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For the last 100 days, I have been working full time in the Students Union UCL as the Activities Officer. It has been an amazing experience so far and I’ve learned a ton. From completing my third year in Maths and Physics, I only had a 1-week break from my final exam to the start of the handover period, so it al felt like everything was came at me fast. From completing the final exam I will ever take in education to not having much time to celebrate due to the pandemic then starting my new role as a Sabbatical officer, along with loads of other stuff going in life, it surely was a hectic period for me. Regardless of everything that was going on around me, I decided that I would put everything aside and focus on being the best Activities officer I can be.

This year being a Sabbatical Officer is different - everything is online so building those connections, friendships, and meeting people from all over the university was just so much harder. Luckily we had an amazing amount of support not only from the managers and staff at the Union but from the re-elected Sabbs that made us feel at home and guided us through this journey. Big shoutout to Carol, Jim and Sandy for this.

As I mark my 100th day in office, I took some time to reflect on my experience so far and all of the ups and downs of my time in office so far. From forgetting the alphabet in my first ever leadership team meeting and losing control of a discussion with academics at the provost leadership forum to helping produce the first-ever Digital Welcome Fair and being the fastest Activities Officer ever to reach 10,000 individual members of our clubs and societies. Getting people engaged in clubs and societies and all activities this year was my biggest challenge, and still continues to be, but with the large amount of members and the amount of people taking part in our Project Active Social Leagues I guess it’s not going too bad, although there is still much more to do.

This year, I want to improve our sporting facilities and if anyone’s ever played football at Hackney Marshes, traveled 90 minutes for a netball match, or paid extortionate prices to take part in sports at UCL, you would know how important it is that we do something. I’m working hard with John Dubber (the Union’s CEO), Katie Sykes (Sports Development Manager) and the UCL estates team to look and review the current use of our sports ground in Shenley and see what other options there are. Hopefully we can have a real true home for Team UCL sports.

Hosting my first ever panel on Black History Month, being part of a live broadcast introducing different acts, running trials for the University Challenge and so much more have been some personal highlights for me and I hope that I can continue being the best possible Activities officer I can possibly be. If anyone has any questions about literally anything, any new thoughts or ideas (maybe an event you think we should run) then please just reach out to me on a.officer@ucl.ac.uk and I will do my best to be as open as possible.

Ilyas Benmouna, Activities Officer 2020-2021