Rachel's 2023 Round-up

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So, we’ve finally made it - a whole two years of me, how you’ve all coped I’ll never know! 

It’s all true when I say that I get to have fun for a job and as my parting gift to all you wonderful people, I hope you’re all sitting comfortably because now it’s time for a breakdown: 

Throwing it back to when this all began, both Barwise 4 Opps election eras had their moments – from doing the whole thing from my bedroom the first-time round (what a time to be alive that was) to being forced to do it all from my flat the second-time round as I just decided to get COVID heading into voting week (what another time to be alive!) 

Starting off in July, the legendary Cameron, Dafi and Ash joined Els and I and the avengers really did assemble! Before too long, we were in Freshers Mode and making the great idea to include parody film posters in our Big SU Quiz. I am sorry for what you’re about to witness but just in case in case you missed it… 

            

Freshers also welcomed new club and society members through Give It A Go and we underwent the highly anticipated “Who’s that Pokémon Dragon?” Naming Poll. At Homecoming, and to celebrate Aber 150, we welcomed Idris into our hearts and Tîm Aber community.

I had the best time running new and familiar campaigns this year, even when they fell on top of each other! Els and I teamed up to introduce #EmpowerAber, which featured free Sports Centre sessions for women and supporting the victorious Aber Town Women at their home game; also, Arts Festival returned and ended with a One World Night to celebrate international arts and culture. I want to say a massive thank you to every group and student who contributed to these campaigns and events over the year, whether it was leading an activity, volunteering to help to just showing up, these could not have happened without your dedication and enthusiasm, so diolch yn fawr i chi gyd!

And that was all only 2022…

2023 so far has been pretty big in terms of representing AberSU on a national level. Ash and I attended the NUS UK Conference in Harrogate. We had a Waga’s, we had a Nando’s, life was alright. I also got to reunite with some of my Lead and Change sabbatical officer group from back in the summer which was very nice. During the main debate session, I spoke in support of the International Students Policy Proposal which we had been developing in workshop sessions.

       

NUS Wales Conference in Bangor also happened; I was supposed to go but I decided to be sick that week. I guess my body decided that one trip up to Bangor was enough. That post-Varsity/Socs Fest clearly hit harder than anticipated! But what hit nicely was the fact that we got recognition for Student Wellbeing and Engagement with Superteams which was lovely to receive via video call.

My favourite part of this job has been seeing you all getting involved, engaged and loving student life. Aber Challenge was a ball of loveable wholesome fun and Superteams was a bundle of loveable carnage mess (get yourselves an SU that can do both). Superteams was extra special for me as I was able to be a part of both this year – yay! My other favourite part was getting involved myself, third time lucky I finally got to do Barwise Tries! I spent two weeks prior to AberSU Celebrates giving our nominated sports clubs and societies a go in anticipation of who will take home Sports Club and Society of The Year. Some were more “challenging” than others (not naming names), but all were just as fun.

At long last, or in no time at all, we made it to Awards Season. Tom and I headed down to London with the university for the WhatUni? Student Choice Awards and, alongside others, we won the Student Life category – ecstatic was an understatement! This award is all down to your energy and what you bring to this university and town. Especially as these awards were based on student rankings and reviews, it is clear that you have left an impression on your peers. I also got to scream in Ellie Taylor’s face when we won said award, which is an experience I will hold with me for a long time.

Leading our Sports and Societies Awards was bittersweet. It was the perfect round up to a fantastic year, but I was also hyperaware that that was it. I loved looking at each winner before they were announced to see if or when they could work out that they won. It was incredibly wholesome!

           

A shout out has to go to the wider SU staff, but more specifically the Opps Squad and the Officer Team. They have seen me at my best and my worst this year yet have still stuck by me and pushed me forward. I don’t know if that was by choice or obligation but still, I’ll take it. To Elizabeth, Ash, Cameron and Dafi, I cannot wait to see what you get up to next, I have got a lot of love for you all. And to Anna, Bayanda, Elain, Helen and Tiff, the floor is yours! Enjoy it!

Being your Opportunities Officer has been a joy and a privilege, thank you for trusting me not once but twice to represent you and for working with us. I am handing over to the wonderful and epiphanic Tiff and I hope you give her even more love and support as you have done me. I know that you are in the most capable hands with her.

Whatever happens in life, I will be Tîm Aber until I die (you’re not getting rid of me that easily!) and I will always wanna really really really be your Opps Officer <3

Stay cool and God bless,

Barwise x

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