Do Sabbs Actually Do Anything? – VP Student Communities
I’ve been your VP Student Communities for six months now, although it seems much shorter! It’s been a great journey so far, and I’ve enjoyed working on loads of different and varied projects, including Freshers, the new space at Winchester and fixing International fees to name just a few. This blog should hopefully give you a flavor of what I’ve been doing!
The experience of being a Sabbatical is definitely one that I would recommend; being able to influence such a wide range of areas of responsibility and doing something that you are really passionate about is amazing. You receive support from a wonderful team of staff and volunteers, and you’re given training to make yourself even better! Elections start in only a few weeks, and I definitely recommend running for a position, whether it be for a Union Councillor, Trustee, Student Leader or Sabbatical. You can find out more information about all the roles, and how to run >>>here!<<<
As a Sabbatical Officer my role can be split into a few key areas:
Being a SUSU Trustee
Six of the seven Sabbatical Officers become Trustees of the Union, and I am one of them. To find out more about the Trustee Board, check out David’s blog about it >>>here<<< As well as sitting on the main Trustee Board, I sit on two of it’s Sub Committees, Finance-Sub and Commercial-Sub which feed up into the main one. These each meet once a month, at which we discuss a range of things, including the Union’s budgets, our commercial service and our financial policies.
My Day to Day Work
My day to day role as a Sabbatical for the past six months has been a mix of answering emails, going to meetings, dealing with student issues and queries that have arisen, and working on my projects. Everything that SUSU does has been categorized into Zones. This makes it easier for you to get involved with the things that interest you. Each Zone is headed by a Sabbatical Officer, and we co-ordinate the activity that happens within that area.
The Zone that I look after is the Student Communities Zone, although I also sit on the Sustainability and the Sports Zone Committees. Later on in this blog, there will be lots more information about the sort of things that I have done for my zone. One of the larger bits of work I do, is to look after the budget for the Zone. This means I need to keep track of all the money that we spend on students within the Zone, to make sure that I don’t go over budget. On top of this, all the sabbaticals have just gone through a period of re-budgeting for the remainder of the year.
My Project Work
My project work as a Sabbatical has derived from my Sabbatical Plan, which I presented to Union Council back in the first Council of the year in October. Each time Union Council meets, I present to them a list of what I’ve done, and then explaining what I have done in my plan, and how far through it I am. Currently, I am 54% through it after 6 months, so pretty much bang on target!
Here is what I’ve been up to this year, my personal highlights are in bold:
- Received a full training program on how to be a Sabbatical
- Re-Structured the JCR Halls Committees from 12 positions to 7
- Tested the Wetness of Water
- Gone to the SU13 conference in Manchester
- Worked with the University to ensure that first years living in Halls in Southampton, but study in Winchester get transport provided
- Had a record 139 nominations in the JCR elections, including 9 people for one position
- Started a Welcome program for our new Post Grad students
- Spoken to potential students about SUSU at the University Open Days
- Coordinated a successful JCR Events program for Freshers’ Week
- Written a Student Communities Strategy for the next 3 years
- Ensured that NOC students can submit work at Highfield Campus
- Undertaken an audit of all Halls Common Rooms, and made plans for improvements later this year
- Overseen the completion of the new WSA Cafe space in Winchester
- Attended two Aldwych conferences alongside all the Students Unions in the Russel Group
- Fixed Fees for International Students, so that they will know their total fees when they start their degree
- Created a survey to research how we can improve participation of all our student communities
- Created Community Forums which will help our Site and Post Graduate students engage with SUSU
- Organised the Inspiring Women event in The Bridge with local inspiring women
- Celebrated the volunteers who helped with Freshers Week, by holding the first JCR Awards Evening
- Designed a marketing brief for NOC, SGH and Winchester to better promote SUSU.
- Updated the By-Laws of both the International and JCR Committees
- Launched a Weekly Event program for our Winchester students
- Organised the JCR Christmas Ball, a sell-out in six days, one of the biggest events the JCRs have ever hosted
- Covered for Beckie, and looked after the BEES project whilst she was away
- Blogged about some great E&E and E&D events including, Diwali Cultural Day, Inter Faith Week, Southampton Swap Shop and Halls Waste Wars
- Worked with halls management to provide extra revision space for students living in halls
- Organised a program of Post Grad events for all PG students (to be launched later this month)
- Started research on the student satisfaction at Sites
- Held a Winchester Bunfight alongside our Creative Industry groups
- Started the creation of “SUSU Murals” in the Halls common rooms
- Attended an International Conference in Sheffield
- Worked with Residences to create events during Christmas and New Year for any student remaining in Halls over the Winter Break
I may have missed a few, but hopefully that gives a flavor of the type, and variety of things I get up to!
There are so many more things I have planned this year, and I guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out what they are!
Thanks for reading.