We explain what a Sabbatical officer actually is....
At university you’ll hear lots of phrases, acronyms and abbreviations with the assumptions that you’re meant to know exactly what they mean. Hey, even the room numbering is confusing, and even we’re guilty of this at the Students’ Union.
Here’s fictional example: “Want to be a Student Rep? Come to LG44 on Tuesday for a meeting followed by a social. You’ll hear from the VC and some of the sabbs. You could end up on your SSLM or even be on Council.”
That statement has so much to unpack so never feel silly about asking what someone means but for the moment we’re going to just focus on one word and that is ‘Sabbs’.
What does Sabbs even mean?
Sabb is short for Sabbatical Officers but that doesn’t really make things any clearer does it? A sabbatical officer is *checks notes* the full-time, representatives of the student body and are elected for the following academic year each spring. Any Christ Church student has the opportunity to stand for election to these roles and will either take a year out of their studies or spend a year after completing their studies being paid to represent students.
So when you hear the words Sabbs, Sabbaticals, or Sabbatical Officers then it’s simply elected students who are there to represent you.
Here at Christ Church we have four Sabbs Union President, President (Campaigns and Societies), President (Community, Diversity and Inclusion) and President (Engagement and Sports) and they were elected in February taking office in July.
What do the Sabbs want to do?
Now let’s talk about what our new and upcoming sabbatical team have pledged to bring us for the year 2021/22.
Public Relations, Media and Marketing student, Phoebe Turner Smith, has had a look at their manifestos (the policies and promises the Sabbs were elected on) and here are her views:
President - Dan Bichener
Dan Bichener is our upcoming 2021/22 Union President, pledging to ensure students have a larger voice in their learning and employability skills. I think doing so will enable students, who have had to shy away behind cameras for a year, the chance to finally feel more in control and believe that Dan has pledged what it takes to ensure that we do get our say, in our student union, societies and within our degrees. However Dan has committed to helping find the perfect blend to ensure those who may have preferred online learning and mix it in with the return to ‘normal’ university life. It appears a large push in Dan’s work will be pushing for diversity, inclusion and wellbeing, to ensure the university facilities are suited to all students' needs. Overall, as a graduate I do think Dan holds a promising passion to help build our SU.
President (Campaigns and Societies) - Beth Elwood
Next up we’ve got Beth Elwood, continuing her role as the retitled President (Campaigns and Societies). Having worked closely with Beth this past year, I know first hand of the amazing campaigns she has successfully committed, for example Period Awareness Week, introducing sanitary bins in all toilets, and offering free sanitary products across receptions and delivered to the door. Beth has committed herself to really listening to the students at Christ Church and enabling a way to contract what she’s been told into creating the right campaign and pushing the societies to continue to get involved. In a year of so much uncertainty Beth has continued to work and push for the students union to be able to have access to as much as possible, really pushing the boat out for her role as Presidents of Campaign and Societies.
President (Engagement and Sports) - Maddy Young
Our re-elected President (Engagement and Sports) Maddy Young has pledged to continue the push to include the Medway campus, including the time-tabling to ensure Wednesday afternoons are continuously held for extra-curricular activities. Maddy has continuously focussed on ensuring that the sports societies and teams have the ability to continue and has pushed hard through the pandemic to ensure that sports teams are able to continue and thrive as much as possible to ensure engagement and passion amongst sports and mental well-being. Her ‘Move for Minds’ campaign she has pledged will help a large majority of students who would like to feel better mentally and physically and I believe this is a successful and interesting campaign the students will get on board with.
President (Community, Diversity and Inclusion) - Frankie McGregor
Finally we have Frankie McGregor as our President (Community, Diversity and Inclusion). There is a lot of hostility between the local community and the university and the introduction of Frankies ‘Good Neighbour’ scheme will ensure that students and locals cna learn to accept each other and ensure students feel at home in their new community. By doing so it will allow Christ Church students to give back to the community and create a space that is safe for all. Frankie is covering all her bases ensuring that students from all backgrounds and including compulsory training for students in regard to diversity and inclusion. I think this is something that should be annually continued as it allows those with less knowledge to understand and limit the issues regarding inclusion and diversity.
Overall, as a continuing student, I think that we have strong students’ union sabbatical officers and I have every faith that they will help boost the SU to its fullest potential.
Meet the Sabbaticals
The team have many exciting projects and campaigns lined up for the year, starting with Freshers' Welcome Week, so expect to see them around, feel free to say hello or ask a question, and you can always get in touch.