Our team of Five Full-Time Elected Officers work for, and are elected by, Keele students to represent their views and campaign for positive change.

Officer Blogs

Find out your Officers plans for this year and what progress they are making

Welfare & Diversity Officer Blog

Hi I’m Dan and you elected me to be your Welfare & Diversity Officer. My job is to ensure that students across all disciplines and levels of study feel that they are included and that they have a positive experience of their time here at Keele. This includes sitting on panels, running campaigns, and emphasise accessibility and inclusivity as well as deal with any problems the student body might experience personally and they need support and guidance.

Before being elected, I studied Psychology. During my time as a student I have been the President of the Psychology Society, and a student voice rep for two years. In my free time I enjoy gaming, going to the gym, volunteering with young offenders and going to the pub with friends.

Talk to me about:

  • Mental health campaigns and concerns
  • International Student Inclusivity and Diversity
  • Accessibility needs and allyship

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

 Facebook logo: Click here to be directed to Facebook profile

Want to find out more about my plans this year?

Report for the October UGM!

Accommodation:

In early August I launched an accommodation survey to gain student feedback to bring to the University. This was to continue to put pressure on them to invest in better, affordable accommodation.

The survey highlighted that kitchen fridge and cupboard space was drastically lacking in a lot of the long standing accommodation blocks. Alongside this decoration of student accommodation had a detrimental impact on students mental health during periods of stay at home orders during lockdown.

I brought the results of this survey to the head of Student services who presented this in an accommodation committee. Further discussions around the possibility of relaxing rules on mini-fridges which are appropriately pac tested in bedrooms are making way. I have a further meeting with the accommodation team in November.

 

Eat Good to Feel Good:

I launched my Eat Good to Feel Good campaign at the start of welcome, which provided different recipes, for students who may have never cooked meals for themselves before. It provides a list of necessity items, alongside optional extras to add to the dish, whilst providing step by step instructions on how these meals can be made. I have been provided with further funding from Start to Success to ensure all recipes will be going into on-campus accommodation.

The recipes can also be found on the Keele SU Campaigns page.

 

Mature student network:

I have been working closely with some of the Student Experience and Support Officers (SESO) and the Mature student part time officer, to try and implement a mature buddy scheme which has developed into a mature student network system. The purpose of this network is to have Mature Student Network Leads who initially oversee grouped up mature students.

Mature student events throughout the year will provide opportunities for these groups to meet at, with the hope that the group will happily set up their own social events. From the first Mature student coffee morning, Julie Willis (SESO manager) was happy for the scheme to move forward.

 

Suicide prevention:

During Suicide Awareness Week, I worked with Anne Piper to help highlight the important of open and honest conversations about suicide with those who may show suicidal tendencies. Working further with Start to Success, I ran a campaign of Instagram stories at highlighting the support services at Keele and in the local area. I encouraged society committees to complete the zero-silence alliance suicide prevention training that was presented to clubs last academic year.

I hope that the zero-silence alliance suicide prevention training can be further incorporated in future committee member training.

 

Drug & Alcohol Steering group:

I have been working closely with the Universities alcohol & drug (A &D) steering group. I have made it a strategic part of my work to contribute and encourage the university to take a harm reduction approach to alcohol and drugs.

I have worked alongside the Head of Security and Resident Life staff on the construction of a new Joint Substance Policy. The new focus of this policy is on supporting students who may be using and abusing substances. Once this policy is submitted, I aim to make a version that is accessible for students.

I have put a proposal to the group regarding getting self-drug testing kits so students can test a sample of their drug’s purity to ensure students are not putting themselves at risks due to mixed substances. I am currently in the process of writing the proposal and submitting this to the Healthy University Group (HUG)

 

Harm Reduction campaign:

I have been planning my Harm reduction campaign, a campaign inspired by my work with the Drug & Alcohol steering group, which is due to launch the 15th November. The campaign involves 4 important weeks; Alcohol awareness week, Substance misuse awareness week, Safe Sex week and behaving on nights out.

The campaign will include in person events as well as social media posts around the impacts of alcohol & drugs which can be found on our website. The resources inform students of realistic effects of drugs and the impacts on their health and wellbeing.

I am currently working with Res-life on this campaign and taking the important stance that students should not be shamed for choosing to drink alcohol or use substances for whatever reason. We should just provide the educational means for them to do it safely.

 

Spiking:

With an increase in spiking taking to the national media and a new campaign group emerging it has put the issue of spiking on the agenda. On Wednesday 20, we released our anti-spiking statement to reassure students we are committed to ensuring safe nights out at KeeleSU.

We ordered in more spikey drink toppers, spiking testing kits and reminded students of our Ask Angela scheme.

On Thursday 21st, We held a table discussion with students to hear their opinions on what they would like us to do better.  I further met with Sam Jordans one of the Duty managers on Monday 25th to further discuss the topics brought up at the table discussion.

An anti-spiking campaign will be seen in my Harm reduction campaign focusing on what spiking is, the signs your drink has been spiked, and ways to protect yourself from being spiked.

 

Hiring for Resident Life, out of hours position:

I have been working with the Head of Resident Life, Student services and security to hire for the position of Resident life out of hours. This position entails dealing with welfare and safety issues from 5pm-8am. We were happy to have hired one of the candidates Clare to the out of hours position. The second candidate turned down the position, so we are currently looking to fill the vacancy.

 

Mask exemption:

There have been student reports of library staff challenging mask exemption status of students without sunflower lanyards or exemption cards. I have been working with the head of Student Services, the Education Officer and Library staff to inform them of the importance on why staff should not challenge mask exemption and that wearing a sunflower lanyard or showing an exemption card was a personal choice and not a legal requirement.

I encourage any students who are being challenged regarding mask exemption to contact me and student services.

 

 

Officer Aims:

Holistic, Mental health approach

I have monthly meetings with the head of counselling and have been trying to set up further workshops around stress management (incorporated in anxiety management workshops), low mood and coping with university which fits under my manifesto point of helping people to adjust back to Uni life from covid restrictions.

I have been working with Start to Success to help set up wellbeing lounges which will hopefully launch as part of Movember, introduce basic mental health training for staff members within the University. These lounges will have a trained facilitator and hopefully have further wellbeing methods such as arts and crafts.

I am currently working with the LGBTQ+ part time officer to raise their idea of a Gender Identity Fund to the University. This fantastic policy will allow trans students to gain funding to purchase gender affirming items.

Developing my campaigns around Eat good to feel good, a mature student network, accommodation improvements and pushing for suicide prevention training fit further under our plans to offer a more holistic approach to mental health.

 

Fighting the marketisation of Education:

I’m afraid not much has been done here on my part yet. The beginning of this project is in the safe hands of Jack and Holly.

 

Climate emergency:

Since taking up my role I have learnt about what the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) are, and how sustainability has a focus on social justice and ensuring a better future and community for our planet.

I have completed my Carbon literacy training and have created my own individual goal and a group goal to reduce my carbon footprint.

 

Anti-racism:

I have been working with the other officers on re-introducing the ‘Be Better Do Better’ campaign which is our anti-racism campaign. We have been trying to plan the direction of our campaign by reaching out to the global majority for their feedback to tackle important issues close to them.

Both me and the Education officer have sat on RECSAT and the Decolonise the Curriculum working group which has newly been set up. I am looking forward to working with Lisa Lau on their three-year plan to ensure decolonisation is embedded into the curriculum.

 

Amplifying marginalised voices:

I have been meeting with our Equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) officer, Hinna, to discuss how we can make some of our representation roles more inclusive for marginalised groups to have their voices heard and to have input on future campaigns. Discussions on the best way forward for this are still underway so I do not want to reveal too much.

 

 

Work on policies since the previous UGM:

Accessible counselling:

I had a meeting with the Head of Student Services. It was discussed an alternative form would be produced that was accessible for screen readers. It was further discussed that student services would investigate further technology to allow screen reader accessibility.

I will chase this up at my next monthly meet up with the head of Student Services.

 

Mental Health training:

This policy was a bit unclear for me. Regarding mental health days for student staff, at the SU we have considered mental health days however there is no payment for this. This is something we are looking further into.

For mental health campaigns & training, I am running joint campaigns with resident life to ensure there is a focus on mental health throughout the year. I am hoping to launch a campaign around how to converse with a professional around mental health as this may be something some students have not done before.

For training, I have been working with Start to Success to encourage the University to give staff some mental health training. This is something one of our partners, Staffordshire University has started to implement.

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