Sabb Update - 23/02/24

As we reach the halfway mark of Term Two, it's time to catch up with your Sabbatical Officer team!

education blogofficer blogpresident blogsocieties blogwellbeing blog

As we reach the halfway mark of Term Two, it's time to catch up with your Sabbatical Officer team!

Hannah - President

Committee Meetings 

The last two weeks have been loaded with University committees and Students’ Union meetings. Estates Planning Committee, Environmental sustainability working group and lots of planning round meetings to name a few.  

This week, Sharanya and I ventured into London to visit the London campus in Bedford Square. In the morning, we had an online Finance, Staffing and Risk committee with SU staff and Trustees. At lunch, we had a walk around Bedford Square and checked out Senate House, the lemon drizzle cake there was delicious. In the afternoon, we had a RHUL 2030s strategy development session where we discussed the future strategy of the University.  

And on Thursday, we had a University Council meeting and information session. 

Since the last Sabb update, we’ve had another strategic theme meeting based around building community. We discussed short and long-term fixes and ways in which we can lobby the University to improve areas of development, support, empowerment and celebration for communities.   

Manifesto Work

Last week, I had the opportunity to shadow SU Security at Fetish Friday. I was able to watch and learn about how the night functions from a security perspective, everything from the briefing session, body and person searches to how security and the event crew work together to ensure the safety of everyone on a night out.  

The NeverOk page has gone live! This page includes an action plan based on Union initiatives such as policy, late-night venues and education and University work. We’ve also included our Student Voice Research Assistant, Tessa Graftdijk's work that outlines the University's policies and ways to support students and staff as well as ten other universities' processes and policies. There are also support resources included on the page so do check it out.  

Laura Black (Student Voice Manager) and I are currently putting together a one-off free lunch event to show our support during the Cost of Living Crisis which I’m super excited about... keep an eye on my socials and the SU website for more info!  

Sharanya - VP Education

Hello everyone!

It’s been a busy few weeks working on LGBT+ History Month, including the Queer Creativity Showcase, a night where our LGBT+ community at Royal Holloway shined brightly in the SU. There was poetry, music, and original creations on sale made by student vendors. Check out the photos on our Facebook page!

I’m also currently working on my ‘Grad Week: Next Steps’ Campaign. This will support students who are stressed or worried about future job prospects. The aim is to push a week of career-development events such as an Alumni Panel (11March), Student Futures Fair (14 March) and an International Student Futures Panel (15 March).

This week, I have waddled over to London on the train twice. I attended a University Council Strategy Discussion, to explore what RHUL’s 2030s will look like. We discussed our priorities, and how to maintain a nurturing environment for our students whilst preserving a sustainable impact on the world.

On Wednesday, Alastair and I headed to parliament for a Student All Party Parliamentary Group on the student housing crisis. While we discussed topics that we were already familiar with, dodgy landlords, unaffordable accommodation, lack of accommodation, and low-quality housing – it was a really eye-opening experience to see how students were impacted differently due to intersectional experiences across the country. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done with student housing and though the Rental Reform bill seems to protect students from no-fault evictions – there are still cracks in the system that students could fall through and this needs to be addressed. Hopefully, the discussions we had in parliament should help feed into government policy to ensure there’s a sustainable solution for the student housing crisis.

Nisha - VP Wellbeing & Diversity 

This week, I have been planning an international student focus group session, which will be taking place next week in ARTS-S021 on Wednesday 28 February from 14:30 - 16:30. This focus group will be about international student integration into university life. With a focus on these four main topics; social integration, academic integration, application/moving process and living in/navigating the UK. I will be running these sessions in groups in collaboration with the new International Society. The feedback we gain through these groups will be fed back to the appropriate teams within the University to improve the experience of international students at Royal Holloway!

Additionally, during Disability History Month, your Disabled Students Community Officer, Alana, kickstarted some research to improve the experience of Disabled students at Royal Holloway. She asked disabled students the following question: “What would you change to improve your experience as a Disabled student at RHUL?”

Recently we have been going over the results from this research and have put together an action plan to tackle these issues. We have also set up meetings with relevant stakeholders within the University such as the Head of the D&N service to discuss how we address these issues.

I have also recently been taking part in two different SU strategy planning meetings, one based on improving how the SU advises and advocates for students and one based on creating more inclusive activities, events, and opportunities.

I was also on Insanity Radio's Community Hour this week talking about what I do in my role, some of the projects I am working on and top tips for anyone running in the Leadership Elections.

Alastair - VP Societies & Sport

A lot of VPSocSport’s work in Term 2 is taken up by the planning for big events, and so far February has been a lot of time crunching getting these done!

  • The first one is Colours Ball, and alongside working with Marketing to get out information, I’ve been spending lots of time with award nominations, shortlists and the panel to choose the winners.
  • Next is Varsity, which I’m quite proud of this year. I’ve been leading the media for the event, creating an announcement video, 6 weekly countdown Reels, and the soon-to-be-released promo video, alongside supporting Student Opportunities in the management of the event.
  • Finally, Society Awards will be on 18 May, and we’ve started the process to get it all set up for an end of year celebration.

Outside of this, I’m also researching ways to improve committee training, talking to the University to get more support and space for e-sports, and meeting Royal Holloway Sport professionals and Sabbs through chairing the BUCS regional meetings!