Get to know your Sabbs

Most of us hear the words ‘SUSU’, ‘sabbs’ and ‘BNOC’ thrown around a lot. But what do these titles mean? Who are these people who have so much control over […]

Most of us hear the words ‘SUSU’, ‘sabbs’ and ‘BNOC’ thrown around a lot. But what do these titles mean? Who are these people who have so much control over our university lives?

Often spotted in The Bridge, the super seven below, elected by and for students, have mighty roles and are fabulously friendly, so we got them to say a few words about themselves and what they do to help you out. Say hello!

David Mendoza-Wolfson: Union President


“As Union President I am the head of the Union and lead student representative for every one of the 23,000 students at the University of Southampton. Lots of people don’t realise that SUSU is an organisation with a turnover of more than £7,000,000, and we invest that money back into students through clubs and societies, our commercial outlets, our Advice Centre, facilities and loads of other ways too! In my role, I make sure that we’re investing that money in ways that will have the biggest possible difference to you. As President, I want to improve the opportunities you have, from more available jobs on campus for students to a start-up fund to help you turn an idea into a company and much, much more too. If you’ve any ideas for how to improve the University for students then do get involved in SUSU: through our Union Council and General Meetings, as an elected officer, through clubs and societies or just by putting an idea in a suggestion box or emailing us! Whether you get heavily involved in us or just want to pop in to The Bridge for lunch between lectures, I’m really looking forward to meeting you and working throughout the year to making your University experience as good as it can be.[email protected] 

Megan Downing: VP Democracy and Creative Industries


“I’m Megan Downing, this year’s Vice President Democracy and Creative Industries. My role includes overseeing the creative industries student groups, including all of the student media, performing arts and union films. The democracy side of my role includes running all the SUSU elections as well as being responsible for all of the student groups’ democratic processes. I was Editor of The Edge magazine before I became a Sabbatical Officer and wish to be a journalist in the future. I’m currently the Music Editor of The National Student as well as a regular writer for 7BitArcade. My plans for the year include focusing on employability in the Creative Industries as well as completing a Student Leader review.[email protected]

Sophia D’Angelico: VP Education


“Hiya! I’m Sophia; I’m your Vice President Education for this year! I have been elected to represent the students’ on all academic issues and innovations! One of the ways in which I do this is through the Academic Representation System – my team of academic reps!! – my #educationteam – they will hopefully be over 700 students strong this year!! Elections for course rep positions are happening in the first few weeks of term! If you are proactive, approachable and would like to have an impact on how your course is run – this may be the job for you! I lead the team, but have 8 faculty officers, 32 academic presidents and then a team of course reps per discipline. These students are the voice of their course! They are individuals who are trained to gather students’ views and then attend meetings with the academic staff and myself. Their job is to represent their course mates and SUSU and to liaise with the university on academic issues. GET INVOLVED! Be the voice of your course!” [email protected]

Ellie Cawthera: VP Engagement


“Hi! I’m Ellie, your VP Engagement. I graduated in Biomedical Sciences in July 2014. Since starting here at uni, I’ve been a keen member of SuSurf but have dabbled in many other societies too! In my third year, I ran in our cross campus union elections and was voted into this position by students for students. This is now my full time job for a year, representing you! As VP Engagement, I’m your go-to sabb if you want to make the world a better place. You can raise money for charity in so many ways at SUSU; anything from being sponsored to climb Kilimanjaro or Hitch Hiking to Morrocco, to abseiling down Spinnaker Tower or even bag packing in your local supermarket. You can volunteer both locally and abroad for a truly rewarding experience or you can make change happen through enterprise by getting involved with our global social enterprise projects. In addition to being the lead on all these, I’m the lead on our communications with you and the external community.” [email protected]


 Katie Lightowler: VP Sports


“Hi, I’m Katie. I’m your Vice President Sports Development this year! I have taken out a year from my Geography degree to do this role and am/have been really excited to be here. My main goals this year are going to be around embedding sport on the University agenda, which will include trying to get a policy through about recording lectures for Wednesdays, facility maintenance, increased storage for student groups and delivering a improved Focus sport program. Other aims include improving accessibility to sport – a few ideas around physiotherapy, disability sport and mental health are currently forming! Lastly, I wish to embed the Team Southampton brand into everything we do and make sure Intra-Mural, Varsity and other big events run as smoothly as possible! I’m already getting very involved in these projects and am excited to help them develop. Also really looking forward to Freshers’ week, despite the slightly manic and crazy level of organisation which is required at the moment! Looking forward to meeting you all!” [email protected]

Anjit Aulakh: VP Communities


“Hi, I’m Anjit Aulakh and I’m your Vice President Student Communities. The purpose of the Student Communities Zone is to represent the interests and amplify the voice of our different student communities. SUSU is a diverse organisation that represents all of its members. We enable international and UK students to feel integrated and support all postgraduates ensuring all of their needs are met. We have JCRs who create a strong community in all halls of residence. We look after students on all sites and ensure that they have access to all activities and groups which are relevant to them as well as access to sports mechanisms.[email protected]


 Beckie Thomas: VP Welfare


“I’m a Psychology student with a year left of my undergrad degree, and I was also VP Welfare last year. I love all things arty, so if anything creative is going on, give me a shout! In my role, I am responsible for two areas of work; Sustainability (equality, employability, the environment & ethics), and Welfare (mental health, sexual health, healthy living, substance misuse, finance, safety and housing). This year I am tackling four massively important areas. Firstly, I want to ensure every student knows where they can access welfare support by tackling the ridiculous stigma around mental illness. Secondly, I will be fighting for equality through an anti sexual-harassment campaign, and supporting a diverse range of students to run for election. Thirdly, I will map out how SUSU can help students with their employability, over the next few years. Finally, I will work with letting agencies, the University, and the council to tackle the pressure on students to sign for houses before they are ready. I recommend that everyone waits to get advice at the SUSU Housing Fayre in December! I really want to meet with students and help them to make their ideas a reality.” [email protected]

Would you like to get involved in making the Uni a better place? Any ideas on how this could be done? Comment below or drop the Sabbs an email!

Photo credits: SUSU