Hi all, this is a long overdue blog post just to update you on what I've been up to...
- Went amazingly, great job from all staff, sabbs and students that were involved in coordinating this! Over 250 students were trained over 2 days and there were so many tweets. #KeeleASC15
Me & Nick having a great time at conference!
- Since then we’ve held a catch up session for medical students who couldn’t attend the conference because teaching had already started for them. If you couldn’t attend training but want some info on running a society log in the KeeleSU website and look at the committee resources, or get in touch with myself or the Activities team (email@example.com).
- I can also provide Treasurer training, so any Treasurers for societies, if you’re confused or not sure how things work with society money, drop me an email and we can go through it all together one on one :)
- The first society forum of the year was held during the Activities conference, we collected your feedback about the society sign up floor plan, the room bookings T&Cs, and how to improve society stripes.
- In the near future we are hoping to hold more regular society forums, in particularly as we continue to develop society stripes and discuss funding for societies. Currently, I am looking at reviewing SLSs and the distribution of funds to societies and will obviously need your input. I shall probably send an email out about upcoming Society Forum dates soon, so check your inboxes!
- We want your feedback on what accreditation and recognition your societies want. Do you want a cash prize for achieving all stripes? Do you want union resources? Do you want your awards to be displayed on the SU website? Do you think increased competition is healthy for societies? All these questions and more we want feedback on through email, Facebook, discussions one to one and at the upcoming society forums!
- Talked a bit about this at the societies forum, please see the updated Ts & Cs, any comments or queries, pop me an email, or comment on the Google Doc!
- There is a high demand for more autonomy for societies in running their finances. Matt Clutton and I are looking into ways we can improve the system, potentially through utilising some functions through MSL.
- A student has kindly dedicated their time to digitalising the finance forms to make it easier for society Treasurers, who find it more difficult to make it onto campus such as commuter students and those who study medicine, to manage their finances. There is a compromise that needs to be found between society budgetary autonomy and a formal audit trail and regulations. I am hoping that once the societies executive has been elected, they will be able to help me gather feedback on this.
- I attended some pre-arrival events for new students, it was really great talking to them and making sure they get involved in societies. One of my favourite parts of enrolment day was reassuring parents that their children were gonna be fine at Keele, because I was :P
- Society sign up was amazing… so many students signed up to societies this year, and it was great talking to the people that run the societies and getting to know a bit more about what you all do. AU fair was just as great, well done to the Athletics Union and to Nick (VP AU & Sport), I especially loved the red and gold balloon trail to find it.
- Welcome fest was awesome and I found Hagrid!!!
If you haven't already met Jeffrey, I highly suggest you do so ASAP! #BestHagrid
- This is complete now, improvements have been made. Whilst we are still in talks with the university about a full 1st floor redevelopment, returning students, you guys will have seen the state of the middle floor, we needed to make changes ourselves and so we did! Hopefully, you all have seen it by now and have loved it, all comments and feedback are welcome though, good and bad :P
- More of the democratic review recommendations have been provisionally approved at UEC (Union Executive Committee) these will be ratified at the first UGM (26th October 2015) so make sure to get on down and make your voice heard.
- To ensure our part-time officers engage this year, with the chair of student council I have been planning regular socials where we can get to know each other and work together better as a team.
- With the constitutional affairs committee, I have also been working on rolling out a campaign encouraging students to engage more in democracy, by making it more accessible to students who aren’t as aware of how much influence they have (being a StAR, a part-time officer, engaging in the officer campaigns). Keep an eye out for #KeeleAndChange.
- We'll also be rolling out the #SurveySquirrel soon...
What is going on here???
- Whilst have budgeted for an extra £5000 for societies & SLSs this year, we are also expecting high memberships due to increased student numbers. This means the membership grants will take a huge chunk out of the society budget.
- Currently, SLSs are given about a third of the society budget. Since last year they have been required to provide impact reports to give evidence of the difference they have made for students, starting from 2016 they will be required to reapply for SLS status each year. The reasoning behind this is that some SLSs would probably benefit financially from charging membership and we would like to encourage them to do so.
- With a lack of union funding available for societies we really want to encourage societies to find sustainable, external sources of money. Whilst, unfortunately, this year the Keele Key Fund is unavailable to apply for, the campaigns and development team have agreed to look over all external funding applications for free, so that you can receive professional advice.
- Also, we have been advised it would be possible for us to run a telethon to raise our own money, but I shall keep you all updated!
- Off-campus space for societies to engage with is currently being confirmed, shall keep you up to date as news comes in!
- Working on training for student media outlets. Currently, our student media platforms are probably some of the most underfunded and under-supported student media in the country, this makes me particularly sad as a media student, and so I am working on changing this!
Sorry, this has been so long to read, but I hope it has given you a small glimpse into everything I have been doing since my last blog on July 30th. I won’t leave it so long next time!!!