Hi all, my name is Tangina Chowdhury and I am your Vice President for Societies & Communications. I am also a representative for the school of ADI (Arts & Digital Industries).
I have decided to write a blog for all the students of UEL so you can have an insight on the work I am doing for you through my portfolio but also a better way to communicate to those interested. You can also find the other officers blog online through the Students Union website.
You can find my manifesto right here:
- July 2017
- August 2017
- September 2017
- October 2017
- November 2017
- December 2017
- January 2018
- February 2018
- March 2018
- April 2018
- May 2018
- June 2018
I stepped into office in the first week of July. We settled down and familiarised ourselves with our working environment, we were introduced to the lovely staff members we’ll be working with and introduced their roles. We then went off to an NUS conference in Birmingham where we learned our roles as officers and how we can support students and also issues other student unions face which is mainly student engagement. After that I shortly realised our Student Union are trying to tackle this issue and it is our jobs as officers to improve visibility on campus and keep activities alive!
July and August was mainly packed with lots of team meetings for Freshers and training such as event planning (Including risk assessment), project planning- which is important as we need to learn how to organise a project and the steps we need to take for progress. I also had meetings about my societies portfolio, setting up a survey to register societies in time for the Freshers Fayre.
We had a joint training day with Birbeck University where we met other officers just like us. This is where we shared our manifesto ideas and took part in more project planning. We then went off to Leicester for Trustee training.
As a Sabbatical Officer we have four different roles, or in office as we call it ‘hats’.
The four hats of a sabbatical officer role is:
- The representative- being the “Voice” of students
- The activist- Working for change and building student activism
- The trustee- Oversight of the union as an organisation
- The portfolio role- Supporting a group of volunteers or activity
Onto International week- Swasti had organised a meeting with UEL staff members from different departments to discuss the ideas she had planned and we spoke about the logistics of the suitable dates, themes and events.
We had a group photo session for our visiability around campus and for our banners that are up on Docklands campus and Stratford.
I visited Greenwich SU to check out their union and see if I could take some ideas away. I learnt they have so much space for their students and society members to put on different events, they even have a radio room for their radio society.
It was then time to have another visibility catch up to prepare for Freshers week. In the meeting we discussed further about our merchandise for our t-shirts and hoodies so when Freshers kicked off, students could spot us out and ask us for help.
I also wanted to start on my individual manifesto so I organised a meeting with Hassan S Abdallah who is the Dean of ATI (ADI & ACE). I spoke to him about the first four points in my manifesto as it was in his remit.
In September, we were also allocated to committees that we take part in. I am in the LTQC (Learning Teaching Quality Committee), Race Equality Charter, and Diversity Committee. I picked those because I was interested to learn about the conversations that happen in these areas and so I can increase my knowledge in the key issues.
In September, I attended a YGAM conference about young people who have gambling addictions. I learnt that gambling starts from the age of eleven which was quite shocking for me. They then went on to explain that gambling adverts are highly advertised in games, television, social media. I didn’t notice myself as I unknowingly close these adverts when i’m playing a game on my phone or when it pops up when I’m on Youtube but it came to my attention that this is serious and there are more people than I imagined with this addiction. Did you know gambling addiction is more popular than alcohol and drug addiction?
Freshers kicked off from 23rd September where students were moving in that date as well. Different departments from the University, Residential, Sportsdock, and the SU came together and made freshers possible for UEL students. We started off with moving in weekend where we met students and introduced ourselves. There was also a BBQ for students moving in where they could enjoy live music from the DJ, live performers, and dancers. I was involved in organising a band to come and perform, Nakvma.
In October, there were a lot of meetings such as Leadership meetings, committee meetings, school meetings and such. As this was after Freshers, the SU had a Freshers wash-up meeting to evaluate how it went, what worked and what didn’t as it was fresh in our heads. This information is going to be useful in April when we start planning Freshers again.
I also had a few meetings about Societies which was important to ensure the Societies Assembly taking place on November 1st runs smoothly and other stuff to make sure I had the time to read up on each society and find out more about them so I could approve them. So far all societies that have applied have been approved. I’m really happy and inspired with what societies want to do and how they are helping others. I’m also happy to see how enthusiastic societies are and they have great passion- I just hope they are managing their studies the same.
On Monday 16th October we had our first Student council meeting. To find out more information please follow this link:
This is where the students elected their chair- Christopher who is also a part time Black student’s officer. He has worked very hard for Black History month in October ensuring students had different activities on. Ayaan Cabdi and Christopher made a great team for Black History Month.
The 1st of November is when the Societies Assembly took place, you can take a look at the Agenda here:
I was looking forward to meeting the societies and finding out more about them.
We introduced each other and myself, spoke about my plans, why I chose my portfolio, how I can provide support to them. We had an Ice breaker- spoke about one goal from each society. Spoke about the Charter/Handbook- Sam took over at this point and had a discussion on what they would like to see from us as an SU. Funding- Donna took over this part and explained in detail how it works.
I then spoke about UELSU Points system (which Olivia and I were very busy with in October trying to finalise)- Introduced this to them and they seemed very excited about it, especially as some societies are already planning on collaborating with each other. Some knew about the old points system and are happy that we’re bringing it back. We had about six drafts before bringing it out. I can’t imagine this one being perfect but I am excited to see how societies respond to this and I really hope this helps them achieve the best they can, if not higher.
The top two societies are ISOC society & ACS, congratulations to them!
After networking I had a few action points to deal with, one of them is making some sort of group chat. I am working on a way to do this, I need a few things to be approved and then can hopefully get this going and that way we can all be under one community and an easier way to find each other.
I helped Swasti with promoting international week. We went around campus handing out the calendars and speaking to students about the events taking place.
Here is the calendar:
On the 13th November we had our second student council where we were joined by Part time officers and representatives. There I gave an update on the projects I’m working on and what I’ve been doing since the last school council.
I’ve also been planning an Arts/ ADI festival and trying to put ideas I’d like in the festival. Once I have something set I will put together a Gantt chart that David Ring (Head of Technical Resources) introduced me to then speak to SU staff members for advice on how to implement the plan.
After that I’ve been on annual leave, and may have a lot of catching up to do.
My main priorities for now are:
- Working on the ADI festival/ Arts Festival (Haven’t decided a name yet).
- Reading papers for all meetings and catching up on that.
- Action points- Which you will find more about once I provide more information.
In order to inform the team about the Festival (Now called Arts Festival), I put together a presentation explaining the ideas I had so I could speak to the staff about it and get their opinions to see if it was feasible/ realistic. The advice I received was to do less and put more effort in them. Now this presentation wasn’t the only developmental stage I went through. There were many changes I made if things weren’t working out so well I had to chose another direction.
During this month there were a few meetings I attended such as societies catchup with the societies co-ordinator to discuss how societies are doing and their activeness. There was a BOFT meeting that month too, college board meeting, committees, student council, officers catch-up. Officers catch-up is very important when you step into office, when we have this meeting, we prepare beforehand to give updates to each other to keep the visibility strong so we are aware of the progress being made and if any of us need a hand or some support.
I then went back to organizing the Arts Festival, this month it was very important to start designing the marketing by providing some details such as the location, and the kind of events included, that’s when I had a meeting with our Marketing co-ordinator and he was very helpful and gave me a list of things I needed to confirm-after that meeting I realized I had more work to do (with every meeting I come out of, there’s always more work to do-which is great, I love keeping myself busy). This was a challenge as I was waiting back for responses from students and graduates to inform me if they are interested in taking part. Without the students and graduates, there would be no point of the event because the main goal is to give them a showcase opportunity and networking. Before sending communication out, I put together separate blurbs that would appeal to the different audiences such as students, program reps, program leaders & lecturers, societies and more to give them information on the event and how it can benefit them. I met up with Chartwells to see if we can provide a food festival, and book out the underground bar for the two nights to put on events. As I’m not a chef, I left them to create the menu because I eat anything that includes chicken.
Now I’ve got the ball rolling, I can enjoy my two weeks of Christmas Holiday.
So to those reading, Merry Christmas and a very Happy new year!
Welcome Back Week
The SU organised welcome back week as a mini fresher’s for students who have joined with us in January. This event is to welcome our new students to UEL and make them apart of our community. As you can see on the calendar we had day events from the sports dock, inflatables to get students involved in some fun on campus, SU on tour to meet the students union and inform students about the services we offer and for students to meet their Sabbatical officers. Societies had stalls open to promote their society to students and get other students involved by joining.
ATI College Board Meeting
Arts Festival Meeting
Societies Assembly Elections Special Meeting
LTQC (Learning teaching quality committee)- Societies training clashed with this.
Executive officers & Dep CEO meeting
REC SAT meeting
Time to Change (Mental Health)
Introductory meeting with Academic registry- Jacqueline Leach
Deadline for completing events calendar– Put all the activities together, ensure all the risk assessments were completed, contingency plans, services discussed and booked, materials were ordered.
Free printing Awareness Campaign
This campaign’s purpose was to inform many students about the free printing services we have on Stratford campus (SU Dome) and Docklands (SU Lounge). We had these printers set up and ready in September, however we had some technical issues with some of them which is why we could not promote this earlier. Once the issue was resolved, the officers went around all three campuses promoting to students by speaking to them and handing out flyers (See below). By the time we got to promoting our next event (SU elections and Arts Festival), we were handing out these flyers again and students were telling us they don’t need the flyers as they were already informed about the free printing service in the SU which was fantastic to hear.
We understand we have approximately 11,300 students studying at UEL, we will continue to promote the free printing to ensure our new students are informed about this service. The next big event to promote this will be during Fresher’s where I hope we can inform all the students that attend and i’m sure they can spread the news to their friends.
Flyer for free printing campaign, also uploaded on social media:
Time To Change- Time to change was organised by our Head of Student Support team Lisa and this campaign was for students and staff to come down to the SU and speak to the advice team about mental health. We had a wall set up for students to write their opinions about mental health and we had an interesting response.
Catch-up meetings-Chartwells, DJ, Societies, MIS, Dep CEO & Officer catch-ups, Society, Arts Festival.
Mentoring meeting with Marta
Preparing for societies assembly
Offer day 3rd Feb -Video
Adjustments to calendar
Preparing shopping list/Budget table
Arts Festival Catch-up
Societies Assembly Elections Special Meeting- 7th Feb
Residential Scholars- Met with them to discuss the plans for Arts Festival and to help promote it. Residential Scholars look after students living in halls, any issues students have or need help, they speak to their scholars. Scholars also work with the residential team and organise events such as movie & pop corn nights on campus.
SHAG Week 12th-16th February
Meeting filming group
Tues 20th Arts Festival stall Atrium
Candidate Briefing 21st Feb
22nd & 23rd- Arts Festival!
UV Bubble Party
Arts Festival Finale Boat Party
Preparing Hustings Speech/ Manifesto
Annual Leave 5th-9th March 2018
Elections 12th March-16th March 2018
Election results night
Social Sciences Academic review- Preparing for that, reading, questions.
Officer drop in sessions- weekly
Food and Drink in library meeting with David Clover
Arts Festival Survey
ATI Resources questionnaire/ Lifestyle Survey
Suggestion Box on all 3 campuses
Meeting with Alert Radio Society
ATI College board meeting
Election Results- 18th April 2018
School Council- 18th April 2018
25th &26th SS Academic review
UEL Has Talent- 27th April
Society AGM’s (Games Society)
New Lab promotion
Launch Survey for Arts Festival feedback to participants
Keep Calm & Study on week
3rd-9th- Annual Leave
Opening of Transformation Lab in Knowledge dock
LTQC (Learning Teaching Quality Committee 4)
Campus Life working group
ATI College Board Meeting
REC Charter workshop