Gair Rhydd meets: Mature Students Officer Candidates

Janet Williams

About you?

Originally from North Wales, I’ve lived in Cardiff since 1982. I’m studying for a Master’s degree in Canon Law. I’m a mother of three, and all my sons are currently students too, two of them also at Cardiff University.

Why are you running for this position?

I’m the current Mature Student’s Officer, and ran last Autumn following my concern for the lack of representation of older people who are choosing to study. I’m very passionate about representing this group of people, as I believe everybody has the right to study. It’s important to empower people regardless of how they got to where they are now.

What experience do you have that will make you good for this role?

Being a mature student myself I understand the complications of studying when you’re older. I understand what it’s like to have a partner who doesn’t always understand what being a student is like. Through my sons I have an understanding of the younger demographic, and what it feels like to be a mature student, when it comes to mixing in a social setting when a lot of societies revolve around nightlife and drinking.

What are your top 3 points in your manifesto?

Extenuating circumstances. I was recently contacted by a lecturer who had concerns about the different difficulties that Mature Students face and a concern of mine is to achieve a blanket policy on this across all schools. Having to prove you’re an unpaid carer, for example, was difficult and something that affected me personally.

To continue working alongside Mature Student Widening Access officers to create a Mature Student’s Handbook which is accessible to new and current Mature Students to help them feel welcome and integrate with younger students.

To encourage inclusion with other groups. Mature students don’t all fall into the same demographics and they will want different things and I want to work with other campaign officers to improve these things.

What university facilities would you change or like to improve on?

Improve accessibility across the university, not just for those who are visibly disabled. To have more societies and meeting places geared towards mature students.

Do you have a slogan or something recognizable?

I’ve been introducing myself as the Golden Girl!