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Candidate for the position of Postgraduate Officer

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Nathan Parsons

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Nathan for
Postgrad Officer

My experience

  • PhD student, previously UG and PGT at Warwick.
  • Disabled Students' Officer
  • Chair of Liberation and Diversity Exec
  • Chair of Postgrad Exec
  • Pride Exec member, including Postgraduate and Mature Students' Officer.
 

An SU that works for you

  • Student priorities driving decisions – The power and influence of students has been eroded, making the SU ineffective and unrepresentative. I will fight to re-establish students as the decision-makers in our SU.
  • Fit for postgrads – As more than a third of its members, the SU must recommit to understanding postgrads’ needs, and acting on them.
  • Reviewing commercial services – Even before the pandemic, commercial services consistently reported a loss in the annual accounts. The SU must urgently review the financial viability, standards and purpose of its commercial services, to ensure it delivers for students.
 

Fair pay & working conditions

  • Reverse the STP cuts – Sessional Teaching Payroll provides opportunities for postgrads to gain teaching experience, earn money to fund their studies and student life, and support undergraduate students. Cutting the budget hurts all students.
  • Anti-casualisation – I’ll work with UCU and Warwick Anti-Casualisation to fight the on-going casualisation of teaching and part-time roles, and the precarity that comes with it.
  • Real Living Wage – Everyone deserves a living wage, and I will push the SU to pay the Real Living Wage. The SU’s had policy (set by students) since at least 2016 that commits them to paying a living wage, but little to no progress has been made.
 

Tackling root causes of poor mental health

  • Identify contributing factors – Consult students and work with departments (via SSLCs) and the central University to identify and address underlying contributors to poor student mental health, including timetabling and deadlines.
  • Practical support & resources – When poor mental health causes work to pile up, practical support is essential to regaining some of our productivity and managing our time effectively to avoid further spiralling.
  • More than sticking plasters – There’s more to mental health than yoga classes, and we need to hold the University to account in recognising and mitigating its impact on students’ wellbeing.
 

Building a connected community

  • Cross-departmental connections – Expanding opportunities to build connections with students in different departments, I’ll organise events such as research & skill-shares, and relaxed networking activities.
  • Matching people and projects – Connecting you and your skills with causes you’re passionate about.
  • Peer support – Providing a semi-formal structure for peer support, skill-sharing and mentoring, within and between departments.
  • Better postgrad events offer – Bringing our community together through regular (and better advertised) PG events, including barbecues & pot-luck events, pub nights, relaxed activities, and day trips.
 

Reducing the cost of student life

  • Pay-as-you-feel & swap shops – Reducing the cost and waste of student life by coordinating the collection and redistribution of common household items, cookware, and clothes.
  • Funding for additional academic costs – Lobbying for increased funding for costs such as research-related field trips and attending conferences.
  • Extend childcare vouchers – Staff at the university are eligible for childcare vouchers, and I will lobby for the university to extend this provision for students.
 

An SU for med students too

  • SU @ Gibbet Hill – Making the SU offer accessible to students at Gibbet Hill, from officer drop-ins and advice services, to social activities. I’ll also encourage and support clubs & societies to do the same.
  • Sexual health clinics – Not only are these great for student welfare, they provide a rare opportunity for students who want to gain experience working in sexual health.
  • Connected campus – Improved shuttle services, and keeping momentum for the self-driving ‘pods’ project to connect Gibbet Hill and central campus.
 

Mitigating the pandemic's impact

  • Funded extensions – Lobbying UKRI and the University for funding extensions to counteract any detriment caused by the pandemic, and clear communication to ensure that students know that these are available.
  • Maintaining access to facilities – Ensure that the University considers the needs of research students when coordinating safe access to vital on-campus research facilities during the continued restrictions and return to campus.
  • Safe return to teaching – Working with UCU to ensure the University honours its commitment of a safe return to campus-based teaching for postgrads.
 

An SU that understands you

  • Listening to your experiences – Research your experiences, and use them to reshape the SU and challenge the University on key issues.
  • Regular town halls – Ongoing opportunities for the community to receive updates on PG campaigns, and to raise and discuss arising issues.
  • Embedding knowledge – Employ the research findings to create an enduring institutional understanding of postgrads and our needs within the SU.
 

High-quality, low-stress housing

  • Guaranteed campus accommodation – Lobby the University to guarantee an offer of on-campus accommodation for all new postgrad students.
  • Support finding accommodation/housemates – Provide practical support for students searching for housemates and accommodation, particularly in light of the closure of Warwick Accommodation.
  • Rate your landlord – Launch a platform for student accommodation reviews, to improve landlord accountability and avoid unpleasant surprises. I’ll also promote the support the Advice Centre provides for resolving accommodation issues, so no one is left suffering.
 

A better societies offer for PG

  • “Give it a go” casual activities – Collaborate with societies to run “rock up and play”-style activities without the commitment of membership or long-term commitment.
  • Activity outside of UG term-time – Campus might be quieter, but there are still lots of us around, including postgrads and many international students. I’ll keep a programme of activities running, venues & services open, and transport running.
  • PG engagement grants – Additional funding for societies to offer PG-requested activities, and otherwise adapt their offer to suit more postgrads.
 

Improved PG support package

  • Paid sick leave and extensions – Lobbying the University to clearly communicate the paid sick leave policy for funded postgrads, and to make the process of claiming sick leave more accessible.
  • Better online resources – Update and redesign the SU’s postgrad-specific support pages, in consultation with postgrads, to make it easier for you to find what you need.
  • Know your rights – Summarise & make accessible key University policies affecting you, actively raising awareness of the other rights & benefits the University profits from keeping quiet about.
 

Access to tailored, up-to-date information

  • Regular updates – Finding out what the SU is (or is not!) doing for you should be much simpler. I’ll publish regular updates so you can stay in the know, and turn back on the comments so we can talk.
  • Tailored SU comms – Regular PG-specific emails (which include the updates above) and more, to let you know what’s going on and how you can get involved.
  • Lobbying for better uni comms – Never has it been so obvious how slow and disjointed uni comms are than during the pandemic.
  • More than an afterthought – Engaging with the SU & University comms teams so we don’t just get poorly rebranded UG comms.
 

How I will represent you

  • Liberation – I will act in unwavering support of our liberation communities and fight alongside them for change, including (and especially) within our SU.
  • Independence & Integrity – I will advocate for your needs internally, but I won’t be afraid to speak out publicly when I think the University or the SU are acting contrary to your interests.
  • Flexibility – My manifesto summarises some of the key issues I’m already planning to work on, but as I listen and learn in the role my work will expand to tackle the issues that matter most to you.

My manifesto was designed with accessibility in mind, but due to the limitations of the SU's HTML editor, I have also provided this minimally formatted version.

Nathan for Postgrad Officer

My experience

  • PhD student, previously UG and PGT at Warwick.
  • Disabled Students' Officer
  • Chair of Liberation and Diversity Exec
  • Chair of Postgrad Exec
  • Pride Exec member, including Postgraduate and Mature Students' Officer.

An SU that works for you

  • Student priorities driving decisions – The power and influence of students has been eroded, making the SU ineffective and unrepresentative. I will fight to re-establish students as the decision-makers in our SU.
  • Fit for postgrads – As more than a third of its members, the SU must recommit to understanding postgrads’ needs, and acting on them.
  • Reviewing commercial services – Even before the pandemic, commercial services consistently reported a loss in the annual accounts. The SU must urgently review the financial viability, standards and purpose of its commercial services, to ensure it delivers for students.

Fair pay & working conditions

  • Reverse the STP cuts – Sessional Teaching Payroll provides opportunities for postgrads to gain teaching experience, earn money to fund their studies and student life, and support undergraduate students. Cutting the budget hurts all students.
  • Anti-casualisation – I’ll work with UCU and Warwick Anti-Casualisation to fight the on-going casualisation of teaching and part-time roles, and the precarity that comes with it.
  • Real Living Wage – Everyone deserves a living wage, and I will push the SU to pay the Real Living Wage. The SU’s had policy (set by students) since at least 2016 that commits them to paying a living wage, but little to no progress has been made.

Tackling root causes of poor mental health

  • Identify contributing factors – Consult students and work with departments (via SSLCs) and the central University to identify and address underlying contributors to poor student mental health, including timetabling and deadlines.
  • Practical support & resources – When poor mental health causes work to pile up, practical support is essential to regaining some of our productivity and managing our time effectively to avoid further spiralling.
  • More than sticking plasters – There’s more to mental health than yoga classes, and we need to hold the University to account in recognising and mitigating its impact on students’ wellbeing.

Building a connected community

  • Cross-departmental connections – Expanding opportunities to build connections with students in different departments, I’ll organise events such as research & skill-shares, and relaxed networking activities.
  • Matching people and projects – Connecting you and your skills with causes you’re passionate about.
  • Peer support – Providing a semi-formal structure for peer support, skill-sharing and mentoring, within and between departments.
  • Better postgrad events offer – Bringing our community together through regular (and better advertised) PG events, including barbecues & pot-luck events, pub nights, relaxed activities, and day trips.

Reducing the cost of student life

  • Pay-as-you-feel & swap shops – Reducing the cost and waste of student life by coordinating the collection and redistribution of common household items, cookware, and clothes.
  • Funding for additional academic costs – Lobbying for increased funding for costs such as research-related field trips and attending conferences.
  • Extend childcare vouchers – Staff at the university are eligible for childcare vouchers, and I will lobby for the university to extend this provision for students.

An SU for med students too

  • SU @ Gibbet Hill – Making the SU offer accessible to students at Gibbet Hill, from officer drop-ins and advice services, to social activities. I’ll also encourage and support clubs & societies to do the same.
  • Sexual health clinics – Not only are these great for student welfare, they provide a rare opportunity for students who want to gain experience working in sexual health.
  • Connected campus – Improved shuttle services, and keeping momentum for the self-driving ‘pods’ project to connect Gibbet Hill and central campus.

Mitigating the pandemic's impact

  • Funded extensions – Lobbying UKRI and the University for funding extensions to counteract any detriment caused by the pandemic, and clear communication to ensure that students know that these are available.
  • Maintaining access to facilities – Ensure that the University considers the needs of research students when coordinating safe access to vital on-campus research facilities during the continued restrictions and return to campus.
  • Safe return to teaching – Working with UCU to ensure the University honours its commitment of a safe return to campus-based teaching for postgrads.

An SU that understands you

  • Listening to your experiences – Research your experiences, and use them to reshape the SU and challenge the University on key issues.
  • Regular town halls – Ongoing opportunities for the community to receive updates on PG campaigns, and to raise and discuss arising issues.
  • Embedding knowledge – Employ the research findings to create an enduring institutional understanding of postgrads and our needs within the SU.

High-quality, low-stress housing

  • Guaranteed campus accommodation – Lobby the University to guarantee an offer of on-campus accommodation for all new postgrad students.
  • Support finding accommodation/housemates – Provide practical support for students searching for housemates and accommodation, particularly in light of the closure of Warwick Accommodation.
  • Rate your landlord – Launch a platform for student accommodation reviews, to improve landlord accountability and avoid unpleasant surprises. I’ll also promote the support the Advice Centre provides for resolving accommodation issues, so no one is left suffering.

A better societies offer for PG

  • “Give it a go” casual activities – Collaborate with societies to run “rock up and play”-style activities without the commitment of membership or long-term commitment.
  • Activity outside of UG term-time – Campus might be quieter, but there are still lots of us around, including postgrads and many international students. I’ll keep a programme of activities running, venues & services open, and transport running.
  • PG engagement grants – Additional funding for societies to offer PG-requested activities, and otherwise adapt their offer to suit more postgrads.

Improved PG support package

  • Paid sick leave and extensions – Lobbying the University to clearly communicate the paid sick leave policy for funded postgrads, and to make the process of claiming sick leave more accessible.
  • Better online resources – Update and redesign the SU’s postgrad-specific support pages, in consultation with postgrads, to make it easier for you to find what you need.
  • Know your rights – Summarise & make accessible key University policies affecting you, actively raising awareness of the other rights & benefits the University profits from keeping quiet about.

Access to tailored, up-to-date information

  • Regular updates – Finding out what the SU is (or is not!) doing for you should be much simpler. I’ll publish regular updates so you can stay in the know, and turn back on the comments so we can talk.
  • Tailored SU comms – Regular PG-specific emails (which include the updates above) and more, to let you know what’s going on and how you can get involved.
  • Lobbying for better uni comms – Never has it been so obvious how slow and disjointed uni comms are than during the pandemic.
  • More than an afterthought – Engaging with the SU & University comms teams so we don’t just get poorly rebranded UG comms.

How I will represent you

  • Liberation – I will act in unwavering support of our liberation communities and fight alongside them for change, including (and especially) within our SU.
  • Independence & Integrity – I will advocate for your needs internally, but I won’t be afraid to speak out publicly when I think the University or the SU are acting contrary to your interests.
  • Flexibility – My manifesto summarises some of the key issues I’m already planning to work on, but as I listen and learn in the role my work will expand to tackle the issues that matter most to you.

Contact Us

If you need to ask any questions about the elections process, you can visit us in the Democratic Services Office on the top floor of SUHQ. Alternatively, you can contact us using the details below.

democracy@warwicksu.com