A Year As Vice President Societies & Media

It feels so strange to think that this time a year ago, after you all put your faith in me to lead as VP Societies and Media, I was preparing to step into this role, and now I’m preparing to leave after what I can honestly say has been an incredible year that I will never forget.

This year has gone by in a flash, and I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy to keep track of everything going on across student groups – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I don’t know how you do it all.

What has it been like?

I loved my time at Royal Holloway, and being a member of student groups really was at the heart of that. In my role as Ballroom and Latin President in my third year, I gained a real insight into working with the SU, and was able to see the changes that needed to be made for student groups – I feel so honoured to have had the chance to lead the change that student groups want to see this year, and I can happily and confidently say that we’ve changed a lot!

I’ve worked on a variety of changes across the Union, impacting and bettering the experience in student groups this year, and hopefully for years to come. I’ve created and introduced mental health peer to peer training with student groups, created a minimum standards framework for academic societies with Jack, helped Insanity win funding for Studio three, and worked with the media outlets on the rewrites of Byelaw H. With Student Opps, we’ve revamped student group emails, changed up committee training, introduced the CRM system and changed up the student group finance processes, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I hope that the changes we’ve implemented this year have helped to show you that we really do care, and that the Sabbs this year and next are campaigning hard to better your experience at Royal Holloway.

Where am I going?

Very excitingly in early September, I am joining the Civil Service Digital, Data and Technology Fast Stream. I’ll be moving in and around the UK across a variety of roles and government departments over the coming four years, so I’m sure I’ll have a lot to keep me busy. I’m quite nervous about starting, as this is a sector entirely new to me, but hopefully I’ll be able to keep enacting positive change, just this time on a national level!

What will I miss?

There are so many things I’ll miss next year, from the staff team, to newfound friends, to getting involved with our Give It A Go programme, to learning new things and being part of Union wide and College developments. The thing I’m going to miss the most however, is student group members – I can wholeheartedly say that in my last year, you have all inspired me in so many ways, and I have constantly been blown away by your creativity, your empathy, your sensitivity and your professionalism. You are incredible – keep doing what you’re doing, and the Students’ Union will keep supporting you

Why run in elections?

I literally cannot rave about this job enough. It’s the best way to see first-hand all the behind the scenes work that make your experience at Royal Holloway, but it’s also the best way to enact change and rectify issues that you faced, making the experiences of students in the future better than ever before.

There are times where it has been tiring, stressful or just plain hard, but working in this environment in the role of a Sabbatical Officer allows you to hone your interpersonal and leadership skills in an environment not available to many other graduates. You’ll also meet incredible people and just have an all-round brilliant time.

Holly Hughes // Vice President Societies & Media