The last update I did was until the 6th February, which is over a month ago now, so apologies for that!
10th - 14th February
The University launched their new Aberdeen 2040 strategy together with their yearlong 525 anniversary celebrations today on Founders day, which is the 10th February. The University received its papa bull in 1495. There were lots of students from Student Council in attendance in the event in Elphinstone Hall which were great, and there were vegan appetisers as well which was nice as I had been told that they would not be able to get any! I actually did not stay for the presentation as I had a Mandarin class in the middle of the event, but I figured that since I have been involved so much both in the events planning and in the Aberden2040 strategy I would not be missing much - except for Laura Main from Call the Midwife... (https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/call-the-midwife-star-laura-to-chat-about-her-life-and-career-at-granite-city-fest/).
On the 11th, we launched the sale of the Kings Ball tickets which I helped out with a lot. I also attended my first Qatar Strategic Partnership Board which is jointly chaired by Aberdeen University and the Al Farah Group. We mainly discussed new degrees to be offered in Doha in the future and new staff posts to be hird for in Qatar to ensure less reliance on the admin staff in Aberdeen. This evening, it was the Annual General Meeting which I thought was very good. It was the tamest AGM that I have ever attended, although I have new-found respect for the previous sabbatical officers who have been up on that stage - because the speaks are in front of you, hearing what students were saying was a struggling and I had to sometimes rely on Isla to keep me updated if someone asked a question! If you need an excuse to procrastinate, you can watch the live of AGM here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaucOmK7mo4
On the 12th, the Sabbatical Officers had a meeting to discuss how University meetings and groups may be redistributed once the new Sabbatical Team comes in with the new Officer Remits, and the after that we had our weekly Sabbatical Meeting. Alexander and I attended a meeting regarding Inclusion Week 2020 where we brought up the lack of attention to LGBTQ+ Month (which had been brought up at the AGM the day before) and we received promise that the Senior Vice Principal would send something out and that the Pride flag would be erected for the rest of the month. We tried to organise an event for the end of the month, however in the end Alex and I had to admit defeat as everyone we contacted were too busy. This has now been highlighted and will be attended to next year.
On the 13th, I met with the new Dean of Student Support, Abbe Brown, and I spoke about the need for a clear transgender policy and that students should not have to go through difficult hoops and have to 'out' themselves as transgender against their will, and ensure that there are no cases in which the wrong name is put on your graduation diploma. After this, I hosted an Occasion wear borrow scheme event which was fairly successful with a few students reserving clothed.
The way this project works is that students can borrow nice clothes to use for an event, and then they return it so that other students can use it. Unfortunately, so far everyone who has picked up an outfit has not returned it, which is a shame, but we keep going on.
I had experienced a really bad toothache the whole day, so once this event finished, I went home to work from the rest of the day which meant I mostly spend the last few hours of my working day answering emails and preparing for meetings the next week.
On Friday the 14th, the Sabbatical Officers had a meeting with AUSA SMT followed by a meeting to understand what those who will be re-running for a Sabbatical position can and cannot do as Sabbaticals during the Sabbatical elections. After this, I had a meeting with the student who brought up LGBTQ+ Month during the AGM and we decided that he would attend the next Equality, Diversity and Inclusion meeting and bring this up.
Unfortunately, since this was almost a month ago, I can’t remember everything I have done and had to look at my scheduled meetings, so this update was not too informative, I think.
17th – 21st February
This week I was ill Monday through Wednesday. I attended a Negotiation and Influencing skills course on the Thursday (which I received a nice certificate for) and then I was back in office on Friday and had a massive backlog of emails to catch up on. I had a few meetings with the University about the strikes, and I also had to contact roombooking to cancel the Campaigns training due to low sign-ups – because of GDPR, I can’t get in touch with the students who signed up, so if you did sign you, if you get in touch we can organise something different for you to learn more about campaigning!
24th – 27th February
On Monday 24th, I had a meeting with Debbie Dyker who is the Director of People and we discussed various things, such as the International Hardship Fund and the Sustainability Action Plan (which you can read about in a different blog post!), the Aberdeen 2040 sustainability commitments (there was a meeting during a strike day so I was unable to attend), we also spoke about the disbursement from the University to AUSA and about the Sport Strategy.
Since this was a while ago, I can’t remember everything I did that was not scheduled in my calendar, unfortunately. I’m sorry if you’ve made it this far down the post and still haven’t read anything interesting…
On Tuesday 25th, we had a meeting regarding strike communications. I have received a few complaints about the disruptions caused by the strike, but largely most emails were to show their support for the strike. Then I had a meeting about some complaints that have been coming in and that we needed to progress.
We had a NUS Referendum catch-up, I had a meeting with the Representative Services Manager to discuss the Student Partnership Agreement, and then I met with our Events and RAG co-ordinator to plan the Student Flea Market on the 23rd of March. Alexander, Louise and I then met to talk about forums and share feedbacks that we have received from them.
On February 26th, I had a missed a Kings College Transformation Programme Board meeting due to the strikes, and I had an open session in the Union Brew in which I chatted with a few students but also caught up on a lot of emails that was waiting. Then I finished the day early as I had been working some overtime the previous days.
On Thursday 27th, I submitted by work report to student council (which will be posted on my blog) and we had an AGM debrief to discuss how it went, procedures, and issues raised at the meeting. This was then followed by a Sabbatical meeting. I had a meeting with our HR Assistant to just catch up and then I went to Foresterhill (Suttie Centre) for an open session.
On Friday 28th, I started the day with a Sabbatical meeting with the AUSA SMT which ran over time as the fire alarm went off in the Students Union Building so I missed my next meeting about the Johnston Redevelopment. As soon as I got out of this meeting, I got called to the University Office for an Emergency COVID-19 meeting, which took up most of the day and I only had time to come back to the office and give the managers and update before I had to yet home.
02nd – 5th March
Monday 2nd started with an 9AM to 12:30PM meeting with the University to make continuity plans for the coronavirus and making communication plans. After this I had a meeting with Principal George Boyne that Isla came with me to. She discussed the Sport strategy with George, and we chatted some about the NUS Referendum, Sabbatical Election, and the strikes.
After this, I had an Open Session in the Union Brew, which was followed by the Societies Union General Meeting in the Union Brew at 5:30PM. I took part and gave some clarifications and asked questions, together with Isla and Louise, but it was largely run by the Societies Union Committee. A few days after this, a summary of event was sent out to all societies. I will post this summary on my blog this week for anyone curious.
On Tuesday 3rd, I started my day with a 8:30AM coronavirus update and it was decided we would meet every day (not including weekends) at 8:30AM for updates. If anyone is concerned or would like to know more about what the University is doing regarding COVID-19, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.abdn.ac.uk/staffnet/working-here/coronavirus-9731.php. You should also be receiving regular updates so make sure you check your email!
I attended a Policy and Resources Committee meeting (a subcommittee of Court, which is why I broke the picket line for it) where we approved policies to go to Court later in March. One policy was a transgender policy which I will be posting for easy access once it has been formally approved by court on the 24th March.
On Wednesday 4th, we had our weekly Sabbatical Team meeting in which we updated each other on what we have been working on. I had a catch up with the AUSA SMT, in which we discussed AUSA in terms of COVID-19, and then I had my own catch up with the CEO.
I went home early this day as I had worked up a lot of overtime.
On the 5th, we had a meeting with the Gaudie and then I did my Sabbatical Review interview. I worked on the Sabbatical Campaign Fund Application form and did a lot of readings for meetings with the University, as well as going over the SFC report again as I would be having a meeting about it the following week.
On Friday 6th, I met with Karl Leydecker the Senior Vice Principal and we spoke about Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (LGBTQ+ Month and Black History Month), communications around COVID-19, Estates on campus, the Aberdeen 2040 sustainable commitments, and of course, the NUS Referendum and the Sabbatical Election.
I met with some representatives from Nightline, and then went to another Coronavirus meeting for some scenario planning. This meant that I missed out on the International Women’s day event, where I was meant to attend as a mentor.
At the end of the 6th, I attended this candidate briefing for the current Sabbatical Election. As a heads up, I will me on annual leave form the 16th March to the 20th, as I will be campaigning and am unable to work at such a time.
Any questions? Feel free to comment or email me at email@example.com!