HI(SA), how are you?

Hello, and a warm welcome from all of us here at HISA Inverness!  My name is Andrew Bowie and I’m the local student president for this academic year.  HISA stands for the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association, and it is our job to represent the interests of all students who study here.

How does HISA work?  We have a team of three part-time, paid officers (who you’ll hear more about below), who work on your behalf to ensure that your time at Inverness College UHI is as good as it possibly can be.  We are supported by a team of Volunteer Officers, and our Student Reps, who are voted for by their class and given training and support to help identify areas for improvement. Reps meet once a month with HISA and members of staff to ensure you have a voice.  You can get involved with HISA right from the get go, by standing to be one of our officers, or as the student rep for your class!

HISA supports students to run clubs and societies across the UHI region.  We also provide support and advice for students who need it.  Last but not least we represent students’ academic interests locally, regionally and nationally to ensure every student has an amazing experience here.

If you need to speak to HISA all you have to do is pop your head round the door.  If the lights are on you can come in and see any of our staff or officers for a chat.  We are the first office on the right as you enter Inverness College UHI through the front entrance.  The notice board next to the door shows you the days and the times the officers will be in the office. You can also contact us with any enquiries at hisa.inverness@uhi.ac.uk

This year we have five members of the team in the HISA office. They are (left to right)Anne Thom (Administrator for HISA Inverness), Andrew Bowie (HISA Inverness President), Shawna-Leigh MacKinnon (Vice President for Activities and Welfare), Kat Bateson (Students’ Association Co-ordinator), Feargus Murray (Vice President for Education).

HISA Executive

Q&A with the HISA Inverness team ….

HISA Executive

Name: Shawna-Leigh MacKinnon

Course: I am just starting the Level 6 Beauty Care course.

Role at HISA: I am the Vice President for Activities and Welfare.

What would you like to change this year?  I am really keen to increase engagement with learners at all of the Inverness College UHI’s learning centres, including the Scottish School of Forestry, the Centre for Health Science, and the Falcon Centre.  I also want to see more cross-campus working and collaboration right across the UHI partnership.

Words of wisdom for a 1st year student at UHI? All first years, please get involved with HISA, we have Freshers’ Fayre on the 12th September and for the first time ever, a Sport and Activities Fayre on the 11th September.

HISA Executive

Name: Andrew Bowie

Role at HISA: I am the local HISA President

Course: History and Politics BA (Hons) – Just about to start my fourth and final year.

What would you like to change this year?  I am committed to three main aims. They are: improving representation for all our learners, particularly those who have lacked proper representation in the past; spearheading a campaign for a student union bar, Inverness has been crying out for a dedicated student bar and venue for years, and it’s a real shame we can’t offer this to facility to students yet; and a plan to tackle student homelessness. Students finding themselves without somewhere to live through no fault of their own is simply unacceptable, and too many of our learners have found themselves facing this situation.

Words of wisdom for a 1st year student at UHI? Never pass up on the opportunity to have a burger from the canteen!  Seriously though, coming to UHI gives you so many opportunities to get involved with extra activities out with your studies and have fun, there are loads of clubs and societies and involvement in these looks good on a CV to a prospective employer.

HISA ExecutiveName: Anne Thom

Role at HISA: I am the Administrator for HISA Inverness.

What would you say to anyone wanting to speak to HISA? Our motto, if the light is on, come on in!  We are here to help, just ask.

Tell us about Freshers’ Fayre?  Freshers’ Fayre at Inverness College UHI takes place in the main atrium  and the sports hall on the first floor. This year we have 85 stalls, companies like Stagecoach, Domino’s Pizza, banks, charities, emergency services, political parties, etc. Students will be able to access loads of information and more importantly get free food, drink and freebies.

Tell us more about the Sport and Activities Fayre? For the first time this year we have decided to highlight the clubs and societies on a different day.  I strongly advise you come along to both Fayres – you’ll get a lot from them.

HISA ExecutiveName: Kat Bateson

Role at HISA: I am the Students’ Association Co-ordinator

Words of wisdom for a 1st year student at UHI? Coming to UHI for the first time is really exciting but also really busy! Make sure you sign up to some clubs and societies and get to some events to meet new people and settle in. You can also come and see us as well if you want to start your own club, and bring people to you instead! Make sure you take advantage of all the student discounts available by signing up for Totum and Unidays – it pays off really fast! When you’re out at all your events too, make sure you avoid freshers’ flu with some good ol’ hand sanitizer!

For coursework, the library will always be your best friend – the staff are incredible at finding resources and can save you a lot of stress trying to navigate things like journals. And lastly, in my humble opinion, the canteen curly fries are pretty great.

HISA ExecutiveName: Feargus Murray

Course: History and Politics BA (Hons) – Just about to start my fourth and final year.

Role at HISA: I am the Vice President for Education

What would you like to change this year?  The main reason I stood for this position was to create a positive material change for students. There are many issues in and around Inverness the Students’ Association can help with. In particular, I would like to see a full rent accreditation system put in place so that students will have the right information to avoid rent exploitation and unscrupulous landlords.

Words of wisdom for a 1st year student at Inverness College UHI? Get involved in as much as you can, don’t be afraid to speak to your fellow students and go for a drink. I have made some of the best friends of my life at the UHI. Finally don’t worry if you get stressed or feel like you are being overworked, you can ask for help and there are fantastic services across UHI that can help you through anything, just ask at the Student Services Centre (the glass office behind reception).

Have a great year!

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