Past Sabbs: Past Sabbs: What was rewarding?

Past Sabbs: What was rewarding?

Being a Sabb is hard work and comes with a lot of responsibility – and with that, a rewarding experience! So, what do our past Officers remember as the rewarding parts of the job?Being a Sabb is hard work and comes with a lot of responsibility – and with that, a rewarding experience! So, what do our past Officers remember as the rewarding parts of the job?

Patrick O’Donnell: YUSU President, 2020/21 and 2021/22
Change doesn’t happen overnight and it’s often tricky to achieve things on your own. However, being able to bring people’s expertise and enthusiasm together and channelling this into making things better for the whole student community was hugely rewarding.

 Rohan Ashar: YUSU Activities Officer, 2022/23
Being a Sabb means that you meet plenty of fascinating and important people, you hold a high position in a charitable organisation, you have control over what you work on, and you are constantly developing various professional skills (and are supported in doing that). All this leads to being able to make a tangible difference to students and the university community. Seeing my work impact people positively and instigate genuine change was the most rewarding part of my experience as a Sabb. Being able to say “I helped to achieve that” and having students (or even staff) express their appreciation to you is such an amazing feeling, and I’ll remember certain accomplishments for a very long time.


Matt Johnstone: YUSU Academic Sabbatical Officer, 2020/21 and 2021/22 
The entire job is incredibly rewarding. From being elected and having a real democratic mandate, to seeing the impact of decisions you’ve made and policy you’ve helped develop, you leave as much a lasting impression on the student experience as the job leaves on you. In my work now, I’m helping students navigate the self-certification process that I lobbied for extensively as a Sabb. Additionally, running for a Sabb role is now valid grounds for an exceptional circumstances claim due to the time commitments required – this is a policy I proposed as a pilot back in 2022!

Sophie Kelly: YUSU Activities Officer, 2021/22
I loved being able to meet and work with so many incredible students and colleagues, who continually inspired me throughout my year. I held a weekly radio show on URY with different societies each week and I loved the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the student community. I also really enjoyed being able to influence the direction of the students’ union such as expanding the ‘Activities Access Grant’ policy, experiment with the nightlife offering in the city, and design a new training programme for student leaders. In addition, I enjoyed the trustee element of the role which provided me with a good insight of strategic organisational issues to prepare me for my current roles.

 Dominic Smithies: YUSU Community and Wellbeing Officer, 2016/17
There was no greater reward than the people I met along the way. The students; the staff at the SU and the university;other Sabbs from other unions across the country, many of whom I’m still close friends with to this day. Being a leader in the student movement means you’ll find friends and allies with similar values and experiences to you wherever you go – it’s a really small world.

20th February 2024