VP Activities Report and Plan
Zoe Chapple, VP Activities, started by updating those present on Plant Pot screens advertisement and explained that societies can use a sign-up sheet to send graphics to display weekly on 2 screens with potential to expanded into Stags. Regarding student-led campaigns she said that societies are being involved in campaign months such as Black History month, Disability month and trans awareness week and the society showcase which will be an interactive showcase and societies can come up with ideas with the help of the Activities Team and herself. She also mentioned the society networking session at WSA covering the process to establish societies at WSA.
She proceeded to discuss the booking system where she explained that they are looking into a streamlined system and that it will take some time to find an alternative but there will hopefully be more information about it at the next senate meeting. The goal for the new system is to have automated and easier processes.
She moved on to explain her point regarding training. Any changes would be introduced in the next academic year. She said that currently the training is online but, in the future, she would like to include more interactivity and have fixed key role training, include grant round training to help with grant round queries, improve WIDE training, emotional first aid training and conflict resolution training. Her goal is to find the best ways to upskill committee members. She further explained that they have been trialing first aid and resilience training. She said that there needs to be generic training for all committee members as well as consideration of the different needs of societies and the roles they have.
Afterwards, she discussed the society accreditation system. She has already been researching other accreditation systems at other Student Unions and she is looking into creating a list of things societies should already be doing for example updated social media, completing training, full committees, full handover, democratic AGMs and will be like a checklist to help with smoother running of societies but with an incentive yet to be determined and no punishments. Smaller societies will be giving additional help by having ideas on how to increase in size through collaborations, and further support will be given to newly affiliated societies. In order to create this system, she will have discussions with many societies of different sizes to investigate the needs of societies and help them progress. She emphasised that it will be a loose guide.
Additionally, she spoke about Annual General Meetings, democracy and conduct within societies. She explained that they are not involved with individual society funding and spending and financial information is requested when societies apply for grant rounds with the Activities Team. She said that in AGMs financial information should be fully broken down and enforcement of proper conduct in AGMs is crucial. She would like to work on having only members of the society voting in that society’s AGM to avoid non-members voting and she will look into how to do this with the Activities and Representation Team. She said that to ensure this financial information is provided when required that a template for financial report will be provided, it will be included in the accreditation system and Activities team will continue to look into other solutions to this.
Furthermore, she mentioned that concerning having both Nuffield and B42 as renovation priorities that the university has more than priorities concerning renovations and she will be lobbying the university to include Nuffield as a priority as it is something that arts related societies care about considerably.
She ended her presentation by discussing her 1-1 meetings with committee presidents from all non-sports societies. She explained that a form is sent with questions asking about any issues societies are facing and it has a loose structure to allow flexibility within the form and the meetings. The timeframe of this is established by presidents as they sign up before the Christmas break and she will be pushing those who have not signed up to do so after the Christmas break. She will be informing the Activities Team of any reoccurring issues from these meetings. Lastly, she explained that those meetings will be 30 minutes long, with her doing them multiple times per week until all are covered and they can be either in person, online or through email.
At end she opened the floor to questions. First, she was asked how members would be prevented from joining on the day just to vote in an AGM, to which she responded that it would need to be researched with the help of the Activities Team and Representation Team but a cutoff date for membership could be considered to avoid this. Secondly, she was asked what the chance of risk of financial fraud within societies is to which she answered that bank statements must be submitted to get through grant rounds so there is no risk to SUSU financially however there is a grey area regarding sponsorships and other issues. She added that 2 committee members must sign off on expenditure form on Money Hub. Lastly, she was asked if society members can ask for bank statements and if so, can SUSU force societies to give them to society members who have requested them, to which she responded that it depends on the constitution of the society, but the Activities Team can support in case of suspicious behavior.