Hey, Taylor here — your Education Officer...
We're in December, and so I am officially six months into my second year as a sabbatical officer! Typing that gives me a mixture of pure anxiety and pure joy. So, hitting this six month landmark during my sixth year at Goldsmiths, I thought I would celebrate by telling you six brilliant (and/or interesting) things that have happened so far. Think of it like the twelve days of Christmas, except worse.
One — July
The Justice for Cleaners Campaign began! This has been a huge campaign for the Students’ Union this year, and we are in the process of ensuring that our cleaners are brought in house with the best provision possible. Joe has been doing lots of work on this with UCU and an incredible group of activists. It was amazing to see this begin in the summer.
All of us also went to NUS Lead & Change conferences. Here I met some other brilliant second year officers, and brought a lot of energy into how we wanted to work this year. It was super nice to see faces old and new. I also held an Anti-Marketisation meeting, where I facilitated a discussion with around twelve Students’ Unions on how we could work towards fighting anti-marketisation on campus this year.
Two — August
August was so busy with preparing for all of the new students arriving on our campus. After a quiet summer in the office it was incredible to see the hustle and bustle back, reminding us why we are doing out roles.
Three — September
Welcome Week was finally here! I especially enjoyed being the self-proclaimed token queer sabbatical officer, and having amazing chats with all the new LGBTQIA+ students. My favorite moments were Drag Bingo with Bopha Rhys, having the BBC DJ live from our Union Cafe and Interfaith Milkshakes. Quite an emotional one, working my last Welcome Week as an officer here.
Four — October
In October, I also carried out some work on supporting a trans-positive response to the Gender Recognition Act, hosting Sisters not Cistsers in our space to run a consultation workshop. Activism started picking up more on campus with the first Goldsmiths is Ours meeting, and we also had the Part Time Officer by-elections open as well as Black History Month! Finally, I ran in an election to be on the Higher Education Zone Committee for NUS. This means that I now sit in a group of democratically elected sabbatical officers from around the country, working with the NUS VP HE, Amatey Doku, on developing HE policy for NUS.
Five — November
In November, one of my favourite things was The Leopard newspaper making a come back! I was massively involved with student journalism through [smiths] Magazine during my time at Goldsmiths. I strongly believe that it is an incredible part of a healthy, democratic and accessible union, so it was brilliant to see the first print.
Another highlight of the month was talking to the OIA (an external organisation that looks at student complaints when they are escalated beyond a university), at one of their staff days. I spoke to them about the ‘snowflake’ myth, and how the snowflake image is so underpinned by issues of social justice. We talked about liberation groups, structural oppression, and gatekeeping (phew).
Six — December
We are only a few days into December and it’s already looking pretty okay. For the next two weeks I am working with some fab students to run ‘A Day in the life of a Goldsmiths Student’ training. This means students talking to staff about things which negatively or positively impact their experience as a student, such as being a parent, an international student or a disabled student. It is focused on liberation group experience, and looks to allow staff to build their empathy for the student experience.
There are so many other great things that have happened this year, but those are just a few to celebrate six months in! Here’s to another (hopefully) productive half a dozen.