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The University of Southampton

Keen chemist becomes Students’ Union president

Published: 25 March 2011
Sam Ling, the next SUSU president

The next President of the Southampton University Students’ Union will be applying the research techniques he learned while studying Chemistry in his new job.

Sam Ling, who will graduate in summer 2011, takes over the top job on the first of July. “I’ve got plenty of ideas of what I would like to do during my term in office but, first of all, I’ll be applying basic research principles, talking to people about my plans and finding out whether they think I’m on the right track or not,” he says. It’s thought he’ll be the first Chemistry graduate to become President since city MP John Denham in 1976.

Sam grew up in Dorchester and first visited the University on a work shadowing day. He watched a chemist at work in his laboratory and decided he wanted to follow the same career path. “As I only had one A level, in Chemistry, I enrolled for the Foundation Year at Eastleigh College before starting my degree. I was impressed that Southampton was one of only three universities in the country that offered this option.”

During his degree, Sam combined modules in Chemistry with options in other subjects; he took French and also chose to study some Biology and Physics.
“Organic Chemistry was my favourite, it’s really all about problem solving, like a crossword or a Sudoku puzzle.

“I’m proud of studying Chemistry at Southampton and was delighted to see we came top of the latest Guardian table for the subject, beating Oxford and other leading universities.”

Sam first got involved with the Union by going to events and using its facilities but his passion for music prompted him to get in touch with the Live Music Society. He was elected President at its AGM and started to get to know how the systems worked. In the second year of his degree, Sam was elected Societies Officer and became one of the Union’s Trustees.

“When I stood for election as President, I never dreamed I’d win,” he admits. “I’m looking forward to taking over but know it’s a big job. After all, the sabbatical officers are in charge of a business with a £7million turnover. But I’m going to apply sound scientific principles and research what I intend to do.”

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