Swansea University Alumni Rachel is a keen advocator of LGBT and Women’s rights, spending a proportionate amount of her time at University heavily involved within student activism and politics. She was the LGBT Officer (Women’s Place) for the Students’ Union for almost three years after being brought into the movement in her first year. Throughout her time as LGBT Officer (Women’s Place) Rachel worked on numerous campaigns for LGBT students at Swansea University. Some of these included her campaign ‘LGBT+ Awareness Week’ that she worked on alongside colleague LGBT Officer (Open Place) Ian Morgan which went on to win ‘Best Student-Led Campaign’ of the year (2012). Another one of her campaigns, LGBT History Month campaign, that she worked on alongside colleague LGBT Officer (Open Place) Philip McNamee was awarded a special commendation from the Students’ Union in 2013.
Campaigns that Rachel has also spearheaded in past include those with a focus on LGBT mental health, LGBT support and wellbeing and LGBT awareness and visibility; Rachel has worked with the South Wales police in the past on Hate Crime, providing a raised awareness of the many incidents of hate crime students may suffer whilst studying at university. As well as a prolonged work with the LGBT community in Swansea through her involvement in the Swansea Bay LGBT Forum.
Whilst at university Rachel worked passionately in an effort to ensure that Women’s Rights had a stronger presence on campus, the primary manner in which she tried to achieve was through becoming the founder and President of Swansea University’s Students’ Union first Feminist Society.
Rachel said: “With Feminism being portrayed so often as something that is intrinsically a negative movement it’s important to show that there are still individuals who are willing to provide a safe space for those who may be persecuted for their beliefs. You see so often now people are unwilling to self-identify as feminists because of the negative connotations that have been attached to the word in an attempt to weaken the movement. The germination of our society was an attempt to take a small step in the direction of changing this assumption through creating an environment where everyone was equal and welcome.” The Feminist Society went on to be awarded ‘Best New Society of the Year’ in 2014.
Rachel is a firm believer in helping others, and is something she strives to do in every aspect of her life. Rachel now works for the company North East Autism Society providing support for adults with autism.