Thoughts and opinions straight from the mouths of your elected officers.

Officer Blogs

Student President

Hi, I’m Cecilia and I’m your Student President. Drop me an e-mail if you’re concerned or have ideas that will improve policies, diversity, democratic structure of AUSA and if you want to help make a positive change at the University.

Email: ausapresident@abdn.ac.uk 

 

Quick questions

If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would use:

Best. Person. Ever. 

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: 

'Did you try turning it off and then on again?'

If I had one superpower, it would be:

To be able to understand any language.

Favourite thing to do in my spare time is:

Have a good chat with my friends, Michaelle (cat) and Tom and Jerry (plants).

This year I want to achieve:

Increased inclusivity and engagement within the student body. 

Work Report 3rd October till 7th November

 

Sabbatical Officer Work Report      

                                                            3rd October – 7th November, 2019                           

Highlights

FoodSharing Hub is pending some signage other than that it is near complete. Art exhibition is up and running, however very ad hoc at the moment, at the time of the SC meeting the first piece will hopefully be up. AURORA Conference was very productive. Qatar Campus have held their first graduaton ceremony.

Manifesto progress

General Meeting happening in the first term of the academic year. I have not been very good at doing regular social media updates this month. FoodSharing Hub is close to completion.   Study spaces are readily and easily found on abdn.ac.uk/students, together with opening times and room loxcations!

                   

Activity

Work Done

        Outcome

Name an activity, e.g. event, meeting, work group, conference, independent work, etc. What was the theme of the activity?

What happened? What was discussed? What sort of work did you do?

What were the outcomes? Did you learn something? Are you going to follow-up on something?

AURORA

Attended AURORA Conference in Amsterdam, hosted by Virjie Universitet (VU). Participated in the Sustainability Work Group, and joined as a ‘lead’ on Sustainable Event. We visited the Green Office at the VU.

 

Please find attached with my work report, the report I wrote for the AURORA Student Council on the work group. I learnt about the Green Events Guide that a masters student worked as part of their final project, which I have forwarded to the SMT and AUSA will hopefully start to implement aspects of it.

Black History Month (BHM)

Braiding event seemed successful, over 40 students came through (although not all got their hair braided.

After being approached by a student who found a report from the University that mentions BHM, I have set up a meeting with Senior Vice Principal Karl Leydecker to meet with him about this and about BHM 2020 (together with Alexander, Welfare Officer, Lindsey Hamilton, and Radeen Moncrieffe, BME Forum Convenor).

Qatar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. We coordinated a Zoom Video Conference call with some staff members in Qatar and the Chair of the Qatar Campus Committee. We discussed their ongoing projects, and my trip out to Qatar for the Graduations.

2. Went to Qatar on 02/11/2019. I travelled all day Saturday 2nd, and visited the Qatar campus on the Sunday 3rd. The Principal hosted an ASK session for the students there, which was very well attended and the students asked many questions. They also asked questions related to representation and Student Council, which gave the Qatar Campus Committee an opportunity to spread awareness of themselves. I received a tour of the campus, and met with the Qatar Campus Committee and they updated me on their ongoing projects. On Monday 4th, I attended the inaugural Graduation Ceremony, the students were very excited and the ceremony was beautiful with a 4th year music students from the Aberdeen Campus performing (Peter McPherson). I attended a dinner with the Sheikha (who had received a honorary degree) and other personnel, among one being the chair of the Qatar Campus Committee, Mohammed Annatshi. Our flights back to Aberdeen was cancelled so I was not back in Aberdeen until late on the 6th November.

1. They asked advice on several things from sports (which we were not able to answer as Isla was not able to attend the meeting), welfare related projects, and academic matters, as well as socities.

2. I learnt many things about the Qatar Campus, the culture and their ongoing projects. Meeting with the Qatar Campus Committee, I learnt how ambitious and efficient they are, they have 15 ongoing projects and I look forward to hearing more about what they are doing and what we can assist them with. I learnt that due to differing University structures, at time moment in time, the most the Sabbatical Officers can do for the Qatar Campus Committee is to offer assistance and put pressure on staff when necessary, and that in the future it would be more useful for representatives from the Qatar Campus Committee to come to Aberdeen, and thus if I get invited back out I will be pushing for them to come here instead.

Study Spaces

Meeting for updates postponed due to my traveling to Amsterdam and Qatar.  

Will reschedule for a more convenient time. Student Experience will also get involved, however I will have to take a critical review to ensure that does not sway the goal in a different direction than intended.

Student Partnership Agreement (SPA)

It is nearly close to completion. I presented it to the University Management Group to get their feedback and ensure we had buy-ins from different areas of the University. Met with Student Experience and Student Support to work out some fine-tuning of wordings and such.

Next step will be to approve it, assign leads to different tasks, and create actions plans for what achieve these performance indicators mean.

 

 

 

SUB – FoodSharing Hub

 

We have decided to keep the current fridge. More sustainable than one with a glass door and now we are also reusing one we already had (both financial and environmental sustainability). The AUSA Graphic Designer have looked into signage for the hub, which is pending approval from Sabbatical Officers involved.  

SUB – Space usage

In discussion with AUSA team and Sabbatical Team.

Still progressing with this. Will be presented at the next SMT meetings, so a much richer update should be available for the next Work Report.

SUB – Student Art Exhibition

Have had many students interested, at the time of writing I was still waiting for most to acquire frames. Students who participated in an AberGreen art competition may have their art displayed here. If you want to display your art, please go to: https://ausa2.typeform.com/to/rR10ZS.

 

Forum/Societies Meetings

Had an informal meeting with the Convenor for the BME Forum, Radeen Moncrieffe.

 

Raising and Giving Campaign (RAG)

Have attended all meetings I was able to, missed a few due to Governance training in Glasgow on 15/10, AURORA Conference in Amsterdam on  29/10, etc.

There is a new Chair of RAG elected, Laura Szabó)

Clothing Project

On the back burner.

 

Open Sessions

Continuing with my Open Sessions on Foresterhill Campus, at Hillhead, and on Kings Campus.

 

Times for all of my Open Sessions for the rest of the first term of the academic year can be found on ausa.org.uk/whatson and on Facebook.  

University Meetings – Fees & Scholarships

Attended several Scholarship & Fees meetings. Focused mainly on Scholarships.

Discussed how to best distribute scholarships, whether big chunks to fewer students or smaller chunks to more students, for example.

Court Introduction

  1. Met with Directors of Professional Services.
  2. Met with Trade Union Representatives.
  3. Met with Heads of School.
  1. Not all were able to make it, however I have met most of them in University meetings and as part of my Sabbatical Induction, however never in the context of Court.
  2. We had some interesting discussion. They mentioned the ‘upcoming’ UCU ballot (more on this below).
  3. Not all were able to make it, howeer I have met most of them in University meetings, but never in the context of Court and never had the same kind of discussions that are beneficial like for Court introduction.

AUSA Trustee Board

Next meeting is on 04/11/2019

I will miss due to being in Qatar.

Brexit

I have also been attending Brexit meetings with the University, to keep updated on what the university is doing to help their students (and staff) and to keep them informed. There is now a webpage you can visit (https://www.abdn.ac.uk/news/brexit/) to find out more about the situation and what it means for you as a student at Aberdeen University. If the page doesn't have the answer to your questions, you can also email brexit@abdn.ac.uk.

We have been referring students to the university webpage re: Brexit information in our newsletters. Due to Brexit extension, these meetings will no longer be as frequent (a few times per week) however the webpage will still be up.

Democratic Review

Had more discussions on this.

We posted an update on this, which can be found here: https://www.ausa.org.uk/representation/ausademocraticreview2018/

NUS - Referendum

Motion in October council asked for Referendum in November.

After some discussion within the meeting in which we explained why we did not believe having one in November was a productive idea, the motion was verbally amended and the Referendum will be held in the second term of the academic year, as originally planned. The Education Officer will lead the election committee so please refer any question so the elections email insert email

Aberdeen Students’ Unions

AUSA, NEScol, RGU Union, and SRUC have decided to four times per year, rotating the location between the institutions.   

Will foster partnership and collaborative work between the institutions hopefully.  Liam McCabe (NUS Scotland President) will attend when possible.

NUS

Zanzan (NUS President) came for a brief visit of the Students’ Union Building as she was in town for the SNP Conference.
Had a phone call with Liam McCabe as he had questions regarding the NUS Referendum.

The Gaudie has contacted him about the NUS Referendum so he wanted to find out more. Promised to keep him inform of the dates when they were set, but that I took an impartial stand and would not be able support or oppose him coming to campaign as that is his prerogative.

University Meetings – Capital Projects

I attended the meeting for the Science Teaching Hub. They discussed glass fittings and issues with the contractor.

I have hopefully found a student to attend this meeting, someone who studying a degree that will later be hosted within this building.

University Meetings – Aberdeen 2040

Student Councillors have recived a copy of the latest draft. If they have any feedback, please contact me on auaspresident@abdn.ac.uk.

At the point of writing this, I have not received any feedback from councilors on the Aberdeen 2040 strategy draft plan.

University Meetings – 525 Anniversary celebrations

I missed this due to the AURORA Conference.

 

University Meetings – Outcome Agreement

I attended a meeting with Janine Chalmers (Strategic Planning Officer) and Hulda Sveinsdottir (Director of Planning). We discussed the Outcome Agreement with the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and students’ initiatives which are related to these categories – I listed initiatives, projects and events planned by students, related to community outreach, mental and physical health, and the climate, for example. We mainly focused on unique or new iniatives, but also some that have been live for years.

This will bring wider awareness of student activities and hopefully this will help give students more support and understand of the need for spaces for students to use for their extracurricular activities. Please contact me at ausapresident@abdn.ac.uk regarding things you are doing!

Foresterhill

I held Open Sessions there, and spoke with many students regarding issues that they feel they experience at Suttie (in particular) and what they think the Students’ Union Building should be like.

One persistent feedback I received was that AUSA should host theme nights in the Union Brew. Another was that two microwaves within Suttie Centre was not enough for the amount of students who uses them. I contacted Arlene Ray (Suttie Centre Manager) and was told that because the Suttie Centre is a multi-agency building (jointly owned by the NHS and the University of Aberdeen) there was nothing she could do about the matter. I will be pursuing other tactics to hopefully get this accomplished, potentially with the help of Student Experience/Student Support.

University Meetings – Student Experience Committee

Met the Student Experience Committee where we shared what we have been up to and learnt what other departments (such as Student Experience and Support Services).

It was snice.

BDS Motion meetings

I met with a representative from the Palestine Society and a representative from the J-Soc Society. We discussed the BDS motion that went through the General Meetings last term.

Not much was accomplished, action points were assigned and we will have more meetings once more information was surfaced. I have not been able to progress much on this as I was away in Qatar.

PGT Welcoming Event/Market Place

I missed this event due to illness.

Alexander (Welfare Officer), Louise (Communities Officer), and Isla (Sport Officer) attended, so you can read their work reports for more information about the event.

Governance Training in Glasgow

I attended Governance Training in Glasgow for my role on University Court. Other Sabbatical Officer court members were present from other Scottish Universities.

It was not un-useful, however will have to consider in the future if it is worth the time missed as much of what was discussed was generalized for all different positions within court, and it acknowledged that as a Sabbatical Officer with one year, max two years, on Court, you may not feel as productive as someone who may spend nine years on court. 

Meeting with University Communications

The Sabbatical Team and Karolina Kubala (AUSA Communications & Digital Media Coordinator) met with the University Communications Team as at some points, we need to work together and it would be beneficial to know who each other are.

It was decided that most things would go through Karolina, to ensure consistency and that she is aware of what’s happening and can filter things to the Sabbatical Officers, and chase us up if emails are missed or to ensure multiple requests of the same things are not put through.

Societies Union Meeting

I attended a Societies Union Meetings to discuss the Democratic Review with them.

We decided that they would take a few weeks to formulate their response before we met again.

 

Senate

I attended my first Senate meetings together with Dariya Koleva (Education Officer) and some students from her committees, and Alexander (in observatory status). 

Dariya took lead as Senate if is a forum for academic matters and this is her remit.

Informal Meeting with Richard Wells (Vice Prinicpal for Internationalization) and Davied Beattie (Director of Finance) regarding carbon offsetting

It was the most satisfactory of meetings, but all parties agreed this was not the last of this discussion – especially with the sustainability plans for the Aberdeen 2040 strategy.

 

Art Gallery re-opening

I was invited to attend the Aberdeen Art Gallery re-opening. I brought along with me the President of the Art Society, Kerttuli Uusimies.

 

It was great, the Art Society President had a lot of fun so I count this as a success.

Registering to Vote

There was a meeting regarding, however I was unable to attend this.

AUSA/Sabbatical Team will be encouraging students to register to vote.

UCU Strikes

UCU held a ballot and it was voted on that they would go on strike. This will be happening from 25th November until 4th of December.

I will be taking the lead on communications for this in regards to for example student complains and ensuring that information from UCU is communication properly to the students.

Campaign Trainings

I am working with NUS to arrange Campaign Training on campus, however due to my travels this has been put on hold.

I will need to discuss with AUSA to find the most appropriate time to hold these training.

 

 

 

 

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Student President

Hi, I’m Cecilia and I’m your Student President. Drop me an e-mail if you’re concerned or have ideas that will improve policies, diversity, democratic structure of AUSA and if you want to help make a positive change at the University.

Email: ausapresident@abdn.ac.uk 

 

Quick questions

If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would use:

Best. Person. Ever. 

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: 

'Did you try turning it off and then on again?'

If I had one superpower, it would be:

To be able to understand any language.

Favourite thing to do in my spare time is:

Have a good chat with my friends, Michaelle (cat) and Tom and Jerry (plants).

This year I want to achieve:

Increased inclusivity and engagement within the student body. 

8 posts
Last post 02 Dec 2019
Communities Officer

Hi, I’m Louise and I’m your Communities Officer. Drop me an e-mail if you’re concerned or have ideas that will improve sustainability, environment and ethics and accommodation within the University and the city.

Email: ausacommunities@abdn.ac.uk 

 

Quick questions

If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would use:

Empathetic, committed and (sometimes) adventurous. 

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: 

Don't waste your time on something you don't like doing. Find what makes you happy and go from there. 

If I had one superpower, it would be:

Being able to fill up anything (my bank account or my fridge!)

Favourite thing to do in my spare time is:

I like to garden and plant things, but also exploring new places in cities or nature. 

This year I want to achieve:

Sustainability! Not just in words, but actions. 

25 posts
Last post 21 Nov 2019
Welfare Officer

Hi, I’m Alex and I’m your Welfare Officer. Drop me an e-mail if you’re concerned or have ideas that will improve the welfare and general wellbeing of students. 

Email: ausawelfare@abdn.ac.uk 

 

Quick questions

If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would use:

Affable, approachable and cheerful. 

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: 

To create my own plan to manage stress and not to concern myself with things I don't have control of.  

If I had one superpower, it would be:

The power to call everything done. 

Favourite thing to do in my spare time is:

Enjoy my favourite football team (Arsenal) play and win.

This year I want to achieve:

To make sure support and welfare services are more accessible and publicised. 

4 posts
Last post 13 Nov 2019
Sports Officer

Hi, I’m Isla and I’m your Sports Officer. Drop me an e-mail if you’re concerned or have ideas that will improve sports clubs, sports events, activities and facilities.

Email: ausasport@abdn.ac.uk 

 

Quick questions

If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would use:

Sporty (of course), friendly and innovative.

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: 

From my mum - 'touch once'. Basically means once you start a task, see it through. 

If I had one superpower, it would be:

Teleportation - it's a lot greener than transport. 

Favourite thing to do in my spare time is:

Baking.

This year I want to achieve:

A lot! The 3 key themes will be Sport for all, mental health in sport, and improving communication for clubs. 

 

12 posts
Last post 22 Oct 2019
Education Officer

Hi, I’m Dariya and I’m your Education Officer. Drop me an e-mail if you’re concerned or have ideas that will improve educational and teaching quality and if you need support with anything concerning your education.

Email: ausaeducation@abdn.ac.uk  

 

Quick questions

If I had to describe myself in 3 words I would use:

Cheerful, Determined, Quirky. 

Best piece of advice I’ve ever received is: 

Something a friend once said: Be so completely yourself so everyone else feels safe to be themselves too. Cheesy, but always helpful to keep in mind. 

If I had one superpower, it would be:

Teleportation, definitely Being able to instantly transport yourself someplace new and exciting sounds amazing. 

Favourite thing to do in my spare time is:

I like live music so going to gigs is one of my favourite ways to spend my free time. Day trips are also super fun. 

This year I want to achieve:

I'd be very happy if I am able to deliver some of my key manifesto goals and represent students best I can. I also have my personal goal to visit more new places than the previous year. 

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