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The Big Names on Campus Part 1 - Your Sabbatical Officers

Coming to LSE can be daunting, and we know that you guys may be feeling understandably nervous. One thing that will definitely help you is finding out as much information as you can – that way, you can be as well-informed as you can and jump right into life at LSE! 

Speaking of important information…have you heard about your Sabbatical Officers? Your Students’ Union is run by 5 full time sabbatical officers and 12 part time officers. They were elected by the rest of the student body last year, and they are the ones who decide what we do for the next academic year. In other words, they basically call the shots here at LSESU.

For all of you guys, they are very important people to know for two main reasons:
No. 1 – they are the ones who can actually DO something about a problem you could be having at LSE, so raise any concerns to them!
No. 2 – your sabbatical officers have done the whole student experience from start to finish, so they have a wealth of advice and tips to offer.

So here we go, this is your part 1 of the Big Names on Campus – a quick introduction to your Sabbatical Officers:

David Gordon, Your General Secretary

Pronouns: He/Him
Instagram: @david_gordon24
Facebook: David Gordon

Hey everyone! I have no doubt that you are all excited about joining us at LSE. I’m your General Secretary (AKA President) for the next academic year 2020-2021 and served as your Community & Welfare officer last year. LSE has such a diverse and vibrant community, and I can’t wait to meet you all!

I’m a graduate of BSc Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Method and lived in Carr-Saunders hall in my first year, where I was the Vice-President of the hall’s committee. During my studies, I was a part of the LSESU Men’s Rugby Club and the LSESU Mixed Lacrosse Club, which was fantastic - I loved being part of both clubs, being able to play the sports, to get stuck into the social side that comes with being a part of the Athletics Union, as well as the opportunities to focus on and challenge sports culture at LSE. There was also a lot of activism and campaigning which was great to support and be a part of. Making sure LSE is a safe and welcoming place for everyone is our top priority as officers, with plenty of opportunities to get involved.

Here are the top 2 things that I think you should do in your first year:

  1. Get involved. Whether you want to take part in a new sport, or join a society, make sure you try new things and explore what LSE has to offer. If a new class mate invites you to an event, whether its online or in person, try it out. The best thing about LSE is the people, so connecting with people through the SU and your department is one of the most rewarding things you can do.
  2. Come and say hi to us, your Sabbatical Officers! Our job is to represent you full time, we are here to support you in your time at LSE by lobbying for change and empowering you with opportunities. If you think there’s something we could to do help, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

One service that I think you should really familiarise yourselves with is the LSESU Advice Service. They can help you with a range of issues or can signpost you to the relevant services who can offer further support. The truth is, we can all have problems at LSE, but the important thing is that you use the support services available to you if you need them. Even if you just need to talk it out with someone, go and speak to the Advice Team.

My general advice for all you new students would be to take it at your own pace. I know how quickly everything can go during Welcome and that you are presented with a whirlwind of information; especially as we head into a new and unfamiliar kind of learning environment. And while you’re trying to make the most of this new and exciting experience, remember just to take it easy. And no matter what you want to get out of LSE, there will be people who want the same thing - so go out there, find them and do it together!

Ellie Duplock, Your Activities & Development Officer

Pronouns: She/Her
Instagram: ellie_activitiesdevelopment

“Hey everyone! My name is Ellie and I’m going to be your Activities & Development Officer for the upcoming year. I hope you are excited to start your LSE journey!

I’ve just graduated from LSE with a degree in International Social & Public Policy. I lived in Bankside Halls as well as in Camden and Holloway during my time here. Sports played a big part in me LSE experience. I was the Vice Captain of the AU Waterpolo Womens’ Team in my second year, then was a member of the Athletics Union (AU) Executive Team and AU Boxing Secretary in my third year, as well as playing in the fifth team of AU Netball! Taking part in the AU Fight Night in my second year and then running the event in my third year were the highlights of my time at university!

My favourite thing about LSE is probably the location – it’s right in the heart of the city! I'm from North East London originally, but living in central meant I did a lot more exploring this year, and it helped me make the most of being at a university. We’re so lucky that LSE is in such a good location.

The top 2 things I think new students should this year:

  1. Join a club or society – definitely one of the best ways to make the most of your university experience!
  2. Make the most of your contact time / office hours. Starting classes can feel a little overwhelming at first, but your class teachers and lecturers will always be happy to help.

For me, the most important service that I think students should be aware of is the Students’ Union (LSESU)! When I was a student, I didn't really make the most of the support and guidance they offer until I became part of the Athletics Union Executive Team in my third year. The LSE Volunteering Centre is also fantastic and I wish I'd looked more into that when I was a student!

In terms of my priorities for the year, you should definitely keep an eye out for the Visual Art Showcase that I’m planning, in conjunction with the LSESU Creative Network! It aims to highlight the incredible creative work that our students do. There’s lots of other projects in the works right now that I’ll be sharing details of through the year, with potential for one really big change for LSESU aswell, so watch out for these!”

Bali Birch-Lee, Your Education Officer

Pronouns: They/Them
Twitter: @theotherbali

“Hello! I hope you are all looking forward to your arrival in September. I’m Bali and I’ll be your Education Officer for the upcoming year. I studied an MSc in Political Sociology here at LSE and actually did my undergraduate degree over at Cambridge, where I studied Education.

I didn’t live in halls, I rented privately with my partner, a 45-minute bus ride from campus. This worked really well for me as it allowed me to keep a distance between my work and chill spaces, plus it gave me a lot of time to read on the bus! 

I wasn’t part of any clubs or societies during my Postgraduate study here at LSE, but I did perform in one of the “LSE Chill night” music events and sang with the Philosophy and Logic department band…not sure how this managed to slide seeing as I wasn’t actually a student of their department, but hey ho!

My favourite thing about LSE is the wide array of people you get to meet! It’s such a diverse place. I think there are 2 very important things all new students need to do in their first year:

  1. Find out how you learn best! LSE can be quite a different experience to school or work environments – or even previous universities. Take some time to work out how you want to organise your time and which learning approaches work best for you. 
  2. Seek out those interesting discussions! Challenge people, bounce your thoughts off one-another and explore the topics that really tickle your curiosity. If there is someone in a class with you who you have a bit of an academic crush on, talk to them! So much learning and processing can happen in the conversations that you strike up outside of the classrooms. 

In my opinion, The LSESU Advice Service is the most important service to know about! I didn’t really understand what it was until I became a Sabbatical Officer and I wish I had taken the time to find out when I was a Postgrad. They do such incredible work supporting students, providing help and guidance whatever issue a student may be facing.

I’m working on a lot of priorities this year, but I would definitely say that our work on Diversification and Decolonisation of the Curriculum is something to watch out for. I’m really looking forward to working to make the curriculum more inclusive! We are looking to holding talks and events to provide extra-curricular opportunities to engage with more diverse and radical topics, as well as addressing courses and departments. If you’re interested, then definitely keep an eye out for ways you can get involved!” 

Laura Goddard, Your Community & Welfare Officer

Pronouns: She/Her
Instagram: @laura_communitywelfare

“Hi guys! I’m Laura, your Community & Welfare Officer for 2020-2021. Congratulations on securing your place at LSE, I can’t wait to welcome you to LSE in a few weeks time!

I initially started doing a Politics and International Relations here at LSE, but at the end of my first year decided to switch to a straight International Relations course. I’ve just graduated, I lived in Connaught Hall which is an intercollegiate hall right on Tavistock Square – I definitely took for granted the 15/20 min walk onto campus! Personally, I loved my living experience and I got to meet people from KCL and UCL as well as LSE.

When studying, joining AU Mixed Lacrosse club was probably the best decision I made. It was a super sociable club and I learned a new sport completely from scratch. I went on to join the Mixed Lacrosse committee in second year and became club captain in my third!

My favourite thing about LSE, as cliché as it sounds, is the people. Everyone you meet has such impressive life experience and that’s so inspiring for your own future and goals. It’s a really motivating environment to be in!

The top 2 things I think you should do are:

  1. Find a society or sports club that feels right for you – it’s not just about playing the sport, you will form a really strong and tight knit community with other members. They were like a second family to me!
  2. Consider volunteering with the LSE Volunteer Centre – your first year will be a whirlwind, but making time to give back is so important. It also has amazing benefits in terms of your mental health and wellbeing.

I echo what my fellow Sabbatical officers have said - the most important service that I think you need to know about is without a doubt the LSESU Advice Service. You can get free, impartial advice on any issue that you may be facing while you are at LSE, with advisors who are incredibly understanding and have been trained in dealing with a wide range of issues.

This year I am focusing on improving all students’ experience of LSE’s mental health services and sexual violence support because to me; nothing is more important than the wellbeing and the support services available for you at LSE, and they need to reflect the diversity of its student body. I’ll be updating you on the progress of this throughout the year, stay tuned!”



Your Sabbatical Officers work full time for LSE Students’ Union to represent your views and negotiate with the School to improve your student experience. If you have an issue, want to raise a concern or feel like a change needs to happen at LSE – these are the people who can do something about it. They are open to your suggestions and feedback, and welcome your insights on how they can improve your experience at LSE. You can reach out to David, Ellie, Bali and Laura on their respective emails.