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Student Anita looks back on experience of leading Planet Harper

Posted 9 May

“It’s been great to watch the members grow and form new friendship groups over the past year.”

Planet Harper is a Students’ Union society that runs activities, events and trips for international and domestic students studying at Harper Adams University.

For the past year, BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering student Anita Woolf has been leading on organising events for the society, but as Anita looks back on her year at the helm, the search for the next leadership team has begun.

The 20-year-old from Northamptonshire said: “I went on my first trips with Planet Harper in my first year of university. I didn’t have a car, so it was a great way to explore new places with fellow students. I went to York, Liverpool and the Birmingham Christmas markets.

“I also performed at the annual Harper Adams international dinner and the Chinese New Year celebrations in Newport with Harper Adams Music, the SU’s music society.

“Following these experiences, I was selected by International Officer Kai Ma to travel to China last July, to meet and spend time with the incoming Chinese students.

“It was a really good experience. We were paired with a Chinese student, and it was interesting to see everything through their eyes, as it’s so different to the UK. For example the canteen wasn’t only a room at the university, but three storeys in a building! And the food was cooked freshly with fire in front of your eyes!

“We had lecturers and class time during the day and then visited tourist sites in the evenings and weekends.”

In exchange for the trip, Anita agreed to help lead Planet Harper for 2018/29.

Kai said: “This year the society has really stepped-up. The society used to be run by members of staff, but now, with it being in the students’ hands, there is a good mixture of home and international students and it feels much more relaxed.

“The students run the social media and help decide and organise the activities, such as Easter egg decoration and pumpkin carving, along with the trips.”

“It’s been great to watch the members grow and form new friendship groups over the past year,” added Anita. “There were a number of students that were nervous on their first trip; but now they are part of a group with students from a variety of different countries exploring these new places together.”

The society is now looking for a team of people to lead it for 2019/20. Anita and Kai are looking for open-minded people, who enjoy learning about different cultures and interacting with new people.

Cultural training will be provided by Kai, and the society is supported by the Students’ Union and members of staff from Student Services.

Anita said: “It’s not like you’re coming into a society without an infrastructure or plan. That’s what I’ve found really helpful with Planet Harper; some things are already set-up and somethings still need organising but a choice of options is already provided.”

“I’d like to thank Anita for everything she’s done,” adds Kai. “Planet Harper has evolved to the next stage and I look forward to working with the students that continue to take it forward.”

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