The Summer period is always a time to reflect and plan for the future. Whilst a lot of you enjoy your break or end up spending your summer working (ready for the new academic year) it's full on planning and reflection mode at the Union. A lot of this takes place at sabb residential, this year in Margate.
Residential is a great opportunity for the Leadership team at the Union, which consists of all sabbs, Head of Engagement and Chief Executive Officer, to get away from the office environment to focus on the year ahead, planning, prioritising and reflecting. It's also a great chance for the new sabb team to work together on projects and create the dynamic that will help with work across the whole year.
The residential started with us highlighting our strengths, through our results on a character strengths questionnaire. We tried to find our individual strengths and see which ones we shared as a team, to see how we can support each other during the year - using each other's strengths and supporting each others weaknesses.
We then had a presentation with all of the Universities priorities and challenges, seeing if this corresponds with what we at the union are doing. However we also mapped how the union can influence and help some of these priorities, to ensure that students are represented all the way through each process, ensuring the student experience is at the forefront. We then reviewed our new, refreshed, strategy and how it maps to our personal and joint manifesto.
However the big event of the day was the ‘Sabb mystery box challenge’. This was a cooking competition where us, sabbs, had to cook meals to be judged on taste, presentation and the teamwork involved in the process. The sabbs were split into two teams, Jamie and becky, Chloe and me. Each team had a set of 4 mystery ingredients in which they had to cook a main meal, all 4 ingredients had to be incorporated within the meal but not necessarily the full amount of each. Chloe and I received our mystery ingredients, which consisted of mince, peppers, sour cream and tinned mixed beans… without even talking Chloe and I knew it had to be mexican… Chilli con carne, it had to be. Straight away Chloe and I knew our jobs and knew what we needed to do… seamless, efficient, flamboyant. Chloe and I worked to create a huge amount of Chilli con carne, accompanied by cheesy nachos with dips of salsa and sour cream (with extra cheese available obviously), within our 1 hour allotted time. Jamie and Becky, however, decided to be very ambitious, cooking stuffed peppers, with couscous, goats cheese stuffed chicken and roasted vegetables. It was ambitious and unfortunately, for them, was probably their downfall, with the vege not being cooked enough (aka raw). Once the judges had had their meal there was much private deliberation, scores where tallied… then revealed to us, scores being given for each category. Chloe and I lost points for the obviousness of our meal as well as my obvious smugness. However it was not enough. Chloe and I took the victory and as a reward didn't have to wash up that night! That concluded the days events and we all went to bed with full bellies and content minds, knowing that the correct team were victorious.
Day 2 started with a lot of mapping exercises, from our manifestos to key stakeholders, as well as us writing a sabb team pledge to each other, agreeing how we shall be working together in the coming year. Day two was also the day of the Union BBQ, the rest of the staff members at the Union came to Margate for a BBQ that we all prepared, with great success. There was a big spread, which pleased Jamie, but a lot of washing up, which displeased Jamie. However the BBQ also presented us with an opportunity to inform all staff of our joint manifesto and allowed for a conversation, offering support and guidance.
The final day gave us all an opportunity to sit back and reflect on what we have done over the past 2 days and then answer ‘what do we want to achieve this year’. This day also, importantly, allowed us to reflect on our personal development over the year. What do we want out of this sabb year, the skills we want to develop, the career we want to progress on to.
The residential was a really fun, great team building and year planning opportunity that allowed us to get to know each other better and develop how we are going to work together for the next year. It has really set up this year and has got me excited for the work ahead of us, as well as how much we are going to achieve as a team.
Roll on the new year!
See you in september!