This job has been one of the best things I have ever done. There is no way I can deny that. It has also been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. Sabbatical life is unreal, hectic, and testing. It is also fun, rewarding, and inspiring.
Our team have achieved a lot this year, and here are some of the highlights of that:
Starting the year with a bang! Our Graduation Survey was launched in July in response to the high cost of guest tickets. We surveyed students and used our findings to report to the University and achieved a price cut of £20 per ticket.
In September to mark World Suicide Prevention Day, we did the Glenside Colour Run. Suicide Prevention is a cause close to my heart; a subject that is difficult to broach, but needs to be spoken about. We raised £847.44 for the Prevention of Young Suicide Charity PAPYRUS – which we were delighted with.
Monday 10 October was World Mental Health Day, where we fundraised for Bristol Mind with the help of lots of wonderful societies (shout out to Students Living at Home, Mental Health Campaign, Phycology, Comic Books, Occupational Therapy, Mental Health Nursing, Create and Craft, and Adult Nursing), and held stigma busting events across four campuses.
In November, we got political! With our Prevent discussion in collaboration with the Islamic Society, and taking lots of students to London for the United for Education Demo in partnership with Bristol Students’ Union, and UWE UCU, as well as Bristol UCU it was an exciting month!
Moving forward to the New Year we launched our Accommodation Rent Price Survey which had over 400 responses. This data was collated, analysed, and recommendations were written up within 48 hours to present to the rent setting board. This is still an ongoing piece of work and we should soon be hearing UWE Bristol’s official response to our recommendations.
In February it was SHAG (Sexual Health Awarness and Guidance) Week. There were lots of fun and informative activities across the four campuses, as well as free contraception. The highlight of SHAG Week for me was the HIV Test Clinic being fully booked on campus, and building relationships with the Terrance Higgins Trust.
March was election week and meant that we got a new team. On a personal level I was delighted that students put their trust in me for another year, and am really looking forward to serving them for another year.
In April, Theresa May decided to call a snap General Election. This meant all was go at The Students' Union. We were faced with the task of running a registration drive with no notice. In the next few days we secured funding to run a campaign, and support from South Gloucester Council. We had help from NUS also with volunteers and an ice cream van.
May was also time for #UWESaysRelax, we went around encouraging students to take some time off and have fun during their study periods. We gave out bubbles, bouncy calls, slinkies and much more.
We also secured funding for UWE Nightline, which means that there will soon be an out of hours listening service for UWE students. You can find out more about that here.