November started off with creating some marketing materials for the Shop on Top. This brought whatever on Earth this is which I’m not sure if I want public… but… here we are anyway. I also did some promo shots for the Plant Pot but this time, we brought in actual students (very exciting); this also resulted in free lunch and dinner for me so triple win.
November also brought Senate. Senate is where the five Sabbatical Officers write a report showing what they have achieved from their manifesto and anything else since the beginning of their term (July 2021). This is then judged by Senate and students can also watch and ask questions to hold the officers accountable. I was very nervous about this as I believe I am very much an over-achiever and I will try to do everything I can, and I was definitely moving into the Winter blues earlier this year, and therefore didn’t think I had done enough and was ready to receive such feedback. Luckily though, my plans were approved by all of the Senators and I didn’t have any feedback telling me I hadn’t done enough. I wrote another blog post about Senate because I knew this would be one of the biggest events during my term in office. This also supported my decision to run for Senator when I return to my studies.
We also started discussions about the attainment gap and how we can ensure that we can support in reducing the attainment gap. Ben, Union President, and I reached out to the VP of Education at the University, Alex Neill, and discussed how we could go further. Even though this wasn’t necessarily on my original manifesto, I feel when I wrote the manifesto I wasn’t aware of the current critical issues and therefore I have achieved more and joined many projects focusing on the current issues in higher education, specifically those at Southampton, including liberating the curriculum.
As part of my academic skills workshops, I was tasked with matching up the current alumni members who are available on Southampton’s ‘University Graduate Ambassador Scheme’ which hopefully means my workshops will be up and running shortly. This is something Ben has joined me on leading and I’m excited for it to start – I am very keen on the idea of students teaching students, or in this case, alumni teaching students.
The second Senior Rep Forum of the year focused on Southampton’s decision to remove module surveys, exams and the current implications of COVID-19. I love leading on the Senior Rep Forum’s because I feel they are so insightful and being able to have a group of students who are confident in leading their cohort and representing them is always exciting for me.
Ben and I also started collaborating with the Education Society’s ‘Partnership of Education Reform’ which looks at decolonising the curriculum and looking at the University’s current curriculum and working with the teams who are specifically working on liberating the curriculum. I especially like how the Education Society has kept themselves separate, but still working in collaboration with SUSU and the University; meaning they can do their own thing and ensure they keep to their values and ethos.
The Sabbs and I were lucky to be trained by Jim Dickinson from WonkHE learning how we can be more assertive as a Students’ Union. Even though I’m aware I like to push the buttons and get my point across, I know my emotional reactions aren’t always the best suited. However, learning different tactics of being assertive, by saying, “When will we see progress?” or “When will this working group be no longer needed?” is vital in ensuring that progress is made, especially those concerning students.
This month was definitely a slower month for me and I don’t feel as if I got a lot done. However, there will always be slower months, especially when you are working with teams with five to ten-year plans and don’t want to finish them any time soon! 😉
Until next time…