Sabbatical Officers reviewed: What have they achieved?

A Gair Rhydd review of the work of this year’s sabbatical officers team has highlighted key issues still to be completed.

After examining the original manifestos of the five elected officers, it has been revealed that some pledges are “unlikely” to be completed. This includes plans made by the SU President Claire Blakeway to create a festival in Bute Park and install a pharmacy in the Students’ Union.

Although many other promises made have been completed, such as increasing the University’s hardship fund, Blakeway explained that difficulties have arisen obtaining a licence for a prospective pharmacy.

This is due to the number of pharmacy licences already in the area. According to the Students’ Union, if a company was to choose to establish themselves in the Union, they would first have to close an existing branch.

However, Blakeway has maintained that she will continue to “push” to achieve her aim. Next year’s Students’ President Sophie Timbers has also pledged to install a pharmacy.

Other targets still to be met include plans to create a student theatre. Although still waiting upon a confirmation, it has been suggested that the University and Students’ Union will work together in future to create a flexible lecture hall space suitable for performances. The potential creation of a lecture hall in the Students’ Union has also stalled plans made in VP Education Sophie Timbers’ manifesto to refurbish the Great Hall.

Talks to replace Blackwells bookshop with an Amazon Locker remain ongoing but have been classed “confidential”.

Meanwhile, although student participation in sport has increased compared to the last academic year, a rewards scheme for clubs has not been completed by VP Sport Sam Parsons.

Despite such drawbacks however, other notable achievements have been completed by the team of officers. This includes extending the ASSL library opening hours to 24 hours, which will continue past its pilot scheme into the next academic year.

At a time where cuts have been made to higher education from both the Welsh and English government, the sabbatical team have also worked to support their students. This has included lobbying the authorities to scale back cuts and working closely with the NUS.

This year also marks the first year that the role of VP Postgraduates has completed. During her time in the role Katie Kelly has worked to further integrate postgradutes with the wider student society.