SU Elections: VP Wellbeing & Diversity

Thinking of running for VP Wellbeing & Diversity? Present incumbent, Alice Goode, shares her experience in the role as she looks back to some of the most important moments, her biggest challenges, what she has gained, and her election experience!

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 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 Wellbeing & Diversity Alice Goode, sharing her experience in the role as she looks back to some of the most important moments.

What do you do on an average day?

I can honestly say that no two days are the same – but there is a structure to the week.

  • We meet with the CEOs and members of various team managers (Student Opportunities, Voice, and Marketing and Communications) to talk about what’s happening this week, what we’re working on, what decisions need to be made and get help with anything that may have come up.
  • We have one-to-ones every week with the Student Voice Manager Phill, and Shells from the Advice Centre as these are the two areas I work with the most. They’re a chance to get more specific support and advice. We also have check-ins with the CEOs every two weeks, which is really helpful.
  • There are College meetings – you'll sit on a few committees, e.g. EDI committee, Student Experience committee, Gender Equality group, Race Equality group, and a whole load more. There’s normally a few a week, you get papers to read for them, and you report on what was said to the rest of the Sabb team afterward.
  • There are normally a few student meetings in your week, including meeting with the Collectives and committee members of student groups.
  • And finally, there’s your independent work – whether that be working on your manifesto, writing a blog, reading committee papers, there’s time in the day for you to get stuff done and tick off the tasks on your to-do list.

What have you done so far?

I think the better question is what haven’t I done! You will hear the SU talk about the different hats the Sabb role has quite a bit. And by this they mean the Sabbs have many different roles – we are student representatives, a staff member of the SU, a member of the senior leadership team, and a member of the Trustee Board. Because of that, you do a lot.

  • As a student representative, you lobby the College – I have been lobbying for a review of DNS and for the implementation of a Central Management System. You also work closely with the Collectives and support them in running events. You will also chair the Wellbeing, Community & Diversity Executive (which is made up of the Collective convenors) which is an exciting experience. You’ll run campaigns such as the Disability Week I ran in November (which is one of my proudest achievements so far), and will work on the various history months throughout the year – I’m currently helping plan Women’s History Month.
  • As a trustee, you are entrusted to make sure the SU will continue to survive and thrive. As part of this, you are consulted on policy changes, SU finances, and the overall running of the SU. You get to work alongside the external trustees who are experts in their own fields and it’s a great opportunity to meet new people.
  • Being a member of the senior management team means you are part of the big day-to-day decision-making. For example, we’ve worked on the proposed merger, influenced the SU’s decision to hold a preferendum on the UCU strikes, were consulted on the job description for the new College Principal, and worked on our new Freedom of Speech policy, to name just a few things I’ve been involved in over the past six months.
  • As a member of the staff team, you’re a part of the wider SU organisation. You sit in the office with the permanent employees and are involved in the internal meetings of the SU. You become one of the team and make some great friends!

What have you gained?

The short answer is a whole bunch of new skills and a bucket load of confidence. Chairing meetings, drafting papers, contributing to college committees, writing, and then delivering project plans for your manifesto aims requires a range of different skills which you pick up along the way with lots of help from the staff team.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I think my biggest challenge has been to trust in myself and speak up when needed. Having just graduated, I hadn’t ever been in a situation where I had to advocate for others and challenge senior members over decisions they had made. But as a Sabb, you are in these situations right from the beginning. I was excited to be in those rooms and have the opportunity to represent others, but it was scary. I’ve had to work on my self-confidence a lot, and have learned that what I’ve got to say is just as valid as everyone else.

Your election experience

Having run during the middle of Covid-19 lockdowns, we all had to do our campaigning online. I had been planning my manifesto points for a while, but the thought of campaigning and putting myself out there was terrifying. I’d never used Canva before, never made a campaign video (which took forever to edit as I’m the least techy person going), and never campaigned for anything before ever. It was all an entirely new experience! But it was loads of fun as you got to be really creative and make it completely your own. My friends and family were really supportive and were there to tell me to get off Instagram and breathe when I’d been obsessively analysing my campaign page for hours.

The other people running were so incredibly lovely, which was unexpected but something I was really grateful for. We would often message each other to say how we loved their new post or thought their manifesto aim was really cool. Everyone was in exactly the same boat so understood what it felt like to be in the spotlight, running against other amazing candidates.

The one piece of advice I would give is to trust yourself! Whatever you do it will be great, don’t get too hung up about what other people are doing – what may work for them may not work for you. Believe in yourself and be you!! You don’t have to have all the answers all of the time – acknowledging this and talking to other students is just as important as having set ideas and aims. Don’t worry about not knowing something or needing to ask others, that’s completely normal and absolutely fine. You can’t be everything to everyone, so, be authentic!

Stand for election

Like the sound of what you've read? Nominations in the SU Elections are now open – get more info and nominate yourself below, or drop an email to Phillip.Dowler@su.rhul.ac.uk.

Read the Job Description

Stand for election

Nominations close at 23:59 on Sunday 6 February.