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Meet the Sabbs: 2014-15

SU sabbatical team 2014-15Back, l-r: Andrew Thompson, Isaac Leigh, Bebe Husakova and Rob Ankcorn. Front, l-r: Maahwish Mirza, Cat Turhan and Ruby Compton-Davies

The Students' Union Sabbatical Officers, the 'Sabbs', for 2014-15 took up their new roles on 1 August 2014.

Earlier this year they were elected by the student body to run and develop Warwick Students' Union and associated activities.

Here, we introduce them to the University community. Find out about their roles, backgrounds and priorities for the year ahead.

You can keep up to date with the Sabbs through their blogs on the SU website.

Cat Turhan – Students’ Union President

Cat is the lead student representative at the Students’ Union, to the University and externally, and is here to make sure that the student voice is heard.

Cat graduated from Warwick with a degree in Classics in 2013, and was the Welfare & Campaigns Officer last academic year.

This year, Cat’s priorities are fixing international student fees and encouraging as many students as possible to vote in the General Election. She’ll be lobbying for better transport links around the University, and working to ensure students suffer fewer problems with their housing. As Welfare & Campaigns Officer Cat strongly campaigned for better mental health awareness amongst students, and this is a priority she is taking into her year as president.

During her time at Warwick, Cat represented the union both academically, as the secretary of her SSLC, and democratically as a third year councillor. She spent a lot of time as an undergraduate participating in clubs and societies – such as RaW, Freshblood Theatre, Shakespeare Society, WarwickSnow, and Surf. Cat was also involved in organising International Women’s Week in 2013.

Maahwish Mirza – Education Officer

As Education Officer, Maahwish works to represent students on all academic issues. She is also responsible for coordinating systems of academic representation which allow students and staff to come together to discuss academic needs, and sits on a number of University committees and working groups, ensuring that students’ views and opinions are heard by the right people.

This year, Maahwish aims to see the SU connect better with different kinds of students and hopes to see the impact of the SU's work reach beyond its traditional client base. She wants to work to widen the impact of the SU's widening participation programme, Warwick Inspire, and wants to engage in discussions on the attainment gap, employability in different sectors, and the possibility of exam feedback across all departments. She is also leading on organising the SU's Black History Month.

Maahwish graduated with a degree in English Literature. As a student, she was actively involved in a number of different societies and projects, working as Ethnic Minorities Officer at the SU in her second year and founding the Warwick Anti-Racism Society as a finalist.

Rob Ankcorn – Democracy and Development Officer

Rob’s role is to make sure the SU reflects what its members want – this happens through the termly All Student Meetings, where students can vote on anything from sandwich fillings to boycotting a nightclub. He’s keen to encourage more students to vote, or stand for election themselves.

Rob also oversees the Union’s £6.9 million turnover and all SU outlets, ensuring the SU’s spending benefits students as much as possible. He encourages students to approach him with any ideas for changes they’d like to see.

This year Rob wants to develop a universal loyalty card, and has taken on the Love Community campaign to help improve the standards of services off campus. He also aims to get a better taxi service and tackle bad and expensive Letting Agents.

Rob graduated with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and his constant involvement in the SU as Chair of Council, Student Councillor and president of a society inspired him to run for Democracy and Development Officer. Rob feels that the SU made his time at Warwick so special he wants to make sure it does the same for future students.

Andrew Thompson – Postgraduate Officer

As Postgraduate Officer, Andrew represents students completing both Master’s degrees and PhD research, as well as supporting those who wish to go into postgraduate study. He sits on a variety of University committees dealing with academic concerns, and helps to co-ordinate the social provision for postgraduate students, including the new Students’ Union space, The Graduate.

Andrew’s objectives include improving the social space and provision for postgraduates, campaigning for funding for postgraduate degrees, and increasing the support and training for postgraduates who teach. He is keen to speak to as many students as possible, and to support the work of the Postgraduate Hub and the Wolfson Research Exchange.

Andrew graduated in July 2012 with a degree in History and Culture, and then continued on at Warwick doing a part-time MA in History. During his time here, Andrew set up Warwick Enable and served as its President for two years, constantly striving to improve disabled access at the University and Students’ Union. He has also been the Deputy Chairman of University of Warwick Conservatives, a course representative on the SSLC for History, a Postgraduate Student Councillor and Postgraduate Arts Faculty Representative.

Bebe Husakova - Welfare and Campaigns Officer

Bebe’s role this year is to offer advice and support to students who may find themselves in a challenging situation. Together with the SU’s Student Advice Centre, Bebe can assist with housing problems and signpost students towards welfare provisions on and off-campus. The other main part of her job is to encourage student activism. Her main priorities are to increase awareness around mental health and improve individuals’ wellbeing, as well as helping students to better manage their finances.

Bebe will be working closely with the International Office in order to deliver the best possible university experience for our overseas students. She’ll also be creating opportunities for our home students to have an international experience without having to travel abroad - for instance, by getting involved with World@Warwick society.

As well as graduating with a degree in Philosophy with Psychology, during her time at Warwick Bebe has been on her departmental SSLC, represented third years on Student Council and was Publicity Officer for the Philosophy Society. She has been elected Snowboard captain, representing the University at several national competitions, and was also an active member of the Surf Club. Bebe has worked as a student caller and Warwick ambassador.

Isaac Leigh – Societies Officer

Isaac’s key role is to support all society activity and ensuring a smooth collaboration between execs, members and the Students’ Union. He also organises the major society events of the year, including Societies Fair and Societies Awards, and supports the setting up of new societies in conjunction with the Societies Committee.

His main priorities are to revamp hall societies by partnering them with bigger, more established societies to help them run successful events. Isaac also wants to increase inter-faith activity on campus and to help every society pursue at least one fundraising project throughout the year, resulting in electing a specific fundraising officer during term 2 society elections.

Isaac graduated from Warwick with a degree in English Literature. During his time here he has been heavily involved with media societies, and was on the Exec of RaW and The Boar. He was also a third-year representative on Student Council and was a hugely active member of the Athletics Club, as well as fundraising for RAG and teaching school children through Warwick Volunteers. He ran for the position because of a deep belief in the importance of societies to students’ university experience.

Ruby Compton-Davies – Sports Officer

As Sports Officer, Ruby will represent sports club executive committees, sports club members and student members of Warwick Sport. Ruby communicates with both Warwick Sport and the student body to aim to deliver an appropriate and engaging sporting experience at the University.

Some of her main objectives include making sport more accessible for all, including a rise in participation from non-club members (such as through Hall Societies) and by organising inclusive events such as the ‘Discover Disabled Sports Festival’. Ruby’s also keen to increase publicity and recognition of our fantastic sporting achievements here at Warwick, and will be working to establish and strengthen the new partnership between Warwick Sport and the SU.

After studying Sociology, specialising in cultural studies, Ruby graduated in 2014. During her time as an undergraduate, Ruby was a member of 6 different sports clubs including Dodgeball, Netball and Snow. She also represented the University in Women’s Football at BUCs, and nationally at both Dance competitions with Classical and Modern Dance, and cheerleading meets with Warwick Devils. In addition to this, she was a keen radio presenter on RaW and participated in two charity jailbreaks.