A bit about me...


What is your role?
As an ambassador for the Birkbeck Students, my area is focused on being the student lead for Welfare. The role consists in firstly, being a voice for all students. This is the most important part of my role as it will help to highlight areas in need of change within the University, for student to have a better experience in higher education. This also gives the role a more personal touch and validation to changes that are put forward to the university. My responsibility as the student welfare lead is to improve the facilities here at Birkbeck in lines with what our students want. These include updating student spaces, to change and develop student services, to drive campaigns or host events.

Tell us a bit about yourself...
I was born in London but raised in Hertfordshire, and now I'm finally back in London studying Philosophy. I’m a 20-year-old male (he/him) in my second year of study. I have chosen to study Philosophy because of my love for debate and its nature to try and answer life's big questions. I am really passionate about students get the educational experience they deserve and about creating a society that people feel comfortable in / what to be a part of. Before working in this position, I have had a few different jobs including working in local government and the management of a historic house.

Why did you run in the elections?
The reason I stood in the elections was to be the bridge between students and staff within the University. I have the ability to established views from all areas of our Birkbeck Community in order to make studying at Birkbeck better for both the students and staff. I was the representative for year 1 philosophy here at Birkbeck and then I moved onto the Student Council as the academic Member for Philosophy. I feel my contribution has made an impact in these roles and now I feel like I can do more for Birkbeck students. Another reason that I stood in the election was to feel more connected to all students. This would then allow me to listen to their issues and with University and SU help, resolve them in a way that will work for all. Finally, I have a great passion for change and making society a place where people can be who they want to be.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself?
My Favourite TV show is Doctor Who (New Who seasons 1-8)



My Manifesto


What are your goals for the year?
I have five main areas that I wish to focus on during my time as the welfare lead. I believe in protecting students’ Mental health and creating opportunities for all students to thrive. As you can see from my goals below, my beliefs are clear and set out to improve the Birkbeck experiences.

1. To be the voice for all, especially those that feel they don't have one, those that have been overlooked and those that need it the most. Birkbeck University has been the key for many people’s development over the past 200 years. Its rich history comes down to its students; those from the past, present, and future. The role of the welfare leader is to look after and be the voice for all those that make up its history, and I intend to achieve as much as possible throughout the year.

Firstly, I listened to the SU support team about the biggest concerns from students, including the AI Policy, enrolment, and timetable issues, then brought this to the vice Chancellor and making sure actions are being taken & I am included in the ongoing discussion. I met with the PVCFE and Faculty heads to discuss the course rep program to establish an entirely new system. I connected with other unions, comparing how they advocate for their students and making sure we deliver the same standard. Being chair of the SU also means delivering on this manifesto point as making sure we run democratically, effectively, and collaboratively will achieve this. (Term 1 Update)


2. To make Birkbeck spaces more wellbeing friendly. The Environment here at Birkbeck needs to become a space that students want to spend time in, rather than a place just for lectures. Study spaces, outside spaces and classrooms are in need of a friendly and welcoming redesign to allows students to feel comfortable while on campus.

Firstly, part of our new strategy for the Vice Chancellor is to push for new student spaces. This includes utilizing empty spaces in BCB. I brought this to the Governors and senior Members of the college. This would allow our communities to have more spaces which in turn would create a community feel and allow for the development of each group. (Term 1 Update)


3. To successfully create events to promote Mental Health Awareness. Hosting events around key dates throughout the year will allow for students to take breaks from the busy student life and focus on well-being. This will also help spread Awareness and allow for extra publicity for services that are already on offer. I intend to host at least two events this year.

Mental Health Awareness week isn't until the 13th may. however, plans are already in process for this week. Because this is so far away, I have shift focus onto issues that I can raise now. I created 2 additional social posts, one about stress awareness day and one about World Mental health day. (Term 1 Update)


4. To create a Wellbeing Tab on the new Student Union Website. Creating a new tab on the SU website will allow for a focused on the well-being of Student and act as a place they can find key information about study tips, safety in and around Campus, cost of living and the best locations to relax after a busy day at University. This will all help to improve the student experience.

The SU website lacked key information on student wellbeing and after hours of research into what other unions have for students, I came up with my priorities: The cost of living tips, Reeding for wellbeing, Student loneliness, Safety in and around campus and Learning at Birkbeck. All pages are up, with lots of useful links and helpful tips. One specific mention is that our union didn’t have any information about consent on the website, so I worked directly with our support team on this as this is imperative to the student experience. (Term 1 Update)


5. Student Outreach. Currently there are many different issues surrounding the student experience. With an upwards increase in the cost of living, housing problems and Union strikes, there is a need for more direct student feedback. This will then allow for more focused action from officers and the SU

I did this through the Referendum on NUS (hours of time spent on proposal and speaking with them). I also created the ‘Students’ Union BIG 5’ survey which had over 60 responses. This was a way of getting feedback on the first few weeks of the term, Student experience and showing my face on campus to combat again those annual survey statistics. (Term 1 Update)


Contact Me


Email: w.sarenden@bbk.ac.uk

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