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Dan Woodburn speaks to the new Vice-President Activities, Victoria Hatch.
I’m Victoria Hatch, I’m vice president of Activities. I’ve been in the role for just over two weeks now and I do a lot of things. I’m very, very busy. My main role, I guess, is representing student sports teams and societies in various different capacities.
So, how have you found that? And how have you found settling into the role, because you came into it quite late in the year?
Yeah, it’s a little bit… I wouldn’t say overwhelming, it’s just very busy. I think trying to fit in time to – I get a lot of emails, from students, and a lot of the time I’m just passing that off to the relative people who can actually help them. And a lot of the time, sometimes I’m training, sometimes we’ll have something come up and I won’t actually know what it is, and people will realise ‘ah, you need to do the training for this’. And also, going to all the meetings, and it’s – there are so many meetings – it’s quite unexpected.
So, what kind of things do you do to engage the students?
I guess in the VP Activities role, you’d normally run campaigns, which I will be doing a few campaigns, but I think coming in halfway through the year, it’s quite hard because obviously there are things that I’d like to do to engage students, but a lot of it is trying to get back up to business as usual because there’s been no-one in the role, I’m still trying to do the day-to-day tasks that are quite time-consuming. There are a few campaigns that I’m quite keen to run throughout this term, but obviously, with exams third term, I’m trying to really prioritise what is feasible to do, so hopefully, those things will be coming out. One thing we will be doing is kind of relaunching the societies committee and having a really firm structure for that because I think that will be really important for having societies – not necessarily issues, but funding applications and things like that, they can be dealt with in a more open, transparent way, more regularly, so that people know what deadlines there are for, say, funding applications. And maybe it won’t be as effective this year, but hopefully, we will set that layout for future years. That’s something I’m doing in my presentation.
Roses is coming up. Are you excited for that?
Yeah! I love Roses – this is my fourth Roses, my third home Roses, because I did a year out. I love Roses – the weekend. I think it’s really nice: as a sports player, something to work towards, as a non sports player, just a really great atmosphere, especially when it’s home. I’m really excited because we’re getting to do the Roses Go Green project, which I was actually working on with the Green Lancaster Perspective before I got this role, which is now really nice because I get to work on it in a different capacity with more political strategies as opposed to operational. So many things are happening for Roses, and it’s a shame – not a shame – but Roses takes up a lot of my time. Some weeks it’s very time-heavy, so it does take up a lot of time, but I enjoy it. And everyone that I’ve met at York so far has been really helpful, and we’ve been working really well together, which I’m excited about.
That’s brilliant to hear. What are you excited for most about the Roses weekend?
Gosh… I haven’t really thought about it too much. So, I think on the personal level, hoping to play badminton and kayak, maybe snowboard. A few different things that I normally do at the weekend in which I always enjoy competing on a personal level. I also just love that sense of community that you get. I never really experience that at university here; only on Roses weekend, especially when it’s home. Everyone’s just together supporting each other. Just walking around and watching things, and talking to people.
Yeah, and I guess it helps build that whole sense of community, in that it’s very much a ‘we are Lancaster’ kind of vibe.
I’m excited as well, because I think I’ve definitely got a slightly different perspective to some of the previous VP Activities, and I’m thinking a lot for how to engage people in Roses who wouldn’t maybe feel like they couldn’t be engaged. So like, alternates for if you didn’t want to go out in the evening, or if you’re a York student on campus, like, what can you do? What can we do to engage Lancaster and York students together? And kind of, make more harmony and opportunities to have fun.
Well, that sounds absolutely brilliant. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your role, and what’s it’s like working with the SU and in the SU?
Yeah. I enjoy working with the full-time officers, but I don’t see them too much because we’re all so busy, and everyone’s calendar is really busy. I didn’t necessarily think about how many boards we would be on or different commitments we would have that wouldn’t be our role. Obviously, when people run – we’ll be running soon for the new elections – we have all our campaigns we want to do, and I think that trying to set out time to actually do that can be quite challenging. You have to literally block it out of your calendar, because people just add you to many many things. But I really like working with the Students’ Union; I’ve worked with a lot of the people in the past, which is why I took the job, because I knew the people I’d be working with would be really great and really helpful. So the sports team are really great – they’re really helpful – and I know I’m coming in halfway through the year, but feel like I’m still being useful and my views are being listened to. The societies people are amazing – Pat and Kate, and all the student staff. They’re so on it. They do so much – I feel guilty if I have ideas and want to give them more work. And the rest of the staff, the part-time officers, I really like that our desks are near them, because I’ve never really had much collaboration with them before, and there’s so much scope for that.
In your own words, how would you say the experience has been so far?
I’d say it’s been welcoming. It’s been busy, and it’s been challenging, but I really like those things. I like working, and I like feeling that I’m making a difference, and I like them representing students. For me, those things are really great. I like having responsibility; if I didn’t like responsibility, it might be a bit more of a challenging and stressful role, but because I knew what I was getting myself in for, because I’ve been involved in the SU. I think anyone else running, I really encourage them to come and speak to us, because I think a lot of people don’t actually know what our roles entail. Most people think my job is operational, but I don’t do anything operational, really. People might have questions about how to set up an event or funding of things, and I’ll just direct people to the societies team, because they know all of that and they’re experts, and they’re brilliant. Maybe if I’d been in the role a while I could be able to help more with that, but that’s not my set role. I guess there’s misconceptions there.