I’ve had several people ask me what exactly my job consists of, not just the fun campaigning stuff, but the day-to-day,what I do stuff. So I figured I’d blog a week, keeping a record of what I’ve been doing day-to-day. So, here’s a week in the life of your Vice President Academic Representation!
Monday 7th December
Today was super busy, preparing for the Westminster Lobby tomorrow! With NUS #CutTheCosts campaign we’re taking 13 students to Westminster to speak to MPs, ask them questions, and talk about the very real issues that are affecting them.
Planning to take a contingent of students to Westminster is stressful.
All of the pre-planning for the event has obviously already been done, so today I was sorting out emergency contacts and writing a briefing document for everyone, including details about the #CutTheCosts campaign, and what issues presented by the Autumn Spending review specifically impact Edge Hill students and how, and I drafted questions for the MPs based on these.
I also had a brief meeting with Edge Hill Students’ Unions Black Students Officer, Jane Chiwaya, to talk about Prevent (a government anti-radicalization initiative, that often targets BME students and students of particular faiths,) and work on a little project to do with this, coming very, very soon! (I hope.)
After printing off a million copies of the briefings and questions, the day was over. Whew!
Tuesday 8th of December
It’s the #CutTheCosts lobby day! I had to get up at 3:30am to get ready and catch a 5am bus from Edge Hill to London. Ew.
The day was long, but good. We met with three MPs, two of whom we’d previously met and had agreed to support the campaign. The MP we had not met before was very good at dodging points, and when he started talking about the £3 billion renovation of parliament, it gave me great pride to see EHU student Lewis Greenwood, (President of Fantasy and ScFi society,) give him what for, asking how the government can afford to spend £3 billion on a building, and cut funding for education?
When the MP tried to side step and said that both health and education are important, but it’s about prioritizing, our students grilled him further, asking how we can not prioritize education, as students are the future?
I really love Edge Hill students. <3 (and I feel my briefing document may have helped inform their arguments. Just saying.)
That was my personal highlight of the day, (that and getting everybody back to Edge Hill in one piece,) if you want further information about the day as a whole, you can read a blog written by one of our students, Charlotte Clark, who came with us on the lobby here. But in summary the day was super successful, and I got to spend it with super people.
Wednesday 9th of December
After arriving back home at 1am after the lobby (ew,) I got into work at 10:20am the next day. Today I had an Academic Planning Committee (APC) meeting. Once I arrived in work I had a briefing with a member of Union staff who directly supports me, and we went through the papers together, highlighting things we thought I may need to mention in the meeting.
I spend quite a lot of my evenings reading board papers. I get loads of them, as out of all the sabbatical officers I sit on the most boards. As evidenced by the fact that when I came in this morning, there was yet another board paper on my desk. Seriously, anything with the words learning, teaching, or academic in the title is me.
Post-briefing I’m back at my desk and answering emails I missed while I was out of the office yesterday. It’s worth noting that I get a lot of emails, from students, university staff, Union staff, NUS, other sabbatical officers in other Students’ Unions, and more, probably. Basically I get lots of emails. So sorting through those, replying and where possible resolving issues took up a lot of time.
I then had to organise my desk, as I had a ridiculous amount of papers on it. Like, couldn’t find anything under all of the paper kind of ridiculous. So that was productive.
I then publicised my Officer report for the exec council tomorrow (!!!) which if you’re so inclined you can read here. And then I worked a bit on Higher Education Green Paper stuff. Which, by the way, has taken over my life. I wrote a blog about that today too, and you can read my breakdown blog here.
From 2pm was the APC meeting, which took me through until home time.
Thursday 10th December
EXEC COUNCIL MEETS TONIGHT AND I’M SOOOO EXCITED!
I get to present my Officer Report, and I’m bringing forward 5 policies! These are:
- Free Education
- Safe Speaker
- No Platform
But before the exec meets I have a lot to do.
This morning I had a meeting about the elections in March (these take a lot of planning,) and our Big Student Voice meeting which happens in January (this is what we’re now calling our Annual Members Meeting.)
I got so caught up in this meeting I was almost late for some panels that I was due to sit on! Whoops!
I did however make it in the end.
After the panel meetings I read some of the policies being brought forward to the exec tonight, and made some notes on comments I want to make on some of them.
As the Executive Council meeting wasn’t going to be quorate, meaning we can’t actually pass policies, we instead are going to have to have an email vote. So those of us who can make it will debate the policies, the minutes of the debate sent around via email with a voting sheet, and everyone will vote on there. We hopefully have the results of what has passed/fallen by next Friday, which I’m really excited about, because policy!!!
So at 5:30pm we began Exec. After debating all of the policies (the minutes of the debate will be posted on the EHSU website, at some point,) we had our accountability. I had to write and present a report of my key priorities for the year, and what I’ve done so far towards them. You can read my report here. (BTW it has pictures of a giant inflatable pig so you should totally read it.)
It’s always a little nerve wracking, doing accountability, as it’s the opportunity for our part-time officers to really grill us on what we’ve been up to. Luckily everyone seemed pretty happy with my work, and our Vice President Welfare gave me a commendation for my work on the Course Representative system. <3
Friday Dec 11th
The first thing I did today was vote on the policies from last night’s Exec via email. Because I am a keen policy bean.
I then had a de-brief from APC, so talking through with a member of staff all that happened at that meeting. Fun times.
I then had some planning to put in place, after having report and priorities approved at exec I could put together my action plan for my feedback to the future campaign, launching in January (watch this space!) And I also had more board papers to read, this time for Academic Quality Enhancement committee (AQE.)
I also did some more work on my Higher Education Green Paper response, which will hopefully be near completion next week, depending on if NUS send me the notes from a consultation event I attended on the paper at NUS HQ in London last week.
So, that is a week in the life of your Vice President Academic Representation.
I’m a really busy lady. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my job, I love representing students and working hard to make sure your voices are at the centre of your Union, and that they are heard in the University, and in Westminster, and in THE WORLD. YAY STUDENTS.
I’ll stop now.