VP Student activities
After meeting with the social secretaries of each club going on Tour and playing around with the numbers we figured out the best coach arrangements for the clubs depending on their relationships with each other. The larger rooms for tour were limited but we were able to get the clubs to eventually agree on rooms based on their sizes and preferences. Have met and informed social secretaries of the next steps to getting their e-tickets and addressed welfare on tour.
Free Sport Update
After having several meetings with Dave Parry (Director of Sport), Dom King (Sports Development manager SU) and Barbara Reynolds (Director of Finance) we sat down to discuss the costs and issues of the different areas within sport at Essex in attempts to lower the current level of subsidy to ~720k (task set by the Registrar). The element of free sport originally proposed many years ago was for sport to be free at the point of entry, not that everything becomes free (this is how it has evolved to be). Because of the provision of sport being free across the majority of areas the programmes and costs associated grew leading to high expenditure and low income. After 3 years the level of subsidy has escalated to a sum just over 1 million pounds hence why we have been asked to make drastic changes in attempts to bring it down. Before looking at the finances and possible cuts, we went over the principles of the various sport provisions to prevent different programmes overlapping and competing with each other (especially where there was potential income available). For the SU there were 3 areas to consider, BUCS, Clubs and Just Play. The budgets for BUCS have been prioritised as it ties in with the targets of the university and the BUCS strategy – this cost actually increased slightly as there were costs within club budget that were identified to be more relevant under BUCS. For Clubs we have had to make the biggest cuts by removing funding for areas which we deemed non-essential or possible to be self-funded by clubs. After discussion it was mutually agreed that membership to clubs should remain free for 2017/18. Part of the hardest decisions were within the cuts to clubs mainly because, whilst we had to lower the overall cost of sport, we had to somehow keep a form of the Just Play programme wrapped in the budget given despite the fact that the 122k per year funding ends this academic year. To ensure the survival of Just Play in any form we had to reduce the programme in Colchester down by approximately half, limiting it to non-mainstream sports and sessions that weren’t being offered elsewhere or that weren’t too costly for the amount of people it benefits. For the other Campuses, Southend and Loughton, we mutually agreed a level of subsidy was required to maintain it as it is due to these campuses having limited opportunities for sport/physical activity. As part of the strategy to keep Just Play, given that the funding is gone, a £2 fee has been proposed to be implemented into all drop-in session. To be clear the SU’s stance would be to not cut any of this. We have already argued to University and the Registrar as to why we believe sport should continue to be funded and remain low cost to students but in our eyes the university have acknowledged our values for sport but dismissed our argument for the interest of meeting a financial target to reduce the cost of sport. At this stage nothing within the proposal summarised above has been accepted and we continue to dispute with the university on funding for Sport at Essex.
Elections – Aftermath
(ongoing from Feb Officer report)
Talking to the Essex Blades committee, sports clubs and members in order to promote the roles of the Blades committee for next academic year.
Soc Guild Committee
Talking to the Soc Guild Committee, societies and members in order to promote the roles of the Soc Guild Committee for next academic year.
For both Sports and Socs the awards ceremonies are coming up in May and we have started going over all the different awards whether they are individual or group. For sports most of the awards applications have been reviewed over decided on by a panel consisting of myself, Dom King, 3 university Staff and 3 Blades Exec. The Soc awards for ESS have been reviewed over by a panel consisting of myself, 2 SU staff, 1 university staff and a minimum of 2 Soc Guild committee officers. The remaining awards are to be looked at over the following month. There has also been some work with a number of Clubs and Societies to get some performances for their 2 award ceremonies.
An incident at the beginning of this month has led to a series of complaints and a serious welfare issue within a club that required a disciplinary procedure. A number of investigations occurred following a panel (consisting of 2 Blades Committee members, 1 impartial staff member and VP Southend) which decided the outcome. I was not involved with the panel due personal conflicts of interest however it has led us to carry out some work and review over general club welfare especially with Tour in a couple of weeks.
Third Term events
The third term is often viewed as a quiet and inactive period for the SU however I plan on organising some events for the first 3 weeks back to engage with the students after they return in order to help reduce exam/revision stress. During March I was in the ideas stage of things and have been consulting with some students to identify some viable low cost events. Ideas so far have been things like music/barbeque by the lakes, one-off charity events (president face-off), Super sevens sporting Tournament, Be There or Be Square.
Be There or Be Square
(To be incorporated within the third term events)
Room Bookings and Society Space
A recurring issue flagged throughout the year which I have been collecting feedback on over the last couple of months for when I bring up and discuss the issue in the next Student Experience Committee meeting. As part of this issue with rooms I am also currently trying to help the music Soc regain full access of their music room which has currently been restricted due to complaints.