A year later and we are already at handover week again – time really does fly by when you are having fun! My year as Vice President Education has been an invaluable experience.
The job as one of the Presidents is like no other. You are a Director and member of the Board of Trustees, having financial and strategic oversight of The Students’ Union; sit on a variety of University board meetings, ensuring the student voice is listened to; liaise with University Directorate, making sure that positive changes are made in favour of students. The role comes with a lot of responsibility and it can feel daunting to start with.
We started our year with a variety of training and finding our feet with the roles. I attended NUS Lead and Change (Higher Education) in Lincoln, where we were taught how to be effective leaders and all things education related. It also provided us a chance to meet our counterparts across the country, allowing us to share ideas and bring back good practice to our Students’ Unions.
We began our term in office by looking at the cost of graduation. We collected data from students graduating and compiled this into a report for the University Directorate. The report highlighted that students were unhappy with the costs of graduation, and as a result, the University agreed to reduce the price of tickets – saving students £20 per ticket!
September saw us Welcome both new and returning students back to UWE Bristol. This was a whirlwind month of Welcome Events and meeting students. October we had recruited our Student Reps for the year and began training sessions.
In November, I was lucky enough to visit one of our partners in Hong Kong. Whilst there, I attended a graduation ceremony, met with students and alumni, and talked about teaching opportunities in Hong Kong. We had also begun preparations for the National Demo. Working with UCU (University and Colleges Union), we mobilised students and staff to attend the demo in London on November 19. This protest was against the increase in tuition fees yet again, the removal of maintenance grants, and attacks on education.
January we started our new assessment stress campaign, #UWESaysRelax, where we went around campus handing out free fruit and information leaflets to students. January also saw the University make some positive changes after feedback from Student Rep Committee – more computers to be installed, computers to be sped up and the development of software for computer availability.
In March, it was our RAG (raising and giving) Week – myself, Olivia, and Sian took part in Jailbreak, where we had 36 hours to get as far away as possible with no money. This was a bizarre and tiring experience, but we ended up in Trieste, Italy. March also saw The Students' Union Elections, where the new team for the year were elected, and I was lucky enough to be re-elected.
In April, I hosted the Student Experience Awards, a night celebrating all the successes of our Student Reps and staff. After a year of planning and preparations, it was an enjoyable experience to host the night. With the return of the assessment period, we re-launched our #UWESaysRelax campaign.
After the sudden announcement of a General Election, we snapped into action to begin a voter registration drive, as well as hosting a Filton and Bradley Stoke Hustings for the candidates. This was an intense and tiring few weeks, but it was worth it after seeing the amount of students registered and the voter turnout.
Coming to the end of the year, I have been working on course costs with the University. We are looking at various pieces of feedback that I have received, and how best we can resolve them – watch this space!
I’m looking forward another year ahead to continue making positive changes for our students. I am thankful to everyone who voted for me and gave me a second year to continue representing you.