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Speaking up: the student voice must be heard on and off campus

Matt Hughes on why the student voice must be heard – loud and proud – on and off campus.

When I was still in sixth form a year ago, if anyone had said that in my first year of university, I would become a CSP student representative, an Annual Representative Conference (ARC) agenda committee member and founder of a physiotherapy society at university, I wouldn’t have believed it.
 
My journey began within my first few weeks of starting my physiotherapy degree at the University of Birmingham, when I was one of eight people who applied to become CSP student representative. My fellow student Sarah Willington and I secured the positions in a student ballot. 
 
As student representative, I have worked hard to involve more students with the CSP. For example, I conducted a presentation about the CSP council elections, with the aim of encouraging people to vote, and more recently tried to inspire them to apply for a seat on a committee.
 
Attending ARC was another opportunity I grasped. I was stunned by the number of students involved; four presented motions and 17 spoke on behalf of the students. Not only was this inspiring, it demonstrated the strength of the current student body. 
 
I was honoured to be elected, by the students, as the ARC agenda committee representative in an election that attracted an unprecedented number of candidates.
 
Unusually, the University of Birmingham didn’t have a physiotherapy society but six others did and I have founded one (@Uob_PhysioSoc). Most physiotherapy societies try to provide wider continuous professional development opportunities, such as guest lecturers, so if you think students might be interested in your experience, I urge you to contact your local university societies (especially the University of Birmingham!). 
 
Through university society collaboration with the new council, regional networks and national boards, I believe the next generation of physiotherapists will be inspired to get involved with the CSP.
 
Finally, if any of the new council members are reading this, I strongly suggest reaching out to the student executive committee, explaining why you should be elected as the next honorary president!
 
You can contact Ciara Younge, CSP’s student recruitment officer, email: youngec@CSP.org.uk
 
  • Matt Hughes is a member of the ARC agenda committee 
 

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