This page gives an update on some of the campaigns and projects the Union is working on and will be regularly updated.
Ongoing officer campaigns
President of education campaigns
These campaigns come from the President Education's manifesto:
Improve the system in place for students who experience an unforeseen circumstance
Multiple students have said to me how they feel that extension periods are too short. I would love to be able to fix this and ensure that all students who experience an extenuating circumstance are given the correct amount of time to complete their work to the best of their ability!
Personal Academic Coach
Make the system more accessible through monthly check ups and online forms
The personal academic coach system is one which provides students with the opportunity to get 1 to 1 support from their tutors. However, many have expereinced difficulties and found flaws in this system. Therefore I will aim to work with the university to improve this system by making coaches more accesible for students through the likes of monthly check ups and online forms.
Increase postgraduate employment support and part time employment opportunities for current students
Jobs can be considered a vital part of attending university, whether this is the post graduation employment you go into, or the job you have whilst at university. As a result of this I will work my hardest to collaborate with businness that can provide students with employment throughout their university experience.
President of activities and wellbeing campaigns
These campaigns come from the President Activities and Wellbeing's manifesto:
Home away from Home
Help and events for students in student accommodation and international students
Home away from Home is about helping students who have moved away from home for University.
This includes welcome guides, events catered for students living in student accommodation (dog walks, roast dinners) and giving students the skills they need to live independently (cooking classes, wellbeing support and financial advice).
Monthly socials and wellbeing events
Such as nights out, sporting events, quizzes and crafts
This manifesto point is about giving students the chance to enjoy monthly socials, such as pub quizzes, nights out, trips and monthly wellbeing activities!
Events will be open for everyone but special discounts and other advantages will be giving to students who are a part of a sport team or society. This will aim to help increase engagement amongst sports and societies. We will be working closely with local businesses to help plan the best events possible in order to give students the best Uni experience.
Better facilities in all campus buildings
Such as coffee machines and microwaves
The SU Social Space and Shop is such a popular area on campus, but if you have a lecture in a different university building you may not have the time to come over to the SU. This is why I think it is important to put some of the facilities from the SU into the other campus buildings. To begin with we hope to include a coffee machine and then expand to a designated area with microwaves and hot water machines.
In addition, both sabs are working together on a shared manfiesto commitment:
Promote student engagement
By supporting Officers, Committees and Course Reps
Lewis and I wish to promote student engagement and awareness within the SU. This means we would increase the number of student led
initiatives, events and societies by supporting Officers, Course Reps and Committees. We would also make use of course specific students for SU events such as Event students and Photography students. Why should we use external photographers when we have our own students who would be amazing at the job?
Below are some of the completed campaigns that your SU has acheived over the years!
Enhance Well-being Services - Seeked additional funding for student services for more counsellors and trained staff; therefore, reducing wait times and on call support for immediate help within a working week. Also making services more visible and easier to access, by creating a ‘Student Well-being’ button on the home page on My Suffolk/Brightspace, which takes you directly to all the support that is readily available to you, without the complications/faff!!
Create Green Space and Secure Bike Storage - Revamp the courtyard that is next to the amazing new SU shop into a calm and refreshing sheltered green space. The recent developments of the Arts Building will allow to fill the space with lots of plants, flowers, a water feature and outdoor furniture so students can relax alone or chill with friends whilst reaping the benefits of fresh air and natural space. Worked with the sustainability team within the university to invest in secure and sheltered bike racks which are only accessible by pin code and with CCTV and on top of that push for a ‘borrow a bike’ scheme to be available to all students.
More Collaboration with Local Businesses - Work with local businesses to create a better community spirit, for example working with businesses’ like Pennikkity Pots Ceramic Café and Avid Indoor Climbing. Benefiting both students with new events and discounts and helping to support the local businesses, whilst adding to the sustainable campus vison by reducing our carbon footprint. This also created opportunities for students to find part-time work and work experience in the work fields they are interested in and be a part of the university culture change that is needed.
Sports Facilities - Collaborated with a local sport facility to introduce a home for UOS sports, where our sports teams can train every week and proudly represent UOS in their matches at the same location, allowing students to feel part of a community.
Ready to Graduate Skills - Extra-curricular life skills to help students feel ‘Ready to Graduate’. This included anything from taxes, mortgages and car insurance to CV writing, interviews skills, job searching, and more! All easily accessible using Brightspace as well as occasional lectures.
More Sustainable Campus - Bringing secondhand clothes fairs to the university as well as Eco Refills to sell whole foods and other items without excess plastic packaging.
Mental Health Training for Personal Tutors - Gave ALL Personal Tutors the training they need to be able to support student’s mental health and wellbeing and be able to signpost to the appropriate support services if they cannot help.
Voluntary opportunities - The aim of this was to encourage students to get involved with voluntary events. This was to offer non placement students an opportunity to build on their CV and experiences. In 2019 the university hosted a volunteer’s fair. Various organizations and charities from Suffolk were invited to showcase their opportunities for students.
Better quality events for different demographics and interests - 2018 Freshers saw a significant increase in events, including but not limited to drinking /non-drinking events, course rep event and so on. We co-organized Reclaim the Night, a protested for Ipswich Borough Council to adopt a Women’s safety charter. Through democratic voting, Summer ball also saw a huge change, including a new venue. To date, this is the first Summer ball to make a profit.
Shop on campus - After receiving a significant amount of feedback such as council and NSS, food provision was in high demand for students on Ipswich campus. The previous SU shop closed due to financial demands, therefore any future food facilities needed to be completely reformed. Some of the changes made were for example: self-service tills, card only (no cash handling), student staff operated and different providers. Once voted by students, this required a collective work force to implement with full support from the university executive and was in operation for September 2019.
Online Feedback tool - students are offered different ways to give feedback throughout the year, including course committee and module feedback. This approach unfortunately was not robust enough to respond to student demands in a timely manner. With support from the student experience group, SOFIA (Suffolk Online Feedback in Action) is now live and accessible for course reps all year round. This required a lot of change for staff and students, for example: changing various democratic procedures, additional employment of a student staff member, reshaping student representation, including a review of course rep job descriptions. The tool enables reps to fulfil their role effortlessly which has significantly improved the perception of student representation, particularly as reps receive a response from staff imminently. It is worth noting that thanks to sabbatical campaigns and projects, the SU now has more students employed than staff, helping us to achieve our student led KPI.
Improve feedback within a reduced time frame - Various staff have different approaches to feedback, meaning each student receives different levels of feedback. With the help of CELT (Centre of excellence for learning and teaching) there is now much more guidance for staff to be able to give feedback. Various feedback methods were piloted across the university, for example one school were piloting giving audio feedback which was very well received by students and will influence future practice. As a result of this campaign, with the support of the VC and quality department, feedback turn around is now within 3 working weeks. Again, improving the student experience.
24/7 Library – This election campaign was also featured numerous times in the NSS qualitative feedback. A proposal to fund a 24-hour library trial was approved by SLT. The library opening hours became 24/7 during exam and deadline periods. The trial is due to end May 2020 when the usage and impact will be reviewed.
Social Space - This election and re-election campaign gave a lot of credit to the importance of the student voice. The new student social space is an asset to the Students’ Union and has made a huge impact on the visibility of the SU. The space is extremely well used, and student feedback demonstrates the positive impact it has made on the student experience. The space also includes a kitchenette with a microwave for students to heat food. This has been a huge student win as this was a motion which was brought to student council and democratically voted on.
Keep Wednesday afternoons free – this campaign was inspired by a national student movement to get more participating in sport. The BUCS league, which many universities compete in, primarily takes place on a Wednesday. Many students are unable to take part due to clashes with lectures. Through the timetabling task at finish group, keeping Wednesday afternoons free became a priority and was successfully implemented in September 2019. From this success, Wildcard Wednesday was brought into the social sports program. This provides students with the opportunity to participate in a new activity every fortnight.
Silvercloud - This is a digital mental health platform which is used by other universities and the NHS. It uses cognitive behavioural therapy to deliver both self-help and coached programs to students who may need extra mental help support. A proposal for implementing this platform has recently been approved by SLT. This will benefit students as they will be able to access reliable, effective resources remotely and access coached support if needed. The focus on mental health across the institution is a growing topic for both students and staff. The silvercloud platform will also provide unlimited access for staff which will play a beneficial part in the universities approach as a whole to improve mental health across all departments.
Safe Suffolk Student - Safety on and off campus is something that many Students’ Unions will promote. This campaign took many angles to safety and prompted a number of networking opportunities, both internally and externally. The campaign originally took a holistic approach and offered students numerous self-care resources e.g. ‘Ask for Angelia’ a safe night out campaign, ‘Student Mind’, ‘Terrance Higgins Trust’ Sexual health, ‘Consent matters’ Student services campaign etc. This also provided the opportunity to work alongside Ipswich borough council to review the ‘Purple Flag’ accreditation. Through these channels it has been possible to provide appropriate student feedback regarding a ‘Safe night out’ in Ipswich as well as invite ‘Purple Flag’ to host stalls at our Freshers Fair. This campaign also provided a platform to host a ‘Self Care Fair’. The purpose of this was to provide an environment where students could network with the services available to them, both on and off campus. Again, this took a holistic approach and was attended by numerous internal and external services. Mindfulness sessions and Indian head massages were also available to students as part of promoting a self-care routine.