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

Tue 07 Feb 2023

Report for the February UGM

Second Cost of Living pulse survey

The second cost of living paper was to further assess how the cost of the living crisis was impacting the student experience. Alongside comparing responses to questions presented in the first cost of living survey, we wanted to assess how the support offered by the University was being picked up by students. You can read the second cost of living survey on the KeeleSU website, under student voice/ campaigns/ current campaigns/ Second cost of living survey.

· In total 89% of students stated that they were worried about the cost-of-living crisis.

· 23% of students were having disagreements with their housemates due to the cost of living (this decreased from 33% in the last survey).

· 51% of respondents stated they did not know where to go in the University for financial support (this has decreased from the previous survey from 53%)

· 40% of individuals stated that they were skipping academic lessons because they could not afford to get to campus. (The previous survey had this question merged with the extra-curricular activity, which for the second survey I decided to separate)

· 54% of individuals stated they would skip extra-curricular activities because they could not afford to get to campus.

· Compared to the previous year without the cost of living crisis, only 19% stated they would skip academic or extra-curricular activities.

· 88% of individuals stated that cost was a barrier to them accessing extra-curricular activities such as clubs, societies, and volunteering. To note these activities help provide a sense of belonging, community, and well-being alongside providing students the opportunity to develop transferable skills.

· 53% of students stated they were aware of the cost-of-living support offered by the Students Union.

· 47% of students stated that they were aware of the cost of living support offered by the University (mostly to note the food offers).

Recommendations made:

· To streamline and integrate the careers department into schools to help students not only look for work/internships but support them in documenting graduate attributes.

· Provide mediation for flatmate disagreements that may arise due to the cost of living.

· To support the Union in a joint initiative of setting up a Club & Societies fund to support and get more students involved in extra-curricular activities.

· Better promotion of current initiatives

· Provision of the travel in installments or greater p/mile claim back for students who have to travel to placement.

· Offer a cost of living ‘coffee & pastry’ deal in cafes in the Denise Coates & David Weatherall buildings.

· Offer a more diverse and healthier range of ‘Cost of living meals’ which have been frozen at £2.50

· To reduce the cost of parking permits, remove the 4-hour parking limit in pay & display parking areas and reduce the cost of parking permits for healthcare students who require permits at their placement and the Clinical Education Centre (CEC)

· To promote & support students purchasing a totum card which can help reduce the cost of groceries and other essential items.

Drug & Alcohol impact award

I attended the Drug & Alcohol steering group where we discussed health implications about dangerous pre-drinking and how to combat initiations that are carried out by clubs and societies that result in problematic drinking.

On the 31st of January I was invited to London and was awarded the Drug & Alcohol impact award on behalf of Keele University and Keele SU for promoting a harm reduction approach through policy and initiatives that we have on offer.

Dodgeball competition

On the 17th of January we hosted a dodgeball competition to select a team for varsity to face off against Staffordshire University. In total we had 6 teams put forward which took part in four rounds of games. It was a great opportunity to promote team work and wellbeing in a competitive environment.

LGBTQ+ History Month

February is the beginning of LGBTQ+ history month which highlights the struggles, wins and fight for equality that those from the community face. This years theme is looking beyond the lens in the media but also outside the media by listening more in depth to the lived experiences of students in a holistic way.

I designed the SU statements and released this on the 1st of February to reaffirm our support for the campaign. During this month we will be holding a range of different events and educational posts. We will be hosting Netflix parties of Heartstopper, providing pronoun badges out for free which have been designed by myself, holding crafternoons where students can paint their own LGBTQ+ flags and making rainbow chains. We will also be posting about LGBTQ+ individuals in the media who discuss their sexual and gender identity such as Elliot Page

Sexual Violence Awareness Week

For sexual violence awareness week we released a statement on the importance of the week and where students are able to get support if they are a survivor of sexual violence. During the rest of the week we are hosting a range of different events in collaboration with student services and residence life. There is active bystander training on Monday, A wellbeing lounge on the Tuesday with a crafternoon, video games and board games for people to come and relax, during Thursday the University are hosting a ‘Lets talk sex’ stall. During the week I am hosting stalls to speak about the NeverOk campaign, de-bunking rape myths and speaking about the support services both on and off campus. There will also be a vigil Thursday for students who want to light and candle and reflect.

Sexual Violence steering group

I sit on the Sexual Violence steering group which is to review the Universities approach to dealing with sexual violence cases. Recently there has been a document of expectations released about how university systems should deal with cases of sexual violence. Compared to other Universities our systems are good at dealing with cases but there are still room for improvements.

I’ve also raised issues of reporting systems not being adequate which the University is in agreement with, so I am working with the University to better improve our reporting service in the hopes of setting up a report and support which was one of my manifesto pledges.

Safe Sex campaign

During Winter welcome I ran a safe sex campaign with the provision of condoms that were available on the ground floor so students could help themselves to. This scheme has been very popular with students.

Car parking survey

From student responses from nursing and midwifery students about having to purchase further parking permits, I launched a car parking survey to gather feedback to students about the cost and availability of being able to park on campus.