By Farzana Kalladi Puthanpurayil, 2016/17 SRC President
The Student Representative Council (SRC) of 2016/17 extends a warm and hearty welcome to you, dear LSHTM’er! The SRC is a group of five students from different programmes at the School, chosen by the student body to represent their interests in both academic and extracurricular matters. This involves anything from discussing disease outbreak response, hosting events or requesting better signs for toilets! Currently, the SRC comprises one President and four Vice Presidents for Taught Courses, Research Degrees, Finance & Operations and Events & Communications.
All representatives have a one-year term, which starts in October and ends in September the following year. The opportunity and work you will have by being part of the SRC, within this very short time period, will quite easily be your most enriching, fun and rewarding experience at the School. The selection process begins with a call for nominations when Term 1 begins, followed by hustings where candidates campaign for themselves, which contrary to how it sounds is actually a lot of fun. After that, voting opens and the candidates with the most votes win. Below is a brief overview of responsibilities the members of the SRC then take on:
1. Vice President of Research Degrees: represents PhD and DrPH students. The major responsibilities of this VP encompass voicing concerns related to teaching and learning activities, student support, thesis supervision, infrastructure and opportunities. The role also involves voicing staff issues, as some research students are employed by the School during their programme.
2. Vice President for Taught Courses: all taught MSc course representatives correspond with this VP regarding any academic concerns raised by the students of their respective MSc. Issues could be anything related to grading, tutoring, course material, study tools etc. and the VP would work with School staff and programme directors to ensure concerns are addressed and needs met.
3. Vice President for Finance & Operations: nothing works without money so the SRC really needs to keep this member happy for work to actually happen! The Finance VP is in charge of all transactions that the SRC needs to carry out during their term. Responsibilities of the finance minister (as we liked to call him) include planning and budgeting activities, working with the School’s finance department to carry out transactions, follow up on reimbursements, monitor money flow and of course, holding one’s ground and knowing how to say no if a proposed plan is too expensive!
4. Vice President of Communications & Activities: this is one that involves lots of work but lots of fun interaction as well. VP for Comms is in charge of communicating to the student body about School activities and events, engaging with fellow SRC members to conduct events for students and have a fun time through their year together!
5. President of the SRC: the President takes care of School-wide issues, sharing responsibilities with all the SRC members in the larger tasks to help make sure things are coordinated. Having a fun and amicable person as the President would be most essential so all members get along and all students can approach her or him with any concerns, interests or requests they may like voiced. The President sits on the Council, the highest governing and decision-making body of the School, to give the SRC’s perspective on the highlevel concerns of the School and of course to communicate concerns of students.
In the past year we have organised a few events such as karaoke night and Ceilidh night; allocated funds for student events; generated funds towards the student body by opening up the Pumphandle Bar for two extra week nights; worked with the alumni team to improve the School’s ties with past students; collaborated with the careers team on career and networking events; and organised the year-end ball themed: “From around the world”. All of this while solving the world’s public health issues of course!
As our year draws to an end, while the excitement of beginning a new career chapter in the world of public health is hard to contain, we leave the SRC with heavy hearts. However, all good things must come to an end for better ones to begin. So we look forward to seeing the next SRC carry out its duties and tackle challenges, working towards taking the School to new, awe-inspiring heights.
The SRC wishes you the very best for the fantastic year of opportunity and joy that lies ahead of you. I leave you now with the wise words of Scott Fitzgerald: “Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss” and of course, Master Yoda: “Remember what you have learned, save you it can.“