Posted by: sarahwakefield | June 28, 2010

Week Two: walking through a bat cave (along with some serious business)

At the end of the second and final week of handover I feel very ready to sit down on Monday and have space to think with a hot chocolate and a notepad about the year ahead.

Despite a busy week, we did have the chance for some fun and team bonding on Thursday afternoon with a trip to Chester Zoo! It was lots of fun, particularity the bat cave which Hannah was keen to  share with us. In an extremely loose and cheesy way much of the past few weeks has felt a bit like that cave – the path is laid out in front of you, but in a dark and windy manner. It seems that starting with any new job feels like stumbling in sort of the right direction with the little distractions flying at you, but despite the problems you come out the other side, relatively unscathed, but with your adrenaline worn out. Certainly, at the end of week two I am very ready for the weekend.
This week started with a lunch in the union on Monday with senior members of the university. As the University think of the General Secretary’s role is the President of the union (it’s not quite as the Gen Sec has the same decision-making power as the rest of exec), I got to sit on the table with the newly appointed Vice Chancellor Professor Dame Nacey Rothwell, or Nacey as she asked us to call her . Was good to hear about her plans to do with the 2015 plan and her desire to improve the experience of international and BME students in Manchester, along with the Teaching and Learning which seems to be the University’s new focus as the Undergraduate Student Satisfaction seems to be going down every year, despite scoring very high when it comes to Research.,,1574395,00.html

It was a great lunch during which all of the new exec had a great chance to meet some of the movers and shakers of the Uni and have a conversation about some of the reasons why we chose to run for election and what we want to aim for in the year.

Tuesday was a day of understanding our role as Trustees of the Union (which means that we have responsibility for the overall direction of the Union). This is actually rather exciting as it was about the vision we have for what the Union can be; ultimately  becoming the best Union in the country in 10 years – how exciting that we, and all of you can be involved with that process! Hopefully we can get to the point where we are enhancing every aspect of student life in Manchester. But there are lots of projects to get done before that point.

On Wednesday I went with Kate, our Academic Affairs Officer, and the Faculty Officers to a round-up of how Teaching and Learning is assessed in the University – it’s really interesting how and where students can have input – if you want to get involved volunteer to become a Course Rep at the start of the year and you get lots of lovely support from the Union! In the afternoon, despite most of the Union staff being gathered in the bar with 400 other people to watch the last England group stage match, Gabriel and I went through some aspects of the GenSec’s portfolio and walked around the relevant University rooms, most of which are much prettier than our building!

This week has been really bitty and Friday proved to be no exception, with a few hours in the office going through final handover bits, before heading to Macclesfield for an afternoon with the NUS Services Limited (NUSSL) as an additional role I have taken on is to sit as a student volunteer on the Environment and Ethics Committee for NUSSL. This was a really good chance to talk to officers from around the country and learn from their experiences, along with gaining some understanding of how students can  lead where NUSSL puts it’s energy and focus in terms of the deals and products it offers to students. – NUSSL act as a buying consortium for all of NUS’s member Unions meaning we can benefit from their discounts on offers, which we pass on to you!

After getting back from Macclesfield I had a chance get mt degree results and stop by the end of the staff party (an important annual event to say goodbye to to the old officers and hello to the new ones) and the entertainment was very much provided by the people attending the party! Looking forward to week 3 when we have a chance to get stuck into our roles proper!



  1. Nice site Sarah, very good idea to keep your ‘constituents’ informed!
    Sounds like you’ve been really busy, make sure you pace yourself!

    Big sis Rachel

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