Presidents Blog 21/01/2022

Conference, Conference Everywhere!


Hello Everyone,

I honestly can’t believe that we are at the start of Conference so quickly! All the planning and everything that has gone into it – and today is the day! I am truly excited about the programme of events. 

We have Jackie Weaver, Jasvinder Sanghera, along with the OU Nation Directors and the Vice Chancellor on Saturday amongst many others. Then on Sunday we have one of the OU Council Members, Lopa Patel, coming to talk about women in STEM. I also get to have a chat with Baroness Garden of Frognal and MP Daniel Zeichner.

There is so much going on over the weekend that I will probably sleep all of Monday… But then on Tuesday Freshers is here! So, make sure that you check out our programme of events to see what you want to attend.

Hanna Silk, Wales representative, has authored our first bilingual blog on The Hoot, we are very proud of this and hope that we can do more of it. Have a read and let us know what you think.

We also had the very sad news of the passing of one of our Honorary Life Members, Lorraine Adams. She will be greatly missed. Her contribution to the Association over many years has been incredible. There will be a tribute to her in The Hoot published tomorrow.

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Monday

I met with Liz Marr, PVC Students, and Sally Hayes, Director of Students, for a general catch up. I then met with Pete Turner, Head of Community, to discuss my session with the Vice Chancellor, Tim Blackman, at Conference. 

I also had a brief meeting with Dave Hall, University Secretary, to discuss meeting with the Student Leadership Team. 

Student Voice Steering Group was next – don’t forget if you have had an email to take part in the NSS survey, please do. 

Tuesday

I started with making a video for Conference delegates to remind them to vote and getting on with a huge pile of admin. 

I went to a meeting with the Digital Inclusion Management group, where we discussed some research that is being performed and an upcoming seminar, as well as the work of the related task and finish groups. 

I met with Gareth, faculty representative for FBL, to discuss an idea about the 50th and I had a catch up with Reiss Miller, project manager for the 50th and Conference. 

I then had a conversation with Fanni, VP Engagement, about student outcomes and comms to students. 

As Freshers is on the horizon, all hosts for sessions do training to make sure they are up to speed with everything. I also attended a Change Lab for the Masters in Education. 

So, all in all, a busy day!

Wednesday

I took Wednesday off to study and I also went to the youngest monster’s primary school as part of a parent forum to discuss the school’s values; it was an interesting and valuable session! We got it down to 4 values: Integrity, Perseverance, Community and Curiosity. All values that I think, as an OU student as well as a parent, are important. 

Thursday

Once a month the Senior Team of the OU get together to provide updates and have discussions. This month it started with a roundup of University and HE sector news from the Vice Chancellor, Tim Blackman. Then the Nation Directors and Faculty Executive Deans provided their updates. It was great to see what it is going on around the University and see what is being done for students. 

I then met with Sue MacCabe, head of Strategy and Insights at the Association, for our regular weekly meeting. I then met with Reiss to catch up on the sessions we are doing at Conference. 

My next meeting was to discuss how to present the business at Conference and then I met with Fanni and Reiss again. Thursday evening was a briefing session for those running the consultation sessions at Conference. 

Friday

Today is Conference! So, I am just catching up on some admin, studying and making sure my hair and make-up is done already for the first session at 4pm where I will be giving a run down of the weekend, the resolution announcements and talking about our plans for the 50th! There is also a great session about what the association can do for the students and followed by, what I am sure will be, a nail-biting quiz – I am so excited about this; my track record with quizzes is extremely poor so I have high hopes for this one! 

So, as you can tell it’s been a week focussed on conference. Next week will be Freshers, so there is so much to get involved with. I am so proud of everything the Association has achevied in its 50 years including this Conference. 

Next week’s blog will be about the highlights of Conference, so watch this space! If you are coming to Conference, I hope you have a great time. If you are not, some of the sessions will be recorded so you can see them at a later point. BUT whatever you do, I hope you have a great weekend!

See you on the other side, and until then, GO WELL! 😊


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Sarah P Jones

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