Hello, I’m Hannah, your Activities Officer for this academic year. This is the first of my updates, which let you know what I’ve been up to so far and what my plans for this year are.
A bit of an introduction to the woman, the myth, the legend before we delve into what I've been up to over the last couple of months - so I'm Hannah and I'm from the greatest town on earth, Barnsley. I came to Newcastle in 2016 to do my undergrad in History and Archaeology, and three years in Newc wasn't enough for me so I stayed for another year to do a masters in International Relations. It turned out four years in the toon wasn't enough for me either so here I am as a sabb at the Students' Union LOL.
As you can imagine, it’s been a bit of a weird start to being a sabbatical officer. I didn’t imagine at all during election week that as a team, we’d be faced with a global pandemic and a cyber attack within the first three months on the job.
These things have meant that I’ve had to put my manifesto aside for the moment, instead, I’m focussing on how activities are going to be ran this year. It’s been challenging and stressful, and I’ve become semi-dependant on caffeine, but I’ve actually really enjoyed the problem solving and have become much more resilient because of this experience.
I’ve sat in several University meetings, which have normally being focussed on planning the return of students to campus, and making sure that it’s safe. I even had the chance to chair a meeting, which was fun but I was a nervous, sweaty mess for the first half of the meeting. It’s been great fighting to get the student voice heard in these meetings, and I feel like the Uni were very willing to ensure the student experience is kept a priority as well as safety.
What I’ve mainly being planning is how the usual society events can be done online. First, the Activities Team delivered a really informative online training for society Presidents, Treasurers, Secretaries, and Welfare Officers. This included several online resources and videos (the videos of me are proper cringe so I can only apologise lol). The feedback we got was really positive, and it was incredibly rewarding to see that our hard work meant society officers felt more prepared for this strange year ahead of us.
Next, we’re in the planning stages of organising the Societies AGM. For those of you who don’t know, this is where my constitutional amendments get voted for or against by a representative from all our societies. The AGM also is when the Societies Executive Committee get voted in. The Exec help me dish out grants to societies, as well as ratify societies and help me organise the Grad Ball. This year, I am hoping to introduce a BAME Rep into the Committee, which I am really excited and passionate about.
I’m also planning the Freshers’ Fair, but it’s so hard to keep up with and interpret the government guidelines, so I’m not sure this is going to happen. However, I’ll continue to ensure that incoming and continuing students know what great societies we have on offer, and what brilliant and creative events they are coming up with during these unprecedented times.
Over the next semester, the Activities Team will continue on our work with online training, and I will begin to plan the Culture Festival that normally takes place around Easter, I hope that I can organise as much in-person events as possible. I’ll also begin planning for this year’s Graduation Ball.
I hope that this semester has fewer obstacles, but I know that the other Sabbs and I are pretty much ready to handle literally anything now, so I look forward to all the challenges ahead!
Although I've just spent the entirety of this blog making out like I'm super busy and in demand, I'm always free if you need anything society and activity related. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you next time,