[Taveena Atsu | Features Sub Editor]
In the week’s Meet your Students’ Union, we have Bella Colafrancesco, Vice President Student Activities!
Here to represent your views when it comes to student activities, Bella looks after students involved in activities and around campus. From sports, societies, volunteering and charity to Herts Halls League and training opportunities, she’s here to help with it all.
“One of aspect of the role is to develop initiatives to ensure that the activities and project the Students’ Union run are relevant and appeal to the variety of students we have at our institution. With the Elected Officer we will direct and set the objectives and strategy of the union to ensure it is the best it can be for our students.”
Throughout her undergraduate degree, Bella was involved in various activities. She was a member of our very own Athletics Union as well as the Hockey Club.
“In my final year I started with work with the Active Students project when it first started and I loved being an activator,” Colafrancesco said.
Bella is extremely passionate about student activities and finds it rewarding to know that she can support the maintenance of activities on campus. ‘I decided to run in the election as I really wanted to be a part of ensuring Active Students continued past it’s 3 year funding cycle and I knew that by going for the Vice President Student Activities role I would be able to be a part of the sustainability of the project.’
Even though she does believe taking part in sport is important, ‘We all have to remember that students are here first and foremost to study. And it is important as a students’ union that we respect this.’ Nonetheless, getting involved in things around university can have some fantastic benefits for your studies too!
Bella thinks that “The main reason why I think some students might be reluctant to sign up to extra-curricular activities is because they don’t see the benefit to their education.” As well as this, a lot of students are hesitant about signing up to do activities outside of their studies as they might be shy or anxious to meet new people. “On the other hand, extra-curricular activities are great for graduate employability! They teach skills that employers value which I think is forgotten, or not thought about sometimes.”
By promoting the advantages of participating in extra-curricular activities, Isabella feels like students will see that they really are worthwhile. “You can choose anything you’re passionate about, and then you can develop the skills the academics won’t teach or allow you to practice.” Studies carried out by Sheffield Hallam found that students who took part in sports and volunteered are earning about £5000 more than students who didn’t. “The skills that are learnt are all transferable. Things like resilience, organisation, time management, communication and leadership can all be developed and it’s these attributes that employers are screaming out for from graduates!”
Signing up for extra-curricular activities can be extremely worthwhile, but it’s important to remember how to manage your time well too! Bella admits that her diary was her ‘best friend at university.’ Organisation is an essential aspect of Isabella’s success, as well as the support from her fellow society members ‘. It was ok to miss the odd training session or ask a colleague to cover me if I needed some extra time to study. Your support network is always something to remember too, as they will help you if you need it – you’re never alone when you’re in a team or part of a student activity group.’
Bella advises that ‘Students should be open-minded. On face value you might not think you will enjoy something but it can open up a whole new world in trying something new.‘ Isabella believes that getting a break from your studies through extra-curricular activities can be a productive way to spend your time. ‘We all reach that point where we can’t stare at that textbook anymore, so by having something else in your life you at least have that release when you need it.’
And if you haven’t discovered how you’d like to spend your spare time, don’t forget you can set up your own societies too!