You know when you were in primary school and you went back in August/September and you spent at least a morning going round the whole class and talking about what everyone did with their summer? Well, it’s our turn. Rahul, Craig and Kieran were elected as your new Sabbatical Officers in March, but they officially came into office on Friday 1st of June, joining Lucy as VP SBC. They've been working away for over three months already, and what a three months it’s been! Together, and with the help of their Officers and Executive team, they’ve achieved a whole lot that we want to shout about. Here’s a quick recap of the highlights of our summer.
We took advantage of the natural lull on the Riccarton campus to make sure improvements were put in place for when you came back. We were pleased to announce that the days of paying 30p for hot water are now gone, as all University catering facilities have joined us in providing it for free. You can now bring your own teabags and instant coffee for a more economical cuppa.
Speaking of University facilities, the Advice Hub were given a new room in the Hugh Nisbet building. You can now find Ailie and Angela opposite the Shop in what some will remember as being Blackwell’s Book Shop. The room is much bigger but also feels much more tucked away, so you’ve got somewhere really quiet to go for a private chat.
At the end of summer, the University announced big changes to car parking on campus, meaning all students parking overnight need a permit. This massively affects student drivers living in halls and those putting in late shifts at the library. Kieran worked to ensure that students were made aware of the changes and offered to personally assist those applying for permits. It’s not too late to drop him a line if you need help.
This summer finally saw the result of years of hard work as it was announced that Student Union volunteering hours will now appear on graduation transcripts. This was the result of close collaboration with the Academic Registry and the Sports Union to make sure that all volunteer hours will be positioned alongside their academic results when they graduate. This is a real win for us and our student volunteers, whose work deserves to be recognised!
In June, we welcomed sanitary disposal units in all our male toilets. This is to accommodate the needs of men who menstruate without compromising their comfort or safety.
Towards the end of the holidays, Rah, Craig and Kieran were involved in welcoming students to Heriot-Watt through Transition Summer School. They gave a campus tour and helped to reassure new students about starting university.
A lot of work went into updating our drugs policy, which is rolling out this week. We’re not going to shy away from the fact that some of our community choose to use drugs, and would rather they were doing so safely. We aim to open up and encourage conversations on the topic rather than brushing it under the carpet.
Craig and Kieran also contacted Good Night Out, a charity on a mission to end sexual harassment and assault in pubs and clubs, and organised training for our staff so we can ensure we’re truly enforcing our zero-tolerance policy.
In June, the Sabbaticals took it in turns to congratulate graduates in their graduation ceremony speeches, before turning their attention to the new students joining in September. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into planning and pulling together Freshers Week 2018. We hosted a wide variety of daytime and night-time events, from old favourites such as the UV Party to new, off-campus excursions to Laser Station, Camera Obscura and Gravity Trampoline Parks, and our interactive Student Union Experience. Hundreds and hundreds of new freshers passed through our doors and had a week they’ll never forget. Down in Galashiels, Lucy pulled together another fabulous week with plenty of cocktails, sweet treats and even a bus up to Riccarton for a night out.
That’s just a small sample of everything the Sabbs have worked on over summer. To be kept up to date, make sure you like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! If you’d like to find out more about any of our summer achievements or there’s anything else you’d like to talk about, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the relevant Officer. We’re here to help you!