So I’ve decided to slightly copy Paul Beaumont (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery) and give you a review of what I have done so far and how that links back to my manifesto. Also, more excitingly what you can expect to see going on over the next few months!
Campaigns - One of the main things I want to do this year is to overhaul the way campaigns are dealt with. Some of you may have read my Felix article about why I don’t like Green Week. I think we really need to be running engaging creative campaigns that really do raise awareness and inspire student activists. This is all well and good, but how am I going to make this happen? The most important factor in my opinion is to listen to students, it shouldn’t be a case of me sitting in my office and deciding what students care about. This year hopefully the Welfare/Liberation Officers will be given the tools to run some great campaigns. There is a pot of money to coordinate student led campaigns, something we passionately support at the union. If you want to campaign about pretty much anything, send me an email for more information. On the horizon look out for some innovative Gender Equality and Green initiatives that should be pretty exciting and are ready to launch over the coming weeks. I might even throw in another blog post, watch this space.
Students Not in Halls - Earlier on in the year I ran some events (with some help from Marko – one of the wardens) for students not living in halls. For those of us that lived in halls, or are still living in halls, the events of welcome week are very memorable. I know personally that is where I made most of the friends that I still have. This year the number of students choosing to live out of halls have increased by around 150, maybe due to tuition fee rises or other external factors. Therefore I felt it was important to make sure they were having some great experiences as well. The boat party and the Chinese meal went down well and there are more events on the way.
MUMS AND DADS - So far this has been pretty successful. I would like to thank all of the returning students who selflessly signed up to adopt the first years. Doug (DPE) and I ran the first central Union Mums and Dads event named the Great SOCOFF. We like to think the event was pretty successful, and we certainly received some positive feedback. All of the entry charges went directly back to the departmental societies with the best 3 percentages of attendance, well done BioSoc for coming first with around 17.8% of your undergraduates attending! I am sure you will all be pleased to hear that the planning for the Great SOCOFF 2.0 has already began, and without giving away any spoilers, expect BIGGER and CHEESIER. I think the night also proved that Doug and I am happy to pitch in wherever we can, Doug took the role of sumo fighting referee whilst I transformed into my alter ego DJ (Welfare) for the night…
deliver and roll out a better personal tutor system
Personal Tutors and Support Services - Back to a more serious note, one of my manifesto points was to deliver and roll out a better personal tutor system. In my days in the Physics department I was often guilty of not seeing my personal tutor as often as I should. One of the committees I sit on in college, along with Doug and Paul is the Student-centric ICT stream. Bit of a mouthful – but it basically works on ICT projects that will improve the student experience. The main project of that board at the moment is to develop a new survey platform, but after that software to monitor personal tutor interactions is the next priority. This issue is on the agenda of both student representatives and College staff members so should hopefully have the buy in necessary to increase departmental pastoral care provision. On the subject of pastoral care provisions, soon both the Disabilities Advisory Service and Counselling Service will soon be holding late night clinics, like the health centre does on a Tuesday. This will give the chance for students with particularly heavy timetables a chance to get an appointment.
These are just a few of the big things on the radar, there are many others. When I am not frantically trying to make all of these things happen overnight, I spend my time going to a myriad or college meetings, sitting on interview panels for new positions within the welfare services, answering emails and finding the time to eat and sleep. And occasionally have a cheeky after work pint.