This second semester has been jam-packed since it kicked back off in January and coming back from the Christmas break feels like a distant memory.
I jumped straight into the year with planning the opening of the Windsor Halls Safe Space with the help of Bucks Men’s Rugby President, Tim Cunningham. Equipped with water, snacks, a blanket, a place to charge your phone, and a safe place to sit and be safe, the reception of Windsor Halls is accessible 24/7 to all Bucks students who need a safe place to be.
After collecting feedback from students, I contacted Thames Valley Police about tackling nighttime safety concerns in High Wycombe, and what can be done to make reporting better. Soon I'll be launching a personal safety survey to collect feedback and create a report for the police to use as part of their data collection, which will hopefully lead to improvements in police presence in the local area and overall safety.
I was also involved in the interview process to appoint the new Deputy Vice Chancellor alongside my fellow Sabbs and a panel of students. I am pleased to announce that Professor Damien Page was appointed as BNU’s Deputy Vice Chancellor after an excellent interview where he spoke very passionately about how valuable the student experience is and how vital it is to put students first. I’m excited to see what Damien brings to BNU.
In March I attended the NUS National Conference alongside elected NUS delegates, which is an opportunity to shape what the next year of NUS campaigning looks like and have our say on what NUS should be fighting for. This covers everything from housing reform, fighting for Trans rights, International Students and more. We found the conference to be disorganised and not particularly effective. With several instances where many delegates felt their voices and opinions were being limited or ignored, and in general treated unfairly. NUS disaffiliation is something we have been discussing as a Union for some time, and the conference solidified a lot of concerns I have around NUS’s effectiveness, ethics, and accountability as an organisation.
In the political world, there are several policies that are soon to be implemented that directly effect BNU, such as the Freedom of Speech in Higher Education Bill, which could pave the way for hostile external speakers to be legally protected when coming onto campus. However, I am working closely with the University to write a joint policy to protect students if these situations arise.
I checked off a personal goal of mine and played in my first ever Varsity fixture for the Netball 2nd team and had the privilege to watch so many other brilliant students compete, with some very emotional moments for those who played their last game with us. Although we were unable to secure the win, I am still so proud of everyone.
I also organised a campaign called Attire to Inspire which centres around inclusivity and celebrating our beautifully diverse students through fashion and encouraging them to dress how best reflects them in a safe and caring environment. I’m really excited to release this campaign soon so make sure you keep you're following us on social media to be the first to check it out.
Looking ahead to my last few months as President, I am so excited to finish off what has been an incredible year. These next few months are going to be just as packed as the last few and I’m looking forward to what it brings.
- Charlotte, Students' Union President