Beckie Thomas


31 January 2015 15:00

What Have the Sabbs Done for You? 6 Months In – VP Welfare

Get in Touch!

Twitter: @BeckieVPwelfare    Email:

Click here to see my year in photos!

I’ve created wordles to show you the 2 areas I am responsible for in my role: WELFARESUSTAINABILITY











JULY (A lot of networking)

  • Said goodbye to the old sabb team10527741_769316015240_8188777233743779626_n
  • Spent time networking with University staff, and other student officers at the Student Unions’ 2014 Conference in Bolton.
  • Took part in EcoCampus Audit Interviews; in which the University were awarded EcoCampus Platinum!
  • I carried out research to inform my goals for the year.
  • I featured in a University Sustainability video for the e-learning module
  • We carried out research into student employability support across the sector, both other student Unions and other Universities, to enable me to create a plan.
  • Sabbaticals had a tour of our sites: SGH, NOC and WSA
  • Lobbied Student Services to send out an automatic email response from enabling services, detailing available support services to help students whilst they are waiting for a response.
  • Attended a Westminister Briefing on Mental Wellbeing in Higher Education in London
  • Represented SUSU on stage at Summer Graduation Ceremonies.





AUGUST (2 weeks) (A lot of planning)!10678672_10152770959491614_7026208734453063966_n

  • student leaders
  • Helped University Residences to map the student journey through accommodation to see where improvements need to be made.
  • In August I took part in some training with the sabb team, which was mostly a refresher for me since I went through the full training last year.
  • Planned welfare & sustainability events for Freshers
  • Met with various people to discuss plans for the year ahead including: Sam Bailey(equality & diversity officer). Solent sabbatical officers, the Recovery College, and presidents of the residents associations, SUSU Chief Executive.
  • I took 2 weeks off to interrail through Europe!




SEPTEMBER (A lot more planning)!BxVea7JIMAAsMP7

  • The sabb team presented University open day talks in which we attempt to explain everything SUSU has to offer in under 20 minutes!
  • Worked on some quick improvements to the YourSkills page on the SUSU Website.
  • Attended the SUSU Staff Conference
  • Contributed to stategy sessions on the next Union Plan
  • Presented our ethics and environment project BEES at a city business event called CRUMBS and met the mayor of Winchester.
  • Conference call with the NUS to discuss the future of the BEES programme
  • Spoke at Creative Industries and JCR Inductions, and SUSU Lettings Staff Induction.
  • Set my goals in my Sabbatical Plan
  • Planned marketing and communicating my ideas for the year ahead
  • Freshers Week: Student Survival Day, Welcome Talks, Bun Fight, Freshers’ Fayre, Chill Out Day, Bar 3 Diner Launch.




  • BzJqveRIQAABKnFSabb team media training in radio and TV interviews
  •  Discussed plans for the year ahead with: Emily Shepherd( Nightline Officer), Lydia Butler (Ethics and Environment Officer), Holley Barclay (Wellbeing Officer), Head of Career Destinations
  • Discussions on SUSU values for next Union Plan
  • Voiceover for enabling services cartoon videos
  • Spent a day working at WSA reception
  • Held Make a Difference Day
  • Mapped the student journey on skills reflection with the University to figure out how best to support
  • Created a plan of action for SUSU for the next 2-3 years to improve employability support for students
  • Lobbied Letting Agencies not to rush students into looking for properties before January 26th at the earliest
  • Engaged businesses owners in the BEES project by visiting stores on Portswood high street
  • Represented student views on welfare and sustainability to the international head-hunters for the new Vice Chancellor10646743_769115649815658_7608361141154004791_n
  • My Birthday!!!!
  • BBC Radio Solent interview on SUSU Lettings and the Housing Campaign
  • Discussed welfare considerations with the Library management regarding January 24Hour Library Trial
  • Discussed Ideas with Sheffield Student Unions’ VP Welfare
  • Attended SUSU’s Annual General Meeting




  • Disability Focus Group to gain feedback on accessibility of SUSU facilities and activitiesSUSU Don't Rush A5 flyer front 3mm bleedB1xZ_plIUAAku7o
  • Released the Rate your Letting Agency Question
  • Attended Wellbeing Day which we’d organised with the University, SUSU signed the Mindful employer charter.
  • Met with some of the JCR Welfare Officers to discuss their
  • Committed to promoting the Student Consultancy Programme at University
  • Further lobbying letting agencies on the Don’t Rush housing campaign
  • Student Minds Mental Health campaign training course in Leeds
  • We helped to promote Interfaith Week
  • We organised Blackout, in which I was a team leader on the night!
  • Attended University Council and University Away Day as Deputy President in the President’s absence, discussing international growth and the Business School.
  • Meeting of SUSU Social enterprises Directors (the sabbatical team)
  • Ran a Stress Management Session as part of the YourSkills programme
  • Wrote a policy with Sam Bailey, to introduce equality impact assessments to SUSU, to ensure our activities and facilities are as accessible as possible over the next few years.
  • Organised and hosted the Inspiring Women Event
  • Updated housing web page with agencies who had agreed to join our Don’t Rush campaign




DECEMBER Stress-Less-Fest-News-Blog-300x200px

  • BananasWomen In Leadership Conference in Sheffield
  • Meeting on the future of the BEES Programme with the NUS in London
  • The Elections Coaching Programme is now in place; I wanted to support students from groups who don’t usually stand for elections, so we have 10 ex-sabbatical officers ready to coach students who need help deciding whether or not to run for a sabbatical role, email if you are interested.
  • Organised safety bus for the 24 hour library and wrote a bid for funding
  • Business Engagement session for BEES programme calling local SMEs
  • Represented SUSU at Winter Graduation Ceremonies
  • Organised Stress Less Fest
  • Organised plans for refreshers: Housing Fayre, Wellbeing Wednesday



  • Worked on sabbatical handover document
  • SUSU staff conference
  • Filmed elections videos on role of Vp Welfare and Vp Sports Deveopment
  • Discussed student communications and marketing with the sabbatical team
  • Worked on a plan for promotion of a complete guide to welfare services for students
  • Banana Giveaway for the Stress Less Fest in Hartley Library, Avenue, SGH, NOC and WSA.Housing-Fayre-TV-Screen
  • Met with head of senior tutor network, and attended Senior Tutor Network
  • Facilitated discussion on equality and diversity priorities for students (informed by e&d committee) with University staff.
  • Facilitated discussion on marketing work placement opportunities to students with University Staff
  • Discussion on University plans to respond to the changes to the national Disabled Student Allowance
  • Reviewed SUSU Profiles on the Opportunities at University of Southampton website (OPUS)
  • Attended the Student Green Fund ‘Education for Sustainable Development’ Conference in London
  • Met the new faculty liason officer in enabling services
  • Improving Participation Project Meeting
  • Worked on budget aspirations for student life and sustainability zone ready for the January Budget review
  • Asked University to meet me to discuss how SUSU can help to make students more aware of the Student Harpship Fund
  • Coffee with Alex Neil (Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education) to discuss welfare support and education
  • Discussed my plans for JCR Welfare Officer training with Frankie Moat (JCR Officer), and Anjit (VP Student Communities)
  • Ordered a fibreglass elephant for the elephant in the room mental health campaign
  • Speech at the SUSU Housing Advice Fayre

Throughout the year I have also been busy attending meetings, here are some examples:

  • Chairing Student Life Zone & Sustainability Zones
  • Student Groups funding allocations for Student Life and Sustainability zones through 3 funding rounds
  • Reporting to Union council
  • Senior staff & sabbatical forum
  • Trustee Board, Finance sub-committee, staffing sub-committee, remunerations panel for Chief executive
  • Equality & Diversity Committee and Environment and Ethics Committee
  • Meeting Pro-Vice Chancellor International to discuss faith provision
  • Shortlisting and interview panels for several core SUSU members of staff
  • University meetings on: Employability strategy, Access agreement, Work experience and Placements, Halls Experience, Enabling services, Sustainability.

Below is a table of the goals I set myself for the year, and some photos of the incredibly opportunities that I’ve taken as a sabbatical officer. If you can’t tell already, I really really love this job.

If you’re reading this thinking you’d love the chance to be the next VP Welfare, send me an email at and I can give you some more information, nominations to stand close on Friday 13th February 2015, so you still have plenty of time!

Beckie Sabb Goals 2015

2015 first half


































































Regular Meetings throughout the year:

  • Pro Vice Chancellor International to discuss faith provision on campus
  • Shortlisting and interview panels for core SUSU members of staff: Student Life Zone Co-ordinator, Peer Support Co-ordinator, Sustainability Zone Co-ordinator, Advice Centre Advisor, Policy & Volunteer Manager,
  • Chaired Student Life Zone & Sustainability Zone
  • Union council
  • Senior staff & sabbatical forum
  • Attended Trustee Boars, Finance subcommittee, staffing subcommittee, remunerations panel for chief exec
  • Attended Equality & Diversity Committee and Environment and Ethics Committee. Allocated funding to student groups in student life and sustainability zone through 3 funding rounds
  • University meetings o: Employability strategy Network Access agreement advisory group
  • Work experience and placement meeting Halls Experience Board, enabling services catch up, carbon management planning steering group meeting, esag

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