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VP Education

A Conference To Remember

Last week was very different to a normal working week because I was off on my first training conference!

Amid the rain, early start and busy trains, last Monday morning, I was like a kid at Christmas filled with excitement to arrive at Keele University – the venue for the event.

The NUS conference was called Lead and Change Higher Education, which gave me little indication of what to expect from the days ahead.

When I arrived I was directed to the university’s reception where I was given a key to my room in the on-campus halls of residence. I got the rush of nervousness that I did all the way back in first year as I walked up to my room, not knowing who my flat mates would be for the next few nights!

The first evening was spent getting know some of the other education sabbs and preparing for the next morning, which from the itinerary we could see was going to be packed all day every day.

After breakfast on Tuesday, we were directed to the plenary – a large lecture theatre where I discovered the A-Z rows of seats was missing the letter I – very random but I felt it was worth mentioning! The introductory meeting consisted of getting to know more about NUS, its inclusivity and diversity policies and being split up into our training groups.

I was in Team 100, made up of 15 sabbatical officers from all over the country – the nearest from Winchester and others all the way from Scotland! It was great to meet so many other people in the same position as me, and throughout the week we discussed our campaign points, issues at our universities and offered our own ideas – which will hopefully be useful for my year in office!


Throughout the three days of conferencing we learnt a variety of leadership skills and strategies, how to effectively campaign and make changes, understanding how to engage with students and ultimately be the best sabbatical officer we can be.

We also had the chance to attend two optional workshops during the week – I chose one on effective teaching and learning and one on improving the course rep structure – which links directly to what I’m working on right now!

I hope that both of these workshops, along with the rest of the techniques I’ve learnt will help me understand and effectively deal with any concerns you may have as students, as well as achieve the points on my manifesto.

If nothing else, the week’s evening entertainment of team building activities, rounders and karaoke, definitely made for some embarrassing moments - including singing ‘I Will Survive’ at the top of our voices and one vice president stuffing tissues up his nose after being hit in the face with the rounders ball! Oops!


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