A day in the life of the President (UG)

A day in the life with Ben. Ben, President (UG).

As an SU Co-President, I take on a variety of different tasks in my day-to-day from leading the sabb team, to sitting on committees, to working on my own projects. Obviously outside of COVID-19 times you can expect a bit more variety in locations, but for now most of this takes place from my office at home! Here’s an insight into what I tend to do on a Monday:



The benefit of working from home is the short distance between my bed and workplace! I try to be up for 9 everyday, but if I don’t have any meetings before 10 or have any events in the evening I can push it back a little and I’ll always do my first meeting of the day over a strong coffee. This morning, I had the regular 9 am comms catch-up with Gabbi, Head of Membership Team, Matt, our Democratic Support Manager, Phoebe, our Comms and Graphic Design Coordinator, and Aastha, my Co-President. We discussed developments that had taken place over the weekend, and mapped out what projects and campaigns we plan to promote this week. 



Emails! As an undergrad I was used to the barrage of emails from societies, academic staff and the faculty every day, and the volume is still there! Some of them were from students enquiring about our societies directory (forwarded onto our Activities Manager), some about organising a workshop with our Academic Reps about student workloads, and some containing papers for upcoming committees. 



Our bulletin goes out on Wednesdays to all students, and it’s a great opportunity to inform them about what we’re working on, and about any opportunities for them to get involved with our activities. On a good week like this one, I’ll try to decide what’s going in and get it written on Monday but sometimes it ends up being sent over on the Tuesday lunchtime deadline (sorry Phoebe).



One of the exciting things about Cambridge SU is the coordination between postgraduate and undergraduate representation. I talk to Aastha a few times a week over Zoom (and did in-person when it was allowed) to catch up about the committees we sit on and about work that the team is doing. Today we spoke about our role in a University survey on Postgraduate researchers which I had picked up from another meeting, and about what papers are coming to the Board of Trustees next week. 



Every week at this time on Monday we have Shout and Share, where all the staff meet to talk about projects and campaigns we’re working on, and find out if there’s anything we can help other staff with. This week, I said I needed some help with data on intermission for my student workloads project and was offered support by members of our Advice Service.



Lunch! Another perk of working from home is being able to cook lunch every day, and I’m very lucky to have housemates who are much better cooks than I am. Today we had a pasta bake, a speciality of Howard’s (our BME Officer and also one of my housemates!) I normally like to watch an episode of something or get in a quick bit of piano practice during my hour off. 




I generally find a bit of time to do work on my projects and campaigns between meetings at some point during the day. Today I did some work on my policy proposal for a Week 5 Reading Week (more on this soon!), filtering through our remote drive to find research that has been done on the issue by my predecessors. I also spoke to Esme, our Access, Education and Participation Officer (UG) about some of the survey data I found. 



Every two weeks we sit on the University’s COVID-19 Management Team, made up of a combination of Senior Tutors, Bursars, and others involved in managing the pandemic around the University. This time, Alice, Aastha and I brought up issues with college student return policies and made clear the negative impact that it had on students. 



At the end of the day, I read the papers for some upcoming committees. There are very few committees which only have one sabbatical member present so we can often share out the reading or share notes from what we’ve found. This week it was my turn and I sent Aastha a few messages about pages to flag up (can’t talk about it here as this one is confidential…)



I normally manage to get off work around 5 unless there’s an evening event, so logged off on Slack and turned off my work computer. Working a 9-5 is something I never managed to do as a student, but the benefit is that after I log off I can have a drink with my housemates and have a think about what we’re going to cook!