Sabb Special: Shane Murphy, VP Student Engagement

In the last of our Sabb special, VP Student Engagement Shane Murphy has his turn to tell us about his time as a Sabb.

In the last of our Sabb special, here’s what we thought about VP Student Engagement Shane Murphy’s past year in office.


Shane’s full manifesto can be seen here, but here is a summary of the main points:

  • Improving RAG recognition
  • Enriching Student experience through societies
  • Making JCR’s work better for the students
  • Improving PAU working
  • Improving Student Enterprise


Shane has had a busy year completely stripping the JCR back to its bare roots and building it back up again, which he must be congratulated on.

When I started the JCR was almost non existent. There weren’t any activities in the halls and the bar spent most of its time shut due to lack of interest. However over the last year involvement with the freshers seems to have risen and been maintained throughout the year, rather than simply peaking during freshers and re-freshers.

There has also been a rise in behind the scenes support for the JCR, with dedicated training and support making it much easier for the JCR to manage their jobs and support the freshers. He’s also been forward to looking into what freshers actually want from their JCR and halls, rather than trying to tell them what they should be thinking.

There are a few negatives to this year though. Rumours of a SUSU clique arise as with anything, with some JCR’s using the position to accentuate their opinion that they are BNOC’s in the making and trying to organise flashy events that are not anywhere close to what students actually want but get a pat on the back from the other JCR’s. This is probably not attributable to Shane, as it’s been a problem since I started that JCR’s have a higher opinion of their worth than that of the student body! (Some are good don’t get me wrong but being a JCR isn’t really that impressive)

Shane also needs to address the health and safety crippling event planning. By forcing JCR’s to abide by absurd health and safety rules for a simple trip to a nightclub possibly reduces the ability of JCR’s to put on good events in their own bars, thus breaking the bond if there is a lazy JCR team in the pipeline. It may be possible to get the University to accept a reduced level of paperwork under the auspices that we’re all adults and can take a night out!

These are all very pernickety points that could easily be scoffed at, what I must say is that comparing what it was like when I started in 2008 and what the JCR are expected to do now is worlds apart and the huge progress in the last year alone means credit must go to Shane. However with his second year he needs to start looking at rectifying issues with other societies so those non freshers are getting the best possible treatment as well!

Here’s what Shane had to say about his past year and his plans for the next:

Why did you stand again?

I felt like I was the best person for the job with what I had achieved in the past year. If I felt that anyone else standing could do a better job than me I wouldn’t have stood, but I didn’t, so felt I wanted to finish what I started.

What’s been your biggest success this year?

I’ve got a strong JCR background and I’ve worked quite a lot to develop the process we use to support JCR’s. We trained the new JCR system who took over February and organised their re-fresher events and other social events and their coming to me and hassling me to organise events and get things sorted. I’m happy we’ve streamlined the process and made it easier for them to do so.

What would you like to achieve next year?

The main thing is to fulfil all my promises. My main milestone is to increase the activities budget. Set up a directory of deals for social secs that we can roll out to help them and to let students have access to information about different areas they might like to get involved. If the website is acceptable in my eyes for allowing students to log on and find all the information they need I’d be happy.

Soton Tab or Wessex Scene?

Soton Tab

Would you rather spend the rest of your life as a Sabb or lick the Jesters floor after a night out?

Probably lick the floor!

Shane has worked well this year playing on his background in JCR, but he needs to grasp the opportunities available through doing another year and branch out, helping the wider student body.

Tab Verdict: Success