Meet the Sabbs!

Our editors, Louise and Holly, met up with the new all-female Sabbatical team to talk about their journey so far and talk about what is to come next year. 
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Natasha Barrett
What will you be doing?
As President my role basically entitles maintaining strong and valuable relations between the SU and the university itself, I will be in contact with them constantly in regards to developing and furthering various campaigns and strategic goals in order to generally maximise student experience. President refers specifically to education and campaigns so they will be my main focuses but I will also interact with the other sabbatical officers to support them in any projects that I can. I will also represent our student body as best I can within the NUS and wider student platforms by ensuring democracy remains our focal point.
What was your favourite bit about campaigning on campus?
Although it’s a pretty cheesy and obvious answer, I have to say my campaign team. They worked really hard purely to support me and it was lovely to see the team bond and come together, we had around fifty tea
m members but a core team of around ten who were out every day on campus and incredibly helpful. My team not only made the whole process really fun but genuinely kept me sane for campaign week and the couple of weeks running up to it during which we were in intense planning mode! I definitely couldn’t have done it without them.
What was your motivation for going for the role?
I’ve previously held a number of roles within the union and the university that have enormously enriched my own life but more importantly made me feel able to give something back to Royal Holloway and its student body. For this reason the idea of being able to continue with similar work full time upon graduation was utterly amazing! I’ve also tended to work within liberation and welfare circles, have been Feminist Society President and Women’s and Marginalised Genders’ Officer, whilst this is an area I am immensely passionate about I also wanted to go a step further and combine my passion for maximising student representation and experience with my interest in business management and strategic design.
How did you feel when it was announced that you had won the election?
I’m not going to lie, I barely remember that moment because I was so nervous and then so extatic that I was completely out of it. I think I sort of blacked out for a few minutes, I had no idea how I made it onto the stage until my campaign manager explained that she basically pushed me towards Vernon Kay. There are some great pictures of me walking on looking like a total zombie and absolutely balling my eyes out, I definitely cried on most people there! The level of tears was pretty embarrassing so I try to forget my loud wailing that followed the announcement. The best thing about it was being greeted afterwards by my housemates, friends and campaign team and seeing videos of their reactions afterwards – pretty much the best feeling ever.
What are you m
ost looking forward to doing when you come back in September?
We start work at the end of June so it’s not long now and I’m immensely excited, but most of the summer period is for training us on everything. I’m even more excited for September when the students return and new first years will be starting, I definitely want to get to know as many of the student body as I can in order to properly and accurately voice their concerns and suggestions. Because of this I think the manifesto point I’m most looking forward to activating is my ‘Talk to Tash’ scheme where I will provide tea, coffee and biscuits and sit and chat to students about their experiences and wha
t they’d like to see. Similarly I’m going to follow this up with hopefully implementing some anonymous online complaint/suggestion systems both academically in relation to the course rep programme and the SU itself.
Pippa Gentry
What will you be doing?
I have the pleasure of looking after all of our amazing societies, media outlets and RAG. It’s such a varied bunch of student groups, a lot of which I have very little experience of, so I’m really excited to get to know everyone, learn about what they do and hopefully have a little hand in helping them all achieve amazing things in 2016/17.
What was your favour2D4A0794ite part about campaigning on campus?
I think my favourite thing about campaigning was the buzz that was created around the elections. Campus was a really fun and engaging
place to be that week and everyone’s enthusiasm was infectious. As there were only two of us running for CPSM, it was a really close competition but Han and I stayed friendly throughout and it was a genuine comfort to have someone so lovely and capable running against me. There was never any bad blood betwee
n us and I’m proud of us for keeping it like that. It was also really great to chat to so many students and to hear their thoughts about the SU and to hear them getting genuinely excited and invested about changes to their union. That being said, campaign week was also incredibly stressful and tiring so my second favourite bit was going to sleep after elections night on the Friday!
What was your motivation for going for the role?
I was one of those really annoying people in first year who arrived with quite a lot of ambition. I knew I wanted to be President of MTS and pretty soon after getting that I knew I wanted to run for CPSM. However, these were all just pipe dreams back them. It was getting involved in a much wider range of opportunities within the SU in my second and third years and getting to meet so many genuinely inspiring people that made me make the final decision to run. I got a chance to witness how many incredible experiences are offered to us during our time here and I knew that I wanted to make sure that as many people got to make the most of these as possible. Obviously an enormous shout out has to go to my predecessor, Brianna, without whom I never would have seen through my dream of running. She has helped me out so much as a committee member and a friend the past two years and has achieved so many amazing things within the Union so I was inspired to carry on her great work – I have some very large shoes to fill next year!
How did you feel when it was announced that you had won the election?
To be honest, it was all a bit of a blur. I remember being more nervous than I probably have ever been in my life and standing behind the SU stage listening to the crowd made it so much worse. I remember hearing my name and I think at that point my mind just went into auto-pilot. I vaguely remember having some bants with Vernon Kay about the champagne and then crying a bit when I saw Bri but other than that it didn’t really hit me until I called my Mum about half an hour later. I just sobbed with complete relief and elation as suddenly all of the hard work of the past year had paid off and an enormous weight had been lifted. So all in all, it was a pretty good feeling, improved even more by the champagne!
What are you most looking forward to doing when you come back in September?
I’m really looking forward to Welcome Week and meeting all of the new committees and watching them take their first few steps in society life. First term is a very daunting and exciting time for new committees so I’m excited to help see them through it, to get their new ideas off the ground and hopefully help them to grow into really successful groups of people who are empowered to do great things for their members. I’ve got a lot of plans and schemes up my sleeve for the year which are too early on in the planning to reveal at the moment but hopefully some will be underway by the time term starts again so that’s all pretty exciting too. Overall I’m looking forward to a new year, a new challenge, new people, and hopefully some new changes for the SU!
Steff Milne
What will you be doing?
My Role as Co President Sports and Development in a nutshell enables me to make our 38 Sports even more successful than they have been this year! Whether this be in terms of competitive or recreational sport, through coaching, officiating or socially. Whatever your dreams are for your club, I’ll be on hand to help you turn them into a reality.

What was your favouri2D4A0786te bit about campaigning on campus?

Campaigning was an awesome week and I’m sure everyone will agree that the week now seems a complete blur. However I will not forget the confusion on people’s faces when they saw several Steffs walking towards them (several with my slightly creepy masks) I live in fear that they will return as a Halloween costume next year!

What was your motivation for going for the role?
I decided I was going to run for the role at the end of Second year. I can honestly say that my time at uni wouldn’t have been half as good if I wasn’t involved in all the sport we have to offer and to be able to give somethin
g back and make our student sport even better was what made me want to run! (That and I just couldn’t face leaving the town we all know and love – Egham)
How did you feel when it was announced that you had won the election?
Words cannot describe the feeling! It took a good five seconds to sink in that Vernon Kay had said my name. Feelings that Spring to mind are; happiness of epic proportions, relief, excitement and disbelief. The feeling was how I would imagine it would feel to win the lottery jackpot….
What are you most looking forward to doing when you come back in September?
There is so much I want to accomplish next year for sport at Holloway. There will be some big changes in the SU next year the first of which being the recruitment of our very first sports clubs coordinator – a full time staff member who will tackle the task of fixtures, travel and will be on hand all week to answer any questions committee members may have! I cannot wait to team up with Pippa and the world of societies to start SocSport collaborations and begin talks about starting our first Varsity Competitions! I am also keen to improve media around campus and get our Bears in the Spotlight! Mostly I’m looking forward to getting to know you guys! And listening to what ideas you have to make you
r experience of university sport the best it can be! It’s going to be a big year for the SU and an even bigger year for the Bears!
Laura Lewis 
What will you be doing?
I’m the incoming Co-President Welfare and Diversity, so my work will include welfare campaigns such as Housing, Mental Health, Sexual Health and Stressbusters, as well as ensuring the representation of liberation groups, international students and more. My job is basically to make sure students’ welfare is a priority and that people can access the support they need whilst at Royal Holloway. In a2D4A0809ddition to working with students, I sit on a lot of committees within College to ensure students’ welfare needs are represented.
What was your favourite part of campaigning on campus?
I loved being able to chat to students and showing them how voting in the SU elections could improve their university experience. It was lovely having conversations about welfare, especially because people were so keen to share their experiences about how things needed to change. As well as that, working with my campaign team was really fun. Campaigning is exhausting and so I was lucky to have a very supportive group of people helping me, who I’m now much closer to.
What was your motivation for going for the role?
I had already been involved with the SU in my role as LGBT+ Officer and on society committees, so I had done a lot of work around liberation and welfare. My favourite part of these positions was engaging with students who benefitted from welfare and diversity campaigns, and seeing how representation could improve their university experience and boost their confidence. This was definitely the case for me, as my SU involvement helped me to overcome my shyness and also make some really good friends. Running for this role means carrying on the work I’ve already been involved in, and leading on welfare and diversity campaigns across the SU.
How did you feel when it was announced that you had won the election?
I was so shocked! I didn’t hear my name when it was first announced, so I couldn’t believe it and my campaign team had to push me onto the stage. After that, I just ran around the SU clutching a bottle of champagne and crying! There are lots of photos of me covered in mascara and generally looking overwhelmed. My main feeling was relief, because my campaign team and I had worked so hard throughout elections and all of the crying and stress was worth it in the end. It was really fun to celebrate with everyone who had put in so much effort to help.
What are you most looking forward to doing when you come back in September?
Our term as sabbatical officers starts over the summer, so we have a couple of months to prepare for the new academic year before most students arrive in September. I’m looking forward to Welcome Week and meeting lots of the students who I’ll be representing in my role. It will be an extremely busy few days, but it will be really exciting to start to introduce some of my manifesto points and hear students’ feedback on them.
Photography credited to Jessie Beach-Thomas.