LAST November one ofÂ Kingâ€™s most inspiring alumni,Â Desmond Tutu, paid hisÂ alma mater a visit.
Like many other students, IÂ dropped everything and madeÂ the long trek to the 4th floor of theÂ Macadam building to hear himÂ speak. It was worth every secondÂ Tutu advocated, quipped andÂ above all inspired. He also has aÂ unique, roaring laugh that is irresistible.
But what really drew my attentionÂ was the inconspicuous leatherÂ bracelet he wore on his leftÂ wrist and its hand-carved inscription:Â â€œUbuntuâ€. Later on in the day,Â I had the privilege of spending aÂ few moments in conversationÂ with Archbishop Tutu and askedÂ him about the bracelet.
He passionately explainedÂ that ubuntu wasÂ the South African conceptÂ of â€œhuman-nessâ€.Â Communities consist of individualsÂ with shared bonds that transgressÂ any differences in opinion,Â thought or philosophy.
What that means is that humanÂ beings in a community are inevitablyÂ connected with one another.Â Or as Tutu put it â€œI am, becauseÂ you are.â€
Thatâ€™s something thatâ€™s stayedÂ with me since, because it encapsulatesÂ and defines everythingÂ our studentsâ€™ union is about.
At KCLSU we are currently working on â€˜Big Planâ€™, a five-year strategy to carry on making the studentsâ€™ union more relevant, effective and tailored to the needs of students.
A key theme students have told us about is that of grassroots empowerment. KCLSU should be at the very heart of the hive of activity that student life is at Kingâ€™s. We want to be a collective, democratic organisation that helps our students to bring their bright ideas and initiatives to reality.
Community exists because of us all
Thatâ€™s why weâ€™ve started to bringÂ in changes that unlock the potentialÂ of our community and amplifyÂ its impact.
Whether itâ€™s new funding forÂ student groups, simplifying the interactionÂ between student groupsÂ and KCLSU, making more fundingÂ available to liberation monthsÂ or deciding collectively on majorÂ issues at our first quorate AGM inÂ almost a decade, the intention isÂ the same: putting power back inÂ the hands of students.
KCLSU is not about the individualsÂ leading it. Itâ€™s not about Liam,Â Areeb, Anthony or me. Itâ€™s aboutÂ you.Â Our community exists becauseÂ of all us. Here at Kingâ€™s weâ€™reÂ standing at the beginning of a seaÂ change in student politics â€“ thatÂ of studentsâ€™ unions that truly empowerÂ their members.