“The Connector Programme is dynamic - no two tasks are the same” Hafsah Butt, Student Connector
By: Polly Wallace-Kruger
Last updated: Wednesday, 16 December 2020
The Connector Programme is a way for students at Sussex to inspire and actively make change at the University, developing leadership, teamwork and communication skills – and get paid at the same time.
Students Connectors work with their Connector team, the wider student community and staff to find strategies and implement ideas that will enhance student life in different ways. The aim is for Sussex to better represent students and provide what they really want and need at university. The only meaningful way to do this is for students to inspire decision-making. Across the University, the work of Student Connectors, through “co-creation”, will make positive change while creating a more connected community at Sussex.
Meet Hafsah Butt, Geography student and Student Experience Connector. In this interview, Hafsah describes her role in setting up the Connector Programme and the new opportunities and friendships she has gained as a Connector.
Connector Programme: Tell us about your Connector role – what does your work focus on?
Hafsah Butt: I started as a Pilot Connector, in January 2020 when the Connector Programme had just been created, so our focus was to find ways in which staff and students can co-create and shape the programme. In this role, our team widely gathered feedback on various aspects of the University through speaking to individual students and organising meetings with a diverse range of student groups at Sussex.
Since the programme officially began, our team continued as Student Experience Connectors where we had the opportunity to work on different projects and teams. My focus has been the social media project, which involved researching the University of Sussex’s branding and social media regulations alongside creating content for our upcoming Instagram page. We eventually devised a plan and were ready to launch our Instagram account, @studentconnectors_
CP: What is it like to work as a Connector?
HB: Working with staff has been a great new experience for me which has developed my personal and professional skills. I really feel like I am co-creating with staff when I'm doing my work because of the influence and impact I have had as a Student Connector and on the Connector Programme.
One thing which I've really enjoyed about working with staff is the support that I have had. Especially during lockdown, I felt supported in my work and didn’t feel overwhelmed as my line managers were very accommodating and understanding of other priorities such as university work.
“Especially during lockdown, I felt supported in my work and didn’t feel overwhelmed”
Since I started working, I have met so many people and had an amazing time in my role doing activities that don't really feel like work. My Connector work kept me busy during a tough period during lockdown. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on the student experience because of the Connector community around me, which I felt very supported by.
CP: What have you gained from working as a Student Connector?
HB: I developed several skills, especially when working on our social media. I faced many challenges in developing the account which I overcame through problem solving independently, alongside other team members or with staff. As the primary manager and content creator for the Instagram page, I have also developed my leadership skills and my ability to make decisions independently when necessary.
"One thing that I really value are the friendships I have made with other Connectors"
One thing that I really value that has come from being a Connector are the friendships I have made with other Connectors. Since I started, I have had the opportunity to work in different teams on several projects, which has allowed me to get to know so many people both individually and in groups. Although mostly online, I have still been able to form relationships with fellow Connectors which has made my experience working as a Connector really a great experience.
CP: What is one word that describes the Connector Programme?
HB: I would say that the one word that describes the Connector Programme is ‘dynamic’. This is because since I started, I have done things which I would never had imagined I would have the opportunity to do; demonstrating the exciting and constantly changing nature of the job, where no two tasks are the same.
The Connector Programme: how students and staff make positive change together.
If you have a question about the Connector Programme or would like to get involved, email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow @studentconnectors_ to see our Connectors at work!