I got some good news this week: I’m being put forward to join the Governors of the LSE, my old University. It’s a great honour, and provided it goes through; I’m chuffed about it.
The role itself is effectively being a member of ‘governing council’ rather than any form of actual management, and it doesn’t involve too much time commitment. However, as it’s one of the world’s great Unis (Admittedly I would say that, but it’s usually ranked 3rd or 4th in the UK and in the world’s top 20) there’s worse things in the world to do.
LSE was an inspiring place.
I remember LSE as a place that inspired and educated me, though less in the lecture theatres than in the life surrounding them. I arrived there after a year out, a nineteen year old, on the train straight from the Cheshire forest where I grew up. It was my third ever trip to London (the last having been seven years earlier) and a daunting experience.
When I left four years later after my degree and being General Secretary (President) of the Students Union I was a different person. LSE gave me the opportunity to build political opinions, to debate, to think, to engage with some quite intimidatingly brilliant minds of other students from around the globe, and of course to party.
Thanks to LSE, by 22 I’d chaired one of the first ever debates between the Israeli Ambassador and the head of the PLO’s European delegation; I’d gone to Korea as one of the UK representatives of the ‘UN world youth leaders’; and I’d spent two years as one of the student representatives on the School of Governors, seeing how the ‘real operators’ did their stuff. It was an incredible learning curve and has helped me greatly in all I’ve tried to do since.
Thus to go back on the Governors, fingers crossed, starting in August, for a five year term thirteen years after I left, leaves a good feeling. Having worked with the Government on educating about student finance (I spent years berating how poor student financial education was, then 18 months ago they basically approached me and said “ok lets try and work together” the first result of which being the Student Finance Guide. I hope I’ll be able to give something to the role.