Presidents Blog 1/4/22

Annual Leave, strange weather and Senate

Hi Everyone,

Hope you are all doing well. It hasn’t been as packed a week this week as I had 2 days of Annual Leave for our Wedding Anniversary. It was lovely to getaway. We went to the sunny climes of Bristol without the boys, who stayed at a friend’s house for a few nights. We stayed in a very quirky caravan inside a warehouse!! It was really cool!! We went to Weston-Super-Mare on Monday, and I caught the sun whilst eating lunch outside a pub and on Tuesday we went and had a look around the SS Great Britain, something we have been meaning to do ever since we arrived in Bristol! 

The weather has been incredibly weird this week, yesterday’s weather was described to me by a colleague as ‘lambing storms’, love that description! But in the midst of it, all the roof and doors are finished on our office, so it is creeping ever nearer to being finished! 

This month, as part of the 50th, we are celebrating the amazing partnership work that we do with the University. So, keep your eyes open for lots of content about this. If you are a staff member and would like to share with us your stories or you have ideas that can involve students or the association in your work, please do get in touch at

In association news, don’t forget that there are opportunities to volunteer at graduations, and don’t forget if you want to nominate yourself in our elections that nominations close on Tuesday 5th April, to find out more check out this article all about Elections nominations.

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Annual Leave


Annual Leave


I started early today to re-read the Senate papers as I had forgotten most of what was in them whilst on annual leave. 

The first meeting of the day was Student Satisfaction Improvement Working Group. We discussed the new internal student surveys and reviewed action points from previous meetings. 

I had to leave early as I was chairing the next meeting, Senate Reference Group (SRG). SRG is a group of students from across the University who get together and read the Senate papers so that the 6 students who go to Senate can understand the opinions of the wider student body. Over lunchtime, the 6 students meet to discuss which points we are going to raise, and then in the afternoon, it is time for Senate. There was a wide-ranging discussion on the papers and the students provided input where it was appropriate. Most of our comments were focused on the Research plan and on the Teaching and Learning plan. 

In the evening I had some safeguarding training as I have just started as one of the 3 safeguarding leads at our local cricket club, by 9.45pm my brain was complete mush!! 


My day started with a catch-up with Reiss Millar, 50th project manager. We discussed new merchandise, fundraising and we also discussed the new video for April. 

I then had a discussion with Mary Donoghue, from the future delivery of exams team, around students withdrawing assignments on the new system. 

Steph Stubbins, faculty rep for STEM, and I then joined a panel discussion around what makes a satisfied student for the Module Team Chair event. It is interesting to understand the things that make students satisfied, as for each student it is something different. 

I have been doing some online trustee training this week to try out a new course, so over lunchtime, I made a good start on it. 

Next was my 1-2-1 with Rob Avann, CEO. 

There is a board of trustee meeting on Monday, so I then had a meeting with some of the Association staff to discuss what was going to be happening at the meeting.

It was the first meeting of the Association Sustainability working group and I managed to catch the end of this, we were discussing our current position and next steps. It looks like we have a really good basis to work off; sustainability is a bit of a buzz word but if we all take responsibility, it will become second nature. 

I then met with Reiss again to discuss some more 50th information that I had forgotten about earlier in the day!


I started the day with a meeting with a student and it was followed up by a really exciting meeting with some fundraising consultants. We are aiming to raise £50,000 for OUSET in our 50th year and thought it would be good to talk to some experts. So, the fundraising team met with them and caught up afterward to get a plan together.

I then had a 1-2-1 with Beth Metcalf, Director of Membership services, to have a good look at my diary to see what can be moved to give me time to do more of the admin that I haven’t been able to due to back-to-back meetings. It was really helpful to have a second pair of eyes to sort it out!

I have also been making videos – with not much success!!

Next week is looking chaotic again but as always it is such a privilege to be in this position and be able to raise student issues at the highest level throughout the University, so looking forward to it!! 

I hope that you have all had a good week and that you’ve managed to keep sane!! Have a great weekend, see you on the other side, but until then, Go Well!!! 😊

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Sarah P Jones


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