1. Introduction and general update
Hello everyone, it’s the final UGM of the year
In nominal Officer activity between the last UGM and this one, I’ve been making sure to tie up and complete projects or make sure they’re ready for a smooth transition for handover. As a result, I’ve not been taking on anymore big projects or undertakings but still doing my work as a representative for you.
That being said; I am still attending a lot of meetings including all of the regular sub-committee meetings I am a part of, USVC and 1-1s with the Chief Information Officer/Chief Librarian and the Vice Chancellor.
In particular, there is a Faith in the Curriculum meeting I attend where they will be aiming to survey students about the support students receive around studying while following a faith, so that may be of interest.
With our Be Better Do Better Campaign we are going to be doing more information pieces and a particular focus more issues later this month.
But without further ado, onto the next item
2. Things I’ve been working on
2.1 Music saved at Keele
This was a long road but a successful one. There’s not much else to say on my end so I will just reiterate the post put on the Student Life page here on the promises made from about the aspects of society activity.
We have a written commitment and a minuted commitment at University Senate that the University will still be providing rehearsal and storage space for students and society activity.
As part of this there will be further dialogue on what fits what students want. There have been expressions that this will include combinations of Lindsay, the Clock House and other spaces as well but it is clear that there will be more options going forward for students.
A massive thank you to all the students, societies and beyond that made their voices heard. This success is your success. Keep our arts strong!
I will ask societies and students at large to not forgot what has been worked on here, and be vigilant to make sure these promises are followed through beyond our term and to inform Sabbatical Officers in the new term if any of these things are not upheld
2.2 NUS liberation conference
NUS Liberation Conference also took place where students led several networking and policy discussion sessions. Main Policy sessions included:
- Mandatory Sexual Consent Education for all students in HE and FE
- Make Inclusive and Accessible Environments Standard
- Pronouns on Microsoft Teams
- Period Poverty
With some of the conversations and results from discussions conducted earlier in the year we are ahead of the curve slightly on this with the name changing policy. We do know pronoun settings on teams is a feature not yet introduced but the university can give feedback to Microsoft about the introduction of new features so we urge the university to do this.
With the other policies passed at NUS Liberation Conference, through the Students Union, the University has already been taking enhanced action on them. We will however we be making further recommendations to keep Keele at the forefront in the coming weeks especially on the freedom of speech policy.
2.3 Meeting with Global Opportunities, Student Academic services and Communication on International Students for Welcome transitions
I am having a meeting next week with Robbie Pickles, the Director Global Opportunities about the International Students transitions and induction. We are quite aware that international students do not always have the smoothest of transitions to university life in the best of times and in our initial discussion had a look at where things break down. I’ll be meeting Robbie and members of other University departments to see what can be done. We will also discuss what we can do as an SU during these transitions where we can be informative as possible to international students to ensure they have the most engaging student experience they possibly can.
2.4 NUS National Conference Panel
I was part of an NUS National conference panel to share some of the great things we’ve been doing at Keele for Decolonise the Curriculum in action. We at Keele are leading the way, doing great things in this area and we are ahead of curve. We are continuing the work on this topic as well as pushing the university on more changes through our committees, projects and direct meetings.
2.5 New Estates Equality Matrix and new group to be set up with Estates
While working with the Invisible Disabilities Society over the course of the year helping them make representations to Senior University staff, I am proud to announce one of the projects of long-lasting change: An Equality Matrix for new buildings around Keele.
This will apply to new buildings and major refurbishments across campus and this will be an ongoing workgroup that has an extensive guidance list to work through for a wide remit of future accessibility needs. These will include things like signage, powered doors, door width, Toilets (Gender neutral and Disabled), ramps, rest and changing areas, additional lighting and much more.
This group will have SU and student representation actively continuing to input on it and will ensure that any new buildings or major refurbishments will have the kinds of considerations that have been represented to us in the past, so they will be taken into account before a project has been set in stone.
2.6 Back-to-back assignments
We know that this continues to be a problem for many students. This was raised at USVC due to students communicating to us the impact that is continuing to have especially over the lockdown period.
It has been passed on as a further action to staff to co-operate more on deadline placement.
We urge students that experience this to continue to raise this with your SU Officers and Voice Reps as soon as you notice.
As an update, the proposal is complete and has had a revisory draft for operational action.
Before my term is done, there should be a GradCard for students that will be ready to purchase.
3. Avatar: The Legend of Leroy - The Officer Legacy
So, you might be wondering what this section is about and why it’s a reference to such an amazing show. Well, it’s about a snapshot of the things yours truly has done over the 2 years here that you’ll be hearing a little more about in the coming weeks.
Over my time here as an Officer here are some of the things that have happened:
- Grant money returned and Society Grants returned
- Work with our Ents team to get more themed nights
- More representation on at least 5 more University Committees
- More society storage space
- A GradCard
- The New Equality Matrix for New Builds and Refurbishments across campus
Whilst doing all the normal bits and bobs expected from this role, I am proud to be able to leave these as a contribution to the Keele landscape.
4. A Final UGM Thank You before I leave
It’s been a pleasure honestly.
I’m lucky to be here as an Officer during the 60th year of our SU building standing and long may it continue.
All of you are amazing and although some of you might say that I’ve benefitted you, it’s definitely the other way. Working on behalf of all you has pushed me to be a better person, to be better at what I do. There is that power for change and social progression in the student movement so keep on doing what you do.
You’ll probably see me again popping by, people might seek me out or I’ll be dragged back somehow. Once you’re a part of student the movement you always are.
So here I thank the SU staff and the University Staff, especially the ones who mentored me (y’all know who you are). And thank you to every student who’s been at Keele.
The best of luck to you all in the future