Presidents Blog 22/4/22

Sleep, Cake and Student Leadership

Hi Everyone,

I hope you have had a good week and that those of you who had a long weekend enjoyed it. In Bristol, the weather was beautiful – although I really only saw it from my bed. I slept more or less the whole weekend. I am still being affected by Covid exhaustion. The monsters had a great weekend and the youngest one tackled learning to ride a bike, on Monday he went for a 6km bike ride with Dave and was so proud of himself. 

Don’t forget that this month, as part of the 50th, we are celebrating the amazing partnership work that we do with the University. On Saturday 23rd the OU celebrates its 53rd Anniversary of getting its Royal Charter otherwise known as the OU’s birthday – So a huge Happy Birthday! If you want to find out more about the Royal Charter, check out the Digital Archive Exhibition. Also, keep your eyes open for lots of content about our partnership. If you are a staff member and would like to share with us your stories or have ideas that can involve students or the association in your work, please do get in touch at

Don’t forget, if you have been invited to, fill in the National Students Survey, you have until April 30th to do so. To find out more follow this link.

In Association news, we have accepted the resignation of our Chair of the Board of Trustees, please read this statement

The nominations for our elections have also been announced. Please go to our website and meet the students nominating themselves! I am excited to see the elections this year! Keep an eye on our website for when you can start voting. 

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It was a bank holiday and I slept for most of the day – much needed!!


Today was my birthday and I completely forgot to book the day off work. I did have cake though so that helped!

I met with Gabby Cull, Head of Executive Support and Staff Welfare, to discuss the July Student Leadership Team meeting. There was an excel document with potential invitees to a dinner to go through. 

Next up we had the Student-Led Projects Working Group. We decided who needed to be on the panel for each call and what we would be asking students to tell us about their projects. There will be more information to come about this.

I then met with Dan Moloney, Director of Engagement. We talked about graduations and role remits amongst other items. I also spoke with 2 candidates who are standing in the elections to clear up an issue that had arisen. 

I am speaking at a conference next week as part of a panel on Academic Conduct. I had a dry run with them to test the technology. 


I met with Graham Rimmer and discussed the graduation that I am attending on Monday. It is really exciting to be going to another graduation as this time I know 2 of the students graduating – I can’t wait!

Next up was my regular 1-2-1 with Sue MacCabe, Head of Strategy and Insights. We discussed the elections and the papers that are going to Council and the Board of Trustees.

As I mentioned earlier, I am speaking at a conference next week so I had a meeting with Julie Gowen and Zoe Fenn from the OU to have a conversation about the range of topics that I can cover. 

I then caught up with Ian Cheyne, Deputy President, to discuss an important item for our upcoming Student Leadership Weekend.

The Association is developing one of its strategic projects, a lifelong learning manifesto. I am part of the working group leading this work. We discussed whether we needed another consultation this time on flexibility, and also scoping out the launch events.

My last meeting of the day was with Heather Bloomer, Head of DigiComms. We had some really interesting discussions about future projects. 


I only had two meetings because I was supposed to be on campus for an event, however, that was cancelled at the last minute. So, I used my time to catch up on some admin and reading papers. 

My first meeting was with the Digital Inclusion Management Group. We discussed progress within the task and finish groups and whether it was the right time to merge them as some of the work was duplicated. We also talked about some research that had been performed and how we could use the data that had been produced.

Next was my regular 1-2-1 with Beth Metcalf, Director of Membership Services. It was good to catch up as I hadn’t spoken to her for a while due to Covid and Annual Leave.


Today is Earth Day, the main theme is ‘Invest in our planet’. It’s important that we keep our focus on what we can all do with Sustainability to make a difference for future generations. I am part of the work the University is doing in this area, and I am heading up a working group within the Association to identify what we can do to contribute. 

I have a meeting with the Values and Behaviour Group and then we have our Student Leadership Team social.


It is our Student Leadership Team meeting all day. If you want to find out more about what we will be discussing please have a read of the papers that are available on our website.


I am catching the train up to Manchester for the Graduation on Monday – I am so excited!!!

Next week is looking busy as usual but I am so excited to be going to another graduation!! Huge Congratulations to all of you who are graduating on Monday, and I can’t wait to see you there.

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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