Becky O’Hagan – Student President

becky1As she nears the end of her term of office, The Watt Club caught up with Heriot-Watt Student Union President, Becky O’Hagan, to find out how her year has been.

After being elected as Vice-President in the 2013 elections, Becky took over from previous President, Brittany Brown in September on a temporary basis, before being fully elected to the position of President. It’s been non-stop ever since.

“There’s always something going on. It can take me ages just to walk from the main entrance to my office in the morning with people wanting to stop and talk to me! It’s a role which has really changed my outlook on life, and has questioned what I want to do after I finish at Heriot-Watt.”

Edinburgh provided everything I wanted from a city, and Heriot-Watt gave me what I needed from a University.

Originally from Manchester, Becky came to Heriot-Watt for a campus-environment but near a large city. “Edinburgh provided everything I wanted from a city, and Heriot-Watt gave me what I needed from a University. I was drawn by the fantastic rankings Heriot-Watt has. I initially enrolled onto Chemical Engineering – which is top in Scotland in the 2014 Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide – but transferred to Maths as I felt it suited my needs more.”

One of Becky’s commitments has been to make the Student Union more international, reflecting the more international status of Heriot-Watt. “Every year we are representing more and more students who are based outside of the UK. We need to make sure the Union is available to them, whatever their needs. We also need to consider how we use the word “union”, because in many countries, being part of a union is illegal. We don’t want to be intimidating to any international students.”


Becky O’Hagan with Rowan Russell, Vice-President, and Prof John Sawkins, Deputy Principal Learning and Teaching in Zero, study space during the exam period at the Edinburgh Campus.

“One of my proudest moments was when the same sex marriage bill was passed earlier this month. I am a strong advocate of equal rights, and on this topic had been involved in creating petitions, talking to MPs and just getting the word out to help get the bill passed. And when it did, it was an amazing feeling to have been a part of such big change”.

“To anyone thinking of coming to Heriot-Watt, I’d say just do it. Here, you’re not just a number, not just another body making up a huge class size. You’re a valued student, and really important to the University. The interest the University takes in student opinions is highlighted to me when I sit on the University Court. I’m always listened to and asked my opinion about what the student body thinks.”

“Don’t hesitate to come here. And if you do, I’d encourage everyone to get involved in the Union in some way. It’s changed my life, and I can’t thank it enough”.

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