Posted on Mon 13 Jan 2020 at 11:53 by Christopher Carter
It's no secret that I absolutely love my job. The DDO role is, in my humble (if slightly biased) opinion, the best Student Officer position available, thanks to the huge variety of the job and the freedom it allows you to really pursue the areas that you're passionate about!
There are two sides to the role, the first of which is 'Democracy'. Despite popular belief, this actually entails much more than just running the Spring Elections. Not only does the SU hold Autumn Elections on top of this (when we elect all of our Execs, Course Reps and NUS National Conference Delegates), but we also have many other democratic processes that take place throughout the year such as Student Council and the All Student Vote, which require proper facilitation to ensure that the student voice is as powerful as possible. In running this, the DDO needs to take into account the huge diversity of the student body and the potential perceived barriers that might prevent certain groups from accessing SU democracy. The role is therefore integral to improving wider student engagement and ensuring the SU is representative of all students.
The 'Development' side of the job can be broken down into a few main areas - commercial, estates, sustainability and finance – in which lies the true variety of the position. As DDO, you'll oversee the running of all the SU’s food and drink outlets, influence decision-making regarding University estates (such as improving student accommodation or increasing study spaces), lead on important environmental work alongside the Environment and Ethics Officer, and oversee the SU's financial accounts (oh yeah… the DDO is also the Treasurer for the whole organisation!)
Overall, this makes for a broad remit, so if you're someone who enjoys variety and is good at juggling multiple projects then this is definitely the job for you! The DDO attends a lot of University meetings, so confidence and the ability to communicate ideas - oftentimes to a roomful of adults who won't necessarily like what you're saying! - is key. The role is less student-facing than some of the other positions, so I believe that a successful DDO is also someone who is willing to do the work behind the scenes without necessarily getting much recognition for it. This means that genuinely caring about making a difference is essential, as this is what will drive you to keep pushing for change.
So, as long as you remember what you're here to fight for, this job is an amazing opportunity to gain really desirable skills and connections, figure out what areas of work you're interested in (and good at), and help make a real difference.
If you have any more questions about the job or the elections process in general, don't hesitate to drop me an email via firstname.lastname@example.org or pop into my office in SUHQ. Best of luck with campaigning!