So my first year in office has come to an end and this year has absolutely flown by but I really have loved every second of it. From Freshers’ Fortnight, to student takeovers and my all time favourite, Varsity!
We kicked off the year with our free Fresher’s Fortnight, with Love Island stars to movie nights. It was a jam-packed two weeks that really set us off with a bang. As we settled in to term, October saw the start of Weekly Wednesday Wins for our sports teams as BUCS Wednesdays started. Although we had some loses and cancelled fixtures, spirits were never dampened and the night’s sports socials were as fantastic as ever. Our societies and Sport for Fun activities also got going and were at a record-breaking high and now we need to find bigger spaces for some of our groups.
October also played host to our first Diwali event. It was a beautiful evening of dancing and laughing and eating. I loved helping to organise this event and was touched that everyone who came had such wonderful things to say. Definitely will be hosting the event again next year!
November was a huge month for me as, alongside our Movember Ambassador, Ratu, I ran numerous events to raise money and awareness for Movember. I had so much fun working with Ratu and this charity is one that means a lot to me, so to be able to raise over £1,300 is an incredible achievement I’m really proud of.
December brought with it some challenges and after lots of self-reflection on how I was doing in the role of Vice President Student Involvement, I decided to re-start the conversation of changing the structure and title of the role. After getting the go-ahead I began re-writing the role and thinking of a new title. I took the proposals to Union Council and Trustee Board and received full support for the changes. So, from the start of July, you will no longer see the role of Vice President Student Involvement but instead Vice President Achievement and Belonging. The role of VPAB takes more of a focus on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and sustainability work the Students’ Union does. However, the role will still work with the sports clubs and societies as well as helping to provide volunteering opportunities and employability skill sessions. I am so excited to be the Union’s first-ever VPAB and I’ve already started making some big plans.
The second term was shaping up to be a really busy, but exciting one. Starting with Wednesday 29 March, Varsity! This year we had all the High Wycombe Sabbatical Officers taking part as Charlotte competed for netball, Brandon for rugby, and I was a part of the dance club. It was great to have all the officers involved as not even Emily managed to get out of it as she cheered us from the side-lines and took on staff duties for the day. Helping with the planning of Varsity was a great experience, and I’d like to say a huge thank you to Catherine Lymer for yet again creating a fantastic day for all our sporting students.
We had some fantastic takeovers this year which are a great opportunity for our clubs and societies to fundraise for themselves and your chosen Raise and Give (RAG) charities. This year we saw everything from dance performances to bush-tucker trials, karaoke to 24 hour game-a-thons, boxing and even magic mike. I’ve loved working with all of our clubs and societies to bring their ideas to life and take an adventure in the events world.
Speaking of RAG, I got to work closely with your RAG Ambassadors for their RAG Week event in the second term. It was a great week with a Six Nations Sweepstake and a pies and pints fundraiser for the first day of the rugby. Musical Theatre's Busking for RAG fundraiser made a return, as they took to the concourse and Beats to show off their talents. After the huge success of our handcuff challenge in the first term, we decided handcuff pairs together as they completed challenges, and did their best to raise some money out in the local town. It was a fantastic week of fundraising and with all the hard work from your RAG Ambassadors we managed to raise £5,403.45 across the RAG weeks this year.
What better way to wrap up the second term than the #BSUElections? I want to take a moment to thank everyone who cast their vote in any of our elections, you have made a difference in creating a Union that represents all of our students.
I decided back in November that I wanted to re-run for a Sabbatical Officer role, I knew one year wasn’t enough for me to really get my teeth sunk into everything. I am extremely grateful to have been re-elected into the role of Vice President Achievement and Belonging and I have really big ideas and plans and will hopefully do all of you proud.
Finally, we head into the final term filled with awards ceremonies, meetings, and welcome week planning. I really enjoyed this year’s awards nights, celebrating all of our wins, congratulating our deserving winners, and at the AU Dinner having a laugh at our losses. Watching the winners, both student and staff, realise they had won was such a special thing for me and showed just how much it meant to them. Both AU Dinner and Union Awards are such special nights, I’m honoured to have been able to host and work closely with both teams to bring the evenings together.
We also celebrated the end of the year at FestiBall where the bars and events team worked so hard planning a fantastic weekend of headliners. I absolutely loved every single night and want to say huge thank you to our student bar and security staff as without them the event wouldn’t have been able to go ahead.
Now the year has ended it’s time to take a little bit of a break and make sure we’re all taking time for ourselves. Over the next couple of weeks, I know many students will be joining me in the stresses of moving out of accommodation – this is no easy job, but as someone who has done it for the last few years, my advice is to start early even if it’s just building the boxes and putting one item in a box a day… don’t leave it till the last minute.
Even though moving out can takeover all of our free time, make sure you’re still doing things you love. I’ll be heading home for the next two weekends to take part in my dance school’s annual shows, and then over the summer, I’ll be making sure to spend as much time outside as possible whilst working and choreographing for next year’s tap team as part of the BNU dance club.
Well, that just about sums up my first year in office, it’s been an incredible experience and if you’re on the fence about going for a role next year, I’d say just do it. It really is a job like no other. Whilst the academic year is over, we will all still be in the office working away planning for next year so if you’re around make sure you pop in and say hello. But, for now, have a great summer and I’ll see you soon.
- Jess Bradbury, outgoing Vice President Student Involvement 2022-23