The OUSU Team: Rachel Pickering

Can you tell us a little bit about your role at OUSU?

Coming to Oxford academic work can be a bit daunting, I definitely was very nervous when I had to hand in my first essay. I’ll be working with JCR Academic Reps in your college to make sure the support is there for you when you need it and to make sure you can pass on feedback and thoughts about your course through activities such as Academic Feedback Sessions. I’ll also be helping to train and support reps in your department so you can make sure you voice is also heard in departmental committee meetings. I also sit on lots of university committees such as Education Committee to make sure that every student’s academic experience at Oxford is the best it can be and to work on issues such as extra course costs that you may face.  On the Access side of my portfolio, I work with the University to make sure that socio economic background is not a barrier to admission through the development and support of outreach work, negotiations surrounding the fees and funding package for undergraduates and by helping to train and support JCR Access Reps. I also support OUSU’s Campaign Target Schools, particularly the expansion of the Roadshow following a successful pilot this summer. I am also one of the student advisors at OUSU, so if you are facing any difficulties and want free, impartial, independent and confidential advice then please do email advice@ousu.org.

In what sort of situation might you be able to help the average undergraduate (or graduate, for Graduates VP)?

If you want to get involved in student representation, either through your common room Academic and Access/Admissions Officers or in your department or division then just send me an email and I can offer advice on how to get involved and give you some material to help you in your role. If you fancy getting involved with access and outreach work then I can give you information on many of the initiatives currently going on in Oxford such as Target Schools, volunteering for the Widening Participation Team and getting involved with writing for the new Alternative Prospectus!

What do you think is the best thing about being a student in Oxford?

There are so many things for you to get involved in – whether you like politics, sport, drama, film, music or even quidditch there’s a society/activity for everyone!

And the worst?

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That when you go home in the vacation none of your friends are around for the first two weeks or the last two weeks, as they won’t have broken up yet from their universities. But this does mean you get to catch up on some sleep and visit them in their different cities.  

What is the one memory of your time in Oxford that best sums up the experience?

Walking down St Aldates dressed as the blue caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, with tourists staring and taking photos – I was on my way to Gilberts, Hertford’s Geography Club for our Trinity Term boat party