As 2022 comes to end we want to take a moment to look back on Semester 1.
As another year draws to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the first semester at The SU! Semester one has flown by; it has been an eventful one full of achievements, emotion and passion and has thrown up some challenges. Below are just a few selected highlights as well as a look at what’s in store for 2023.
After two years of mostly virtual events and Zoom meetings, all of us were more than ready to get stuck back into the action, and The SU provided plenty of opportunities to do so! The new Academic Year kicked off with a bang in September with the return of a full in-person Fresher’s Week and our much-loved SCORE club nights as well as the launch of our new Peachy nights on Saturdays. We reintroduced our Morning Mixers that helped new arrivals meet new people over a morning cuppa. You munched your way through burgers and brownies galore at our super popular Street Food Markets and made the most of the legendary deals at The Plug and The Tub. The sell-out Snowball returned, which saw 2000 students across two consecutive nights of partying at a very festive-looking SU.
Rugby at the Rec made a victorious comeback in October, as Bath beat Durham 40-13 while being cheered on by a huge crowd of blue and gold. The sports action didn’t stop there and this year included plenty of Bath Active sessions, the launch of Interhall football, endless BUCS matches, Kickboxing Fight Night and the first-ever SU World Cup (congrats to our winners, Arab Soc!).
Our student groups flourished with endless events and awareness-raising campaigns. It was a delight to see the passion of our groups as they led events such as the Diwali Ball, weekly wine-tasting sessions, regular film screenings, dance competitions, live debates, radio shows and so much more.
Our groups also organised some outstanding fundraising initiatives and achieved some big wins, with Bath RAG supporting a breathtaking fireworks display in November that raised over £3000 as well as raising an incredible £2000 from a group of runners at the Bath Half marathon in October. We also had a fabulous team of Santas running 5k across campus in the return of the ever-popular Santa Dash.
It was also great to see some national recognition for some of our groups this year. We are immensely proud of Nightline, who won Young Volunteer Team of the Year at Bath’s Community Awards 2022 and a huge shoutout Uni Radio Bath (URB), who took home a bronze award for Best Podcast Programming at the Student Radio Awards in London this November.
The Edge was bought to life with an array of student performances, workshops, creative sessions and showcases. It was wonderful to see our Arts Scholars showing their skills at a recent showcase and we’ve enjoyed a variety of Christmas performances from our groups. We’re continually blown away by the talent that we see and we wish we could mention them all here, but you would be here all day!
The SU Officers have also spent time attending local, national and even international events. The team spoke at every graduation ceremony and were very honoured to be part of such a special day for our recent graduates.
Thousands of you have taken on roles this year, whether that be as a committee member of a student group, an Academic Rep or a Peer Mentor, and it’s been amazing to see communities of students coming together to work on shared goals.
Student reps and the SU Officers have been busy working away behind the scenes, attending meetings, conferences and workshops on a weekly basis. It’s hard to update you on everything but rest assured there are always things in motion!
This year we reintroduced SUmmit, a committee of student leaders brought together to shape the political direction of The SU. The first round of standpoints were created and our officers gave detailed updates on what they have been working on. It’s been fascinating to see the broad range of topics and issues that students are facing right now and to work together to find solutions, make decisions and create change.
The Officer team networked with other Officers at UWE, and attended the NUS Conference as well as the Southwest meetup, where student officers from around the region connected over local and national topics.
Julia, Education Officer, and Alexander, SU President, attended the University Council meetings where topics such as the university strategy, the education plan and progress on the climate action framework were discussed.
A referendum on The SU Affiliation to NUS UK was held and although it didn’t hit quoracy, many of you chose to have your say.
Elizabeth, SU Sport Officer, attended the BUCS Conference in Warwick, where she networked with other Officers and discussed topics including behaviour and culture, developing the student workforce, technology in sport as well as the landscape of sport in the future and how to engage the younger generations. Elizabeth is also the region’s Student Chair for the BUCS Advisory group, which met to raise issues such as sport review, live-streaming and a rebrand.
Jura, Postgraduate Officer, has been busy representing Postgraduates at PGT and Doctoral Council as well as providing opportunities for Doctoral students to network with each other and key members of the University at regular Doctoral breakfasts and lunches.
In recognition of our amazing student leaders, Activities Officer Viktor organised a breakfast with the Vice Chancellor to show off their commitment and dedication to The SU. We hope to see more of these events in the future.
This semester Blake, Community Officer launched a range of different Liberation Networks, including for Mature Students and Student Parents, Students of Colour, Disabled Students and LGBT+ students. These networks have held their first meetings and will continue to meet up throughout 2023.
We have been continuing conversations about student safety at night and working with others around campaigns and messaging. The Safe Taxi scheme in collaboration with Veezu is also up and running.
Semester one also saw the introduction of several new mental health initiatives. Our incredible Nightline team launched their Nightline Awareness Week to raise awareness for nightline services and general student mental health concerns while celebrating the dedication of their volunteers. Student Support, Student Minds, The SU and the University initiated their collaborative campaign MENtion, offering a range of support to men who are struggling with their mental health. This campaign involved the formation of a Talk Club which provides a secure and private space for men to share and support others.
Lots of work has gone into submitting our report for the University Mental Health Charter, which looks at what the University does to support Mental Health and where the potential gaps are. We’re also proud to be part of Be Well at Bath, a joint initiative with the University around the approach to health and mental wellbeing which has been informed by staff and students.
In another new initiative, specialists from the Developing Health and Independence (DHI) Charity provided Confidential Drug and Alcohol Advice every Thursday, providing information on support available on and off campus in addition to reagent drug testing kits.
The SU and Alumni joined forces in December to establish the access fund, a new initiative that provides financial support to students experiencing financial difficulty who are unable to meet basic or unexpected additional costs from other sources of support. The fund will support students with their experiences, wellbeing and personal development.
Speaking of development, there has been plenty of it with students giving up their time to take on new initiatives, attend training and networking sessions and putting themselves forward for new challenges.
A recent example involves our sports clubs, who took part in Sustainability Training provided by Sport Officer Elizabeth, the Climate Action Team and Sport at Bath. The training aims to make clubs aware of their carbon footprint and encourage them to come up with climate-friendly initiatives and ideas. We’re excited to see how this progresses next year.
Our groups also took part in Beyond Equality training. The objective of these sessions was to work on the club culture of some of our clubs and to encourage members to realise their impact on the student community.
The SU held a hugely popular part-time jobs fair in October which saw many of you come along to meet various stallholders from a wide range of industries. Our part-time jobs page and our weekly part-time jobs newsletter have been more popular than ever, and employers are already asking us when our next fair will be, so watch this space!
We couldn’t speak about development at The SU without mentioning our fantastic volunteering groups. We’ve already mentioned their incredible fundraising achievements and big wins but there are many other things happening regularly that they should be commended for.
If you’re interested in volunteering, remember to check out all the volunteering opportunities on our website! Our award-winning Nightline team will also be hosting a recruitment drive in February 2023.
Challenges in 2022
Things don’t always go as planned, and the cost of living crisis is a topic that will likely still be concerning all of us in the coming year. In response to the cost of living crisis, The Plug has started offering porridge for 40p as a morning breakfast offer that sets you up for the day. We will be providing a full update on the work in this area in the new year and will be reaching out for your feedback so look out for our survey in early January.
The buses have been another consistent issue on the agenda this year, and we held a Bus Q&A in November hosted by Alexander, SU President, that allowed you to ask your questions to a panel of representatives. Although things seem to have improved, buses remain a top priority for the academic year.
In terms of our sports offer, we would still like to be able to offer more recreational sports, however we continue to face obstacles in the form of resources and staffing.
Looking ahead at 2023
As one year comes to an end, the next one begins, and it is already looking like it will be packed full of fantastic events and activities!
If you’re still pining for Freshers’ Week, you’ll be delighted to hear Refresh Week will be back! Taking place in February 2023, this is an opportunity to reintroduce you to The SU and everything it has to offer. It’s never too late to get involved. Join us in going green that same month during Green Week and take time out to consider volunteering in Student Volunteering Week.
You’ll be able to get your sports fix at Varsity, Disability Sports Day and the Blues Awards – all annual highlights in the SU calendar! There is so much more to look forward to, just keep an eye on our What’s On and look out for regular What’s On emails hitting your inbox.
Last, but certainly not least, we’ll have an exciting new commercial unit opening in the main SU building in early 2023. Let’s just say that a breath of fresh hair awaits you…
Phew! That’s it for the year. Remember that if you’re staying in Bath over Christmas you can find the full winter programme online and the SU’s opening hours on our website. We couldn’t have achieved all our big wins and overcome so many obstacles without your support and dedication. You are what makes The SU so great, and we can’t wait to see what lies ahead! Have a happy new year, here’s to 2023!
The SU X