As the 22/23 academic year comes to an end, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on what a year it has been.
There have been a lot of achievements and memories made, as well as challenges that we’ve overcome together. Please take a moment to watch our video which captures some of our favourite moments alongside a beautiful poem written by talented Art Scholar Elena Chamberlain.
Download the full poem - Union Starts with You!
In the text below we outline some of our key moments in more detail, so grab a cup of tea and look back with us on another amazing year at The SU.
Semester 2 kicked off with a bang as we dove straight into Refresh Week where student groups ran ‘Give it a Go Sessions’ put on events and ran a series of promotional stalls across campus. It was great to see the passion from all the groups as they engaged with new potential members. The Student Centre came alive for the Refresh Fair, where students enjoyed the ever-popular free Dominos and signed up for new and exciting opportunities from externals. You partied at a silent disco, danced the night away at SCORE, and attended a whole host of art performances from our very talented students.
We had a sudden bout of snow in March and everyone enjoyed a snow day- including our resident ducks. We also headed to Cardiff Met University for one of the most highly anticipated events of the year- Varsity! We left for Cardiff on a five-year winning streak, bringing along 24 teams with over 300 athletes and 700 spectators – and returned to Bath as champions once again. Here’s to making it a seven-year winning streak!
As we moved into April and May, many student groups celebrated fantastic achievements. The Big Band within ChaOS sold out their largest Jazz Night to date, raising over £800 for charity and a week later competed against four other universities (some with designated music departments!) in the Battle of the Big Bands- and won! Salsa Society gave back to the local community by performing their routines for the residents of Woodside Nursing Home, which was gratefully received by all.
Students braved the elements and raised over £1200 for Julian House Homeless Charity by taking part in a sleepout on the parade, an unforgettable experience that means so much to the local charity.
12 triathletes from the Triathlon club and members of the Cycling club took up the challenge to cycle for 24 hours straight in aid of Bike the UK for MS Charity- with very sore legs, they managed to raise an amazing £1072.
In late May we entered award season where we hosted three different awards ceremonies- The SU Awards, the Blues Awards and the Education Awards. It was amazing to see so many of you celebrating personal and group achievements and supporting your peers. We are constantly amazed by how much talent we have at Bath and love an opportunity to celebrate this together.
As we entered the revision and exam season the focus turned to helping us destress. There was a series of Study Well events- ranging from massive inflatables to a petting zoo and some bubble therapy. There was a break in the exams frenzy when our resident duck Waddles decided to lay her eggs just outside the SU and at the end of May we welcomed 7 new little ducklings to Bath.
Throughout the year, there has also been a huge variety of regular events, from our infamous food markets to vintage clothing pop-ups. There are far too many to mention individually!
The Plug and Tub has been ever popular with its regular nights such as the Plug Quiz, Mixology, Score and Peachy’s and also introduced new sell-out events like the Drinks Exchange!
Looking forward we’re excited to see BUST perform three plays in June at the Bath Fringe Festival, two of which are written by student members.
Wow, you guys have done a lot this year. To celebrate another successful year at Bath, we are going out with a bang with our SELL OUT Summer Ball! We hope you have the best time celebrating with friends, riding the fairground rides and all the live music performances as you say goodbye to another academic year.
Student reps and the SU Officers have been busy working away behind the scenes, attending meetings, conferences, and workshops, and representing the student voice.
Julia (Education Officer), Elizabeth (Sport Officer), Alexander (SU President) and Blake (Community Officer) attended the NUS National Conference in March to represent the voice of our student body and discussed topics such as the cost-of-living crisis and housing. Julia also headed to the annual learning and teaching conference, Edufest, where she gave an introductory talk on inclusive teaching.
Elizabeth joined BUCS (British Universities Colleges and Sports) regional and BUCS national advisory meetings discussing all things sport!
Jura headed to 'The Secret Life of Students Conference' and was lucky enough to hop on a plane to do a Scandinavian Students’ Union tour with WONKE. It was so interesting to hear what Jura learned from the trip and how we could do things differently here at Bath.
Alexander also attended a European Study Tour with WONKE which traveled across Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany. This involved meeting with other SU’s to better understand new models of student engagement and activity- he returned with lots of new takeaways to introduce here at Bath.
Activities Officer, Viktor continued to focus on the student experience, attending meetings about employability, careers advice and belonging at Bath.
At the start of the academic year, we reintroduced SUmmit, a committee of student leaders brought together to shape the political direction of The SU. It has been fascinating to see the broad range of topics and issues that students are facing right now and to come together to create change. One of the standpoints discussed this semester was the challenges faced by international students to understand native English speakers. Therefore, the Accents Training Course, a self-directed Moodle course, was created to support our international community.
In February we held our yearly SU Officer Elections. It was amazing to see so many candidates running for positions and out campaigning on the parade. A big well done to our new officers, Jimena, David, Abbie, Hanna, and Amber, and welcome back to Jura! Thanks to everyone who voted and had their say, it was a fabulous turnout.
It’s hard to keep you updated on everything (as otherwise we would be constantly bombarding you with emails!) but rest assured there are always things in motion and the SU Officers are regularly championing the student voice within the University and beyond.
Semester one saw the introduction of a collaborative campaign between Student Support, Student Minds, The SU and the University called MENtion it, offering a range of support to men who are struggling with their mental health. This and the formation of the Talk Club has continued to be an important space and one which will continue to be developed over the next academic year.
Last semester, Community Officer Blake launched a range of different Liberation Networks including Mature Students, Student Parents, Students of Colour, Disabled Students, and LGBT+ students. These networks have continued to meet and grow throughout the start of 2023. We’re excited to see how these develop over the next academic year.
There have been ongoing conversations around student safety at night. The Safe Taxi Scheme has continued to run successfully, and a new Safe Bus was introduced on Friday and Saturday nights. Blake has also been on the Student Community Partnership Board and subgroups discussing personal and river safety.
President Alexander met with the Bicycle Mayor of Bath to discuss sustainable and active travel within Bath for students.
A new campaign was introduced surrounding students moving out, with the aim to encourage the donation of used clothes, and free menstrual products have also become available around campus.
The SU Advice team has supported hundreds of students over the last year with confidential independent advice on a whole range of personal, housing and academic topics.
There has been plenty of development this academic year, with students regularly 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 new student group committees, who attended training on finance, marketing and how to lead their group.
SU President Alexander also attended both the National Student Television Conference in Greenwich and the Student Radio Association Conference in Exeter, supporting the work of student groups. One of our Bath students was elected to a national role within the SRA to develop relationships between Bath and other areas of the country.
Peer Support within the SU has also continued to aid development in a range of different ways; over 750 individuals signed up to be peer mentors and welcomed new undergraduate and doctoral students to the University. More than 700 students attended over 200 PAL sessions, with PAL leaders offering over 140,000 hours of peer-led study support. The language café returned with three successful sessions and a suite of online training for committee members was launched, with these modules being completed over 1200 times this year!
To help develop different skill sets and help with the cost of living crisis, the SU also advertises a range of new jobs every week. You can check out summer vacancies on the jobs website.
Of course, we have to mention our amazing fundraising groups! V Team’s V Code Bootcamp was recognized at the SU Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community and also organised a beach clean-up- amongst many more other amazing activities!
Every year RAG chooses a Big Four charities to support across the academic year which are chosen via student vote. The four chosen for next academic year are; Wicked Weather Watch, a charity that aims to inspire teachers and pupils to act on climate change, Heswall Disabled Children’s Holiday Fund which sends disabled children away at no cost to their families, St Mungo’s which seeks to help individuals who have experienced homelessness and Action for Children which protects and supports children and young people.
If you’re interested in volunteering, remember to check out all the volunteering opportunities on our website!
Challenges this Academic Year
Things don’t always go to plan and there have also been some challenges faced so far this year. The cost of living has continued to impact us all; in response to this, The Plug has continued to offer porridge as a morning breakfast for 49p and the University has a range of £1.50 meals at lunchtime.
In February, Turkey suffered a devastating earthquake. We were so proud of how the Turkish community came together to arrange donations of crucial items – over 80 boxes were donated and sent off directly to those affected within days of the earthquake.
The ongoing war in Ukraine has also had far-reaching impact. To help in whatever way we can, the Voice team at The SU worked together with the Luhansk Taras Shevchenko National University SU to develop the UK- Ukraine Twinning Initiative; a programme that offers students the opportunity to practice their language skills in a supportive, peer-led environment.
Closer to home, we have also experienced lecturer strikes across the year. In response, the SU held a referendum to determine the SU’s stance and the results reflected that the strikes would not be supported by the SU. This issue is still ongoing with the marking and assessment boycott but rest assured that the SU is always campaigning for and representing the student voice.
The buses have also been a continued challenge. President Alexander met with Dan Norris, Metro Mayor of the West of England on Buses in the region and discussed the changes that students in Bath would like to see made and buses remain a top priority for the next academic year.
The above is just a small snippet of what has been achieved over the last year and we're so proud of each and every one of you.
For those of you heading off for the summer break, we’re already looking forward to welcoming you back to Bath in September and we hope you have the most wonderful summer.
The end of the academic year also marks the end of the current SU Officers' term. It’s always a sad time saying goodbye, and we can’t thank them enough for all the hard work they’ve put in during their time as officers. We look forward to getting to know the new team and wish them luck in their new roles.
To those graduating and leaving Bath, we wish you all the best in all your ventures. Thank you for being part of The SU – there is no SU without you!
Lots of love,
The SU xxx