Becoming a Sabbatical Officer gives you a unique insight into how both the Students' Union and the University of Plymouth are run.
As an Officer you will be involved in the highest level of decision making on campus; from monthly meetings with the Vice-Chancellor to sitting on a range of Committees that have oversight over Students' Union finances, staffing and key strategic decisions. The key focus of your role, however, is to represent the voice of students in these meetings and help to make decisions that will make their time at University the best it can possibly be.
If you want to make a difference, to contribute to and campaign for change then consider nominating yourself for a role as a Sabbatical Officer.
Read more about Lowri's experience as a Sabbatical Officer and how that's shaped her future with a role in Higher Education with the University of Plymouth.
What’s your name, what was your role and when were you in the position?
Hello, I’m Lowri and I was the President for two years from 2016 - 2018.
Find out more about the role of President here.
What did you study?
I studied Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies.
Why did you nominate yourself/why did a friend nominate you?
To be completely honest, throughout the first year of my degree, the only involvement I had with the SU was the bar! During my second year, I started joining some societies and then during my final year I was on a couple of different committees. It was actually some friends I’d met through one of those societies who suggested that now I was finally coming out of my shell a bit, why not run in the SU elections? I had started to really appreciate the opportunities given to me by the University but I also saw things that I would like to change or improve to ensure that students who came after me had an even better time at the University than I did.
What are you doing now?
I actually work at the University now in the Academic Registry. My role involves checking that the University’s regulations, policies and procedures are followed to ensure that students have the fairest and best opportunities to achieve their degrees.
What skills from this role helped you get to where you are now?
It’s hard to even know where to start in answering this because my two years as a sabb were actually life-changing. I gained an enormous amount of confidence, I learned how to speak up for myself but also when and how to elevate the voice of others. I realised that I love policies and processes (and reviewing them to make sure they work for everyone). I was given incredible insight into the worlds of HR, finance, governance, marketing, and I met a network of fantastic people who I continue to learn from even to this day. To be fair, I wouldn’t have known that the job I do now even existed if it wasn’t for running in the elections!
What advice would you give someone who is studying at the University of Plymouth who is thinking of running?
Firstly, absolutely just do it. Running in the elections is an amazing experience in itself and you’re unlikely to get another chance like it again. Secondly, once you’ve decided to run, find what your passion is and make sure that’s reflected in your manifesto. The first time I went up to students to talk to them during campaigning was nerve-wrecking, I was shaking like a leaf, but because I cared so much about what was in my manifesto, explaining to students why they should vote became easy.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid of who might also be running against you. You might all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences, but you’re all in the same boat here - be kind to each other and know that whether or not you’re elected, you’ll have gained new skills and maybe even some friends for life (or even a future fiancée if my experience is anything to go by!!)!
Nominations are open until midday on Monday 6th February 2023.
For an informal chat about any of the four roles come along to our Thinking of Running sessions on:
January 31st, 17:00 - 18:00 in The Hive
February 2nd, 13:00 - 13:30 over Zoom
If you have any questions or want advice, please get in touch with the Student Voice team here.