This is the first in a regular blog series by your Vice President of Communities Jamie Grant. He has responsibility for Clubs & Socs, Employment, Environmental, Charities and Volunteering, as well as aspects of Housing. Find out more about him and his role here!
Picnics, Pirates, Policies
Since I entered office on Thursday June 1st, the team and I have been working hard to settle in, find our feet and set agendas into action. So how have I been working for you?
Our previous VP Communities Jess Logan oversaw my handover, and was so great, warm and kind in helping me feel settled– if you’re reading this, thanks Jess!
Myself and the rest of the Sabbatical Team – Matt (VP Education) , Rebecca (Sports President) and Astrid (Union President) - were invited along to meet some of the University Senior Management over lunch. We chatted about the year ahead and areas of common cause, and left feeling hopeful cooperation could be sought on more than a few issues.
I’ve chatted with Lynn, our Advocacy & Inclusion Development Coordinator, on how to further develop student support services and delivery to students. We also talked about the Accommodation Liaison Students, and their future in wider systems of support. I’ve also talked to Astrid and staff about the restructure of the STEER mentoring programme, and how best to reform this to meet support needs.
Jess and I attended a fantastic meeting with Lesley Grayburn, who is the co-head of the Careers & Employability Service. A strategy is being developed to look at how employable skills and internships/work placements can be integrated with more course programmes, particularly undergraduates.
Matt Woodthorpe (your amazing Environmental Development Coordinator), Jess and I also attended one of the several Environmental Sustainability working groups within the University. We had some great ideas put forward about how the Union and University can work jointly on projects in Accommodation – ideas that gelled nicely with my manifesto pledge to pilot Hall Committees, and foster a sense of community engagement and competition across campus.
The Union as a collective have been decluttering and reorganising our offices (all proceeds went to the Green and Blue Space!); we did have a staff picnic planned for after, but because we live in Scotland, we moved this indoors and had a relaxed catch-up with everyone over lunch.
Astrid and I have also met with the Head of Accommodation Services, making clear our commitment to overseeing the implementation of the Accommodation Enhancement Fund, building on the massive wins last year from the previous Sabb team. There was also productive conversation had about the Hall Committees pilot scheme, and how this might best be implemented (see my manifesto here!)
Clubs & Socs
We finally managed to make some progress on Clubs and Socs Storage - the storage cupboard is now safe, secure and decluttered! This is only Phase 1: over the incoming summer, new storage units and shelves are planned to be installed, and a consultation open on how best to achieve a sustainable, long-term solution. Woo!
The team and I are working on expanding GIAG for Clubs and Societies to two weeks rather than one. This benefits Clubs massively, and there will be less chance of conflicting GIAG sessions, allowing students to attend a wider variety, and (hopefully) leading to increased memberships!
Rebecca and I were proud to vote in the recent General Election – it’s amazing to see the youth turnout rate so high. As an EU student Astrid wasn’t able to vote sadly, even though she’s lived and studied here for 4 years. Ridiculous. In the evening we had a lovely dinner with Gerry, the Vice Chancellor, Eileen, the 4 outgoing Sabbs and the 3 incoming. Then it was off to the pub, to claim our free election-day voting pint, and retire to watch the results roll in.
So far, so good. An action-packed first week, with many more I’m sure to come. The Sabb team are bonding well, and the office staff have been brilliant in facilitating where we want to take our policies, and guiding us in actioning our agendas.