Tuesday 19-05-2020 - 12:21
"It's a beautiful thing when a career and a passion come together"
So, my name is Colina Wright and I'm the new CEO at Sunderland Students' Union. I can't tell you how proud I am to be here but changing jobs during a global pandemic is definitely something I'd think twice about doing again! Fortunately when the team is as supportive as they are at Sunderland SU, it certainly helps.
Having worked within Students' Union since undertaking my Bachelor's degree, more years ago than I care to remember, this is my first CEO role. I wholeheartedly believe in students' journeys and am passionate about making a positive difference to those students that engage with the Union, obviously I'd hope that to be as many of you as possible.
I am inspired to take Sunderland SU from good to great and to involve as many people in that transition as possible. This is your Union and I want you to feel as though your opinions matter. I can't believe it's only my 5th week but during that time I have spoken to the current Presidents and a couple of the incoming team, all the Union staff and Student Trustees about their perceptions of the strengths and developmental areas of the SU. I believe it's hard to carve a future until you've got an understanding about the past and can focus of some of the changes I'd like to introduce; I have used these conversations to ask people for their advice and hope this continues with you...
I was introduced to the University's Senior Leadership Team very early on and I think that says a lot about their investment in our future. I have been in more meetings than I care to remember but have had the opportunity to hear about how the University is managing the current situation whilst trying to minimise the impact on you as best as they can. I have spoken to our Part Time Officers and a selection of School Coordinators to discuss the things that matter to students and have participated in meetings where student feedback has been discussed directly with Abigail Moriarty, the Pro Vice Chancellor.
I can't wait to finally come onto campus and meet you face to face ... when it is safe to do so! I really want to make a difference! In the meantime I have a favour to ask... will you please get in touch and let us know your hopes and fears - this could be about your studies, the current situation, returning to University, engaging in societies, whatever - and provide a few ideas of what you'd like to see the Union doing more of. If you take the time to do that, I promise I'll review your responses and collectively feedback on what we can and can't do.
Life is tough my darling but so are you!
I'll let you into a secret, I thought about dropping out of University around Christmas in my second year. I honestly would not have made it through without my Students' Union. I got involved with a fantastic project - raising the aspirations of young girls in an deprived area of Sheffield in an attempt to reduce teenage pregnancies and encouraging them to see their value and consider University as an option; having that opportunity still means the world to me, and possibly them too! All too often I hear from students that have engaged with their Union late on in their studies saying they wish they'd known we existed sooner. My challenge is for you to get to know about us and get involved now, we are here to help you develop your self confidence, meet new people, try new things. Nothing would excite me more than Sunderland SU working with you to help you become the best version of yourselves and enhance your University experience... so what are you waiting for?
If you have any questions for Colina please send them to: