Updates from previous UGM:
The prior welfare officer was asked to raise awareness of the #NeverOK campaign and create smoke free outdoor places for students. The #NeverOK Campaign has seen a huge resurgence thanks to the BLM movement which has renewed the university's interest. Additionally, Keele SU has hired a new member of staff Aysha Panter as our student engagement coordinator who originally two years ago introduced Keele SU to the campaign itself and is now continuing her hard work to promote the campaign. In regards to the smoke free zones unfortunately due to COVID this has taken a back seat in my priorities especially given that the Students Union first floor is closed until further notice and we are heading into a national lockdown.
Over the last few months, after I have completed my training, I have prioritised work around mental health. I have been in contact with various external organisations in order to provide services for students.
Changes Here4U wants to provide a group focused peer support programme where students will be trained up to lead groups of other students in a positive way akin to the cognitive behavioural approach to therapy.
I am also in contact with North Staffordshire Mind who were keen to set up a Maccas group here in Keele for undergraduates. Unfortunately, I have heard back that they do not have enough resources to support this and the Postgraduate Maccas group that is currently running at Keele. As a result of this I want to attempt to open up the postgrad group to undergraduates as well to ensure better mental health for all. In addition to this the North Staffordshire mind have offered to run some one-off wellbeing workshops which will hopefully be organised and on the Keele calendar soon.
Another company that has been in contact is Mindful Healthcare. They offer monthly virtual events that all students are welcome to attend free of charge. November’s event is around men's mental health and will hopefully fit in with Movember nicely.
I have also signed the student's union up to Student Minds SU. This is a new programme this year which aims to give a top-down approach for the student's union to tackle mental health at its core. So far there have been a few very handy networking events along with the release of a mental health framework which we will hopefully be adapting soon.
In August in collaboration with student services we created a mental health and wellbeing flowchart showing all the facilities on campus that are available to students if they should need any support at their time at Keele. The full flowchart is available here. 3,500 Of these were printed in a handy z-card style meaning it can easily be folded to fit in a wallet or pocket. One of these were placed in each of the welcome bags so every student who is in campus accommodation should have one. The excess will be handed out to students when needed.
I have also been in contact with Hinna Sheikh, the current Keele Race Equality Officer, about creating a B.A.M.E. role model system. A lack of role models within higher education has been linked to one of the main reasons behind the current B.A.M.E. attainment gap (https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2019/bame-student-attainment-uk-universities-closing-the-gap.pdf). The aim of this system will be to highlight members of staff from the B.A.M.E. community, who they are, how they got to where they are today, and any pieces of advice they may give to students. I am also hoping to hold panels throughout the year with these members of staff so students can interact with them and ask questions.
I also arranged a stargazing event with Dr Jacco Van Loon who gave a virtual tour of the observatory. The feedback I received was very positive and Jacco has emailed back saying he’d love to do it again at some point