A message from our sabbatical officers & CEO
We are delighted to introduce you to our Impact Report 2018/19. Working to improve and enhance the experience of Oxford students has been a privilege for us all this year, and we would like to thank the hard working staff team for their support. In our second year in our new building and branding, much progress has been made.
Our strategy is now firmly in place and has been put in to motion throughout our work. On taking office, the sabbatical team has been keen to focus on making the SU more open and student facing, with engagement being a top priority.Recording the highest election turnout in our history isa testament to success in this. In a tumultuous political context across higher education, we have sought to support and protect students’ interests as best as possible. As Sabbatical Trustees, we put together a set of team priorities for the year, building on years of student lobbying and activism. Representing students and navigating Oxford’s complexity has been a steep learning curve for us all.
This year, Oxford SU has championed access and mental health. Large-scale campaigns and projects such as Mind Your Head have reached students in all departments and divisions, with pop-ups across the Science Area. SabbaticalTrustees have spoken up for students on a huge range of topics, from sport to scholarships to sustainability and beyond. Our successes have been wide-reaching.Oxford signed up to the Stand Alone pledge for estranged students, and a strategy on student mental health is in development. We delivered a student and community festival, Springtide, for thousands of students and local residents.Oxford SU Sabbatical Officers participated in the development of the University’s Strategic Plan, and have fostered many areas of close cooperation, for example. Access has been an area of great student enthusiasm and interest this year, as well as theUniversity’s top strategic priority.
Together with stakeholders across Oxford we have helped shape a collective response, bringing student voices into the debate and making sure access is firmly on the agenda at all levels. Our highlights from the year are the connections we have brought about between students.We continue to believe that students are Oxford’s greatest asset.Working closely with college common rooms, the SU has harnessed the power of the collective student voice on issues students care about most. From research projects on graduate access to new events like Climate Action Week, students have driven theSU’s work this year. Campaigns like the SU LGBTQ+Campaign and Disabilities Campaign have produced pioneering pieces of work including a university wide Trans Report that has already enacted much development and a comprehensive assessment of library accessibility. As a sabbatical team we are proud to leave Oxford SU in a strong position for our successors. We are confident that many future generations of Oxford students will continue to see the benefit of their Student Union.
It is a great pleasure to introduce this report and I hope you’ll find it a useful insight into the achievements of our student members, volunteers and staff. As an organisation we have continued to make significant progress over the last year, with a strategy driving all of our work. The following pages give you a flavour of the excellent work that has been and continues to be undertaken here at Oxford SU, with impacts being made across key aspects of the student experience here at Oxford.Our purpose as a Students’ Union is clear and simple– we are here to improve the overall experience for current and future students at the University ofOxford. Day-in-day-out this is what drives us all. We relentlessly focus on making a real difference to our members. We’re continuing to build a strong and dynamicStudents’ Union that our students can be proud of.
This year I am incredibly pleased to report that we have secured Investors in People status, been awarded ‘Good’ with ‘Very Good’ features in theQuality Students’ Union Scheme and we have seen our staff engagement survey results go from 56% in2017 to 86% in 2019. We have now set KPIs across our strategic themes of Education, Wellbeing andCommunities, and are busy collecting baseline data.Over the coming years these KPIs will provide clear measures on our progress.We continue to be well positioned in terms of finances, with the spending down of our reserves on track, which in turn is enabling important workaround Common Rooms and Clubs and Societies to move forward. Looking to 2020 and beyond we will be developing new funding and partnership plans to enable us to continue driving forward our work.As a membership organisation, we will only ever be as good as students say we are, so we remain firmly focussed on ensuring that students’ priorities are our priorities. It is an exciting time at Oxford SU. I am looking forward for you joining us on this journey.