This is it – my final week as President of the Union! What a year it has been. I'll leave my emotional, fond farewell to my last day, but for now I'll give a recap of my year. As my term in office comes to an end, I’ve used this opportunity to reflect on everything I’ve done this year, be it from my manifesto promises or new projects I’ve picked up along the way. I’ve worked hard to achieve these objectives and so I’m using this blog post as a chance to shout about all the cool things.
To start off with, my manifesto promises. At the start of my year in office, I spent time going through my manifesto with Union staff and picking out specific objectives to achieve during the 2015/16 academic year. Five overarching themes were drawn up, each containing between two to five goals. The five themes are: Housing, Clubs, Societies and Projects, Union App, Women and Community. I’ve listed just a few key achievements below. If you would like to read my in-depth summary of all I’ve done this year, please click on this icon .
Aim: Housing - Tackle the issue of finding quality, affordable housing in London
- Landlord accreditation – I started a collaboration with the website Move’m, who are essentially a TripAdvisor for student housing. We ran several campaigns together, encouraging students to review their houses to benefit other Imperial students looking for quality housing.
- I worked alongside the Student Hub to organise and deliver the Private Housing Evening. According to the Student Hub it was the most successful Private Housing Evening they have ever had.
- I contributed to Citizens UK’s London Mayoral Elections assembly, focussing on London’s top housing asks. This led to me initiating, confirming and finalising membership for Imperial College Union to affiliate with this campaigning organisation.
Aim: Clubs, Societies and Projects - Deliver new income streams for our Clubs, Societies and Projects
- I supported CSPs with sponsorship applications over the course of the academic year
- I organised and hosted a special Sponsorship event for CSP officers, aiming to empower CSPs to find their own sponsors, ensure that getting sponsorship is sustainable from year to year, and give CSPs the skills to market themselves. External speakers, alumni and Union CSP officers spoke, followed by Q&A and network sessions. The sign up rate was extraordinarily high – all 75 places were filled in a matter of hours!
Aim: Union App: Produce a mobile-friendly platform, as an extension of our website - delivering better services on the move, for our students
- I developed the plans and ideas for this aim over the academic year, including gathering lots of feedback via our website, newsletters, social media, speaking to students and a focus group. Key functions for the app have been decided upon and I have been in contact with several student developers since. This is a long term project that will extend well past my year in office, however I’m delighted with the progress made this year on what I think will be an important platform for students to use.
Aim: Women: Work with the College and external organisations to encourage more women to engage in education and research in STEM
- I worked extensively with Outreach, women groups at Imperial and individually on multiple projects, including speaking at several women/girls in STEM related panels from schools to University panels.
- I helped with the organisation and promotion of the HeForShe Get Free UK Tour to Imperial and acted as Master of Ceremonies for the panel discussion.
- I worked alongside College to organise the Women @ Imperial week 2016 (7th-11th March), celebrating and recognising the achievements of female students and staff.
- I worked alongside the Business School to discuss ways of promoting and supporting women in business for current students and alumni. This resulted in a new merge between the defunct Tandem society and Women in Business Club.
- I played a key part in the College’s Gender Equality Steering Group and Institutional Culture research. I have been substantially involved in recruiting students for focus groups and feedback sessions, showing the researchers around campus and introducing them to key stakeholders, as well as taking part in the recent two-month long Action Inquiry.
Aim: Community: Work to create more of a sense of community within the student body
- I organised a very successful ‘Royal Mixer’ alongside the student union President of the Royal College of Music. This event was for all students of Imperial College, Royal College of Music, Royal College of Arts and Royal Veterinary College. It was fantastic to see lots of mixing and engagement with students between all 4 colleges.
- Despite the International ‘Celebration of Culture’ night being unexpectedly unable go ahead this year, alongside the OSC I’ve put in place numerous plans and suggestions to ensure this event is sucessful next year.
Other Achievements and Projects
Next up on my list are a small selection of projects I picked up over the year, outside of my manifesto pledges:
- Evelyn Gardens - I successfully lobbied and worked with College to reinstate Evelyn Gardens back into the accommodation portfolio. This time it will be accommodation for returning students. The residences are undergoing complete refurbishment and renovation and will be opened in September 2016. 250 rooms will be made available on a 51-week contract from £182pw – a price I negotiated with College’s Chief Financial Officer. When applications opened in the Spring term, the accommodation was so popular that all rooms were filled within a matter of days and there is currently a substantial waiting list.
- Halls - I ensured a fair price for the first year students who were allocated Fisher and Bernard Sunley Halls this year; negotiating a £50pw decrease in the rent originally proposed.
- Week Zero - I successfully worked alongside the Director of Campus Services to establish a ‘true’ Freshers’ Week (free of academic work) at the beginning of each academic year. ‘Week Zero’ will start in 2018 and it will be the first time Imperial will hold a Welcome Week without academic work!
- Future Student Services - I was on the panel of the Future Student Services review of all College and Union student services. Lots of positive recommendations have resulted from this review which College will start to implement over the next academic year.
- Fundraising for students - I played a large part in the Alumni Team’s summer fundraising appeal on raising money for student services and the library in particular. With the assistance of the team, I wrote a personal letter which was sent out to almost all Imperial alumni, asking for donations to help us reach our target to adequately support student services and refurbish the library.
- Staff recruitment - I was part of the recruitment and appointment of key staff including Vice-Provost (Education) for College and the Union’s new Managing Director.
- Union Strategy - I’ve made a significant contribution to the development of the Union’s new strategy, due to be released in 2017.
I hope that through the above acheivments I have been able to honour a number of my manifesto pledges and contributed to improving the student experience for the better! If you would like to ask me anything about this year or the projects I've worked on, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me!
All the best,