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News from Warwick SU

Term One FTO Achievements

During what was a very challenging term one, your full-time officers still managed to achieve some great results on your behalf. Why not take a look at what they got up to?

Colourful shapes SU Update

From representing students and lobbying the University, to running campaigns and organising events; below are just some of the achievements of the Full-Time Officer Team during term one. 

The Officer team continue to work hard to act on your behalf, so if you have an issue you would like them to address, please contact them using the details here

Or, if you're interested in taking on one of these roles yourself, why not nominate yourself as a candidate in the upcoming elections?

 

Luke (President)

  • Worked with the University to develop their asymptomatic testing processes so that students can safely travel home.
  • Continued to ensure students are supported whilst in self-isolation and raised any potential issues with University colleagues.
  • Encouraged the University to change self-isolation policy to be in line with Government and scientific guidance, and to reduce the number of students in extended self-isolation on-campus.
  • Worked with the University to implement support for students remaining on campus over the vacation period, both through provision of social activities and care packages, which will now be delivered to any students in self-isolation.
  • Continued to lobby for students to have a choice as to whether they want to learn fully online or have some in-person teaching.
  • Raised issues surrounding National Express' hate crime policy and will continue to work with them to ensure this is robust and that proper training is in place.
  • Worked with students from five other European universities as part of the EUTOPIA Project to further the partnerships with these universities to help mitigate the effects Brexit will have on student mobility and years abroad.
  • Implemented an SU Mutual Aid Group so that students off-campus can find the support they need when in self-isolation.
  • Liaised with Co-Op in Leamington to coordinate deliveries for students when other supermarkets do not have any availability.
  • Due to delays with website implementation, have had to delay the implementation of Associations until the beginning of Term 2.
  • Received confirmation that the University's Transport Director has arranged for an increased number of disabled parking spaces at the top of Health Centre Road, and in the service road outside the Rootes Building, following a meeting with myself and the Disabled Students' Officer.
  • Raised the issue of taking taxis across county boundaries, and began discussions about adding further taxi ranks on campus. Also, discussed issues surrounding the increase in parking charges, leading to the implementation of parking permits available for high-risk students.
  • Lobbied the University to reinstate the funding for the Library refurbishment capital plan, which will now begin over the coming months.
  • Raised the #RenameRadcliffe campaign with University colleagues, who are investigating the governance route required for the de-naming of buildings.
  • Worked with Directors to address concerns of Student Council with regards to the Union's by-laws and am keen to increase communication between both Student Council and the Board of Trustees.
  • Worked with Izzy and Shingai to introduce more international foods into Rootes Grocery Store and reduce the price of sanitary products.
  • Raised concerns surrounding the discontinuation of the off-campus Warwick Accommodation offer. This has resulted in the University looking into a partnership with an organisation who can act as guarantor for students who cannot otherwise access one, as well as looking into support with deposit payments. This work is ongoing, as we are still dissatisfied with the University's solution.
  • Discussed the process the University follows when informing Immigration of unpaid student fees and have successfully requested they change the wording on communications to students regarding this to become more supportive rather than threatening.
  • Working on plans for a zero-waste shop on campus, and encouraging Commercial teams to push ahead with this and also consider the opening of a charity shop on campus.
  • Held an open drop-in session for students to ask me any questions or raise concerns.
  • Raised concerns and suggestions surrounding sexual misconduct prevention and reporting with the University and am working closely with other Officers and University colleagues to improve processes and promotion of these processes.
  • Worked with WBS' senior team to explore ways the SU can engage better with their students, predominantly through their SSLCs.
  • Liaised with the University's Student Experience Group and BCRP Board to keep them up to date on SU Christmas plans.
  • Requested that the University refunds accommodation costs for the duration of the ‘travel window’, holiday period and staggered return in January and February. Have also requested a rent reduction for the rest of this academic year, as well as more leniency for students who accepted accommodation contracts and now want to cancel these without charge.
  • Worked with the University to ensure there is adequate study space on campus, and collaborating on a successful bid to install temporary structures around campus, which can be used as study/dwell space as well as for commercial and society/club activities.
  • Continued work on the implementation of Liberation Associations, with a rollout planned for the beginning of Term 2.
  • Continued plans for the introduction of multiple year Societies Federation memberships, alongside Olly, which was approved by the Board of Trustees. Also, received approval from Education Executive for society and sports club exec members to be able to send notifications to their members through the My Warwick app.
  • Worked with the University on the introduction of a Test & Trace system, as well as development of a COVID Code of Conduct and disciplinary escalation framework, to ensure these are in students’ best interests and keep the whole university community safe.
  • Raised issues with and prompted discussions surrounding the annual increase in unregulated fees, and the financially detrimental effect this has on students who take temporary withdrawal from their studies, at the Fees Working Group. This will be explored further at upcoming meetings, with the aim of abolishing these fee increases.
  • As per policy, successfully continued to lobby the University to implement the IHRA definition of Antisemitism. We will now continue to lobby the University to adopt definitions of other forms of racism.
  • Raised numerous issues surrounding the accessibility of online teaching with the University, including requesting an improvement of transcription software and an extension of the IT Support Fund.
  • Put together a survey to ascertain the issues and views of students in self-isolation, and presented this to the University, leading to significant changes in the communications and support given to these students, as well as beginning conversations about ongoing policy changes.
  • Represented students at numerous University committees, including raising issues surrounding, amongst other things, car parking charges, accessibility of online teaching, transport, communications with students and staff, campus-wide social provision and measures put in place for self-isolating students.

 

Megan (Education Officer & Deputy President)

  • Hiring for a new full time Decolonise Manager to take the programme forward this year.
  • Met with reps from Warwick Anti Casualisation and UCU to discuss how we can work together over the coming year.
  • Made sure that resit fees are permanently removed, and the option of September resits remains.
  • Helped individual students with various issues including progression to the next stage of their degree.
  • Akosua and I have met with Rosie Drinkwater, University Group Finance Director, to discuss and challenge the university on the continued struggle of rent strikers.
  • Working on getting anti-oppression training provided to SU staff and student representatives.
  • Got involved in liberation events throughout Welcome Week including a History of Warwick Activism that had over 50 attendees.
  • Highest number of nominees and voters in the Autumn Course Rep Elections.
  • Holding the university to account on the accessibility of online learning for disabled students, including an extended discussion on the matter at the last SLEEC meeting.
  • Working with Acorn Tenants Union on a relationship between themselves and the SU that benefits our student members.
  • Put together a successful Innovation Fund bid for Peer Support Group Networks with Akosua and Izzy.
  • Sending surveys out in the first course rep newsletter around Common Room availability and the possibility of a STEM Reading Week.
  • Worked with the university to edit the mitigating circumstances evidence list to make it more lenient and drafted a proposal continued safety net which the university has taken on board.
  • Helped run History of Activism event for freshers in Welcome Week.
  • Working on the hiring process for a new Decolonise Coordinator.
  • Added Culturally Competent Care to the SLEEC agenda, getting the services named to produce action plans based on previous recommendations.

 

Akosua (Democracy & Development Officer)

  • Helped put together a paper about PTO remuneration and establishing a framework to ensure that their involvement is cemented in SU democratic structures in future. Has since been looking at alternative methods for doing this so it can be done internally and for this year’s Officers.
  • Peer support network Innovation Fund Project - research and putting together a funding bid (with Megan and Izzy)
  • Organising SU campaigns - Protect our People, SU support for BSD and liaising with the organisers of this campaign
  • Planned and led an event about the Climate Crisis - Individual vs. Corporate Responsibility in tackling the Climate Crisis
  • Contacting other SUs to gather information about how they engage with students, how they usually run elections, how they plan to run election during the Coronavirus pandemic, different methods of holding universities to account. Using some of this information to help shape the planning of the Autumn elections
  • Research to consider setting up an SU hardship fund and making students more aware of financial help that the SU currently offers  
  • Reviewing and approving funding bids with Development Committee  
  • Making SU events more accessible: Putting together a safe space policy and group rules for online events like All Student Vote and Student Council. Looking at options for proxy voting  
  • Starting to plan Spring Elections: reviewing campaign rules, the accessibility of voting, voter turnout, how the elections will function under COVID  
  • Approving on-campus student accommodation prices and making suggestions as to how the university can make accommodation costs less of a barrier for low-income students.
     

Izzy (Welfare & Campaigns Officer)

  • I have presented Tiana’s (Welfare & Campaigns Officer 2019-20) Culturally Competent Care paper at SLEEC with the Dean of Students and received a positive response and multiple expressions of interest from staff. It has also been shared with the university’s EDI team. Also, working on integrating culturally competent care into the Wellbeing Strategy with WSS.
  • Introducing a Peer Support Network for students to access bespoke support from fellow students with similar life experiences.  I have met with the WIHEA Peer Support Learning circle to develop an action plan with timescales for our project. I have also been invited to be a member this learning circle. The learning circle will be preparing a paper to go to SLEEC around the value of peer support in an academic setting.
  • Working on introducing a campaign around student rights, this will begin by focusing raising awareness of student housing rights (although this will be expanded to other areas throughout the year) and is planning to be launched in January.
  • Maintaining and relaunching Are You OK? campaign. Revamping the website, tackling student loneliness, setting up student drop-in sessions.  Will be working with Wellbeing Support Services to campaign specifically and run focus groups with men who suffer from mental health problems, and also focusing specifically on BAME men, in light of the recent suicides. Initially, this will be in partnership with WBS, with room to expand.
  • Working with WSS on a Suicide Safer Strategy.
  • Liaising with Midcounties Co-op to introduce exclusive delivery slots, similar to the slots available for those shielding, for students self-isolating in Leamington (with Luke).
  • Worked with Megan to ensure the continuation of the graduation benchmark for students effected by the coronavirus pandemic. Revision of mitigating circumstances, for example, increasing the period of time affected by bereavement due to the complications around funeral arrangements in a pandemic.
  • Rethink Drink – promoting a responsible relationship with alcohol and campaigning for increased sober socials amongst sports clubs. 
  • Writing a successful innovation fund bid for a Drug and Alcohol Harm Reduction Programme, which will link into the work of ADAAG to incorporate staff training, sober socials and drug and alcohol trends at Warwick. Raising awareness of drug safety initiatives such as Frank, the Loop.
  • Housing - increased comms around housing and not to worry about housing yet. Helping Advice Centre with Housing fair which will be held in January.
  • Period Poverty and Safer Sex – support the women’s officer (Amara) in providing sustainable free emergency sanitary items and safer sex materials on-campus accommodation.  I have also met with Rootes who have agreed to lower the price of sanitary products.
  • Worked with Luke and Shingai to introduce more international foods into Rootes Grocery Store.
  • Preparing Welfare training for every Exec to ensure they feel supported and equipped in their role with Olly. This will include mandatory consent training and active bystander intervention training for all execs. Also working on providing training around discrimination, hate crime and other issues for execs.
  • Working with the Dean of Student’s Office, Report and Support and Luke with the goal of introducing mandatory active bystander training into the curriculum for all students.
  • Improving comms for #WeGetConsent. This will include a dedicated newsletter to go out regularly to all students around the work we and student societies are doing to tackle sexual misconduct on campus and how they can get involved. Working with Report and Support to improve university services and culture around sexual misconduct and sanctions.
  • Working with Luke to ensure that WP students and international students have financial support for housing deposits and guarantors since the closure of Warwick Accommodation, negotiations with the university are still ongoing.
  • Supporting Welfare Committee in their roles.
  • Supporting other officers in their roles.

 

Shingai (Postgraduate Officer)

  • Before beginning my post I submitted a bid for the Innovation fund for a campaign called the Black Brilliance Campaign aimed to raise awareness, educate, celebrate and promote the contributions of Black individuals and Ethnic Minorities both at Warwick and Globally. Funding was approved in mid-October. As of now, the branding has been completed; a collaboration with the Library for the start of a Black Brilliance reading book is in the stages of finalisation and ready to launch; and key campaign aspects have been planned and will be launched throughout the academic year. The aim initially was to launch in October for Black History Month, however, due to funding approval being slightly later than expected this was not possible.
  • As PG officer – held induction sessions both in the SU and within departments at the university which received relatively good feedback. Information was specially tailored to meet PG needs and sign post them towards valuable services. Feedback indicated the usefulness of the sessions and saw some students returning for future sessions held.
  • During the inductions, as PG officer I took the opportunity to design a survey to collect data on PGT needs this year to tailor our offer for PGs. These findings have then shaped the projects I have been designing and will be launching from November onwards. (These projects are outlined below.)
  • PG Podcast – our PG engagement is rather low and therefore I am launching a podcast to engage with PGs. Content has been recorded and will begin to be launched. Marketing materials have also been approved.
  • Recently the Network of Ethnic Minorities Postgraduates was launched by PGRs and as postgraduate officer I have been promoting their event but have also committed to playing a supportive role to their work. In my last meeting with the founders, we agreed that I would support by helping them create a framework which would allow for longevity.
  • As PG officer I am keen on ensuring that issues affecting BAME communities are tackled at a postgraduate level as part of key strategies. I am working with the Doctoral College assisting them to design a bid aimed at helping BAME postgraduate research students. So far, my input has included the possible direction the bid would take but also the composition of the group submitting the bid to ensure the key stakeholders are included in this pertinent step.
  • Additionally, I am working with the Doctoral College on developing suitable wellbeing initiatives for PGR. In addition to this, I have been researching on a peer to peer wellbeing system which is tailored towards PG’s.
  • Within the Union, I realised that we are currently not as engaged with key stakeholders at the level we ought to be. As a result, I requested for the creation of an SU stakeholder map paired with a communication strategy. I am an active member of the group that is working on producing this key piece of work which will result in a hopefully more engaging Union.
  • At the beginning of my term in officer, I recognised a need for greater officer support at the Union. As a result I submitted a set of recommendations to the CE of the SU. These recommendations have been taken on and will be implemented as part of SU officer and also staff support in weeks to come.
  • Ensured that safety net for PGs continued and maintained leniency around resits for modules
  • International students - working with the university to establish links with an organisation that helps them with guarantors
  • Ensured that trauma related to events in home countries of students would be recognised for mitigating circumstances and included in training for personal tutor.
  • Holding a Postgraduate meeting on the 4th of December to hear from students on their term and to raise any relevant matters
  • In collaboration with the International Officer (non-EU) and the societies officer working with Rootes Grocery Store to offer African and Caribbean food. Also looking into more halal meat offers as per student requests.
  • Working for hardship fund to be extended to include deposit payments for Widening Participation students.
  • As of 3 weeks ago, started working to sign post postgraduate students to report and support. And started working on campaign material with them for postgraduates due to issues that were flagged by the team.

 

Olly (Societies Officer)

  • Got some rooms allocated for SU Society activity
  • Deciphering Government Guidelines to see what applies to Societies
  • Working on ways Societies can advertise more effectively
  • Collating Online social and event ideas
  • Budget allocations for Societies
  • Pre- Welcome Week events calendar - all online for self-isolating students.
  • Club + Soc Parking permit allocations
  • Chaired Warwick Volunteers Steering committee - to involve students more in their decision making
  • Making sure faith societies have the proper facilities to practice their religions safely
  • Met with the Coventry time union to see how societies can get involved
  • Working on realising the liberation space in the SU
  • Getting societies involved with Eutopia week
  • Working with the music centre to get performance space in basecamp
  • Chairing the audit and risk committee
  • Working on Associations
  • Working on welfare training with Izzy
  • Working on social provision for students
  • Working on provision for self-isolating students – social and otherwise.
  • Setup the Societies COVID Support Fund. This is for small items to help with keeping in-person events safe as these extra costs were unprecedented. This fund is just in place for this year - the money comes from closed down societies in the past, so there is a finite amount.
  • Society annual budget allocations
  • Online events calendar daily updates
  • Worked with Societies Committee to approve 12 new societies
  • Working with the University to provide social provision for students
  • Running the Quarantine Quiz with Luke and Izzy
  • Looking at election windows for societies – preparing student consultation
  • Sat on the Employability and Skills Working Group – focus on HEAR reports
  • Close look at some society constitutions
  • Work on reopening single occupancy music practice rooms during lockdown

 

Charlotte (Sports Officer)

  • Have started Wellbeing Wednesdays within the Team Warwick community – every week we shine a spotlight on a different club talking about wellbeing and mental health, trying to foster a safe and open space for people to start a conversation about mental health.
  • Elected as BUCS Inclusion Student Officer – have run several national mental health networks and webinar events, and have started work researching into the low participation levels of students of colour in higher education sport and started a review of BUCS’ transgender athlete policy.
  • Conducting research into the club cultures at Warwick so we can improve exec training.
  • Linked the BUCS reporting tool and Warwick’s Report and Support system so there is a joined-up approach to tackling disciplinary issues.
  • Doubled the number of parking permits available for clubs and societies. 
  • Increased the amount of money available in the Club Hardship Fund for applications in January.
  • Succeeded in getting Warwick Sport to model monthly gym memberships for students.
  • Access to Warwick Sport facilities free of charge for students on campus over the Christmas holidays.
  • Modelling options for a federation fee restructure to make the allocation of club grants a fairer process for clubs.
  • Succeeded in getting a 2 week taster period in Term 2 where club training sessions are free to attend to help with club recruitment since Term 1 was so disrupted. 
  • Organised Sports Forum – 150 attendees, over 50 questions submitted, all of which have been answered and circulated in a document along with the finance powerpoint slides.
  • Succeeded in getting Warwick Sport to look at monthly gym memberships for students as a payment model.
  • Working with Warwick Sport to help the 4 clubs with fixtures in December negotiate the travel window.
  • Beginning the Sports Partnership Review to understand where inefficiencies are and how we can be more effective for students.
  • Monthly meetings with the Report and Support team to understand trends in reported cases and if there is a training piece that needs to be done with sports clubs/ specific sports clubs regarding the Warwick Values.
  • Started the Rethink Drink campaign with Izzy to encourage students to be mindful of their alcohol intake.
  • Working on storage solutions for clubs who have lost Westwood Games Hall storage.
  • Organised a programme of lockdown exercises and workouts for students to get involved with during the national lockdown,
  • Sharing stories from members of the Team Warwick and LGBTQUA+ community for Pride Week.
  • Supported the Movember efforts – over £44,000 raised by Warwick Uni.
  • Planning intra-Team Warwick varsity competition in the absence of Varsity with Coventry.
  • Organising a Reshaping Sport speaker series for January – Sam Ruddock, Paralympian, to give a virtual talk in Term 2, Week 1, with funding obtained from the Student Support Fund.
  • Sending a weekly email to all clubs regarding deadlines, information and any other updates that are important for clubs to know.
  • Memberships are currently at 70% of the level they were in 2019/20, which is reasonable considering the circumstances we are in.
  • Elected as the BUCS West Midlands Student Chair, representing students at a national level and influencing BUCS activity nation-wide.
  • Presented at three national conferences regarding mental health in sport.
  • Preparing for BUCS AGM and Winter Seminar –presenting on student mental health and student networks nationally 
  • Have been selected as a Mentor for the Female Leadership programme with BUCS and the FA to mentor Warwick students from Women’s Football.  
  • Working with BUCS and UJS on making sport more accessible to Jewish students (e.g. alternatives to training on a Friday night, adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism).
  • Met with Sports Officers across the West Midlands to discuss Term 2 sport and the likelihood of BUCS happening.
  • Allocating club budgets and keeping £10,000 back for a club hardship fund in Term 2 for those clubs who may be struggling. Spent most of July and August fighting against the increase cost of membership but this was unsuccessful, so then attempted to get guarantees of refunds for club members for the eventuality that out ability to play sport should stop prematurely.
  • Arranged a meeting with the Commercial Director and all club Presidents so they had a chance to question him directly regarding price increases.
 

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