Returning during COVID

1st October 2020

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As Wadham students return to College and we welcome Freshers, SU President Aaron shares his thoughts on the coming term.

As always, the Wadham community is coming through for us.

Aaron Kai Shankar, SU President

  • Aaron Kai Shankar

"I’ve been working closely with the college’s staff to try and plan for an unprecedented term. Firstly, I’d like to give a shameless plug to our website and all-new Instagram account, su.wadham.ox.ac.uk and @wadhamsu respectively. Our VP is working continuously on updating the website, and our Instagram is a collaborative effort between some of our members, including our former Access Officer (a fellow Geordie, making me proud!) 

"As always, the Wadham community is coming through for us. Those of you who liaised with college on a large scale know that nothing is as valuable as student communication in situations like this, and I’m proud to say that our students remain proactive in giving their opinions and raising their concerns regarding the coming term, even those who have been engaged in activism surrounding the recent events in the world. 
 
"I’m also thrilled to say that I genuinely feel many of our students are looking forward to returning to Oxford – a sentiment which seems scarce among students of some other universities. Some of our students are (naturally) concerned about finances in the coming year, but fortunately, a friend of mine is the Outreach Officer for St. Anne’s, and has shared with us a budgeting spreadsheet so that our members may accurately and safely plan their finances for the year. 
 
"As well as the community as a whole, our SU committee is being particularly proactive – our Freshers team are more involved than ever, assisting to plan a Freshers Week like no other – one where students may need to organise activities for themselves, and where plans may change at the drop of a hat. Our students love to know what’s going on, and we love knowing about Wadham, so even the most minor updates have been received with excitement. 
 
"I truly take my hat off to our staff, particularly the non-academic staff, as they have been working tirelessly to ensure that our term is as close to normal as physically possible. Our students remain sensitive to the fact that our staff are putting themselves at risk by coming in to work, but we know that they love Wadham as much as we do, and I firmly believe that we will continue to take care of one another. 
 
"One of my proudest moments so far was when I called for volunteers to deliver meals to those students in quarantine on college-owned accommodation sites, via Facebook post – the reach of which would usually be around 150-200 people, and we got almost 50 volunteers within a day! This truly speaks to the spirit of the college and the way in which we look out for one another. 
 
"The obvious topic is money, which will undoubtedly be a hindrance to many in the coming term, so we, as an SU, will be doing as much as we can to mitigate this, including fully and frequently advertising our reimbursements, giving bi-weekly updates on what’s going on and reworking our election schedule. Peter Alsop, our Finance Bursar, and I have been in close conversation and are encouraging all of our students who are in need to apply to various University and College hardship funds – I am optimistic that the combination of these funds will be able to assist a good number of our members who need it most. One of our greatest successes is the welfare provision – our team are effectively going into overdrive, doing literally whatever they can – we even have painting kits for those students in self-isolation!
 
"This year, more than ever, we are emphasising that Wadham’s student body is an SU, not a JCR – our committee are ready and willing to support all of our students, be they undergraduates or postgraduates. 
 
"Thank you for your time, and I really do hope all of you are well. It would be lovely to meet any of you (from a social distance, of course!) over the coming year." 
 

I truly take my hat off to our staff, particularly the non-academic staff, as they have been working tirelessly to ensure that our term is as close to normal as physically possible.

Aaron Kai Shankar