The Students' Union is an inherently political body which campaigns on issues affecting students. The elected Sabbatical Officer team for 2017-18 have now announced their top priorities for the coming academic year - though by no means exhaustive, the following represent the key campaigns they'll be working on during their term in office.
Find out more about your elected officers online HERE, and read about their flagship initiatives below!
Tackling sexual violence
Sexual violence and harassment are widespread problems that exist across society, and university campuses are no exception to that - including Warwick. Every single one of us has a responsibility to acknowledge this issue and take action to tackle it, which is why Warwick SU is launching the brand new #WeGetConsent campaign to raise awareness around issues of sexual violence and harassment and, crucially, to get as many Warwick students as possible involved in ensuring that everyone enjoys a safe and positive experience during their time at university.
Wednesday Afternoons Free
Whether it’s sports, societies, volunteering, part-time work or campaigning, students should not have to choose between extra-curricular activities and their degree. The SU's Wednesday Afternoons Free campaign is pushing for an inclusive policy which frees up Wednesday afternoons from academic commitments so that as many students as possible have the space and time to pursue their passions and interests.
Issues with transport always rank highly among students’ top concerns. This year, the SU is campaigning for bus services to improve by taking forward the mandate from the ‘Stagecoach: Stop Taking Us For a Ride’ motion which was overwhelmingly voted through by the student body last year. The three demands listed in this motion were: the resumption of the replacement of lost bus passes, up-to-date payment technology and improvement to out-of-term services. In addition, we are now also campaigning to save the Sydenham Route which has been significantly altered, meaning that no buses after 8pm run to the Sydenham area in which many students and staff live.
Reshaping Sport aims to make sport at Warwick as inclusive, diverse and accessible as possible for people of all identities and abilities. This campaign represents a collaboration with the University, SU liberation groups, Warwick Sport and Active leagues, together with local sporting communities in Coventry and Leamington, to change the perception of sport and to encourage our students to reshape sport to suit their needs.
Creative Warwick aims to showcase the amazing, innovative and fun activities that our incredible societies engage in! Entering its second year, the campaign is growing in stature with two showcase events per term complementing the vibrant existing calendar of society events and highlighting the diversity in talent and skills that our students possess.
Defending international students’ rights
Warwick SU is proud to represent such a diverse and international community, and we are committed to defending the rights of our international students. We demand consistency, transparency and fairness in international students’ fee rates, building on the #FixTheFees campaign launched last year. Further to this, we want to ensure that all students feel supported, safe and welcome at Warwick. As such, we will campaign for improvements to English language support provision for international undergraduate and postgraduate students, and we will lobby for safe walking routes and better transport links in the local area.
Increasing study space
Study space is consistently highlighted as the top issue which students want to see action taken on, with so many not being able to find a place to work on campus, especially during exam season. This is simply not good enough. This year, the SU will push the University to commit to a much-needed second library, as well as placing sufficient study spaces in all new and existing buildings where possible. We will also work with the University to create a Study Space Finder tool, so that students can find rooms on campus that are free to use for studying and thus maximise the use of the space that already exists.
Fair working conditions for PGs who teach
Warwick SU opposes the continued casualisation of teaching. Following on from last year's campaign, we will continue to fight for fair pay and working conditions for our postgraduate teachers. We will continue to support Warwick Anti Casualisation’s 6 Demands for Fair Teaching Conditions, and we will campaign for fair contracts of employment for all students who teach. We will also promote the introduction of free UCU membership for postgraduate teachers to ensure that as many of our PG teachers as possible have access to union rights and protections.
Greater provision of mental health services
University represents a time of huge change for students, and as such it can be incredibly stressful. Many people find their mental health suffers whilst at university, and the SU firmly believes that more must be done to support students who are struggling. This year, we will prioritise and campaign for a greater provision of mental health services in terms of the amount of counselling and support groups available.
Fair and affordable housing
As living costs for students continue to rise, we will push to ensure that there is enough affordable on-campus accommodation for those who need it - this includes postgraduate students, who have been denied access to low-cost halls for too long. When it comes to off-campus accommodation, we will support students in knowing their housing rights so that they won’t be exploited by private landlords.
Opposing fees and cuts in Higher Education
In recent years, students have faced devastating cuts to financial support as well as increases in tuition fees. We will fight to oppose any further reforms which saddle students with more debt. Beyond this, as the debate around tuition fees gains momentum, we will ensure that Warwick students have a voice in the national picture and we will play an active role in the fight to end tuition fees altogether.
L-R: Michael Kynaston (Democracy & Development Officer), Emily Dunford (Postgraduate Officer), Niall Johnson (Societies Officer), Hope Worsdale (President), Liam Jackson (Education Officer), Ellie Martin (Sports Officer), Ellen Holmes (Welfare & Campaigns Officer).