February Aldwych – Belfast

So, over the next few days your President and VP Welfare & Communities will be paying a visit to Queen Mary’s Students Union – Belfast, to attend the an Aldwych meeting.

The Aldwych Group are the students’ unions of the Russel Group, and a involves a committee who arrange 6 meetings per year to share best practice and discuss issues that may be common to our institutions.

Over the coming days I’ll be updating this blog with how we get on, what we learn, and anything else interesting along the way. I’ll also tweet when I get the chance with the hashtag #Aldwych

09.59 - David Gilani

Value – part 4

When you first arrive in Southampton, we hold a big Welcome Party for you. I’m happy to announce that the headline for these events will be none other than Radio 1’s Chris Stark!

Chris comes from Southampton, and is a veteran at welcoming new students to this amazing University. He’s also become pretty infamous for his interview technique this year… with Mila Kunis and Jennifer Aniston

09.49 - David Gilani

Inclusiveness – part 2

What if you just don’t want to go out that much? Maybe you’re travelling from far away, so want to get home early some nights? Maybe you only want to come to the Freshers’ Ball? Well who are we to tell you that you can’t!?

We’re making sure that there are tickets on sale for a number of events even once we’ve sold the Master Pass. Including the Freshers’ Ball. These tickets will have limited availability, so you’ll have to be quick, but they’re here for you. These tickets will go on sale on Monday 16th September.

We’re also setting up systems so that students who haven’t bought anything can still come along to events to Freshers’ Week and buy tickets on the door, if we’re not over capacity. Priority will obviously be given to those who have bought the Master Pass – so this is a little risky – but with so many events on, you’ll find something to do.

09.21 - David Gilani


freshers ball preevent

Value – part 3

So… the Freshers’ Ball is going to be an amazing end to your first 2 weeks here at University, and usually it’d be enough… but to make sure that your Master Pass is REALLY worth the value… we’re putting on a-whole-nother event just to warm you up for the Freshers’ Ball.

Introducing the Freshers’ Ball Official Pre-Party with Kissy Sell Out. This event will only be included for the first 1,000 people to buy the Master Pass – so get on it quickly.

Your students’ union isn’t here to make profit – it’s here to represent you… and any money that we do make from our events goes back into funding your student activities. To read more about it – check out some info on the subject here

20.02 - David Gilani

Inclusiveness – part 1

With 2 whole weeks of events for people of all wants and needs, the £95 Master Pass is great value, but it is a lot of money for people to spend in one go. SUSU is your Students’ Union and we care about being inclusive.

Our first announcement about making our events package more inclusive is that we’re setting up a split payment system. This means that you can contribute £55 on Friday when the Master Pass goes on sale, and then don’t have to pay the remaining amount until next month. You’ll have to make sure that you make the second payment deadline, but it should mean that you have a little bit more time to get together the finances. Please read up on all the info on the Events at SUSU page.

17.30 - David Gilani

big night out

Value – part 2

So… a free t-shirt and entry into a total of 12 venues across just one night! This’ll be another massive night, but we’re making sure that students are safe by putting on a bus service to get you home safely whenever you want to head home. You even get to choose which venue you end up in, so that you and your friends can customise your own night. Check out the post on Events Page for all the details.

17.07 - David Gilani


Value – part 1

The Master Pass includes entry into SUB:MISSION. Zane Lowe, Redlight, Zinc, Monki in a massive Freshers’ Rave! Check the Events at SUSU Facebook Page for more details.

The RRP of this giant party would usually be £20, but it’s free for those with a Master Pass.



11.20 - Societies Committee

Azerbaijan Society want to increase the awareness of the country and get more people involved in the culture of the country!

11.17 - Societies Committee

Next up – affiliation pitch from Azerbaijan Society!

11.16 - Societies Committee

Mentioning of a meeting yesterday that was organised by Jade, Jamie and Sasha for departmental socs and academic presidents to network. Really positive feedback about it- blog coming soon

11.12 - Societies Committee

Societies Officer Jade Head here- the meeting has now begun. The last EVER societies committee 🙁

11.06 - Societies Committee

The meeting started now

12.40 - Sam

Toni Pearce has won the national presidency. She’s the current VP Further Education and deputy president. Her focus is on a holistic approach to further and higher education, sometimes referred to as tertiary education.

12.32 - David Gilani

So, Toni Pearce has been elected the first NUS President from Further Education, however… you really should have a watch of the speech from this Presidential Candidate.

Those who followed the SUSU Elections in February might remember the joke candidates that ran for SUSU President. Michelle Dando?

Here is the NUS election counterpart of that – the Inanimate carbon rod

12.05 - Sam

This morning we saw some interesting discussions on international fees, postgrad fees, and support for graduate medical student finacial support.

Also had the chance to see sone passionate speeches for president.

11.57 - Sam

Sorry about the lack of posts yesterday, poor WiFi and password issues. Password now sorted

20.40 - David Gilani

it’s quite interesting how much of the discussion in some of the policy debates is about the support of further education institutions, and bringing their profile up to the level of Higher Institutions.

20.31 - David Gilani

Oh my! so this is pretty cool. The conference ha whole session for statements that any delegate can make. They get a minute to speak about anything as long as at least 100 delegates think that it sounds interesting.

14.14 - David Gilani

I’m in heaven at the moment. “this is like a 3 day long Union Council”

02.13 - David Gilani

I’m also going to be using this conference as a chance to compare it to #NaSTA40 (the conference of student television stations) and #SRAcon (the student radio association conference), which I traveled to with SUSUtv and Surge earlier this week.

Will the NUS conference be able to stand up to the best in student media? We’ll find out here…

02.12 - Sam

First video – quick update from Dave half way:


02.01 - Sam

4hrs, 1 tank of petrol, over 100 songs, 200+ miles and we’ve arrived in Sheffield.

01.59 - Sam

4hrs, 1 tank of petrol, over 100 songs, 200+ miles and we’ve arrived in Sheffield.

12.46 - Societies Committee

A discussion of the new ECSS Constitution – a few problems, but they’re all relatively fine. Committee passes the new Constitution!

Right, Marcus out – I’ve got to leave I’m afraid, so I’ll hand over to Shane – thanks everyone!

12.44 - Societies Committee

Next up – a discussion of the number of societies we have who’ve fallen below the required 25 members, which is another condition of affiliation.

We’ve agreed to circulate the relevant lists to the relevant people to ascertain whether these Societies are struggling, disbanded, or fine – obviously we don’t want to have affiliated societies who don’t exist, but would like to support them if possible 🙂

12.39 - Societies Committee

The Committee votes unanimously to affiliate them – 202!

12.39 - Societies Committee

A few questions on the relationship between this proposed Society and the Chinese Society – they plan to work together, which is great news!

12.35 - Societies Committee

A good presentation of the history of the Society – it’s been a tough few years for them, during which they opted out of affiliation, but they’re back on their feet and want to be part of us again!

12.32 - Societies Committee

Taiwanese Society are here at last – we’ll consider their affiliation now 🙂

12.30 - Societies Committee

To take away from this, our society funding procedures are continually developing – we’re working hard to create a more solid set of policies and rules that work well for all parties, but these things do take time! Keep track of the Committee on the minutes site to watch what happens with this 🙂

12.12 - Societies Committee

Next up: a sensitive question of funding – I’m afraid my lips are sealed on this one!

12.10 - Societies Committee

We’ve just been joined by Edge Editor and VP Democracy and Creative Industries Elect, David Martin! Good to see him sitting in, welcome!

12.09 - Societies Committee

Next up: Taiwanese Society!


There’s a few problems with their affiliation pack, nor have they turned up 🙁 That’s unfortunate!

12.07 - Societies Committee

Committee votes: many members vote not to affiliate, with a few abstentions.


We like the idea, but we’d love for there to be a clearer set of aims and a better plan.

12.06 - Societies Committee

Time for our deliberation: We love the idea, but they may need to come back with some more refined ideas. There is a question from Shane of whether they meet our criteria of having a ‘genuinely serious’ set of aims. Remember, we work with the Constitution’s Standing Order (now Rule) 10 which sets out conditions under which we may affiliate groups, and we have to abide by these.

If you’re interested, the conditions are here.

12.02 - Societies Committee

A short discussion about the name being perhaps a little ill-suited… They may reconsider and bring this back to the Committee, if affiliated.

Question: What sort of events would you actually right to run, say for Freshers?


Answer: Initial speed-dating sessions, and then move on to ‘different’ events.


The Committee notes that this has moved towards a generically social society, and there may be a lack of a specific aim. It may just turn into socials for single people…?

12.00 - Societies Committee

Interesting that they’re playing on the word ‘Network’ – maybe get some Careers Destinations people in to form professional, as well as social, connections!

11.59 - Societies Committee

Question: Your affiliation pack doesn’t detail 25 members – do you have membership and the demand for this society in the longer-term?


Answer: Yes, we’ve got the 25 (which is currently being e-mailed to the Committee), and we do believe we’ve got the demand too – lots of people responded well to the Take Me Out event, so we’d hope to build on this 🙂

11.57 - Societies Committee

And now for NetworkSoc’s pitch: We’d like to create a dating society, with speed dating and talks on body language, etc. Even a mention for our GeogSoc President and Departmental Socs rep, Jamie Hemingway’s, very successful Take Me Out event!

11.57 - Hannah

Things like speed dating, body language sessions, and take me out! etc…

11.56 - Hannah

up now NETWORK SOCIETY, think but a society.

11.55 - Societies Committee

Next up: Network Society! Not as dull as it may sound, it’s essentially a dating society 😛

11.54 - Hannah

This seems like a good Society to work with SoCo Music Project.

11.54 - Societies Committee

Committee deliberates: What about crossover with other Music, Arts, and Media societies like DJSoc, etc. Committee are sure this won’t be an issue.

In terms of space, though SUSU can’t support them with a whole studio at present, we can find them alternatives.


We vote unanimously to affiliate them! 

11.53 - Hannah

Q: What will you spend your membership money on?

A: Want to keep membership as low as possible and purchase kit!

11.51 - Societies Committee

Question: Would you mind being called ‘University of Southampton…’, not ‘Southampton University…’, given the University’s ‘pickiness’ over its brand identity?

Answer: Not at all.

11.51 - Societies Committee

Question: How essential is equipment and resources to your long-term development, given that you’ve already tried to affiliate once but been rejected on concerns about these?

Answers: So long as we’ve got a strong community, that ought to be enough to begin with; but yes, with fundraising and potential funding applications, we would look to acquire resources to develop our membership.

11.49 - Societies Committee

Question from Shane: You’re a final-year student. How can you ensure that this society will survive after you graduate?

Answer: I’m trying to create a long-term ‘package’ that I can hand over to the next Committee.

11.48 - Societies Committee

Question: What sort of resources would you need? A studio space, or software?

Answer: A bit of both. Software would be invaluable, but a space with the right equipment would also be very useful.

11.46 - Societies Committee

A good pitch on building a community of people in what is at the moment an underdeveloped area of activities.

11.45 - Hannah

Music Production Society is about making music not appreciating music.

11.44 - Hannah

James Chalk in here to talk to us about Music Production Society.

11.43 - Societies Committee

A quick refresh from last year: we’ve had an application from last year to affiliate Music Production, as you can see in the minutes from 16th March 2012, and we actioned them to come back with a sustainable plan for a studio space. Stay tuned to see if this has happened!

11.40 - Societies Committee

A quick break before we go onto our next Society – Music Production!

11.39 - Societies Committee

So, the Committee deliberates: there’s some discussion about quite what SUSU can do, given this is one of our Student Communities that will be supported by a new Zone next year.

Committee votes unanimously to affiliate: we now have 200 societies! Hurray 😀

11.36 - Societies Committee

Second question on how many mature students the University has – it’s certainly a large number, unfortunately we don’t have precise figures to hand!

EDIT: Ooh, Shane is busy searching and will report back!

11.35 - Societies Committee

They’re happy to have anyone in the society – they’re now listing their potential activities, including a cheese and wine night! Can we come along…?

11.35 - Hannah

q1. Have you thought of any events?

A1. Cheese and wine evenings, also perhaps restaurants, another idea is to do some talks.

11.34 - Societies Committee

A good pitch from the Mature Students Society – a question on quite how you define a ‘mature student’, particularly pertinent when you consider that we cannot affiliate a society which isn’t open to all SUSU members!

11.34 - Hannah

Michelle here who wants to set up a Mature students society, she feels that there is a gap, and don’t fit in with PG students as they are UG.

Plans to put on events and create a network for Mature Students. They would also like to get involved with community project and do some fundraising, one other thing they want to do is work in collaboration with other societies.

11.33 - Societies Committee

Just noticed that some kind soul has written ‘Welcome to Societies Committee’ on the whiteboard in this room – how considerate!

Societies Committee noticeboard

11.31 - Hannah

Mature Students Society representative has just arrived.

11.31 - Societies Committee

Our next society, Mature Students Society, isn’t quite here yet – we’ll have a quick break and be back soon!

Where are the tea and biscuits we had at the last meeting, Shane? 😛

11.30 - Hannah

11.30 - Hannah

Vote to affiliate. Unanimous decision to affilate Marine Conservation Society.

We are now at 199.

11.29 - Societies Committee

Okay, deliberation time: marine conservation so specialist there wouldn’t be any crossover with our other conservation societies. A few further concerns for their risk assessment, but we can work through these 🙂

11.28 - Hannah

A couple of good questions from James Dargan (Medsoc President).

11.27 - Societies Committee

And of course, on a related note to Question 3, sponsorship and University funding might be an avenue they’d like to explore.

11.27 - Hannah

If your following check out our 2nd place jazz dance squad from the weekend:

11.26 - Societies Committee

Question 3: On a funding perspective, the membership fee they’ve entered on their affiliation pack might not cover all expenses – would they also want access to much SUSU funding?


A: Possibly, but their outlay should be fairly minimal, and they’d be happy to contribute with fundraisers etc.

11.25 - Hannah

Becoming a SUSU society will help them reach more people than just NOC, for example at the bunfight.

11.24 - Hannah

q2. What kind of support do you guys want from SUSU?

A2. Minibus booking is a key one for trips. An official email also (classic address).

11.23 - Hannah

This is not just for NOC students which sounds cool.

Q1. You not only like doing beach/surfing. Can you give us a bit more info about how you do marine survey?

A. Work with Dive Society to arrange the diving, with regards to the survey risk assessment they seem to know about it.

11.21 - Societies Committee

They’re all about engaging students, and creating a community for people who have a passion for marine conservation – all sounds very interesting

11.19 - Societies Committee

Their pitch highlights the need for SUSU’s support across sites – let’s hope they can form part of this furthering 🙂

11.18 - Hannah

Both NOC students, good to see students at sites keen to set up a society.

11.18 - Societies Committee

Marine Conservation Society up next – their President and VP making their pitch to us.

11.17 - Societies Committee

It’s Marcus again, Shane and I have changed over accounts – a great start to the meeting, 198 Societies now!

11.16 - Hannah

Committee votes unanimously for affiliation 🙂

11.15 - Hannah

A pitch from Fashion and Style: they’re all set up as a Society with a functioning Committee, and want to help run events and trips to fashion shows to help foster careers in the Fashion industry!

11.14 - Hannah

So, first up: Fashion and Style Society! First, they make their pitch to us; then, the representatives leave the room; we go through their affiliation pack and what they’ve said, and make our decision; then we call them back and let them know our decision!

We’re currently on 197 Societies, and hopefully at this meeting we’ll break through the 200 barrier, which would be a great milestone for SUSU 🙂

11.12 - Hannah

Good to see our Reps have been busy, despite a busy few weeks with Elections etc., and of course we’ve all still got degrees to be getting on with!

11.10 - Hannah

First off, going through the minutes of the last meeting. It’s important that we keep track of what all the Committee members were meant to do, and this is a key part of this 🙂

11.09 - Hannah

Good meeting lined up today: affiliations and some other fun business!

Good thing is we’ve hit Quorum, which means this Committee can act properly without having its actions ratified later – so we can affiliate Societies!

11.08 - Hannah

Welcome to Societies Committe everyone! This is Marcus here, your Union Council rep to the Committee, live-blogging for Shane 🙂

11.04 - Hannah

And finally jazz squad:

00.06 - Hannah

Bit Late on but….Tap Squads Dance

15.12 - Hannah

Unfortunately we didn’t place with either squad on the second day, although Roo did smash one of the dance offs (see below).

The competition across the two days was fierce with over 20 uni’s taking part. I know that myself and josh are extremely proud of all of our squads and I’m sure the rest of southampton is too. To come home with three trophies is fantastic, and to place higher than last year is even better!

Well done gang!

Shane & Josh x

16.55 - Hannah

Streets performance…

16.44 - Hannah

Street squad just performed… absolutely nailed it!

11.36 - Hannah

Check out contemporary squads performance:

11.20 - Hannah

Contemporary category is tough, some cracking dances from all competitors.

11.06 - Hannah

We are back online, with a new battery! Day two of the comp is hotting up with advanced contemporary on now.

Don’t forget to tune into 

00.15 - Hannah

After results Magic Mills wows us with his awesome skills!

23.36 - Hannah

Winning Photos!
IMG_0782 IMG_0779 IMG_0773

21.53 - Hannah

Day 1 Results:

Ballet Squad (Advanced Ballet)- 1st Place!
Tap Squad (Advanced Tap)-  3rd Place!
Jazz Squad (Advanced Jazz) – 2nd Place!

Fantastic results! Already better than last year, with two more categories left to dance tomorrow!

15.11 - Hannah

Jazz squads are up now, on stage its the novice squads (we don’t have one), but our advanced guys are warming up/getting their fierce on atm…

14.22 - Hannah

We are watching the wildcards atm they are amazing, make sure you tune into lsutv

13.17 - Hannah

Arrived at lufbra safe and sound, so far we’ve had our Ballet and Tap squads smash it on the competition floor. The atmosphere is electric.

12.39 - Hannah

It’s all kicking off but we are still on our way.

Ballet alumni Dan asleep in the car… Apparently girls aloud last night was tiring.


11.40 - Hannah

Check out ballets performance here:

11.09 - Hannah

Ballet russianing it up… our new Russian Society would love it!



11.06 - Hannah

First up… Ballet.

10.40 - Hannah

I’ve broken into the food bag and had the first doughnut. Bring on a day of snacking. #dancermumproblems – Josh x

10.25 - Hannah

Well on our way to Loughborough after some initial car trouble.

09.46 - Hannah

Dan Bradley, ex-ballet Alumni, is also with us to support the squads

09.00 - Hannah

The whole competition is being streamed live online here:

08.35 - Hannah

Its 8.30, admittedly I’ve (shane) woken up a bit late and just having breakfast before driving up to lufbra. Meanwhile the dancers have been awake since 6.30am and ballet are up first on the schedule starting at around 9am.

15.47 - Chloe

After a lovely evening in Queen Mary’s SU (their DJ was incredible – The Smiths followed by Gloria Gaynor!) on the Friday night, Saturday morning was all about mental health in Russell Group institutions.

I started the session by explaining why mental health was a big deal and why more prominence on the topic was needed. I showed them the statistics from a recent NUS Scotland survey, a SUSU counselling survey, and an audit of mental health provision at Russell Group institutions. The latter was to highlight the disparity between our institutions in terms of their commitment to the issue.

We then discussed why mental health may be different for Russell Groups and lots of ideas came up. Of course, there’s no research done on this as of yet so it’s all speculation and anecdote. Ideas included: how there may be huge academic pressure on students at this type of research-intensive institute; how 9K fees may make students feel more stress in terms of academic excellence or career prospects and the stakes being higher; how many students who attend Russell Group universities are international, and those students tend to be less supported than UK students.

We moved on to a smaller break-out session to do with what our Students’ Unions did to campaign for MH, and what our institutions had in the pipelines. We fed back to the group at large and one of the most interesting things was that some of the sabbaticals there simply didn’t know what mental health provision their universities provided. They described this as an illuminating session, and pledged to go back to find out more in order to publicise the services more among their students.

Lots of great ideas were shared and I was furiously taking notes and being inspired! Many universities also struggle to offer enough provision, so I was at least relieved to know that it wasn’t just Southampton. This really proved to me how big of a problem this is though, nationwide.

After sharing experience, I asked everyone to shout out a “blue-sky thinking” statement: if your SU/university had all the money, time and resource necessary, what would mental health look like on your campus? I got loads of ideas: ‘Every student would be aware of how to support their peers with mental health issues’, ‘Academic tutors could provide pastoral care and signpost services easily and confidently’, ‘Every society and sports team would have at least 2 committee members trained in suicide prevention and intervention’… the ideas were endless!

I’ll be writing these findings into a report to take to senior university management: while it may be ambitious, I think with this nation-wide solidarity, we have a chance to make long-term change in Southampton.


15.27 - Chloe

Hello all!

So I realise this isn’t ‘live’ as such – I’m very sorry about that, my phone wasn’t allowing me to log into the blog for some reason! Very frustrating!

I shall update you on what happened now…



00.00 - Sam

Close of Aldwych day 2 (end of the two day meeting), representatives from the other unions


22.22 - Sam

Personal Tutors

Our final discussion was a chance to share what each other was doing with personal tutor systems, there were a range of models, but few had all aspects sorted. A key comment was that in order to be successful it needs to be well organised, incentivised, and well managed, in an effort to professionalise the experience.

At this point its time to sleep, but I’ll post another update tomorrow.

19.00 - Sam


17.00 - Sam

Session 3 – Employability on Trial
Prof Tony Gallagher PVC Academic Planning, Staffing, and External Relations
Aidan Hugh’s VP Community

In this session we explored what a University (and also its Union) should be doing for employability. We looked at some examples of great schemes run by the SU which support students in exploring their more enterprising side.

The question “is a degree enough anymore” was asked, the the reality appears to be a no, but there are plenty of valuable opportunities to gain a. Range of skills.

It was also asked if Uni’s should provide “employability skills” to which the reply was, what really are they. It was suggests that the term itself may not be fit for purpose, but the real challenge is articulating what is learnt and developed.

16.00 - Sam

Session 2 – Adrianne Peltz – President NUS-UCI

This session provided a briefing of the impact of government policies on the devolved nations. This gave a context for then impact of the fee changes both students from, and studying in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

15.00 - Sam

Session 1 – “Putting the Spark back into education”
Prof Ellen Douglas-Cowie PVC Education & Students
Nuala McAdams VP Education

This session involved an in depth discussion around the topics of A-Level reform, MOOCs, the role of employers

Thought were given around the changes taking place in further education around the movement back to a less modular A-Level system. For me this change will be a regressive one. The idea to looking into how compartmentalised our learning is, and how that could be I,proved is a good one, but the proposal taking place is just a step back. A thought was also given to the role of the Russel group in shaping A-Level curriculum design, and the thought that they are only one of the main stakeholders, and that Uni is not the only route.

MOOCs, or massively open courses, were talked about, and it was asked if we are seeing the death of the traditional lecture. They were seen as an exciting opportunity, but also a risk. If they were used just to replace normal lectures, reducing contact time, then higher education will have missed a huge opportunity. They are providing the opportunity for a truly revolutionary change in how we deliver our courses, with the focus being on building a vibrant academic community.

The role of the University in linking with both schools and employers was also considered. Thinking about how Universities need to strike the balance between scholarship, and training.

12.15 - Sam


After a long trip the day started with a tour of the SU. Queens is an impressive Students’ Union with great facilities. Around 4 years ago they were fortunate to benefit from £10,000,000 worth of investment and have delivered a great space at the heart of campus.

Like SUSU they’re able to provide a shop, cafe, media resources, and meeting spaces. However they’ve also got some great feature, like an enterprise space (called the hatch) and a lettings agency.

Favourite Quirk – the President having a throne in his office!

11.12 - Sam

Early start this morning. We set off at 5:15 in the morning and have now arrived.

So far we’ve met up with officers from Exeter, Bristol, York, Manchester, Cambridge, Leeds, Sheffield, LSE, and there are more to follow.

The first session is just after 1 where we’re getting s talk from a guest speaker.

19.01 - David Gilani

Thanks everyone for your questions and taking part. If you’re interesting on giving your thoughts on how SUSU can be more politically accessible, then join our group for accountability and transparency on Facebook.

Based on the positive feedback that we’ve had so far, it looks like this is something we’re going to try out again in the future – so thanks to all who were involved.

18.24 - David Gilani

simon - standing committee review

Why hello there, Simon – cheers for the question.

Well, pedantically speaking, all students at the University of Southampton are part of SUSU – so in that sense, everyone involved and everyone it will affect are ‘SUSU people’ – but I’m guessing you mean people who are less involved with the Union? I’m not exactly sure how you’d define that, so I’ll briefly go over what the process was, and you can judge for yourself. Apologies for a long paragraph approaching…

When we started over the Summer, we decided to organise a starting session to review where are standing committees are at the moment. For this we invited anyone who had chaired a standing committee in the past. From this we produced an open document about the benefits and negatives of our current system. The second session we did was open, which I publicised with a blog here on the website. I wanted anyone to feel that they could come along if they wanted to. From this we started bringing together a model for what our structure should take. Over the next month I then put together a proposal to Union Council. Before I took it to Union Council though, I invited councillors along to an open session (again publicised to anyone through a blog) so that they could come and share their thoughts on the proposal and add their amendments. It worked, as we got 5 amendments submitted to council, which they then voted on. The policy was then approved by council and was actioned to go to Constitution Committee to write up in detail. We presented this at the last Constitution Committee and the committee voted to send it on to Union Council to get approval on the final changes.

I don’t believe that every student should be involved in procedural changes like this – simply because I don’t think every student cares about procedural changes like this… but I did want to make sure any student who wanted to… could come – and that’s what I did. Cheers for the Q.

18.20 - Dean

joseph busHi Joseph, thanks for your questions. We have moved to a new hiring system this year that has seen more groups than before able to use the minibuses  for example by discouraging groups from hiring a bus for the whole day or even weekend and only driving a short distance and leaving the bus unusable by others in between. Which club are you from? If you have any specific suggestions I will be happy to pass them on.

On your second question I want to make it perfectly clear that SUSU is not profiting, and nor do we intend to profit from clubs through minibus hire. In past years we have made a large loss on the buses which was not sustainable, and we faced solutions of either increasing prices or by reducing numbers of buses. Because they are used so much we did not want to lose any buses, and the aim is only to make it a break even service.

We understand though that certain clubs are particularly affected by the changes and we are looking to grant additional funds in the next round of grant payments to address this


18.13 - David Gilani

rowland - engagement

Hey Rowland – massive question. My key belief from the start of my time as a Sabbatical is that we should help people to vote and get engaged in the things they care about, but not expect people to care about everything. If you do something in SUSU, whether it be using the shop, a society, a club, a media department, Union Films, whatever – then there is something in SUSU politics that you can get involved in because SUSU is completely student run.

SUSU should be focusing its elections marketing and its engagement strategies into making sure that ALL the people that care about sports clubs know how they can run or vote in the elections for the AU officer; so that all the people that care about RAG know how to run or vote for the RAG position.

Once we help students realise that voting can just be about the things you care about – then we won’t need to do separate engagement strategies, we’ll just need to focus on getting people involved in the first place, which we’re awesome at! Students at Southampton are incredibly engaged!

Also, although it’s a separate point – we’re pretty good at voting turnout at the moment. The recent turnout for the NUS referendu, (4891) was the highest day turnout in any Students Union in the last decade! As I said, Southampton students are incredibly engaged when they want to be.

18.04 - David Gilani

Michael - manifesto

Oh hey, Michael. Cheers for your question, and your vote.

I can say quite honestly that I… have… not… fulfilled my manifesto. But that’s cause we’re only 1/2 way through the year.

At each Union Council, I evaluate how much of my plans for the year I’ve completed. You can read my report for December and my report for October here. Although it’s a rough estimate, at the December council (42% through the year), I’d completed 53% of my plans… which means by the end of the year, you should have your complete manifesto! The reports also detail my work so far, but the best way to catch up is to read this blog about my 6 months so far. Cheers

17.58 - David Gilani

lydia - rescheduled

Haha oh dear! That could never happen *touch wood*! I’m guessing that you’ve still got an exam coming up, in which case best of luck.

The most important thing for me when we were discussing the exam rescheduling over the last few days was choice. No matter when exams are rescheduled for, in this short a timeframe, some students won’t be able to attend. Therefore the important thing is that the University sorts out its special considerations procedures, so that students who can’t attend get a second chance. Again, best of luck, Lydia.

17.57 - Chloe


Hiya Oli. The ideas under the Equality and Diversity part of my manifesto were ideas based on what I’d done during my year in that role. Of course, I could never do those things single handedly now that I’m VP W+C, and have relied upon this year’s Equality and Diversity Officer, Amanda, for direction and support. It is the E+D Forum and Amanda who chose which elements to take forwards and which not to, so unfortunately Men’s Day was not chosen to take forwards this year, with priority lying elsewhere. If you feel passionately about it, come sit on the Forum!

17.56 - Dean

kate varsity

Hi Kate, with events of this scale possible dates are few and far between due to facility availability and previous year’s dates have all clashed with various events for either us or Portsmouth. We understand that the date is not great for everyone, and are currently gathering feedback from clubs about how much of an impact it will have on them, but we are determined to ensure that all of our clubs competing are able to field their best teams, and will do what we need to in order to make this happen e.g. through altering the fixture list or through playing some fixtures on alternative dates (something that we do every year anyway).

17.51 - Chloe

Alex Green

Hello fellow Green 🙂 1) Simple answer, no. Until 100% of our members are engaged, it’s not enough. 2) There’s no simple solution I’m afraid. We have to reach out to meet the needs of all kinds of people. We need to be adaptable and diverse. From speaking to other sabbs around the country, this is something that absolutely everyone struggles with. We’re certainly getting better at it though – just look at The Bridge. On any given day, there could be LGBT lunch, Post Grad Cake and Coffee, comedy nights, open mic night,  students revising, Quiz and Curry, chip butties… We’re trying our best to engage as many people as possible (chip butties for the win) and we’re getting there slowly. If you have any ideas, I’m sure we’d all love to hear them!


17.49 - David Gilani

Tom - best and worst

Hey Tom – I love this question!

My worst moment was probably near the start of the referendum, once we’ve published the rules. I looked online and saw some of the other Sabbaticals getting slated for something I’d done, essentially. It wasn’t me personally, it was the whole referendum working group… but we’d decided that Sabbaticals should be allowed to campaign, and then my friends had some, quite frankly, vile abuse thrown at them for doing something that the rules had said were okay. I really started to doubt myself during that period.

My best moment was either when I heard how many students had voted in the referendum OR when I went home one evening in September – I was beyond knackered from all the SUSU Media training and planning for Freshers – and just wondered what was the point? I don’t know why, but I got out my Sabbatical plan and started writing my council report. I stayed up until 4am, and then realised that you can actually make a difference being a Sabb. I looked at all the things I’d been able to do in just a few months for students and I suddenly remembered why I’d fought so hard for this job in the first place.

Cheers for the Q, Tom.

17.41 - Chloe

Alice North

Hello Alice – I’m going to do three in one here! The most important aspect of welfare… Hmm, that’s impossible to answer! My welfare-based goals this year have been around housing and mental health, so for me, those are the biggies. However, this will change year on year, depending on what affects students the most. It’s a very reactive role!

PG welfare is certainly not less important than UG – what a question! They are often harder to reach and often a little more independent than UG students, but other than that, their needs are just as critical. That’s why we have two PG Student Leaders (Alex and Sam) whose job it is to ensure the welfare of this group. If you have any ideas/suggestions for them, contact them on (Sam) or (Alex).

And finally – like I said earlier to Fiona, I’m very keen to get my career in human rights started, plus I want to do an MA. This year has been absolutely incredible and I’ve learnt so much. I’ll be sad to leave, for sure!

17.40 - David Gilani

lucy - process

Hello Lucy, we meet again. I thought I’d give you a second answer considering your first question was quite a short one.

I suppose it varies really – and this is quite useful info for any student who’s thinking about running for a Sabbatical or Student Leader position. Not every decision you make has to go through Union Council. When you’re elected, people are saying (when they vote) that they want you be a leader. With that mandate there is a certain degree of trust.

For issues that aren’t highly political, like me setting up a national support body for student journalists, I didn’t have to take it through council because I trusted it’s the kind of thing that students want me to do as a Sabbatical in charge of media. However, when stuff is slightly more political – it’s often useful to take it to council (i.e. Union Council) because it gives you a chance to explain your process and help people understand. I don’t think the Standing Committee structure of SUSU would be anywhere near as successful next year when it is implemented if students hadn’t had as many chances to input on it as they did. It helps them feel a part of it and that’s why council is very useful. You have to see it as part of a process – and sometimes… it’s not needed.

Hope that answers your question – in short… it’s a good thing.

17.40 - Dean


Hi surf club thanks for your questions, on the only one person at a time being allowed to request a bus. I was aware that this had been a problem, but was under the assumption that it had been fixed. I’ll chase this one up with our facilities team tomorrow though.

With regard to the pricing structure we want the document that goes out to groups to cover all aspects of pricing and terms and conditions of hiring them e.g. what exactly constitutes a ‘weekend’ and what happens with no shows, and I don’t think that we have everything quite tied down yet. I will check with our facilities team tomorrow as to how close we are with it.


17.33 - Chloe


Hey Andrea. I guess that’s the problem: at the moment SUSU does not represent all of our members equally. We have a dearth of women, people of colour, LGBT students… I could go on. Running workshops specifically targeting drastically under-represented groups puts out a really strong message, that we seek to regain the balance in the organisation. The women’s workshop was a pilot (and a very successful one at that) which we hope to replicate in future years with other marginalised groups.

17.32 - David Gilani

luke referendum

Hey Luke, I was wondering when this question was gonna come up. I’ve chatted to Dean about this and here are our thoughts – I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you’re not going to get the answer that you’re looking for.

The 4 of us who were involved in the referendum working group discussed this topic the other day and agreed that we could each choose whether we now wanted to reveal how we voted, with some of stating that we would state if asked, and some saying we wouldn’t.

I personally believe that considering my involvement in the referendum, I shouldn’t cloud peoples’ judgement on the process we went through by stating how I voted – Dean feels the same. I don’t know when I will change my mind about this – maybe after the official report has been published by the returning officer / maybe once it stops being a hot topic in SUSU politics – but not now. The point of us not saying how we voted during the process, is so that people don’t confuse our personal opinions with how we ran such a big project – I still think that this risk is present.

Such a politicians answer – so apologies, Luke.

17.28 - Chloe

Alex Bees

Hello Alex. You’re totally right, there are all sorts of protected characteristics that often give people a disadvantage to obtaining leadership positions. This year we’ve decided to focus on women as there is such an obvious hole in our leadership, with only 4 female presidents in 100 odd years. If we run subsequent workshops in future times, I’ll be sure to consider short people, though we may decide that there are more pressing concerns 🙂

17.26 - David Gilani

nick cube

Hey Nick, loads of plans! Not me personally though…

Before Christmas, we sent out a survey to students asking for their thoughts on what they want SUSU Nightlife to provide them. I always believe that listening to students about these things is the only way that the Cube will be able to become popular. In short – the main piece of feedback is that we should do less events and make them bigger!

I’ve been really inspired over the last few days because I’ve seen lots of students saying that they’re going to come to see Wiley this Friday because they want to support their Union! I think making the Cube a place that our students can be proud of is the only way it’s going to be successful – and part of that is helping them realise that everything we do is based around the feedback you give us!

Thanks for the question, Nick! Hopefully I’ll see you at the Cube soon.

17.23 - Dean

jade old sabbs

Hi Jade, good question. I’ve got to admit that it was a fear that I had between elections and taking up post in July, and in the first few weeks when we were settling in and forming relationships with university staff in particular it was a little weird with them already knowing so much and so many people.

Pretty soon I found it completely fine though and we all get on really well. If anything I often forget that they have been here longer than us.

17.23 - Chloe


Hey Fiona! I think sabbs having a second year is totally dependent on the sabb – they may feel like they have more to give, or other ambitions to achieve, while some may feel a year is enough. Personally, I’m really keen to get myself an MA and start building my career, so while I’ll be literally devastated to leave, I feel just one year is enough for me! So much SUSU love 🙂 Also – the women’s workshop may have been a one-off I’m afraid, though I’ll get back to you on that one!

17.20 - David Gilani

lucy univesrsity

Hey Lucy, very interesting. I actually put Warwick as my first choice, but then didn’t pass the maths exam I needed to get in.

I’m sure Warwick would have been lovely, but looking back on it, I am SOO HAPPY that I failed that exam!

17.18 - Chloe

George Crone

Hiya George! This year has been pretty hectic so unfortunately some manifesto points have been sitting on the back-burner for a while. This work would be under the remit of Ethics and Environmental Committee, so I can put it to them though!


17.15 - David Gilani

Alice soton tab

Hey Alice! Classic question for a Communications Sabbatical. I think if you look articles like this and this – you can see that the Soton Tab is a great arm for building community here at Southampton. The only advice I’d give, which is to any student journalists, is that I think you don’t often realise the power you have. When you’re writing articles like this, you have a LOT of influence over students… and have to make sure you take responsibility with that power 🙂

Cheers for the question!

17.11 - Dean

alex spiorts hallHi Alex, thanks for the question. I requested an update from sport and wellbeing today, and have been told that the consultants have submitted a report to the University senior management for consideration. The current prediction is that the hall will not be back in use before the end of the academic year, but I will make sure that clubs are informed if the situation changes.

17.07 - David Gilani

Hello everyone,

And welcome to the #askSUSUsabbs LIVE BLOG

We start with some sad news – Nicole isn’t able to join us this evening, but has said that she’ll be looking over the questions and shall add some of her answers tomorrow. If you have questions for your VP Winchester & Sites, Nicole, then tweet them anyway – and we’ll make sure she gets them.

Also – if you’re not a twitter fiend, you can add questions here  on Facebook –

10.16 - David Gilani

Good morning, everyone! What a beautiful day for accountability and transparency.

After listening to some of your feedback from the #askSUSUsabbs session yesterday with Sam, Sasha and Shane, we’re going to open up the channels, so that you can also ask questions on Facebook via the SUSU page

We’ll see you at 5pm

18.11 - Hannah

Thanks for all the questions today, its been really fun!

Don’t forget to tweet in tomorrow with anything to ask David, Dean, Chloe and Nicole  just use the HashTag  #askSUSUsabbs


17.57 - Hannah






Got to be bridge for me, love a good bridge meeting!


17.52 - Hannah




We are really lucky in Southampton to have such a diverse range of nightlife for students to enjoy, its definitely one of my favorite aspects of Uni life down south.

Throughout the time that I’ve been at Uni The Cube has fluctuated within its popularity, we’ve had terms when we’ve been sold out all term and terms when not a single student has arrived.

One of the strongest assets but at the same time weakness of the cube is student perception and need. When students have said we want a nightclub that is run for us and listens to our feedback,  we’ve seen a cube that’s busy and full of students that want to make it work. And we’ve seen for Wiley this friday students saying that they are going to come along and support the cube and the students’ union nightclub, its the people that make the party.

I think it’s important to remember that the nightclub is only one aspect of the entertainments programme SUSU offers, looking at Union Films, Quiz & Curry and Karaoke to name a few regular events that students love and are always busy!

17.34 - Hannah


Thanks for the question fiona! For me its the JCR rebrand and the halls tshirts that first years get on arrival, its really nice to give people presents on their first few days saying you live in our halls you belong to our community!

17.33 - Sam

Right, I’m having to head off (picking up son), but I’ll review the twitter feed later to answer any questions I miss.

I’ll leave you in Sasha and Shane’s capable hands.

17.30 - Sam

david master plan

The master plan is a long project, and was one of the reasons I wanted to do 2 years. So far we’ve produced a briefing document which sets our our needs and aspersions when it comes to our facilities.

This includes feedback given by council, conversations with Student Leaders last year, and work with the Union and University.

We have been engaging at a high level with the University to get improvements to social facilities across all sites on the agenda, and over the next few months will be meeting with a range of University departments to help shape the project, and enhance the points of interaction.

Over the coming term I will be running sessions with a range of different student groups and backgrounds in order to build a strong evidence base on what students would want.

By the end of the year I’m looking to have a clearer view for potential funding streams for the project, and to be well on the way to producing the plan.

17.29 - Hannah


For me personally two years is definitely enough! However to answer your question I believe the electorate will pick the person best suited to their needs at the time.

17.24 - Hannah





I can confirm we all wear pants. I’ve just checked!

17.22 - Hannah





Men with beards are just better men…

17.21 - Sam

alice regrets question

I can honestly say no. Its often hard to see the impact you having during your time in the position, but I believe I am having a good impact on students lives, and some of my biggest work is yet to come.

I have always acted in the best interest of students, remained open and honest with my opinion, and importantly have always campaigned for/fought for what I genuinely believe to be in the best interest of the Union and its members, regardless of how “politically popular” I believed it makes me.

Because of this attitude I’m proud of both my successes and failures to enact change because I have never compromised on what I believe to be right.

17.19 - Sasha


Gooood question – SUSU has representation on a whole range of committees within the University, from sports and Halls, to support services and education committees. These positions are taken by Sabbs, Student Leaders, or elected councillors at the 1st Union Council of the new year. On an Education side of things, we have elected positions for University Senate, which have been filled, and the University’s Education & Student Experience group – which is currently being reviewed, so doesn’t necessarily run at the moment.

The University also has a University Programmes Committee, that now has two positions available (having previously been filled automatically by the PGT and PGR Officer, but thought to be useful and easier for people to attend if it was opened up more broadly), which will probably be elected at the next Union Council on 4th Feb – if anyone is interested (anyone can run as it’s a University committee), give me an email on!

17.18 - Hannah


This year has certainly been more eventful than the last! I think of them both as different journeys, last year I had a keen focus on creating support systems for JCR committees and thinking about RAG in a different way, whereas my experience this year has allowed me to work at a more strategic level and develop more long term projects such as the Performing Arts Strategy, Student Groups Project and Union Films DCI bid.

I think its difficult to quantify if i’ve achieved more but it feels like I definitely achieved more last summer than the one prior.

17.12 - Sam

jade - rerunning sabbs





I can honestly say that I wouldn’t. I love this job, and I’m pleased to have done two years as I had plans for two years of work, however any Sabbatical would burn out doing to much more. Its a full on job, and it’d be hard to give it your all for more than 2 years.

17.12 - Hannah





I suppose a tough question as my biggest challenge and biggest policy change this year are separate issues.

For me my biggest challenge has always been the fine balance when granting money to societies, last year this was tough because we had way to little and this year it was tough because we now have lots but still want to keep the standard of projects we are granting high! I’m really happy how year two of Essential, Development, Competition and Tour funding is developing and so far we have granted in excess of £57k to societies.

With regards to policy, i’m most proud of the standing committee review and how it has come from my motion to fruition with the new zone structure for next year coming for final approval to the next council!


17.09 - Sam

andrea - innovations question

We had the meeting last week, and had a great selection of proposals. All were funded to varying degrees and I’ll be blogging within the next week to give you details of whats been decided upon.

However, I’ll give a taster now, we’ll be seeing an enterprise conference, a innovations in catering, a feature film, give it a go Winchester, and something I honestly cant remember…

15.40 - Sam

Already a few questions on twitter for today’s live blog, looking forward to answering between 5&6pm today.

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3 Comments on "February Aldwych – Belfast"

  1. Sam
    01/02/2013 at 12:41 pm Permalink

    Yaaaay, Aldwich. Good luck guys.

  2. Sam
    02/02/2013 at 12:27 am Permalink

    Thanks, its been a good day so far

  3. Sam
    Library worm
    03/02/2013 at 12:50 pm Permalink

    Will you report this in next Union Council ?

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