Here’s everything important I’ve been up to since the last UGM!
· We held a meeting with Mike Farrar, the Chair of University Council, where we discussed approaching topics such as the Cost-of-Living, but notably sport on campus. I have been corresponding with Mike since this meeting and have been asked to write a paper regarding Sport on Campus and investing in facilities and how the University can work better with the AU to improve students’ experiences.
· Worked with a local artist to help strengthen their relationship with both the Students’ Union and University.
· The Officer Team, (led by Tom) worked on a global crisis framework, which the Students Union can use to approach sensitive issues such as sporting events in countries with bad human rights violations.
· I also launched my ‘They Should Run’ campaign, which aimed to encourage transgender and non-binary students run in full-time officer elections. We held specific learn to lead sessions where students would be in a safe space and could hear about Keele SU’s beliefs and values as well as be ensured that negative campaigning is banned from officer elections. This campaign has been successful so far and has seen openly non-binary candidates showing interest in running!
· Led the procession at Winter Graduation (and got to wear a funky hat).
· Following a UGM mandate, we filmed a video reaffirming our support for Transgender students, which we are releasing over LGBTQ+ History month.
· Worked on getting students more engaged in SU democracy by holding an Instagram takeover and answered questions from students concerning democracy, student voice, networks, and elections. I also held a network stall at both days of society sign up and increased our Network membership by over 4,000%. I even had the opportunity to meet with other university officers and gave them advice on student voice and engaging liberation groups and other student groups such as commuter, mature and international students.
· In January, I attended the second part of a governance conference which furthered my knowledge on sitting on the Universities governing body and how to challenge them when necessary.
· I Attended my first SU sustainability group and discussed how we can encourage both SU and university staff to be more sustainable, as well as worked with department managers to help long term sustainability planning across the union.
· Met with Student Services and the Vice-chancellor around accommodation prices next year and lobbied them to make mitigations for students who are unable to afford to live on campus, and to make campus living more accessible and attractive for students. We are currently awaiting their response from these recommendations, but when we know, I’ll post them on my social media!
· Update on Networks activity! We held a meeting with our Network Leads I worked with our BAME Network Lead Abdullah on Race Equality Week, where we held a cabin, asked students to question their own unconscious biases and looked at how the SU can do more to host events promoting race equality all year round. I also met with our Local Students’ Delegate Emilie to discuss transport for commuting
students, permits and alternative transport options. I’m going to be writing this in a report which I take to University estates.
· I also met with our International Student Experience Coordinator, Kaodi and discussed the issues international students are facing, particularly in regard to housing off-campus. I have raised this as part of our accommodation discussions with the university and also written a list of actions to follow up on over the next few weeks.
Semester 1 Manifesto Update:
Laundry: Worked with the University to streamline the complaints process, lobbied them to improve facilities in launderettes and gave feedback based on student consultation. Launderettes now have more materials which explain how machines work and why students often run into issues such as damp clothes. I have also been involved in discussions concerning payment options and making payments easier for students. We also invited Circuit to the Welcome fayre back in September to ensure students were able to purchase cards whilst machines were down.
Transport: University estates have been very unresponsive about transport, this semester I am working to hold them more accountable for their actions and use info collected from students surrounding permits and financial accessibility to guide conversations. I have sent a message to the council asking for clearer information regarding roadworks along the number 25 bus route. As well as this I have been corresponding with FirstBus regarding student complaints about their ticketing system and have been insured that they are working to make sure all students can access discounts. My social media accounts have FAQ’s where students can access key information about local travel.
Democracy: As shown throughout my reports both this semester and this UGM, I have been working to improve our democratic structures and restore representation back to the communities they represent. Networks has been a fundamental aspect of this, and I have been working hard to ensure students engage with these and utilise them. I also worked to increase our Union Assembly and managed to secure new elected delegates.