My Isolation Letter: Chris Leroux

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Christopher Leroux, shares his thoughts and feelings regarding his year as the Media Section Chair.

Dear Loughborough,

Having been in isolation for the past few weeks, I have had a lot of time to think and reflect, and I would like to share some thoughts with the world, even if this does turn into rambling and becomes ridiculously long, I hope that everyone takes something from this.

It is safe to say that this has probably been the toughest year for LSU Media ever. We have been forced to move office – a huge reduction in square footage – lost a member of staff, a role which is now undertaken by yours truly. We’ve lost all our budget except staff costs for the Media & Comms Intern and the cost of the move of office – which we didn’t choose. Considering LSU Media supposedly had a budget of £150,000 in the 2017-18 year, this is a huge reduction in our facility to operate. We’ve had the attempted implementation of the broken SUMS – a huge and costly mismanaged decision by the Students’ Union Management. Then of course, we have had the coronavirus outbreak, cutting my year in office effectively by half.

I had wanted to achieve so much more this year, and now I will never get the chance to (despite popular belief I am not doing an emergency masters so I can return to run Media).

This is a lot to deal with, and it would be easy to focus on the negatives, to complain and do nothing. Yes I do complain, but this is my coping mechanism. I also do a lot of stuff – I have spent countless (probably thousands of) hours in the Media Office and working for LSU Media. I have restructured the management and administrative system of LSU Media to cope with the significant changes we have faced. I have brought in a new way of working, I have encouraged new volunteers to join, and we have a base active membership of 114 (active meaning those who have actually volunteered, not just those who have purchased membership).

Despite all of our successes (I couldn’t have done it without my amazing team), time and time again we have been given a new pile of rubbish to deal with. Whether that be when we ran the risk of having no Adobe licenses because the Union refused to pay for them and we didn’t have the budget to do so, or when we try and be entrepreneurial in making money by taking on commercial work – only being told we weren’t allowed to do it, meaning other than memberships we would have no income. But we have come in day after day and kept doing what we love, and have stood up and faced adversity. We have absolutely smashed it this year, despite certain members of staff and management that have stood in our way.

There are some things that I must make clear at this point, I do not dislike any members of staff and there are some who genuinely care about the students. For example all of the Section Administrators: Guilia (Societies), who listens to me and Josh complain every day and does everything she can to ensure that every society is operating to the best it can; Anne (Action), who is always there to gossip and wants students to grow as individuals through the Action section; Jane (Rag), the Director of SUL, considering she handles money on a daily basis, is one of the most generous people I know – once driving me to the library to pick up some books because it was raining; Alison (W&D), who has seemingly been at LSU since the dawn of time, who knows everything there is to know about our alumni, and is always making sure that all the volunteers who get involved are okay; Emma B (Enterprise), one of the most knowledgeable people I know, who has enough business and life advice that she could write several books on it all; Emma M (Exec), the lady with no time on her hands but who has always has time to help anyone who comes to her, Emma you are one of the most determined ladies I know and I am yet to this day able to understand how you manage to do everything in your job and still have time to breath; Shem (AU), the man who seems to have a joke for every situation, if you need someone to lighten your mood then he is the person to go to, seemingly always stood at the printer (probably trying to figure out how it works – which no one in existence has ever achieved).

I could not finish this list without mentioning the one and only Robyn (Media), Robyn has had my back since day one, words cannot express how much you have helped me, have made me laugh and have been there when shit hit the fan. You are everything I needed and wanted from the Intern, and have become a true and good friend.

There are many more staff who are there solely to make students’ lives better and whilst I would love to name them all, it would take forever and no one would read all of it.

I have met some amazing volunteers through my time at Loughborough, some amazing friends. And I am inspired every single day to achieve the best I possibly can by them. I will speak to them all individually as I do not want to boost their egos too much, but to name a few: Amie, Josh G, Anna C, Rahul, Cameron, Tom C, James B, Jack A, Joe G, JCR, Helena, Fraser, Nat D, Ben C, Josh T, Brad, Em H, Bethan J, Harvie C, Alannah, Stu, you all have inspired me to work as hard as I can, you are all the keenest beans I know and stand as something very special, you are the future movers and shakers of the world, and it has been a privilege to work alongside you and call most, if not all of you, my friends.

There are of course hundreds of names I could have picked, and every person I know inspires me, but the few I picked stand out to me as those who care ridiculously. If I didn’t mention you, it is not because I do not value you, but if I named everyone who inspired me at Loughborough there wouldn’t be much of an article left.

There is one group here who I have left out, and I have intentionally left this group out until now just so I can rile them up, but also because they are the very people who have held me together this year. The Exec.

The haters gonna hate, and we will never please everyone (if you do things right…) but the amount of stuff we have gone through this year has prepared us for the worst it can ever be, and to see that all of us have gotten through it, and some of you have taken the insane decision to do it all over again, shows me how strong we are. Ana – You are an inspiration in everything you do, you never stop working for the students, you are always so passionate, and care honestly more than I ever thought possible. Ash – It’s been a tough year, but you have always come into work with such passion and so many ideas that you can concoct a plan at a moment’s notice. Abby – Societies is tough, some of those emails you get are beyond ridiculous, and you are so strong for coming in every day (when you’re not unwell) and answering those emails with such patience. Matt – How can you honestly always be in a good mood? Your sassiness and determination gives me great confidence for all you achieve next year. Maz – £1.5 million? You certainly were on track, smashing everything you put your mind to, I am devastated that you won’t be able to do all you wanted to. James – Honestly the messiest drunk I have ever seen, but also one of the most determined to do the right thing, your morality and dedication is something I look up to. Lauren – #Spedia, the coolest person I know, but also one of the most attentive, you can read the room, and you know exactly what I’m thinking by my face, and you have taken sport to do great things, even if you might get blacklisted this year. Darcey – Every single interaction with you has led me to believe you are the kindest soul on the planet, wanting to do everything you can to make things right, despite all the challenges you have had to face in your life and this job, you have come into work every single day with a smile on your face and a joke on your tongue. Thank you for always being there to do the right thing. Lewis – Both the youngest and the wisest, some may disagree with me on this but your youth is made up for in the clear way you see things, you don’t take shit and you know exactly how to achieve the things you want. Pippa – Where would I be if we didn’t have our Nando’s trips? You care so much about everything you put your mind to and whilst you have had a tough year you have kept coming back. Salomé – I am personally surprised that I haven’t been fired this year, I know I’ve come close on at least one occasion! Your leadership has weathered us through storm after storm, you have known what to do and you know exactly how to support the team, and you will always be my President.

I wish I could continue my year, finish the job I started, celebrate all the successes we have made this year. But in typical fashion we can’t even properly celebrate our successes, and I am now stuck in my home, not being able to see all the amazing people that have made my year, and my time at Loughborough, as great as it was. It breaks my heart to see all we have worked for to be thrown away because of Covid-19, and all of those who are finalists reading this, we know, the Union and the University knows that your final year has been ripped out under your feet, and I wish we could change this whole situation overnight.

This year has changed my life, I have grown and come into my own, and I will remember it for the rest of my life. I wish no ill-will to anyone, and I hope that we can all go to spoons and get drunk soon – as well as having those halloumi fries which I am now craving like mad.

Thank you Loughborough, I hope to see you soon.

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