VP Wellbeing and Community End of Year Blog

When I became an officer last year this was the headline of my manifesto, where I detailed a small set of expectations for the year that can be reduced to: change the prizes on student housing, improving the university’s mental health services, promote transparency of the institutional structure and resources (both at a union and at university level), and to improve international students experience. Then this year happened. And what a year. Not only I had to learn how to be a student unionist in the Higher Education sector in the UK, but I had to learn how to actually achieve wins when defending students rights.

When entering discussions and negotiations between the union and the university, a lot of the dynamics that develop are the usual to institutional politics: too much bureaucracy, too many meetings, too many emails, agendas, minutes and missing actions. You can lose your objectives between the piles of reports and the run-abouts on campus to get to that meeting. You can forget about your intentions when trying to remember every senior management member’s name. You can burn out and demotivate when seeing prolonged discussions and endless catch-ups to get that small piece of information you needed. You can ask yourself daily about the purpose of your work.

But then, as everything else, you start to learn how to do the job. You learn that you have the right to have a say -even if you are not an expert- because your opinion matters and no one else in the room is going to state the obvious. You learn when to raise your voice, when to not let conversations slip, when to insist on your priorities, and how to make time for your own campaigns, that students are pushing you to develop.

Some of the things I have learned is to have continued communication with students in order to engage them in every decision I make. When I came into this role I knew I wanted to help organise a student movement that takes part and decides on the type of education they deserve. I don’t want to ‘consult’ students on their issues, I want to coordinate each campaign together.

Some of the things I have enjoyed the most are the several trainings that I have attended during my year as a sabb. Learning about the UK Higher Education context has given me perspective on some of the national issues, which don’t affect individual students at our university, but are a reflection of a model and approach to the education system.

Some of the things I would like to improve for my next year as a sabb is to keep in mind the relevant campaigns that I want to put forward. I would like to set more ambitious objectives for the year, and to remember to -please, please Clara- leave a written trace of everything I do!

I hope to continue working alongside some of you to make University a better and rewarding experience. I hope to continue to challenge the education model that reproduces hierarchies and paternalistic approaches, and to continue to fight for a free, accessible and critical education for all.

My achievements in 2019/2020

Decolonising UoY Campaign

Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing Provision

Sexual Violence and harassment:

Student Support Fund


Students with care responsibilities

Students with Disabilities

Transparency in the union:

Industrial Action support:

Students Support during COVID-19:


2nd September 2020