A Year As Vice President Welfare & Diversity

From lobbying for printing credits, to working a shadow shift at Winter Blowout and organising welfare campaigns – I had a great time serving in the role of VP Welfare & Diversity for two years.

It was truly a roller coaster ride from start to finish. During my time in office, I was continually inspired by students passionate about welfare and diversity, as they often became my pillars of support across a wide range of campaigns.These included Disability Awareness Week, Women’s History Month, Black History Month, Mental Health Awareness Week and Let’s Talk About Sex!

Although it is challenging to handle student frustrations, I can honestly say it has been a rewarding experience to lobby the NHS GP Surgery to improve their services and be more student focused.

With the democracy referendum and climate emergency motion passed, I look forward to seeing the Students’ Union adopting positive changes that will better uphold the spirit of democracy and environmentalism to help make student life better at Royal Holloway.

Wait, you’re moving on?

Yes! A Sabbatical Officer can only serve in office for a maximum of two years, and I have been in the role of VP Welfare & Diversity since the start of the 2017/18 academic year.

There are definitely a few things I will miss doing as VP Welfare & Diversity, including providing student groups with the mental health training, which Holly Hughes (VP Societies & Media) and I have introduced. Above all, I will miss encouraging students to openly talk about sex and the importance of having a healthy attitude towards our sexual relationships.

As I move on from my role as a Sabbatical Officer on Friday 12 July, I will be returning to my final year of studies in BA English and Philosophy. So you’ll still see me around campus!

Any final thoughts?

My time as a Sabbatical Officer has been a wonderful journey, mainly because I’ve been able to connect with students from so many different walks of life, and come together to organise around similar passions, including students from minority groups.

If you’re thinking about getting involved with any welfare or diversity campaigns, or just trying out a society or sports club, do it! The students I’ve met through getting involved with the Students’ Union have made my time as an international student at Royal Holloway truly worthwhile.

And to anyone out there wondering if they can become a Sabbatical Officer, I’d say there’s only one way to find out – run in the next SU Elections! Especially if you are LGBTQ+, female, disabled or a student of colour, step forward and be the change you want to see in the world.

Willow Wong // Vice President Welfare & Diversity