Get to know Mary
What made you decide to stand for election this year?
Being a part of clubs and societies at UCL has been my favourite part of university life- now I want to give back to the community, make some positive change, and ensure all students can take part in some great events throughout the year!
What are your top three priorities from your manifesto?
1. Supporting sustainable, inclusive, and accessible events throughout the year.
2. Giving clubs and societies more spaces for storage, training, and performances.
3. Making creative arts accessible for all students- think Project Active, but for art!
What do you hope to achieve in the coming year?
Hopefully most of what I wrote in my manifesto- but other than making sure that the calendar is full of fun and accessible events, I want to fight for issues that the students find important. Re-joining Stonewall and supporting LGBTQ+ students and staff are some of my priorities!
What has been the best part of your UCL experience so far?
Being a part of societies! I’ve met my closest friends doing shows with Drama, or murder mysteries with Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be the person I am without them or the communities that UCL societies have built.
Your advice to new students?
Don’t be afraid to try out something new! If you ever have a few hours free, there’s almost certainly something cool happening on the What’s On calendar, and if you’ve always wanted to try a niche hobby, there's probably a society around that can help you out.
Priorities and Projects
- 1. Students have a home away from home where they are proud and have a greater sense of belonging
Lobby UCL for a new Union Building.
Work with UCL to secure new sporting facilities.
Campaign for the Malet Place Building.
Work with UCL to secure new sporting facilities.
Review and improve the spaces in Bloomsbury Theatre.
Lobby for more theatre and performance spaces.
Extend the Union branding to all spaces.
Secure funding and space for disabled sports provision.
- 01/09/22: Working with SMT, architects, etc. to build cases for a Union Building and two TeamUCL sports facilities to bring to UCL's capital program later this year.
- 23/11/22: Leading the push for a Union Building and permanent TeamUCL sports facilities with UCL Estates, Kathy Armour VP Education & Student Experience, and external stakeholders in line with the new Student Life Strategy; currently in communication with Camden Councillors and MPs about the repurposing of the old ULU building; proposed and currently securing further use of the Bloomsbury Studio Theatre for union performances, workshops, and rehearsals; ensured that next year's graduations will not be held in Logan Hall, but at external venues worth the ticket price and prestige of graduations with the help of the External Engagement team.
- 23/01/23: With the Student Life Strategy now published in partnership with UCL, the university have committed to developing a new Students' Union Building proposal- I will continue to be present in all conversations related to this building, to ensure that UCL students receive the arts, social, and sports facilities they deserve. Additionally, I will continue to act as the primary officer related to how the new multi-million pound funding will be spent within Clubs, Societies, Volunteering, and more. I will be presenting a London-wide Rent Freeze policy proposal to the next set of Policy Zones. I'm also working with UWLSU to start a student-led BUCS London Region forum, to discuss policy ideas to be applied across London (or brought to the national level); I will be pushing for trans-inclusive sports policies and practices at the first meet.
- 2. Students are empowered to associate and establish supportive student communities
Review the development awards criteria and feedback arrangements.
Support clubs and societies in assessing the demographic of their membership.
Improve inter- and intra-communications between clubs and societies.
Develop a Societies Engagement Plan.
Encourage more departmental societies to affiliate and be established.
Work with the Alumni Network to improve alumni and club/society relations.
Encourage greater alignment of clubs and societies' development plans.
- 23/11/22: Working with Evie, the Departmental Societies Coordinator, to encourage and assist more existing departmental societies to affiliate; working on developing relations with the Alumni Team and building an archive of Honourary Life Members that student groups can consult.
- 23/01/23: Continuing my responsibilities on finance panel, approving Student Led Project budgets and Club & Society grant applications, so that student groups can faciliate accessible, inclusive, and impactful events. Currently beginning a new project this term, exploring the possibility of a UCL accreditation or optional credited module for Skills Development/Union Leadership, encouraging students to take part in Union activity by either incentivising it or allowing for more space in students' timetables.
- 3. Students are more aware and have greater trust in what the Union has to offer them
Increase awareness of what the Union does and has to offer.
Improve our social media presence.
Improve the accessibility and useability of the website; start the development of a union app.
Encourage more events and activities to have a vibrant programme for all.
Secure more spaces for events and activities on campus.
- 01/09/22: Set up a sabbatical officer Instagram, planning a social media content calendar for the year.
- 23/11/22: Working to improve weekly sabbatical comms via Insta; ensuring my weekly newsletter showcases a range of weekly activity; working with the External Engagement team to improve their comms and showcase more student voices, as well as including union voices in Open Days, Graduations, and pre-uni comms; developing policies to pass to the next set of Zones targetting the union's relationship with external companies engaging in unethical practice.
- 23/01/23: Working with the UCL Graduations team to ensure that comms about graduation dates and venues go out earlier, that the quality of the event meets expectations, and that the Union is represented (for example, through society involvement on stage).
- 08/03/23: Working on promoting and planning the upcoming UCL Summer Festival! Helping spread the Digital Strategy Survey to student groups and leaders- through this consultation, the union IT team will be able to improve the website's useability for clubs and societies, especially regarding webforms and landing pages for SU groups.
- 4. Students feel part of a community that is creative, vibrant and inclusive
Establish an Access Arts Programme which is student-led, inclusive, flexible, less cliquey and develops talent.
Work with UCL Art Museum and the Object Based Learning Lab to create more activities and opportunities.
- 23/11/22: Working with the Activities Team to develop a week-long Winter Arts Festival. Championing the Student Life Strategy (particularly the section on a new, accessible arts program) to senior stakeholders at UCL; working with the Culture Programmes team to encourage and allow more student groups to put on exhibitions in the Cloisters and Octagon.
- 23/01/23: Sat on the interview panels for a new Arts and Media Coordinator; a new, permanent member of staff who will act as the main point of contact for ArtsUCL and help develop a mass-participation, accessible arts program.
- 08/03/23: Starting development on a new Performance Welfare policy for the Activities Zone- this will provide performing arts groups guidelines for ensuring the welfare of their members, mandating fair audition processes, and a code of conduct for performers and production teams.
- 5. Students are supported to develop their skills and connect with the local community to make a difference.
Scope and explore the expansion of the Community Research Initiative to undergraduate students and UCL East.
Work to build links between Community Research Initiative and departmental societies.
Encourage clubs and societies to engage further with Student-Led Projects.
- 23/11/22: Connected the Student-Led Projects team with Clubs & Societies' communications so that presidents and treasurers can be sent information on starting volunteering projects; continuing to engage with our Volunteering Service, by chairing the Think Tank as well as volunteering presentations between external providers and students.
- 23/01/23: Continuing to approve funding for Student-Led Projects within the Volunteering Service, helping to remove financial barriers so that all students who wish to can engage in volunteering.
- 01/03/23: Setting the foundation for developing a Union Skills Development Program: this would be an optional credited module aimed at students who want more time to dedicate to union activity, whether that's through being a club captain, student-led project leader, president of a society, or producer in an ArtsUCL show. The union activity would take the place of lectures and seminars, and assessment would be a portfolio-based self-reflection on the skills learnt or developed by being a peer-to-peer volunteer. Currently collating past research into union skills development programs, and gathering staff support from both UCL and the union.