Hi everyone! In case you don't know me, I'm Kestral - current president of the LGBTQ+ society here at the University of Southampton. I joined the committee back in 2018 and in that time I've been so proud to have been re-elected three times, overseen a 500% increase in our membership to our current level of around 350, helped to run countless new events, run important campaigns, and bring together an amazing team of students to run the society in what I can honestly say is one of the best committee groups I've ever worked with.
I most recently stood for re-election back in April and am grateful that I once again won your trust and faith for the year ahead. Life however isn't always a straight line. In fact, not much about me is straight or linear. And in true chaotic queer style, a new opportunity has presented itself to me that I just can't pass up.
And so, it's with a heavy heart that I must announce my intention to stand down as LGBTQ+ society president and open up the role for re-election during freshers' week. Being your president has been one of the greatest honours of my life. I love this society, and I leave a passionate, capable, and empowered committee who I know will do great things this year, and I wish whoever fills my stylish yet affordable shoes the very best of luck, light, and happiness.
So what does this mean in practise? Well, I'm still here to help plan all of the amazing things we've been working on for Freshers' week, but we now also have an EGM planned for Monday 4th October, at which I'll stand down and a new society president will be elected. We'll open up applications to stand for the role on Monday 20th September, and voting will begin on Monday, September 27th. Everyone from within the LGBTQ+ community is welcome to apply, and our election process will follow the same tried-and-tested system of fairness, openness, and transparency that you're used to from us.
It's ironic that, during a week designed to welcome everyone to Southampton I'll instead be saying my goodbyes - but I hope to get to see all of you during Freshers' week and the events we have planned between now and the time I step down. You are the most vibrant, diverse, and wonderful group of friends I've had in my life, and I will forever be grateful and better for having known you all.
Please, keep in touch, and keep working to make Southampton one of the best places to be an LGBTQ+ student in the world. Remember: your heart is a muscle the size of your fist. Keep on loving, keep on fighting, and never stop being there for each other.