After an incredibly busy, but wonderful year, VP Societies & Sport Alex gives us the run down on his experience as a Sabbatical Officer.
VP Societies and Sport 2021/22
Student groups are, in my opinion, the best thing about university life. They have such a positive and powerful impact on so many students, helping them to grow while creating lasting memories.
It has been an absolute privilege to have been your VP Societies and Sport this year and I couldn't have wished for a better bunch of students and staff to have worked with throughout 2021/22!
Coming back from the pandemic has definitely been difficult for everyone with so many unexpected challenges thrown our way, however, we have really been able to do some amazing things this year and I don't think we could have come back stronger!
We started the year by coming back to an in-person Freshers' Fair, which saw over 4000 students attend, and this engagement carried on throughout the year. From seeing our sports clubs getting back on the pitches and courts, to so many live performances and shows, to just being able to meet up socially as a group - it’s been so inspiring to see all of our groups and students getting back together, doing what they love!
I helped to launch the Student Group Access Fund this year! This fund was set up to make sure that anyone facing financial difficulties can still get involved with our student groups. There shouldn't be any barriers for anyone who wants to join a group and we are keen to ensure everyone has the chance to experience what societies and sports clubs have to offer.
Hosting the first Varsity since 2019 was definitely one of my biggest highlights this year. Seeing so many people on the day with smiles on their faces supporting each other was heartwarming to see. I wish the best of luck to the Bears family who will be off to Surrey next time - make the most of the day and enjoy it!
At Colours Ball and Society Awards, we recognised the fantastic work our groups have been up to this year! Both evenings were incredible experiences for me after working with so many groups throughout the year; being able to give something back to you was so special. There is currently an awards review going on so the Student Opps team can plan the perfect way to celebrate you next year - make sure you have your say!
I held the first-ever Cultural and Faith Festival here at Royal Holloway. The day itself was incredible, seeing so many of you really embracing each other’s cultures. I can’t wait to see how this event develops and grows over the coming years!
We revamped our student group funding processes so that we provide more opportunities for more groups. We give funding to every single group at the start of the year, with other chances to apply for more money throughout Terms 1 and 2.
Across the year, one of my aims was to get more direct student feedback - and one of the ways I did that is through the End of Term Reviews, which are sent to all committee members. We have already learned so much through these forms, which are so important for guiding the team on how they can best support groups!
There are so many more incredible things that have happened this year and I could go on and on about it all - but overall, it has just been so great to meet so many inspiring people and to work with you all to improve student life at Royal Holloway! Thank you for making my year so special, and I wish you all the best for the future - for those of you staying on, I'm sure you will be in safe hands as Hannah Hockin now takes over the reins!
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