August and September are always really busy for me and my team at Connaught Hall. I have four new Senior Members (out of five) on my team for this year, so there's been lots of training and recruitment activity to get everyone ready to start receiving students this week.
This week, we've been learning about conflict resolution skills, diability and mental health awareness, and diversity issues. Next week, the new Senior Members will be trained in first aid and fire marshalling.
I've published a brand new guidance document for the Senior Members this year. I hope this will help the team to perfom better than before and really make an impact on residents' satisfaction with every aspect of life in Hall. The Residents' Handbook, Hall website, Supplementary Regulations, posters, and other documents all have to be updated in time for the new academic year - even more so this year, since there has been a major restructure of the management staff in the halls of residence, making many of last year's posters and leaflets obsolete.
I've been planning the Hall welcome dinner on 1st October: it's a special meal (we pay the catering company extra per person for this night) with wine and beer served alongside a delicious menu specially prepared by our Chef-Manager, Lydia. I have yet to write my welcome speech for the evening. Because some students (mainly from King's and QMUL) arrive almost three weeks before that dinner, we also put on an "early arrivals" welcome dinner on Monday 17th September - we're having a special curry menu for dinner and more wine and beer.
This week, I bought almost £100 of cake for our Sunday afternoon tea parties. We're all looking forward to meeting the first wave of student arrivals this Sunday.
There will be a party hosted by the Senior Member for each floor to help residents on their floor get to know one another. These will be in early October, and each will have it's own special theme. Look out for details posted by the Senior Member for your floor.
The bar needs lots of preparation, too. I'm working with last year's Bar Manager, Tom, and the new Bar Manager, Emily, to make sure we're ready to open this Sunday. The bar will open every night next week except Saturday 22nd September. Then on Sunday 23rd, we'll be open late for the Grand Opening party.
Meanwhile, the Residents' Club Committee are working on plans for a massive freshers' party on Saturday 6th October, open till 1.30am, as well as two whole weeks of social and cultural events to give our new residents a taste of everything that London can offer.
Another issue for the Residents' Club is a proposed change in its Constitution around how the President, Secretary, Treasurer, Entertainment Officer, and Sports Officer are elected in October. More about this later.
To top it all, this week has seen the University of London undergraduate open day events taking place at Senate House, so I've been showing year 13 students around Connaught, College, and International Halls so they can see the range of accommodation options open to them if they choose London to study.
So it's been a busy few weeks... we are all just excited to put all this preparatory work into use now for our new intake of students. We all look forward to meeting you.