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 education campaigns
These campaigns come from the President Education's manifesto:
Ready to Graduate Skills
Extra-curricular life skills that will go on to help students feel ‘Ready to Graduate’. This will include 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
As part of creating a more environmental focus on campus, Meg Wright and I have focussed on different things to bring to UOS. My?focus for this point would be to bring 2nd?Hand 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
Personal Tutors are at the frontlines of our education and are often the first person we head to for any problems as they are an approachable person we already know. I will campaign to give 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. As part of this manifesto point, I?will also ensure that students can keep the same personal tutor across their whole degree and not have them changed every year as some courses have. This will be crucial for enforced mental health as students will not have to bear?declaring personal information multiple times.
President of activities and wellbeing campaigns
These campaigns come from the President Activities and Wellbeing's manifesto:
- Enhance Well-being Services
Well-being needs to be high on the agenda more than ever and I want to make sure that this is the University’s main priority. This is why I will Seek 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 make 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
I will campaign to 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.
I will work 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
As part of building connections at the University I am eager to 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 will also create 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.
Again, as part of building connections at the University I will collaborate with a local sport facility so we are able 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.
In addition, both sabs are working together on a shared manfiesto commitment:
- Create course wide networks
These will allow students to connect with peers across the year groups to gain research participants for dissertations or ask for support from the higher year groups. This will also include a budget to host socials as this is something students have really missed out on the past year.
ongoing campaigns from council
Below are the campaigns the su is working on that emerged from student council motions or other forms of Student consulation. you can find out more about student council here, and about the su's positions on various issues here.
Below are some of the completed campaigns that your SU has acheived over the past year!
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.