We’re taking a look back at the great content we have shared throughout the year in honour of our 50th anniversary.
January saw the Association host our biennial Conference, which was an amazing way to start such a momentous year. Want to know all about the Association pre-2022, and why we decided to make a big fuss about hitting the half century milestone? Watch our achievements from the first 50 years of our history here.
2 Association Love
In February we wanted to focus on Association love – it was Valentines after all! You can read about two of our Law students, Abbie and Dan, who ended up finding love whilst studying with the OU, or perhaps you’d like to hear from Mandy, who is part of the Association’s Operations Team, who told us about her 36-year love affair with the Association (and how she met her husband here).
3 Women of the Association
As March sees the celebration of International Women’s Day, we thought it was fitting to dedicate this month to prominent Women of the Association. You can find articles dedicated to our first President Millicent Marsland, former staff member Wendy Burrell, former Vice President Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Patrice Belton, and Jay, who is our longest-serving Peer Support volunteer, here.
4 The Association and The OU
With April 23rd marking the anniversary of the day which saw The Open University receive its Royal Charter, we thought it was a fitting time to look at 50 years of collaboration with the OU. You can find out about how the Association’s student representatives collaborate with the OU to enhance the experience of students or how our student volunteers help to provide essential library resources to students in secure environments. The OU’s Rachel Garnham and the Association’s Dan Moloney were guests on our first podcast episode, which delved deeper into the partnership work we do with the Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Students and our special relationship with the University.
5 We are 50!
We know it sounds a bit greedy, but we decided to split our birthday into two, and we celebrated the first of these in May! We took a look back at significant events such as the study tours for disabled students and the campaigns led by our student leaders in the 1980s. Former President Sarah Jones caught up with Chris Roworth, another former President, Sir John Daniel, former Vice-Chancellor of the OU and Rob Avann, the Association’s former Chief Executive, for a special birthday edition of our podcast. We also started fundraising for OUSET, and launched our exclusive 50th anniversary merchandise.
6 Celebrating LGBTQIA+ students
June is Pride Month, so we decided to mark this with a month-long celebration of our fantastic LGBTQIA+ students. Graham Rimmer and Alex Phennah, co-founders of OU Pride, and Lyndsay Thomson, the group’s current Chair, joined us for our podcast episode all about the wonderful space the Association has developed for our LGBTQIA+ community. OU Pride also hosted a Twitter takeover, explained why we have Pride and why it’s so important, and group member Mark shared his personal story.
7 Celebrating our Student Leaders
In July we celebrated our student leaders. Area Association Reps Hanna Silk and Kate Wells reflected on the great many achievements of the outgoing leadership team, and several other student reps also shared their proudest moments. Sarah Jones was joined by Fanni Zombor and Billy Docherty, both prominent reps in recent years, and Ellie Milnes-Smith from the Association staff team, for our podcast which looked at why our student leaders are so important and discussing some of the most notable achievements of the past half century.
8 Our history in pictures
As it was World Picture Day in August, we thought it was fitting to look back at some of the wonderful images from our first 50 years, such as the 1982 visit from the Prince of Wales, the first student address to Council and our fight for funding. Digital Archivist Matthew Taylor, student volunteer Patrick Johnson and staff Archive Project lead Nicola Powell joined us for our podcast looking back at the Association's history and the amazing archival material we have. We also released a new timeline of our inspirational Presidents over the past 50 years.
September wouldn’t be the same without Freshers, so this month student rep Nichola Connolly, Former VP Community Stephanie Stubbins, Space Society Chair Tracy Thompson and Association staff member Pete Turner joined our podcast to discuss one of the biggest highlights of our calendar, and talk about why and how all students can get involved in Freshers. We also learned about the origins of Freshers, why Freshers is so important and celebrated the 50th birthday of the Arts and Humanities Society.
10 Student Diversity
During October we celebrated student diversity. Staff member Verity Robinson, the OU’s Ciaragh Hubert, and student group members Laura Cranstoun and Sristi Sengupta joined the podcast to talk about the Association's work in this area, the University's ongoing work in the accessibility arena and student experiences as part of our wonderfully diverse student community. Eesha Waseem from the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Students Group shared how to avoid performative activism and what more needs to be done to support minorities throughout the year. The BAME Students Group and the Disabled Students Group also took over our Twitter, which you can catch up on here.
11 Men of the Association
As November marks International Men’s Day, we thought it was fitting to put the spotlight on prominent Men of the Association. You can find articles dedicated to our Deputy President Gareth Jones, student volunteer Patrick Johnson, Chair of Trustees Mark Price, and Chair of Societies Nigel Patterson. Gareth, Nigel and former Vice President Education William Butler joined staff member Emily Cox for our podcast which delved into their relationships with the Association and the University, and experiences as an OU student.
12 We are 50! (Part two)
This month you can hear from our President Margaret Greenaway, Chief Executive Beth Metcalf, Honorary Life Member Sue Goodyear and former student volunteer Leanne Goodall as they join our podcast to look back at Association achievements and memories, and discuss what is in store in the future.