Claudia - Deputy President (Finance & Services)

Becky (Deputy President Welfare)

Hey, I’m Claudia! I was elected by YOU to represent all students at Imperial and work towards improving our student experience.

Quick Facts: I'm a Civil Engineering student. I was part of the committee for the City & Guilds College Union (CGCU), a sub-union of Imperial that looks specifically after the engineering student’s needs. I love sport and play Hockey and Lacrosse. You can usually find me at my desk in the Union, in 568, or running about on a sport pitch!

With 5 Officer Trustees (OTs) elected, we each champion a different aspect of student experience, helping us cover as many student viewpoints and areas as possible. I’m in charge of Finance & Services – this mainly includes helping clubs, societies and projects (CSPs) manage their finances and plan events, looking after the Union finances, and working with the Union Commercial Services and College Campus Services to make improvements that benefit students. As well as the day-to day affairs, I focus on longer term projects, delivering my manifesto points and picking up projects I identify throughout the year as important to the student body.

Keep up-to-date with what I'm doing for YOU!

This year one of our joint OT goals is communication! We want to keep you updated with what work we are doing to make your uni experiences easier and more enjoyable. We know no single stream of communication works for everyone, so we’re trying to get our messages out in as many formats as possible (some may question are we bonkers for trying to keep all these streams going haha)!

To find out more about what I’m up to, as well as more about what my actual role involves:

 

Or, you can read my Felix articles and interviews: Newspaper profits redirected, Meat Free Mondays TrialFelix interview all the OTs.

Or, read my Union Council reports, detailing the progress of all the projects I’m working on: 26th Oct 18, 13th Nov 18, 11th Dec 18.

Or, follow my campaigns: Stop Funding Hate, Meat Free Monday.

Have questions? Need help? Want to tell me your thoughts on our services? Get in touch! Find me in person (Union Office, Level 2 of Beit Quad), by phone (020 7594 8060), or by email. I cannot guarantee I’ll always be available at short notice however, but our reception desk can always help you arrange a time to see me or pass on any missed calls.

It's a full-time job, so what do I actually do?

It’s a busy job; a combination of reactive work dealing with club problems, student-wide issues raised, and College announcements, and proactive work focusing on projects to improve student experience, as well as making it more inclusive. While technically only a 9am-5pm job, you’ll often find all the OTs working over-time, ensuring projects are completed for you to our best possible ability, rather than just the quality a 9-5 job would allow, as well as sorting out club issues that pop up at all hours of the day!

Working with students, volunteers, College staff and Union staff over the year, I have many goals and projects, derived from my manifesto as well as student issues I’ve noticed since starting the role.

Autumn '18:  click to find out more details!

Spring '19:  click to find out more details!

 

On top of all these projects, there's also the day-to-day work I do:

  • Working with College Campus Services to make general improvements around College for you
  • Writing reports, papers and communication pieces for meetings and the general student body
  • Overseeing  CSP finance: meeting with clubs over event budgets, risk assessments, etc
  • Approving your eActivities transactions and processing refunds
  • Approving Union bank payments
  • Signing contracts (mainly your CSP sponsorship agreements)
  • And of course…responding to your emails!

 

Projects and Progress: the details

Autumn '18:

  •  Status: Completed  Introduce breakfast to FiveSixEight
    • After rounds of taste testing over summer, a menu was selected
    • On the 24th September 2018, breakfast was soft launched
    • On the 1st October 2018, breakfast was full launched
    • Next Steps: Review Breakfast
  •  Status: Ongoing  Work with Greening Imperial on the College sustainability
    • I sit on the Greening Imperial Committee (a group of interested College staff members, mainly from the Grantham Institute, who are working with the rest of College to make changes on campus to improve our overall sustainability), as the Union representative.
    • In Autumn 2018, Greening Imperial have introduced many changes, including:
      • Banning single-use plastic cups in College main outlets - saving 850,000 cups a year!
      • Substituting plastic cultery for wooden
      • Introducing a coffee cup levy
    • Next Steps: Meat Free Monday Campaign and starting to look at our bins and labels for recycling
  •  Status: Ongoing  Improve DPFS communications
    • Social Media:
      • Twitter frequently used to share relevant news articles and my day-to-day activities
      • Instagram used to promote campaigns and also any new changes on campus relevant to my work
      • Facebook used to promote any campaigns I am involved with, or any articles/blogs I have written
      • Constituent Unions (CUs) used to spread the word of campaigns
    • eActivities Training Hub:
      • New page added on 'Refunds', including infographic
    • Union Website:
      • Created 2 campaigns pages - Stop Funding Hate & Meat Free Monday
      • Shall continue to try to keep this page up-to-date
    • Next Steps: Shall continue to create more infographics and webpages to explain my work and union processes clearer, for example by creating a Union Finance Infographic.
  •  Status: Completed  Assess DPFS workload to see if it is the most effective use of DPFS time for students
    • I noticed a lot of my time this term was taken up with administration processes, such as eActivities approvals, refunds, contract signing, sending off bank payments, changing passwords on email accounts for club committee members, or re-activating club emails.
    • To track how much I did each week, I began to keep a log of all these tasks, as well as asking why did these tasks fall with me?
    • From this, I established a lot of this admin was with me just because it had been in the past for so long, no one knew exactly why. I also established that a lot of the admin could be redirected to the appropriate teams (as in the case of refunds), eliminated by the new version of eActivities being coded currently, or given to another staff member (who would have to be hired).
    • For the moment, most of these admin roles will sit with me for the rest of my year, but change whenthte new DPFS comes in
    • During this time, I have also looked at my job description, comparing it to both what I do and what I think I should do in the role. Combined with conversations with Rob (President), this has lead to a role review and suggested ammendments to be finalised and released to the public soon.
    • Next Steps: Find people to run for my role next year! [Please do send me a message if you're interested and I'll tell you more about the role!]
  •  Status: Completed  Improve the CSP sponsorship process
    • Coming into the role, I was bombarded with sponsorship contracts in all sorts of formats, signed in various orders, and sent to my dpfs email account where they would get lost amongst the other 100 emails I receive a day. These contracts then needed to be printed, signed, scanned in and emailed back, as well as filed in the OT office.
    • To fix the first issue, I created a separate email for the contracts to be sent (csp.sponsorship@imperial.ac.uk), created an auto reply establishing the time line of return, and updated the eActivities Training Hub page requesting they be sent in PDF format with the subject me club & company names. Although this seems small, this cut down a lot of my time searching for contracts or names.
    • I next got permission to create the digital signatures and stamps needed for signing, uploading them into Adobe Reader so I could open PDFs, sign and save them into folders on my hardrive, and email them back - cutting down on a lot of printing and scanning, while also saving a LOT of trees!
    • With over 250 contracts already signed this year, this has improved turn around time greatly, however, project work or a club crisis could stop me getting around to signing contracts for a few weeks, slowing things down. To prevent this happening anymore, I have regularly booked out a time in my calander to specifically sign contracts, which has also helped a lot in the past few weeks of term.
    • Next Steps: Possibility to refresh the contract template to make it one simple page for clubs to fill in (only if I have time from finishing another project early) + Create an infographic to explain the sponsorship contract timeline clearer instead of a block of text.

 

Spring '19:

  •  Status: Ongoing  Launch a Meat Free Monday trial across four campuses
    • This January, Meat Free Monday launched!
    • This was a campaign born from many different groups wanting to run similar campaigns and being brought together to make one centralised, joint union and college intitative!
  •  Status: Not yet started  Review the breakfast trial in FiveSixEight
    • Breakfast times were changed from 8-11.30am to 9.30-11.30am by the Head of Commerical Services and the Beit Bars Manager over Winter holidays
    • A timeline for full menu review and offering still needs to be planned
  •  Status: Not yet started  Help plan Summer Ball
    • New Summer Ball Coordinator hired - begins mid Jan!
  •  Status: Ongoing  Focus on the Union's sustainability in terms of single-use disposable plastics and recycling
    • Last term, I looked at all the plastic we use in the Union and identified that single-use plastic cups were a good focus point.
    • Currently, we use 350,000 cups a year, which definitely isn't good for the environment. But with license laws, health and safety reasons, and logistics, finding a suitable alternative is hard.
    • Having done a lot of online research, contacted different venues and suppliers, and visited LSE and the Natural History Museum, I can conclude reuseable plastic cups that can be recycled at end-of-use are the best option for our bars, if we choose to replace the single-use ones at all (LSE bars decided it's not feasible for them).
    • I am now looking into seeing how could reuseable plastic cups be implemented, will it work, and what extras need to be done such as improvements to our education on recycling. I will be consulting various customers, bar staff and bar managers over the next term to try and create a system that works.
  •  Status: Completed  Improve the CSP sponsorship process
    • Currently, you can view our Union's financial reports in the 'Annual Report', but unless you like reading through pages and pages of numbers this is not helpful, nor do you know what the different department spending actually translates to
    • I aim to be able to display our finances (income/costs/net) in a much easier fashion, so am researching how other Unions do this around the UK.
    • The conclusion is basically all Unions display this information only in Annual Reports, bar 2 Unions I've found out of 25...and I'm currently still hunting for more, expanding to other country Unions too.