It's Eleanor here, recently returned from Scary Board Meeting #2.
The Board of ULIP is essentially a collection of all the big cheeses involved in the running of ULIP - BNOCs from the University of London, Queen Mary, ULIP and (hilariously) me. The meetings are held to discuss the financial aspects of running ULIP, big projects for the future and some aspects of the student experience. They can be quite daunting as a student representative. It's a friendly atmosphere but everyone is very professional and very important and they all like to ask each other difficult questions. There's not a lot of jokes being thrown around.
Scary Board Meeting#1 wasn't actually that scary. I was attending as a guest, sitting in to meet everybody and to see how the meetings were ran. I was there with the 2018-2019 SU President, Kameni Chaddha, so she took the lead, giving a report of the Union's activities throughout the year.
This time around, I was sans Kameni and I was there to present the budget report for the previous year, our predicted income and expenditure for the 2019-2020 financial year and the changes to the Constitution that had been proposed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in early October.
In terms of the budget report, Geraint Davies (our wonderful SU Treasurer) did a really excellent job of calculating the SU's income and expenditure for the year 2018-2019 and also calculating the expected income and expenditure for this year (2019-2020) based on previous spending patterns. I also wrote a section of this report, which outlines the areas of spending that are significantly different or which are of particular interest to the Board. I have circulated the report for everybody to read but for those of you who won't have time to read it, the highlights are :
- lots more money for welfare as the SU regularly receives feedback that students would like greater support
- budget increase for STAR to enable them to hold an event with Actors for Human Rights
- less money spent on marketing and trips to Queen Mary SU as our marketing is mostly social media based (i.e free) and I can Skype QMSU or coincide any visits to them with my visits home
- two new societies : BAME and Anglo-Franco - each working incredibly hard on areas that ULIP students have expressed a strong desire for.
For those of you who attended the AGM in October, you will already know about the Constitution changes. A lot of the changes were grammatical and while they may seem trivial, it is important to keep in mind that the Constitution is a legal document and so we must be precise in the way it is worded so as to avoid any loopholes or areas of confusion. Having said this, I have done some important work in terms of the splitting of the Executive Committee from the Student Council. This process was begun in the academic year 2017-2018 by the then SU President, Ellie Clutton, in order to make SU meetings more effective and relevant for those in attendance. These changes also bring ULIP SU in line with other Students' Unions across the country, who also operate in this way.
In order to faciliate the split, I took advice from the lawyers at the University of London, who stated that the Executive Committee and Student Council needed to have their own separate sections so as to make the divide clearer. Now you can find the Executive Committee in Section 5 and the Student Council in Section 6. How sexy!
We have also worked to further define the roles of the Student Council by differentiating them based on year of study. The role of a BA1 rep is slightly different to the role of a BA3 rep, for example.
All the changes seem to have been approved in theory but I'm still waiting on the final approval. I will, of course, let you know when this comes through!
I'm very proud of all the work the SU is doing at the moment and I'm looking forward to sharing this with the Board in my next few reports. In March, I will be presenting a report on our Equality and Diversity initiatives and in June, I will be sharing our activities throughout the 2019-2020 year. Exciting!
Be sure to read the minutes of the Executive Committee meetings for more updates!