Hey everyone! My name is Asha and I am your Welfare Officer. I wanted to update you on what I’ve been up to since July, and what successes and achievements have come out of this first term.
I’ve relished working in this role. It has been really rewarding to support students, and to carry out important campaigns and projects.
I am looking forward to next year, where I plan to develop on my manifesto points, and to continue being the voice of students. I want to carry on working on the things you all feel passionate about.
Here are the main events and training that I’ve attended in this first term:
- Welcome 2020
- Attended a Mature Student Induction event
- Hosted a bingo session for students
- Black History Month social media content
- Inclusive behaviour training from the Equality and Diversity team
- Big 100 events, where we went to Gloucester Cathedral and Over Farm
- Presented an introductory talk for the Dodgeball society
- Ran my weeklong ‘How you getting on @ UoG’ campaign
- Attended Gambling Awareness training for both students and staff
- Launch of the Buddy scheme, which is one of my manifesto points. It has been implemented into the Business school. I created and filmed an introductory video for students, as well as sending promotional content for students to sign up
- Went to a Leading well training session with Student Minds and Coole Insight, which involved learning about self-care, student mental health and wellbeing.
- Attended a student Q&A with the University Minister, Michelle Donelan to pass over student questions and concerns.
- Becoming an Equality champion from attending and contributing in the Equality and Diversity and BAME network meetings
My main successes for this term, including my campaigns and projects have been:
- Checking in with sports teams and societies regularly and giving them the opportunity to feedback any concerns/issues/questions they may have.
- Writing monthly updates, which is published on social media, and also sent to sports teams and societies, letting teams know I am open to ideas and suggestions, or if I can do anymore in this role
- On the ‘How you getting on @ UoG’ campaign, there were 6/7 drop in attendees and an increase in usage for the advice page views on the SU website, which was by 140%. There was also 180% unique page views on this advice page. My meet me page views also significantly increased. Finally, there was also huge popularity from the free self-care goody bags.
There has been various feedback points that has come from SIMON about different areas of the university, such as:
- Student Services
- SU societies
- Student mental health and checking in
To reflect on this feedback, I sent the relevant points to the different departments, normally meeting with them to discuss it. All areas seemed happy to take it on board, and I later chase up for updates and progress on these points.
In terms of the SU points, I went back to the societies to relay the feedback and started checking in with both sports and societies regularly, as I know how important this communication is, now more than ever. For the events feedback, I took it back to the team and other officers to spark further discussions on what we can do, both physically and virtually for students.
I am currently in conversations with the Welfare team at the university on what can be done to check in with students and their mental health. Having this kind of communications is important as it reinforces the support available to students.
I have been able to develop myself a lot more as a result of this role, and have enhanced many of my skills, such as:
- My leadership skills have been enhanced due to my chairing of the Campaigns Committee, which is one of our SU meetings, as well as my role of mentoring and supporting some of the Experience Officers in their campaigns planning and ideas.
- Communication skills has improved due to my work with student mental health and having those spaces to listen, talk effectively to these students, and appropriately signpost them for further support
- I have been collaborating with various members of the university, such as the Sustainability team, the Diversity and Equality team and the Chaplaincy team to carry out events, projects, campaigns and social media content. This has further improved my teamwork skills.
Although Covid-19 has impacted my manifesto, and plans for the year, I have still worked to achieve as much as I can. These include:
- Support sessions. I put on some drop-in sessions from student services during my ‘How you getting on @ UoG’ campaign in November, where students could come to the sessions for support on questions/concerns they may have had
- Buddy Scheme. I have been working with the Business school to implement a pilot mentoring system for the January starters. The Future Plan team have put on coaching and leadership training for students interested in becoming mentors, and they are now being matched and prepared to be ready for the New Year. I plan for this to be further carried out to more academic schools in time.
- Having a strong presence on social media. Since starting the role, I have committed to posting 2-3 times a week, as well as catered posts to reach out to students, giving them the opportunity to seek support and talk if they want/need to. I have received some positive feedback from this, which has motivated me to further build on my social media visibility to make it even stronger.
Throughout the term, I have been raising various topics and issues to the university to work on things you as students care about. Examples of this are:
- Meeting with the university to reiterate the concerns and issues surrounding student loneliness and isolation. As a result of this, I ran a checking in campaign in November to try to combat these issues of mental health, including support sessions, social media top tips and self-care pamper bags
- Regularly meeting with the university to review and enforce the rules of face coverings around campus
- Meeting with the head of Wellbeing at the university to feedback students issues and concerns, such as with the counselling service, isolation and wanting the university to check in with students
- Working with the Welfare team and the Social Media team at the university to focus on catering social media posts to topics and common issues from students, like loneliness and anxiety, to further support them.
- Meeting with a member of the Equality and Diversity team, and the Diversity and Mental Health Experience Officer to discuss how we can best work together to collaborate on a campaign in the second term.
I hope this has been useful and has given an insight into what is being done behind the scenes, as well as front facing. Watch this space for next terms officer newsletter and in the meantime, Happy Christmas! Have a well-deserved break and see you in the New Year!