The most popular question students and friends ask me (other than ‘Can you explain VAT to me?’) is ‘What do you actually do?’. Finance and Services is a very vague title that covers a lot, but explains very little. In brief, I cover CSP financial issues/transactions/sponsorship, Union investments and budgeting, overseeing our student experience of commercial services (shop outlets/bars) run by College and the Union and lobbying for improvements, Union/CSPs health and safety, and various other bits and bobs.
But that doesn’t really answer the question, what do you do? Why aren’t you always at your desk? Are you really busy?
So instead, I thought I’d show you a snapshot of what I do. Although days vary in amounts of time spent on meetings/admin/crisis dealing/miscellaneous activities, today is a pretty good example of an average day:
Monday 3rd December 2018
8am: Let the OT meeting begin!
Starting the week with an early morning team breakfast meeting, who doesn't love Mondays?!
Every week, Rob, James, Becky, Alejandro and I meet up for 2 hours on a Monday morning to discuss issues of that week, what actions we need to take, decide on any committee agenda points we need to take a stance on, and also update each other on the progress of our work. This is so we make sure we’re not just putting our own stream of student perspective into our work and decisions, but considering all aspects of student views.
10am: Emails. Emails. Emails. 200 emails received over the weekend, ahhhhhh. Time for a cup of tea to keep me going! Emails include refunds, club issues to go sort out, and general queries.
[Club interrupts me with an emergency PO that needs approving. Just as that's done, another pops into the office with something that needs signing. And now back to emails...]
11:30am: eActivities time!!!! DPFS and DPCS take it in turns every few days to take a break from our project work and chug through all our clubs POs, claims, transaction corrections, credit card requests, donations, international payments, imprest requests, refunds and event budgets! Got to love admin... On the plus side, it’s a great way to see what all our clubs are up to, did anyone else know the CGCU and DoCSoc did a joint 'Diversity in Engineering' talk?! Still, I’m not a finance expert (yet), so this doesn’t go without a few trips over to the finance team’s desk to ask them some weird exceptions to the VAT rules...
The true money experts #ICUfinanceteam #MySaviours
12pm: Health and Safety training! This sessions topic: 'Allergens, anaphylaxis, and what to do it an emergency'. Training is being delivered by one of our lovely qualified events team members and I’m helping record it and answer questions. Training overran and had to rush off to the JCR for Under Pressure.
12:40pm: A bit different to my usual weeks, I’ve been out on a stand for an hour in the JCR, shouting out about our ‘Under Pressure’ campaign with the Education and Welfare team. Under Pressure is a campaign going on all week - there are free meditation classes, massages, yoga and smoothies also being provided throughout the week as a chance to take a break and chill, so come get involved!
Did you spot us?? #UnderPressure
1:30pm: More emails while trying to eat my lunch at my desk. Visit various colleagues in the office trying to fix some club problems.
2pm: Time to write my Union Council report. Each Union Council every Officer Trustee updates on what work they've been doing in terms of projects, and also how their progress in their manifesto points/goals are going. You can see all the past papers on our website.
2:30pm: Had to dash off to talk to some college people about a new upcoming project, Meat Free Mondays for January. Being implemented in bars, shops and cafes across College and the Union serving hot food, it’s a very big project requiring a lot of collaboration between student societies, the Union, College and Greening Imperial. I’ll be telling you more about this next week in Felix, so keep an eye out for my article! In my spare time, set up 'Stop Funding Hate' as a supplier so that we can start donating certain newspaper profits to this campaign!
4pm: Meeting to discuss an ongoing issue between a club and another university that still hasn’t been resolved. Had to drag the previous DPFS in for this. Don’t worry, I bought him a cup of tea to say thanks!
5pm: End of the work day (supposedly). Club comes in with a last minute emergency to fix. With that solved, I’m finishing up this blog and would usually be heading off to train with my hockey and lacrosse teams at Harlington around now. However, tonight is the staff christmas party, so I'm switching my sports kit for a dress and heels and thoroughly looking forward to the big dinner that awaits me!
While this is only a snapshot, it covers a lot of my day-to-day tasks. When not in meetings about specific projects, this work is continued, being balanced alongside my admin/crisis fighting role. Want to know more, reply, or want to suggest a way I can improve communicating my work to students, please comment below! #OverAndOut