Oli Coles

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:


  1. Being a SUSU Trustee

  2. My Day to Day work as a Sabbatical

  3. All my Project Work



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:


Testing the Wetness of Water



Celebrated volunteers at the JCR Awards Evening

Celebrated volunteers at the JCR Awards Evening




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.


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