Hi, my name is Ben Knowles and I am your RUSU President for 2021/22. I’ve just finished my Chemistry degree and am now looking to grow the opportunities that RUSU can offer. Having started my time as a student here in Reading in 2017 in Windsor Halls (and pretty much lived in Park Bar for most of my first year), as well as being a long-term member of the RUSU Bars team, I know how much we all miss what our union offers; from trips and career fairs, to the much beloved Union nights that thousands of you have sadly yet to enjoy.

During my four years here, I’ve experienced halls restructures, changes to private housing and COVID, meaning I’ve gained a rather in-depth understanding of what student’s need, want, and expect from their time here along with knowing what can realistically be achieved.

Like the other officers I’m excited to see all of our campaign ideas implemented over our tenures however this year is a little different, so I’ll be looking to make sure the way we operate evolves rather than going ‘back to normal’. Having missed out on personal interactions for many months this is something I’m keen to implement in everything we do.

My role as President involves anything related to democracy, sustainability or communications. Currently, I sit on many groups and committees relating to COVID and handling the pandemic crisis, which can take up to 10 hours a week. The President is responsible for ensuring all decisions reached or made by RUSU have gone through the democratic process as laid out in Constitution and Bye-Laws. This officer is also responsible for leading on external affairs, liaising with the National Union of Students and will lead on RUSUs democratic processes and Student Fora.

Check out my manifesto

My remit includes:

  • Co-chairing the RUSU Board of Trustees.
  • Liaising with members of Students’ Union staff through the line management of the Chief Executive.
  • Maintaining a working relationship with the University of Reading’s Vice Chancellor and the University Executive Board.
  • Leading on democratic processes such as student officer scrutiny, referenda, ‘Change It!’ and ‘Student Voice’.
  • Leading on campaigns that fall outside the remit of other Officers.
  • Leading on development of RUSU’s Commercial Services through actively canvassing student feedback.
  • Leading development of the RUSU brand, marketing and communications strategy.
  • Working with the Environment and Ethics Officer and leading on sustainability issues and projects.
  • Representing students and issues from London Road campus.

Some of the committees and groups I sit on include:

  • RUSU Sustainability committee.
  • Estates and Environment.
  • Planning and Change Board.
  • MIT - Major Incident Team.
  • MRT- Major Recovery Team.
  • Council.
  • Finance committee.
  • RUSU Elections Committee.
  • RUSU Ideas Feasibility group.
  • RUSU Student Voice.
  • RUSU Trustee Board.
  • Student Experience Committee.
  • Fees Sub Group.
  • Senate.
  • Halls Accommodation Committee.
  • RASG- Recruitment and Admissions steering group.
  • SSCER- Senate Standing Committee of Exam Results.
  • SAC- Student Appeals Committee.
  • Welcome week task force.
  • and a variety of different task forces and working groups.