The April member spotlight is on David Gilani, Deputy Network Coordinator for the Student Experience & Engagement themed network

Why do you do it?

Student experience and engagement is a real passion of mine and so I was delighted that the AUA set up a themed network specifically on the topic. It’s a field that is run in so many different ways in different institutions, so it’s always useful to learn about how others are approaching this important area of work. It’s also really nice to be able to connect with people working in the same area as you, so that you can remember you’re not alone!

I put myself forward to be the Deputy Network Coordinator because I knew the network was relatively new and thought my communications background might be useful in helping to grow the network. Having more practitioners involved makes it a much more useful network for everyone to be part of. I also just wanted to learn more about student experience practices and thought that immersing myself in the network by helping to run it would be a great way to do that. I’ve definitely already learned so much from our members about how each university approaches the student experience in a different way.

What has been the best bit so far?

Best bit so far has been working with Josh Gulrajani (Network Coordinator) – we have such a good laugh and have been able to come up with so many great ideas for how make the network most useful for our members. There has also been a really positive reception to the blogs and resources that we’ve shared throughout the year – so obviously it’s quite nice when you hear that something you’ve created has been useful to others.

Things obviously have had to shift quite a lot in the last couple of months due to COVID-19, but we’re starting to work on how to share best practice in these times. So that’s something nice to look forward to.

Would you recommend the role?

Nah, it’s rubbish!

Haha just kidding! Yes, of course. The AUA is so needed by those working within universities as a way to see the bigger picture. It’s so easy for a busy day at work to turn into a busy week and before long you’ve forgotten why you do what you do. Volunteering to support an AUA network has always helped me remember why I love my job/career and so I thoroughly recommend it for that reason. Furthermore, you get to meet so many great people – from other volunteers, your counterparts in other universities, AUA staff, and people working in other sector bodies who you’ll be able to partner with. Give it a go!

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