Presidents Blog 6/5/2022

Campus, Elections and Future Planning...


Hi Everyone,

I hope your week has been a good one. It was lovely to have a long weekend last weekend and I caught up on some sleep! The monsters have got into their cricket season quickly and already have had some minor mishaps and been reminded of the importance of wearing protective equipment! 

Our garden office is also making progress, the insides are all plastered, and the partition wall is in… fingers crossed it won’t be long before we are in! The first coat of paint should make an appearance this weekend, along with a paint-splattered husband and monsters!

My plants in the garden are still growing – slugs don’t like leeks or onions!! My broccoli is going strong as well. So maybe in a few months, I’ll be able to have freshly picked broccoli complete with caterpillars for my dinner!! Top tip, always check for tiny green caterpillars!!! They do not taste good!!

In Association news, our Tutor Awards are open. Have you benefitted from a Tutor who has gone above and beyond to support you and would like to say thank you but don’t know how?? If so, please nominate them for an award, you still have until May 9th to nominate. It’s so lovely to see how many of you have already nominated. To find out more follow this link

May marks our first 50th birthday. Like the Queen we have two, the second is in December. During May we will be celebrating what the Association has done throughout the decades. If you have a birthday message for us, please send it to us via our email or post it on social media. We will be collating these messages to put out in December on our second 50th birthday.

As you may have seen on social media, we have been busy talking about our new Values and Behaviours Policy. It has been a while in the making but we wanted it to underpin all the work that we do as an Association. Please check it out here.

Our Elections are now open!! Voting close on May 18th. This year, the Students Association has created a voter incentivised tree planting initiative. We’re asking OU students to help us reach 3000 votes in the Student Leadership elections by Wednesday 18 May. Once the target has been reached, students will be offered the chance to plant a new Blue Cedar tree on campus. Oh, and another thing, voters decide where the tree will be planted on our grounds (the middle of the Vice-Chancellors office is not appropriate, but may well get my vote!! 😉)

A new tree will not only create a legacy in honour of the 2022 elections, but it will also symbolise the start of new beginnings as well as diversify our grounds by providing access to nature. To get involved, cast your vote from today.

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Monday

Bank Holiday, really good to have a  rest day!

Tuesday

I drove to campus and actually set foot in the Association offices. The very first time since becoming President! 

I had a catch-up meeting with Reiss Millar, Project Manager for the 50th. We discussed merchandise and progress with fundraising and student involvement in the project. 

Next, I chaired the Student Voice Steering Group. We had an engaging discussion around Student Voice Week and the annual evaluation of Student Voice. 

After lunch with fellow Trustee members, we had a meeting of the Board of Trustees. There were many items to discuss, and I really feel that we made great headway on some important issues. 

Before I went home, I had a catch-up with Beth Metcalf, Director of Membership Services. 

I didn’t get home until very late, so late that I didn’t have time to go home before picking up the monsters from a cricket match. Thankfully it was a lovely evening!

Wednesday

I had catch-ups with Heather Bloomer, Head of DigiComms, and Nicky Powell, Senior Volunteer Training and Wellbeing Officer. I then had a planning meeting for the July Student Leadership Team weekend.  I am excited about this, as the entire new Student Leadership will be joining us. It will also be our first face-to-face meeting since we started as a Leadership Team, but sadly also our last!

I had a quick catch-up with Fanni Zombor, VP Engagement before heading into the Election team meeting. We had some good conversations about how to encourage voters. 

Wednesday was also my day to have a 1-2-1 with Rob Avann, Chief Exec. We had a lot to discuss, as always, and never enough time! 

Thursday

I had my second catch-up of the week with Nicky Powell to discuss the induction of new student leaders. 

Sue MacCabe, Head of Strategy and Insights, and I met for our weekly catch up, and again we discussed the induction of new student leaders as well as my presentation to the OU’s Council next week. We also discussed The Hoot and how over the last year we have had over 16,000 brand new readers!! Absolutely brilliant!! 

Next on my list for the day was recording a podcast, I will give more details closer to the time of its release. 

Then, I met with Reiss to discuss some 50th items and to talk about Student-Led Projects as we had a working group next. In the working group, we put together a timeline plan and the sequence of events required to allow us to go out for a project call before the end of the Academic year. I followed up with Reiss straight afterward to sort out actions.

After a conversation with my Tutor, I then attended a Change Lab where we were asked to discuss assessments throughout our student journey, it was a really interesting discussion. 

Friday

I met with a couple of the team who are doing an OU brand update so they could go through the presentation they are bringing to Council to get my input. I love meetings like this as it helps me to understand a different aspect of the OU. 

Next, I met with our interim Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mark Price. We had a huge list to discuss and amazingly we got through it all!!

The last meeting of my week was the Exams and Assignments Steering Group.

I hope that you all have a great weekend when you get to it and that if you are studying it goes well. I will be joining you on that one!! Good luck everyone!! 

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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