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Activities & Community Officer Blog

Hi I’m Tom, your elected Activities & Community Officer. I’m here to represent the students views to the university whilst also making sure you get the most out of your time here at Keele whether it be doing volunteering work out in the community or getting involved with all the societies we have at Keele.

I studied the Environment and Sustainability BSc at Keele University. During this time I involved myself mostly with Think:Green Society as President and Amnesty Society as Secretary. I was also last year's International Students' Officer at Keele SU. In my spare time I love to cook while listening to music (mostly the Beatles), play video games, and enjoy the environment through walks and gardening.

Talk to me about:

  • Our 150+ societies
  • RAG (Raise & Give) - our charity fundraising
  • Volunteering

Email me at su.communityofficer@keele.ac.uk or contact me on social media below:

 Facebook logo: Click here to be directed to Sam's facebook profileTwitter logo: Click here to be directed to Sam's twitter profile

Want to find out more about my plans this year?

Tom's October UGM Report!

Hey everyone and welcome back, thank you for reading my first UGM report for the 2022-2023 academic year. Over the summer since our last UGM last year I went through training again with the rest of the team and begun planning the year from campaigns to different events and actions. Since the start of the academic year in September I’ve been involved in lots of student opportunities, representing societies, and facilitating positive action within the SU and University. Read below for a more detailed report on what I have been up to so far!

Manifesto Updates:

1. Society Voice and Engagement:

1.1 Societies of Keele and Tom Tries

#SocietiesofKeele was launched last year in the hope to increase student membership and participation in our societies and was a great success. This year we are relaunching the campaign including much of the campaigning that was done last year whilst also creating more events for societies to get involved in with more digital and physical presence and marketing supplied by the Union for students to interact with. The campaign was supposed to launch sooner but was postponed due to awaiting marketing material but will be launching soon, so make sure to check socials and email! Check out Societies of Keele (keelesu.com) to see last year's Societies of Keele and @Tom_KeeleSU on Instagram to see all our Tom tries!

1.2 Society Executives

Congratulations to our new Society Executives! We have now met with most Executives and are working with them to improve support for societies. If you want to learn more about them and send them feedback to report to their monthly meetings with myself and Activities click here Societies Executive (keelesu.com).

1.3 Representing Music Societies

Last year Music societies under the Music Union were left without a space due to construction in Lindsay Studio, were then moved to the Sustainability Hub, and then moved to where they currently are now in Barnes Bar. This year they have encountered some estates problems with the building such as heating and lighting which I'm working with estates to make the space more comfortable for our music groups. I have also been in talks with the SU and University to find them a suitable long-term space and source music instruments for them that the music department is currently selling.

1.4 New Society Applications and Grants

With the Activities Department we approved 12 new society applications and are currently accepting society grant applications. Apply for your society grant here Grants (keelesu.com).

1.5 Club and Society Sunday Bookings

Since the start of the academic year clubs and societies have had difficulty with accessing their equipment, booking rooms, and booking and accessing vans early Sunday mornings due to the later opening of the SU at 11am. I have met without head of operations, and they are currently looking into a solution to the problem of Sunday bookings.

1.6 Club and Society Conference

I aided on the day with club and society conference running a couple officer sessions for members. If you attended, please feedback here Microsoft Forms.

 

2. Sustainability:

2.1 Volunteering Opportunities and Edible Campus

Last year we ran many volunteering opportunities for students to get involved in and will be continuing these events this year. Over the summer I planned all our volunteering opportunities for the year such as litter picks, gardening sessions, and am currently planning the edible campus program with active Keele to implement more edible plants on campus for students to use. For edible campus we have decided to plant fruit trees in the planters we have at each hall of accommodation with strawberries so students can grab and go fresh fruit in between their busy schedules.

2.2 Keele Students’ Union Strategic Sustainability Action Plan

Over the summer I have been working on a Strategic Sustainability plan for the Students’ Union. The plan is currently in draft form but will facilitate the creation of a Keele SU Sustainability Working Group to finalise the plan and begin mapping out our strategy. The plan will then be brought to the Students’ Union Board and be implemented within the Unions strategic structure to drive sustainable action such as lowering our emissions, banning single use plastics and water usage for example. I will be going over this plan with the university and SU senior leadership soon to finalise it.

2.3 Great Donate and On Campus Charity Shop

This Welcome we facilitated 6 Great Donate Stalls for students to buy second hand kitchen equipment, household items, and clothing for affordable prices. In total we made more than £500 (30 boxes of donations) for the sustainability micro grant fund for students and for the program itself. We plan to run stalls throughout the year to continue supplying affordable and needed items to students, especially in the current cost of living crisis. Apply for the grant here Sustainability Microgrant (keelesu.com).

Since last semester we have been working with the University to find a physical and permanent space for the Great Donate Program and create an on-campus charity shop for students to use. This would eliminate the need to do very burdensome stalls and allow greater accessibility to a program that students’ need and use often. We are currently looking at the space next to Greggs which use to be ‘On the Square’ as the space is an ideal size and in the centre of campus for equal access and visibility by students. This shop would serve students well especially in the current cost of living crisis supplying them with affordable kitchen equipment, household items, and stationary.

2.4 Accessible and Sustainable Water Refill Station

Last year I was focused on getting a more accessible and more sustainable water station in the Students’ Union. We have now bought the new station and will be installing it soon with added marketing material around it to raise awareness around water usage and water deserts. This will hopefully increase students using reusable bottles. We are currently awaiting University Estates to install the station.

2.5 Fossil Free Careers

I’m currently working with the careers department to create a sustainable careers service within our current careers department at the University. This also includes banning fossil fuel companies from coming to the Students’ Union and working with more sustainable companies. Learn more about the national campaign here People & Planet's Fossil Free Careers Campaign | People & Planet (peopleandplanet.org).

2.6 Veganuary Campaign

I’m currently working to create this year's Veganuary campaign following from the last couple years of our past UDD running Veganuary. This will include lots of free food opportunities and tasters,

discussions about veganism, and activities students can get involved in. This will launch when students return in January.

 

3. Student Experience:

3.1 Black History Month and Diversity Festival

The other officers and I have worked with the Universities EDI coordinator to plan this year's BHM events such as film screenings, workshops, book clubs and more. One of these events was Diversity Festival which me and the team had been planning for a couple months. We organised free food, performances, society stalls, showcase organisation stalls, and a projection and art exhibit after the event. In total we had approximately 500 students attend the event, and it was a great success! We are now planning the next Diversity Festival so mark your calendars for the 5th of March.

3.2 Keele Thrift Fest

With the Movemeber Fundraiser we are running a thrift sale for staff and students to sell their second-hand items in the ballroom on the 15th of November from 11am till 3pm. We will hopefully be able to provide free food and you’ll be able to get plenty of second-hand items! If you are interested in having a stall or just dropping in sign up for a free stall here Microsoft Forms.

3.3 Welcome 2022/2023

The other officers and I worked during Welcome and ran many stalls, activities, and events for students to get involved and feel welcome at Keele.

 

Team Strategic Aims:

1. Student Safety and Wellbeing:

1.1 Club and Society Movember Fundraiser

With the Thrift Fest we will be running a Movember Fundraiser in the Ballroom from 11am till 3pm on the 15th of November. We invite all clubs and societies to come and raise money for Movember through selling food, crafts, ice bucket and sponge throwing stalls, etc. We want to get creative with this event so let me know if you’d like a stall at su.communityofficer@keele.ac.uk.

2. Access and Inclusivity:

See section Student Experience 3.1

3. Quality Education:

See section Sustainability 2.5

4. Cost of Living:

See section Sustainability 2.3

5. A fair and sustainable world:

5.1 Human Rights and Crisis Campaign

This year we will be launching a Students Union Human Rights and Crisis campaign due to the response we had during the Ukrainian Crisis last year, receiving over 1000 donations from students' staff and the local community and due to the increasing situation globally. This campaign aims to support students here at Keele who may call home to an area in crisis as well as raise awareness and funding to aid those in crisis. This year the campaign will be mainly focused on The Ukraine Crisis, human rights abuses surrounding the world cup in Qatar, Afghanistan Crisis, Pakistan Floods, and the current crisis in Iran. The aim is to involve as many societies, clubs and students as possible in this campaign to fundraise.

 

Outstanding UGM Motions:

Check out our Policy Document here which includes all our passed UGM policies Policy-Document-February-2022.pdf (keelesu.com)

None passed or need actioning yet. You can find my report and the other full time officer reports at Full-Time Student Officers (keelesu.com).

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