Launch of my new blog “Tales of a student rep”

If you enjoyed reading this website check out my new blog covering lessons I’ve learnt representing students during my four years at Cambridge and more.

You can access the blog here.

To give you a sense of what it’s all about here’s a reprint of the first post.

The Lean Beginning – Why this blog and where it’s going

So, this is it. The start of my first general purpose blog. I’ve decided to put my Entrepreneurship lectures to good use and opt for a lean startup. That means, go to market with a minimally viable product. In my case, just a couple of links and this first post outlining what the heck this is all about.

My degree is coming to an end and I feel increasingly like I want to leave something lasting behind for future generations of students. Over the years, I have represented students in a variety of ways on issues ranging from food, accommodation, University governance and curricula. Day after day, I learned something new about how to engage students, convince College administrators to step out of their comfort zone and cut down on inefficiencies in an 800-year old institution. While I shared tips with other reps, never was there anything permanent, a go-to resource from which I could pick up new tricks about how to represent students effectively and ideas for what to work on. (If anyone knows of such a blog or resource, please let me know, I’ll be eternally grateful to you!)

In the run-up to CUSU Presidential elections 2016 I started an election blog which was not only fun to write but also turned out to be somewhat popular with students. That’s when I decided to start this new blog to write down the lessons of what I’ve learned for future student reps to refer to.

Why am I writing for such a niche audience and not for one of the established media like the Tab or Varsity? It’s simple. First, there are already around a hundred student journalists fighting for general audience readers. Second, most of the student papers’ coverage has a short shelf-life and with a few exceptions is mostly focused on entertainment and rather than effecting positive change (I might attract the wrath of the establishment press with theses statements but so be it).

Let me do a quick market size estimate to convince you (and mostly myself) that there is a sizable potential readership and my efforts are not wasted. Cambridge has 31 Colleges which have one JCR and MCR committee of around 15 individuals (that’s around 900 reps). Then there’s roughly one course rep per 50 undergrads (that’s 200). Taking some duplications into account we end up with a figure of around 1,000 student reps in Cambridge at every point in time. Now, if only the keenest 10% make occasional use of my blog that’s still 100 readers – just in Cambridge. Most of the topics I will cover are of equal interest for students at Oxford and other Unis in the UK, if not across the world. Let’s assume 50 readers in the Oxford, 50 in the rest of the UK and another 100 around the world. That makes 300 readers in total – per year, plus the occasional non-rep who strays here.

That might not sound much to a tabloid but given that my case studies might lead to real change for say one out of 10 readers that would still mean 30 events of positive change – per year. Well worth the effort I would say! Let’s see how my predictions turn out, they might well be too optimistic.

Apart from case studies and reflections on my work as a student rep I also plan to write on current affairs and whatever else I’m thinking about. Stay tuned for more!


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