End of Semester Recap

Here's the lowdown of Semester Two

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It's the second semester and for 3/4's of the Full Time Officer team it is their last semester in the role. Before kicking off the semester highlights we want to give Scott, Georgia and Connel a massive congrats for everything that they have achieved during the year. Not forgetting Sebi, who will still be with us next year! Let's get into it:

Scott Anderson, Student President

Community Meals

This year saw the launch of our new initiative, community meals. We started doing these to achieve two of the four Global Priorities set by the Student Representative Bodies: Reducing Student Isolation and Relieving Financial Pressure. This semester has only seen this initiative grow with our community meals following themes: Burns Night, Lunar New Year and… Garfield. As well as this, with our March rendition occurring during Ramadan, we also funded our Islamic Society to support their series of Iftar meals.

Galashiels Student Spaces

Another highlight of this semester for me was seeing the investment in our student spaces on our Galashiels campus come to life Our Multi-Purpose Room, the Learning Lounge and the Thread all had renovations, which have resulted in a boost in usage from our students throughout the semester.

Student and Staff Awards

This year, we decided to host our Learning and Teaching Oscars and our Volunteer Awards on consecutive days – allowing us to collect/gather nominations for both students and staff awards in one award season. The aim of this was to foster the ‘One-Watt Community’ at Heriot-Watt and enhance the student/staff community. These are always some of the best nights of the year and this year was no different.

Sebi Merino, VP Community

Global Day 

My first semester highlight would have to be Global day which was a spectacular showcase of Heriot-Watt’s diversity and culture and had an incredible atmosphere that anyone who attended would agree, the different foods and decorations from all the different stall holders was superb and the performances were a sight to behold with a unique variety. Zeros was packed out and the electricity in the air was indescribable. The impact also was widely felt with communities being able to connect and the formation of the Filipino Society as a direct result, which feels incredible to have been a part of.

Volunteer Awards 

Secondly the Volunteer Awards were another highlight of mine, having the opportunity to recognise and celebrate all the hard work that our volunteers do. I tried to bring a lot of energy and entertainment to presenting the awards which was a lot of fun and I hope everyone who attended had a great time. Everyone looked fantastic and Zeros turned into a fabulous space of wonder and magic. I have started planning my closing song already for next year!! 

Pub Quiz  

This semester, my weekly Pub Quiz has really gained some traction and has attracted some regular quiz teams to come along every week and compete to be the Unions quiz masters! Having the Pub Quizzes grow to the point they have has been extremely rewarding and seeing the friendly faces each week and seeing regulars gain a win after weeks of trying is a weekly highlight. I was able to host a Pub Quiz in Galashiels as well which was super fun and will make sure to have more in Gala next semester!

Connel Greenhorn, VP Education

HWU Your Voice: Review

Concluding a year's worth of work, the institutional review on the HWU Your Voice platform was completed, with a report from Connel recommending to the University Committee for Learning and Teaching that the platform should be disbanded and alternative options explored to improve and enhance upon existing student voice mechanisms. With over 70 student representatives participating globally, this was truly a student-led and informed review. If you would like to read the review and its recommendations, please click here

19th Annual Learning and Teaching Oscars

Hosting alongside your Student Union President, Scott, over 270 individual student nominations across 17 award categories ensured that the we could celebrate the broad variety of work achieved by academic and non-academic staff across the University. It was a fantastic night, and was a real highlight for me this semester as I loved being able to pass on and read some of the very touching nominations left by students to staff who had worked hard to improve the student experience. 

Involvement in the Student Movement across the Tertiary Sector

Having been a key member in the student voice and development work established at sparqs (student partnership in quality Scotland), and representing Heriot-Watt at a range of QAA events on digital poverty, assessment and the cost of living crisis, I have been grateful to share my experiences - and the stories of students here at Heriot-Watt - to inform work established at a sector level. Being involved here has been crucial in articulating the needs and struggles of students, making it clear what students need support with now, and in the future.  

Georgia Noble, VP Wellbeing

Gay Agenda

The Gay Agenda on February 13th sold ~250 tickets, raising £705.79 for LGBT Health and Wellbeing, an organisation key to the support of our LGBTQ+ students of Edinburgh. It was particularly great to collaborate with other Edinburgh institutions and we look forward to continuing this partnership as we look towards Pride Month.

Self Care Day

Alongside Professor Anna Sedda and Artemis Andreou, I led a workshop focussed on self-care. A total of 15 students attended across two hours, making the most of freebies from Lush and winning prizes in the Kahoot quiz. Students were able to use the time to reflect on ways in which they can be compassionate towards themselves, especially during times of high stress such as exam season.

TGIS

As always, our end of semester party was great fun – and we weren’t kidding about the summer vibes being guaranteed! It was great to see so many faces down at the Union to celebrate exams being over – and we were even treated to a sighting of the Northern Lights on the Friday evening!

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