STUDENT associations across the country will be facing a common challenge when students return to college and university next month. They must create a community within the student body, without events or in-person meetings.

Education is more than attending classes to learn new knowledge and skills; it is an intellectual, social and emotional experience. While we are responsible for social experiences, like Freshers’ week, we serve a deeper purpose of engaging with the student body and ensuring student’s voices are heard across a range of issues within the establishment.

Our student association is run by students, and works in partnership with the college management and staff to promote volunteering and work opportunities, improve college resources and help students to set up clubs and societies.

Recent global events have highlighted the desire younger generations have to play a part in changing the world we live in. Whether it is Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ issues or political stance, young people want their voices to be heard.

As the voice of the students, we are in an ideal position to shine a light on issues and campaigns which resonate with our student body. Last year, we hosted events on the environment and student wellbeing, and participated in campaigns including Pride, Hate Crime Aware-ness and Healthy Body Healthy Mind.

We also work hard to ensure there is student representation across the college in different capacities. This is especially important when important decisions are being made and where ideas can be shared.

Engaging with students is one of our top priorities, and that can be difficult, even with everyone on campus. It will be challenging for us to work within a blended learning approach and it is likely much of our activity will become virtual. However, this also presents us with the opportunity to be flexible and try new approaches.

Every day in the GCCSA, we come across different challenges, and our job is to turn them into opportunities. For the next few months, while in-person contact is limited, we will be looking at new ways to encourage a sense of belonging, through online hangouts and activities, and helping students settle into this new way of learning.

Sissa D Rasmussen is President of ­Glasgow Clyde College Student ­Association (GCCSA)