Thinking of running for one of the four full-time Sabbatical Officer roles in this year's SU Elections?
To give you a flavour of what being a Sabb entails, we've enlisted the help of our five current Officers who took time to answer questions including what their roles entail, what they've achieved so far, what they've gained from the role, and what their experience of running in an election was like.
Next up is VP Welfare & Diversity Lucy Simpson, sharing her experience in the role. It's important to know that, in order to better reflect all the different responsibilities that fall under this role, from 2020/21 the title will be renamed as VP Wellbeing & Diversity.
As Vice President Welfare and Diversity I attend a number of University meetings varying from topics of equality and diversity, to health and safety for catering. I’m responsible for liberation campaigns, working on the aims I set out in my manifesto and representing student interests in meetings with the University.
This sometimes means disagreeing with senior members of staff, or going away and doing research about a topic, and proposing new ideas and initiatives to deal with certain issues. In addition to this, I am the lead officer support for five of the eight collectives, which means keeping an eye on relevant national campaigns of interest and supporting them to develop their ideas and campaigns.
Over the last term, I’ve had major input into the upcoming University Wellbeing Strategy, helped to run mental health awareness training and lobbied the University to launch a feedback system for Student Advisory and Wellbeing.
I’ve also ran a nutrition campaign, which is both student facing and also looks at the provision on campus for students, within campus outlets. I gave a talk on Mental Health Day about the history of mental health, and I’m working with the University on implementing initiatives such as online training courses for consent and wellbeing.
In the upcoming terms I hope to improve support for trans students and student sex workers.
In terms of personal development, it’s been really great to work with such an amazing team and develop interpersonal skills within a professional environment. Being handed the responsibility of influencing decisions that can make a real impact on others has been a brilliant opportunity.
Fortunately, the other officers and the wider staff team are really great at helping to guide me for big decisions. They have helped me understand the challenges faced by the University in relation to the higher education sector and have supported me in understanding the role of a charity, especially as this applies to my role as a trustee.
I’ve also been really lucky to have been allowed a place on a mental health first aid training course, and I am now a qualified mental health first aider, which has been a goal of mine for a long time.
One thing that has been challenging has been creating a work-life balance. I am guilty of taking work home with me too often, and not taking enough breaks during the day to keep me from burning out.
However, the best thing about being an officer is being part of a team, and working closely with the other Sabbatical Officers is like having a little work family!
Running in the election was simultaneously stressful and rewarding. I was lucky enough to be competing against equally amazing candidates and can only say that the level of camaraderie that we shared got me through the whole process.
Putting myself up for election was scary and talking myself up was perhaps the most difficult thing, fortunately I had some amazing friends by my side who helped me out a lot. Having such great competition made a significant impression on me and I can honestly say that I have done my best to do them justice and tried to take forward their goals as well.
Like the sound of what you've read? Nominations in the SU Elections are now open – get more info here and nominate yourself below, or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nominations close at 4pm on Friday 7 February.
Read the Job Description
Stand for election
Registered charity no: 1141998
The Students’ Union, Royal Holloway
Egham, TW20 0EX