty special.

It's a lot of hard work, but a lot of banter as well. I stayed involved in the Rowing club and Wednesday nights remained a calendar fixture. I walked away with a load of skills that employers value and ultimately, I remained involved in students' unions eventually becoming President of NUS UK.


Chris Pirie

Vice-President (Education & Welfare) 2005 - 06

Being a sabbatical officer was one of the best years of my time at University. I had the opportunities to expand my CV and get experiences I would never of had otherwise. Being a full time officer I got to experience working on University Committees, be involved in recruitment of staff and had the opportunity to attend events and conferences around the country. I was also able to meet people from other Student Union  and NUS and am still friends with some of these people years after I have left. The skills and experience I gained at the Student Union was one of the key factors for me when I applied for my job with the University.

One of my highlights was being able to visit the Dubai Campus, I was able to go out twice during my year and meet the students who were the first group to study at Dubai. My proudest moments were when I got to see other students benefit from the volunteer opportunities or the Advice and Support service that we offered, seeing this always made me feel that the work was worth while as we could help people and enrich their time at university."