Alastair's Year as Your VP Societies & Sport

Alastair shares the successes and stories from a year of representing student groups at Royal Holloway.

officer blogsocieties blogSports Blog

I cannot believe it has been an entire year already. My final update is an opportunity to share the successes and stories from the year.

And it has been a fantastic year. Thank you to all the student groups who have been involved in our activities, the individual students who took the time to engage and feedback, and of course the Student Opportunities team for working night and day to make sure our groups are the best they can be.

Supporting and Developing Student Groups

Probably the key part of the role, this year I have loved dedicating my time to supporting groups as much as possible.

This year, I have taken part in continuous training, regular drop-ins, organising meetings, informative blogs, and keeping social media as active as possible, all while maintaining the Soc Sport email account, and responding to committee members as quickly as possible.

I wanted to push for more face-to-face interaction, and my reintroduction of Committee Cafes meant I was able to chat with many committee members over a coffee and a biscuit. I’m eager to support any development for this going into next year.

It’s been great managing the governance and democracy for groups for the Student Opportunities team, and while most people think I’m crazy, it’s been absolutely thrilling to work with and improve this side of student groups this year!

Change within the University

Another key part of the role I have absolutely loved this year is being able to represent the interests of groups at the University and push for better support and opportunities.

The main two areas I have worked with are timetabling, pushing for earlier available booking times for student groups, and space, pushing for more and better access to rooms. The highlight of this has been working closely with Games Society to research and lobby the value of having a physical space for e-sports on campus. I’m confident change is coming!

I’ve also emphasised the importance of sport and physical activity at Royal Holloway and the value it has to student life. It’s important to make sure that people can be active for as little cost as possible, and that our clubs are valued for the contribution they make to student wellbeing. The highlight of this was showing the Varsity video to Julie Sanders in the Principal’s Meeting Room!

All the events

I’m really happy with the events we’ve been able to hold for student groups and the wider University this year. Most recently, we had the Festival of Languages & Cultures, where we celebrated the diversity we have at Royal Holloway.

For sport, Big Bear Wednesdays across the year celebrated a fantastic season, and of course a great Varsity in March where we ‘welcomed’ Surrey back onto our campus for a day of competition.

And of course, who could forget the fantastic Colours Ball and Society Awards, two nights to recognise the success and dedication within our groups. We were able to give out a total of 70 individual and group awards, with our sports clubs also getting a number of Half and Full Colours awards. Both nights were fantastic successes, and thank you to everyone for their hard work over the last year!

Local and National Picture

Finally, I’ve thrown myself into representing Royal Holloway nationally, and have engaged where I can externally.

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS)

This year, I was elected London Student Chair to lead regional meetings and sit on the Advisory Board as well as attend the Winter Summit and AGM on behalf of the London region.

The National Union of Students (NUS)

I attended NUS's Lead & Change Conference, worked on the Turn Up Campaign planning, and travelled to Parliament for the APPG for students. Alongside the other Sabbs, I met with local MP Ben Spencer to talk about issues affecting you.