Presidents Blog 24/6/2022

Senate, interviews and AGMs

Hi Everyone,

I hope you have all had a great week. The weather has just been lovely again, the only problem is the increase in pollen which has affected my hay fever. As I am coming to the end of my role I have been applying for jobs. This week I have had two interviews, which have been good practice!! But most evenings have been spent perfecting my CV and filling in applications! The monsters have been busy playing cricket and not getting rained off, which is a relief!

This month, as part of our 50th we are celebrating our connection with supporting students in our LGBTQIA+ community. We take great pride in having our OUPride group and in the podcast this month you will hear from the founder members and the current chair. Next month we celebrating all things Student Leadership Team! 

As part of our 50th birthday, we are aiming to raise £50,000 for OUSET; we now have a Just Giving page if you would like to give any donations. We also have some merchandise in our shop, all profits will contribute towards that £50,000 so go and check it out. You can now also passively give to Open University Students Educational Trust (OUSET) if you shop at Amazon. If you sign on to Amazon Smile and search for OUSET you will be able to know that with every purchase, you will be supporting other students!

We have now managed to produce a version of The Hoot for students in secure environments. This is such a fantastic thing, and I am proud this has happened. To find out more check this out.

If you want to get involved in volunteering, why not look and see if you could volunteer at a graduation? You can find out more here.

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I spent Monday doing admin, trying to work out what I need to hand over or close down before I finish, around attending an interview for a charity in Bristol.


I started with a meeting with Reiss Miller, the 50th project manager. We discussed fundraising and student-led projects. We also discussed the new achievements video that is almost ready for launch. The 50th project is nearly ready to hand over to the incoming student leadership team which is exciting.

Next was a short student-led projects meeting where we just had an update about the progress that had been made. 

I had a quick call with Gareth Jones, FBL faculty representative, and then met with Mark Price, chair of the board of trustees, to catch up with what has been going on. 

The exams and assignments steering group met next. There was a lot on the agenda about where the programme is heading and the timelines. 


I got up early and drove to campus as it was Senate. My first meeting of the day was with Liz Marr, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Students. We went through the Vice Chancellors Executive papers and discussed the student charter updates. 

Next was time for the student Senate Reference Group to meet. It was the first time we were meeting in person but due to rail strikes, there were many who couldn’t make it so it was a hybrid meeting in the Library. The discussion on the papers was interesting. It is good to see the care that these students take in making sure we hold the university to account. Straight after this group met the 6 students who are on the senate met to discuss which points, we were going to raise during the senate meeting.

Senate then took place, and again this was the first in-person senate since the start of our terms. It was great to see so many people that I had only seen online and many who I haven’t seen for a long time. Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor and Chair of Senate, was first up and gave an update on many things internal and external that are affecting the university before we got into the substantive papers. 

After Senate, I caught up with a couple of members of staff and then had coffee with Gareth before getting an early night!


I did quite a bit of admin before heading to Reading University for an interview to be a lay Council member. It is a lovely campus, and it was interesting having a discussion with them about the way that the changes to higher education may affect students, especially part-time distance learners. 

Once I got back to Campus, I had some discussions with the staff in the office before making sure I was caught up with my to-do list – which just seems to be growing!

I met with Beth Metcalf, chief exec, and Gabby Cull, head of exec support. We spent an hour discussing table plans for the dinner coming up in July. It was quite tricky to sort out! But I think we might nearly be there.

I then had dinner with Gareth and went to see Top Gun, which I didn’t doze off in at all 😉


I am doing admin in the office before doing some activities with people who have arrived for tomorrow’s Societies AGM. 


It is the Societies AGM. It should be a great meeting to find out how the societies have got on this year and see who they elect the Chair for the next year.

I hope you have a great weekend and try and rest up!! Hope the sun shines!! My best friend is coming to stay for a few days, so I am really excited! See you on the other side, but until then, Go Well!!! 😊

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Sarah P Jones


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