David Martin

The Final Blog!

Well it certainly doesn’t feel like a year since I started this role! I’ve had a really thrilling year being the DCI this year with so many great experiences along the way. I’d also like to take this time to thank all of the Student Leaders I’ve worked with as well as the many volunteers who have shown such passion to improve SUSU!

Here’s a round-up of what I’ve achieved this year:

Utilise Student Talent

Providing all students with a whole range of opportunities to do what they love.

Created several new additions to the Student Groups Hub to make it the central place for individuals to go

There’s over 40 different ‘How-To Guides’ now online which are constantly being updated to provide student groups with the key information they need to succeed and develop.

FundingCompletely redesigned the way that we do funding for student groups – we created a new, simplified funding system which made the process much easier for you to apply for money.

Allocated £195,000 quicker than in any previous year, helping groups achieve the funds they needed in time for Freshers’ Week activities.

In total £270,000 has been directly funded to all student groups, an increase on the previous year. The budgets for all student groups were increased by £23,000 across all zones in the January budget review.

Writing off over £10,000 of debts for our student groups and helping support all student groups to understand their financial history during handover before it becomes critical.

The Bunfight was the biggest ever and a great success – the route was redesigned with clearer sign in processes, more preparation time for student groups, Performing Arts in The Cube, a smoother route and an Activities Showcase.

We’ve developed much stronger links with The Nuffield Theatre, Turner Sims and John Hansard Gallery. Our input into a University Arts Strategy has been well received and is having major impacts on the progress of the strategy.

Introduced a new affiliations form and have had over 40 new groups affiliate to SUSU, taking the total to 310, which means we are within (at least) the top 5 for number of student groups in the country.

Undergone a Student Groups Review which began in January. This involved redesigning and clarifying the student groups packages, and holding Student Groups Conferences in May which had an extremely large attendance.

Creative Industries Careers Season - textonlyDeveloped a new Creative Industries Training Week encompassing all the groups in the zone, and delivering critical training to help them succeed this year.

Built up the first Creative Industries Careers Season which saw over 200 attendees across various events over a two period. We were able to secure loads of industry experts and this should only grow further in future years.

Providing all of our media groups with funding to go to their national conferences. SUSUtv won their largest ever haul at NaSTAs, Surge won a Student Radio Award in November, and The Edge won Best Design as the Student Publication Association National Conference, their first ever award.

Strengthen Your Facilities

Helping make our Union space the best it can be for our members

I’ve upgraded the creative spaces of many of our groups. New equipment was placed in Media Resources, the Surge studios were physically redeveloped including new equipment, PhotoSoc were transitioned into a new purpose-built space.

I’ve supported Performing Arts with speakers in the Multi-Purpose Studio and a successful bid for new trophy cabinet for dance groups.

surgenewThe Activities Room renovation is currently underway. From the beginning on the year I’ve been working on the whole process including consultation, surveys, supporting the bid and its implementation.

Helped SUSUtv achieve £20,000 worth of new equipment from funding centrally and also from the University which will help them to build on their NaSTAs success this year.

Undergone an extensive storage survey with over 100 student groups filling in details of their current equipment, size and location. This has allowed us to create some definitive data allowing us to go forward and lobby for more space with the University by exposing just how vast the issue is.

Updated an internal audit regarding the space that exists within the Union building and what its usage is to analyse overall trends.

Developed a new keylist system in place that is synchronised with the Online Groups Hub to reduce the hassle for student groups.

Working with the University to improve their offering in many of the spaces that they provide, including spaces in halls.

Supporting David Gilani in the initial Master Plan consultation sessions to help everyone understand the stages and also input their thoughts about what new Union building(s) would look like.

Started research and work into finding documents, photos and imagery to support the ‘SUSU timeline’ which would be created within the tunnel between Building 40 and 42.

We’ve created a new online guide to hire charges and information about our spaces, including some new physical copies of maps of the Union

Promoting Open Democracy

Ensuring every member feels able and involved in making change.

A successful transition and finalisation of the Zones Structure within SUSU. We’ve created relevant by-laws, elected the voluntary officers and ensured zones are the centre of all the operational and strategic work that we have done and the meetings have run smoothly.

There is now a fully functioning Zones page online, detailing the groups, purpose of the zone, its officers and also a place to see ideas and related blogs.

elections eFor Union Council, there is now a dedicated online page giving more details about the meeting and how to get involved in submitting ideas and policies. Work has been done on making it more accessible and we are alternating days throughout the year.

Union Council is now increasingly reflective of our many cohorts of students that study in Southampton, meaning that a wider range of topics are discussed.

Improved the accessibility of our resources by introducing a new minutes page for all our committees as well as an archive of committees that existed under old structures.

Elections results are now accessible within days or even hours of the original announcement and archived online.

More of you than ever are now in our Open Discussion group (over 450 members) making this a simple place to discuss issues and get them resolved quickly which has happened on multiple occasions this year.

We’ve passed over 20 policies this year, ranging from our stance against payday lenders to improving officer transparency

At the same time our Policy Review process has now been fully completed has ensured we have lapsed many of our redundant policies, creating a more relevant Students’ Union.

Over 6,500 votes were cast in the Spring Elections, which is almost a 10% increase on the previous year. Our events were better organised, we had improved publicity, a vote stats page, and many other innovations which made the experience successful.

agm-220We’ve held several elections throughout the academic year ranging from hundreds of course reps, to our new Sabbatical team.

Creating a catalogue of the constitutions that student groups hold and creating a new draft constitution to help them have better governance.

Over 350 people registered proxy votes at the AGM, which is a considerable increase on the previous year. Many policies came in from a wide range of individuals, most of which were passed while others were referred.

A big thank you to everyone that has made this experience so much fun and helped all of this to happen!

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