A week in the life of the RVCSU President
It is now the third term of this academic year and of my presidency so I thought I would write a diary of a typical week to show you just what myself and my team get up to in our work representing you. As a fourth year student I am currently on rotations so SU work fits around a constantly changing timetable, this week I was on a research block so have more time for face to face meetings- it’s surprising how much you can get done off site via email!
My week kicks off with a meeting of the Hawkshead Project Group: this group is chaired by Vice Principal David Church and made up of representatives of professors, students (that’s me), estates and finance. The group meets monthly to discuss upcoming developments for the Hawkshead Campus, one key aim of sitting on this group is ensuring there is adequate facilities for students built into new developments like enough silent study space. It is crazy to think that a lot of the debates around planned projects I am participating in won’t be in place until after I have graduated and that’s why it is so key for us as an SU to put good handover processes in place.
In the afternoon I send out an email to staff on behalf of our vet nursing officer inviting them to the biosci, vet nurse and post grad graduation ball, the second of its kind and one we hope will become a firm RVC tradition.
This morning myself, our general manager Dave and the current equality and diversity officer/ future VP welfare Ceri have a meeting with an external company who helped us to last year set up an online consent matters course about sexual misconduct for students (go check it out on learn under my courses). We are discussing how the implementation of the course has been managed so far and ways we could progress it further for incoming students in September. This is an example of a project both the SU and the college have collaborated on to encourage an environment where everyone feels safe.
Tuesday afternoon is spent on the phone, after giving up on skype, discussing a brief with a research company we are hiring to look into our practices as an SU so we can improve on them. After the research company I have a catch up with another small institution SU president on the phone- the great thing about being a ‘small and specialist’ institution is you have a great NUS network to call on for advice about issues that are affecting students nationwide and how others have tackled these.
Wednesday afternoon has one of the big meetings of the year: Academic Board. This is a committee that meets three times a year and is compromised of members of teaching staff from all courses, but all teaching staff of the college are invited to attend. This means two full council rooms on both campuses, a lot of patient discussion and fingers crossed the video link stays functional! I am in attendance as SU president but course reps are also required at the meeting to make sure there is enough student representation, did you know you can find all minutes from committees like this on the intranet under ‘staff and departments, committess’? The meeting is chaired by the principal and we cover matters from plans to implement the POD course for Bsc students, to research grant success to regulations for student appeal. One thing that I always like taking away from these meetings is how many times the word student is said; in a room of the highest members of college staff the centre of all discussions is YOU.
One lesson every officer of the SU quickly learns is that every day is different and it has to be one of my favourite parts of the job. So today myself and our staff members- Dave the general manager, Barb the shop manager, Fucshia our finance assistant, the current Buttery Bar manager Fran as well as next years Buttery Bar manager Harry paint new picnic tables in the beer garden in preparation for this terms upcoming events. This is one team that can go from working in an office emailing away to donning boiler suits with green paint everywhere. Thursday afternoon I get a request from academic registry for an SU representative on upcoming appeals panels- students can chose whether to have an SU member present at their appeals for resitting years. We are fully trained to sit on the panel and provide a students view on the case to other senior staff panel members, I am away on a rotation that date so delegate the appeals to our VP welfare.
Today is an email admin day and preparing for upcoming events. I liase with our VP acitivities Meisha and estates director Alasdair on varsity day plans so we can run the event smoothly as possible and with an added after party bonus. We chose a colour for new blinds and place an order for bean bags and tables for the Hawkshead common room refurbishment- with a new kitchenette, pool table and TV’s I highly recommend checking out this student space at times when the social learning space is packed. Next week we have one of our SU council meetings so I pull together the officers reports and agendas in preparation.
This is just a snapshot of one week: there are many more committees, projects, events and hard working officers but I hope it’s given you an idea of all the different things your SU has been up to this year. I love that one week can jump around so many different ventures; it’s inspiring to see how much RVC students do and achieve and I’ve really enjoyed being even just a small part of that.