Sarah is in her second year studying Computer Science with Mathematics in her third year at the University of Leeds, and is the Backstage Publicity & Communications Secretary 17/18.
Although it’s not part of the prestigious Exec, P&C is a big role as you effectively have two jobs: the publicity side and the communications side (as the name suggests. Duh.)
The publicity side refers to any sort of public presence, and I’m not gonna lie, posting sassy comments as LUU Backstage and having shit banter with people you don’t know is quite an enjoyable job to have. You have the power of running the luubackstage.com website, and our social media pages: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, (and the BSS Snapchat, however that died a premature death back in 2016 with D’arcy and her lack of phone storage), as well as the rogue YouTube account that no one knows exists.
“Posting sassy comments as LUU Backstage and having shit banter with people you don’t know is quite an enjoyable job to have”
Communications includes updating the society on what’s happening, advertising opportunities, making GIAG and training events, getting feedback, and writing newsletters. This half of the role is an extension of the Secretary’s job, so involves a lot of liaising with them as to who will take responsibility for what. This makes the Secretary-P&C relationship the closest within the committee, bar the one between the Exec. This year Katie has taken charge of the mailing list and the Backstage page on the LUU website, while I’ve been the one to reply to messages we receive on our Facebook page, since k8 already has the wonderful task of running the email@example.com email on top of her own Secretary one.
The role spans a lot of areas and can be very demanding if you try to do all of it, so I’ve learnt to prioritise what’s important and what’s not. It really is what you make it and each P&C will prioritise things differently, so I’m just going to bombard you with a few of the things I’ve done this year and why. Good luck in making it to the end.
“Communications is an extension of the Secretary’s job, so involves a lot of liaising with them as to who will take responsibility for what”
Over summer I restructured the website so it was easier to navigate, because it’s one of the first things potential members (eg. me) look at before they even come to Leeds. I would have liked to do more with the website but I have found that my relationship with WordPress is not a strong and stable one. (If only I’d chosen some sort of degree to help me out with that?) Don’t let that put you off running the website though, you don’t really need any prior programming knowledge to do it and I’m going to put together a WordPress cheat sheet so whoever my successor is doesn’t have to suffer every time it filters out every <br/> you type, or when you mess up the homepage and Chris Morris has to rescue you. #logomaggots
“My main focus this year was on ensuring new members understand how we work and are aware of the opportunities available”
My main focus this year was on ensuring new members understand how we work and are aware of the opportunities available. Backstage can seem very complicated when you’re a fresher and there’s a lot to take in, so it’s quite overwhelming. It took me a year to become an active member so I wanted to try to prevent other people from missing out. Communications plays an important role in combating this so I introduced the new members document, as well as continuing the newsletters that D’arcy started last year. (Sorry they were not monthly like I promised. They are actually very time consuming and I have a degree to not do.)
“Backstage can seem very complicated when you’re a fresher and communications plays and important role in combating this”
My advice to any of the new committee is that there will be lots of things you want to do that there just isn’t the time for, so learn to prioritise jobs and don’t worry too much. To the new P&C, I’d say make an effort to work with the First Year Rep (after they’ve been elected in December) as they play a key role in ensuring communication between committee and new members, and that their voices are heard. Also: don’t be in charge of organising hoodies. I did and then realised, that is is not my job. Make Open Seat do it. They don’t have a real job.
I was unsure about applying for committee last year because I didn’t think I was good enough for any of the roles, but despite being told off by Erinna every week for being too “disruptive” in committee meetings #disruptiveindividuals, I’ve had such a fun year (and spent way too much time in the Riley). Being on committee, especially for Backstage, can be stressful at times, but everyone understands the struggles of Backstage and the rest of committee are very understanding when you don’t have the time to be as invested in your role as you ought to be. Degrees come first! (Apparently.)
“I was unsure about applying for committee last year because I didn’t think I was good enough for any of the roles, but I’ve had such a fun year”
I’m very thankful that people encouraged me to apply (bleurggh), and that I woke up in time to write my manifesto an hour before the deadline whilst hungover, so do consider applying! You’ll have a gr8 time and make some amazin friends. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, or more realistically just message me on fb where I am constantly online, if you want to talk more about the role or have any questions about being on committee in general! (Or talk to me in real life if you can catch me not asleep, in Essentials, or set designing yet another show.)
By Sarah Lewis
Posted on 9th March 2018