UCL News


Student team help UCL score double whammy

11 July 2019

UCL Accommodation took home two CUBO awards, from the ceremony that took place at Swansea University on 4 of July, as part of the annual CUBO conference.

UCL Students with their awards at the CUBO annual conference

The awards were presented to the Accommodation team for the Best Marketing Campaign, and Innovation in Student Experience categories.

UCL Accommodation has been working with a team of students to make sure that the student voice remains at the core of all their initiatives – and the success of the winning initiatives was due to this approach, and the involvement of students in the decision making process.

Today we're talking to Pippa Vanderplank, who has just finished her final year studying Psychology at UCL, about her experience of working with the UCL Accommodation team.

What's your role in UCL Accommodation?

Since August 2018, I've been the Marketing and Communications Officer in the Student Experience team. I am responsible for UCL Accommodation’s social media channels, support our Communications Manager in day to day communications work, and contribute to a range of larger individual projects.

How does the student team work alongside the UCL team?

Whenever student input would benefit decision making, be it financial or operational, the accommodation leadership team consults us. We also gather opinion and input from the wider student population, by running focus groups and surveys, to make sure a whole range of perspectives are taken into account.

What kind of projects have you been involved in?

Personally I’ve been involved in the interior design of Astor College, our newly refurbished residence. I am also responsible for our social media channels, edit and write content for our website, and am currently planning a series of webinars.

However, our student team is formed of four students and each of us is heavily involved in different big projects. My other student colleagues have been leading the initiatives that won us the awards last Thursday; they created the Housingadvice.london website which offers advice to first year residents leaving UCL Halls, and led the complete rebranding of 21 Halls. There has been a great deal of positive change in terms of the student experience in UCL Halls from when I lived in halls two years ago to where we are now.

What have you gained from working for UCL Accommodation?

I’ve gained a lot of confidence from this role – from communicating with UCL senior management to public speaking. I’ve been given a lot of responsibility and accountability, and a lot of support to succeed as well. Although I’ve been lucky to have flexible working hours, this work has helped me with time management and multi-tasking – often I have 10 different tasks on the go.  I’ve also got to develop a wide network, both internally at UCL, and externally from working with agencies and other stakeholders. Getting recognition for the Student Experience team's work in winning these awards is a great bonus, too!