Phoebe Crook, 2018/19 Students' Union Community Officer

Asha Sutton

Welfare Officer

As Welfare Officer, Asha represents over 9000 students at the University, through the Students' Union, on all matters relating to Welfare, Mental Health, Diversity and Inclusion. Leading crucial campaigns and lobbying student concerns to the university and beyond. Asha is also a director of the charity of the Students' Union, sitting on the Board of Trustees to make important decisions on matters of finance, accounts and overall running of the charity. 

My plans for the year: 

I want students to feel they have support and help at the university. I want to have a positive presence online, on social media. Having the safe space to talk, rant or chat is very important in times like this, so that will be something I would like to do. I want to share inspiring quotes online so that it is uplifting. I think that in times like this, I want to be active and recognisable online, and I want to give the spaces for support and guidance.

I also want to look at the impacts of the pandemic on students, and give full support on this wherever they need it. 

 

Manifesto Points

Bringing societies together

I want communities to come together more. I want to give opportunities for more people to meet and socialise. Setting up social events and meetings will allow more connection between teams and socials. I think this is a great chance to build up more of a community at the university.

 

Implementing the buddy system

I think support in the academic environment is crucial.  I want there to be more mentoring and a chance for 'buddies' to exist in an academic school, where support can be easily accessible. 2nd and 3rd years can mentor 1st years who are finding their feet and adjusting to university life. They can therefore speak to someone who is relatable and on their wavelength a bit more.

 

Support sessions

I want those with a mental health issue, physical health issue and those with a disability to know they have somewhere to go for help, a 'safe space.' Setting up tea and cake sessions, or due to the current situation, a space that can be accessible on teams, will give individuals the chance to talk to others who can understand and be relatable. 

What Hope Is Working On

Monthly Updates

Want to see what I've been up to? Check this out!

July/August

  • SU officers had a discussion on campaigns and our aims for the year
  • Learnt more about our feedback tool, SIMON and how to use it effectively to reflect on student comments
  • Had a meeting with the accommodation team about shared concerns for students and how we could best work together on this
  • Welcome 2020 planning meeting, to talk about welcome events for students
  • Had a discussion with the now Post Graduate Experience Officer, Daniel Clark about a potential buddy scheme for master’s students
  • Had my first Q&A on Facebook Live, where I introduced myself and my plans for the year, and also answered live questions from students
  • Had a chat with various lecturers from the Media school and students from the photography course about a buddy scheme
  • Discussed Humanities, and how we could best help/support with this subject matter, and voice concerns of students
  • Worked on updating the content in the ‘Advice’ section of the SU website, and also added a COVID section
  • Having a consistent social media presence for students, posting at least 3 times a week

 

September

  • Welcome Fayre planning/meetings
  • Meeting regularly with accommodation to raise student concerns 
  • Attended a Mature Student induction event, where I met lots of new students and was able to introduce myself and my role
  • Attended the LGBTQ+ network meeting
  • Welcome Week. Being involved in events including outdoor cinemas, songs and sunset, the Welcome fayre and virtual events
  • Hosted the online Bingo session and met some great students
  • Helped put together some world Mental Health day imagery for social media
  • Was a part of Luc’s ‘In conversations with’ video, as part of his ‘Get involved’ campaign 
  • Caught up with all societies, and shared some of their content on my social media, to help with promotion 
  • Officers began preparing and discussing content for Black History Month
  • Started planning for my November campaign, a checking in week for students

 

October

  • Attending a campaign committee with the university to see what each department is up to 
  • As an SU, we looked at our events calendar and what we could put on for the academic year
  • Spoke to external charities about suicide prevention, and training
  • Attended some inclusive behaviour training at Oxstalls, hosted by the Equality and Diversity manager
  • Throughout the month, doing further planning for my campaign week, ‘How you getting on @ UoG’ 
  • Had conversations with a mature student regarding a potential Nightline opportunity for students, this is still ongoing 
  • Met with Sussex and UEA about their Buddy Schemes, to help gain inspiration with piloting our own this year
  • Was part of the ‘Big 100’ events, led by Luc. We went to Over Farm and Gloucester Cathedral. This was to show students things they could do in Cheltenham and Gloucester
  • Attended an international student experience group to see how we can work to improve their student experience 
  • Looked at our Christmas events and what we could put on for students
  • Met with the dodgeball society at their session to introduce myself and talk about what I do and how I can support students, should they need/want it

 

November

  • Launch of my campaign, ‘How you getting on @ UoG’ which included drop in sessions by student services, goody bags, chaplaincy events and social media posts and top tips
  • Taking on board SIMON feedback, and passing these on to the relevant areas, such as the Welfare and accommodation team. We then had a discussion on how we can work and reflect on these comments
  • Regularly met with the university to review and enforce the rules of face coverings around campus
  • Met with the university to reiterate the concerns and issues surrounding student loneliness and isolation 
  • Met with Experience officers, Katy, Anna and Chloe, to go through their ideas, and help them with their projects that they want to achieve in their roles
  • Attending regular FCH community meetings to discuss issues and plans for the campus and wider neighbourhood 
  • Continuing to have a strong social media presence on my social media channels.
  • Continuing to mentor and support the Disability and Mental health, LGBTQ+ and FCH officers with their projects and future campaigns
  • Attended Gambling awareness workshops from an external charity for students to attend
  • Communicating and meeting with the International students society about how we can best support and promote them and their cohort
  • I filmed and created a video for the Buddy Scheme to go out to students. This was an introduction to the scheme, a bit about the roles of mentor and mentee and how to get involved. 
  • I attended a ‘Leading Well’ training day, led by Student Minds and Coole Insight. This was learning more about student mental health and how to practice self-care. This helped develop me as an officer in how to look after both myself and the students.

December

  • The Buddy Scheme in the Business school launched. We put out promotional content to recruit students and worked on setting up some mentoring training from the Your Future Plan team.
  • Met with a member of the Equality and Diversity team to plan how we could work more closely together. We also looked at how we could collaborate on a campaign in January on the themes of the awarding gap, digital poverty, racial inequality and issues for BAME students within the university.
  • I had some sexual violence training from an external charity. This has helped develop my awareness of this, and how to support a student should they come to me for help.
  • Working on SIMON feedback, and in mind of the student voice, trying to action them as best way as possible so they feel they have been heard.
  • Worked with some students who have been working on a well-being app, answering and supporting their questions related to mental health, isolation and the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Gathering common student concerns that have been arising from student services and the SU, and catering these on our social media, to further support students with helpful posts, videos and photos.
  • Writing up updates for my officer section of the SU’s newsletter. This includes things like events and training I have attended, successes and achievements, reaction to SIMON feedback and working for/against the university on certain student issues and problems.
  • Attending the LGBTQ+ network meeting, discussing topics like the LGBT History month, as well as external partners updating all for their plans and projects for LGBT issues. There are also discussions on events for this cohort of students.
  • Attending a student Q&A with Michelle Donelan, the university minister, where myself and the Education Officer asked student questions on their behalf and listened to Michelle talking about student testing in January, student mental health and tuition fees and rent reductions.
  • Further developments with the Nightline, the student led project, where meetings with the university have occurred and things are all going in the right direction.
  • Being present and involved in discussions in the BAME network, including working on racial harassment at the university.
  • Meeting with a member of the business school to discuss next steps and starting the matching system for mentors and mentees, ready for January.

January 

  • Being involved in the New Years New Challenges campaign, which looks at lobbying concerns of finance, education, and support in students. This includes fighting for rent reductions and lobbying feedback on the no detriment policy. 
  • Met with money advice to discuss the financial assistance fund available for students. We talked about the best ways to target and promote this to students. 
  • Lobbying student concerns of isolation and long waiting times in the spaces of university management meetings.
  • To continue to support the LGBTQ+, Disability and Mental Health and FCH experience officers. Campaigns include the awareness of pronouns, mental health conditions and putting on focus sessions for students. 
  • Attending the Oxstalls Induction Hub where we met and welcomed January Starter students. This was a great way to inform students of what we do, and where to come for help and support. 
  • Launched a social media campaign, including themed social media posts, for Motivation Monday, Keep Talking Tuesday and Wellbeing Wednesday. 
  • Met with the Mental Health and Disability Experience Officer and a member of the Equality and Diversity team to talk about how we could best support BAME and LGBTQ+ students. We are looking to plan and run a mental health awareness week for these cohort of students. 
  • Continuing to support students who contact me for support with their mental health, and signposting them to student services. 
  • Discussing the SU’s holiday calendar, and which days we would like to celebrate and acknowledge. 
  • Supporting our Ethical and Environmental Experience Officer with their planning of Glos goes Green, to spread the word to our sports teams and societies once ready. 
  • Meeting with Cheltenham MP, Alex Chalk to talk about the Mental Health crisis and what can be done about this at the university. I have currently sent an email back to Alex with actions and next steps and it is going in the right direction. 
  • Being involved in a Q&A at Oxstalls bar to answer student questions and give an update as to what I have been working on. 
  • Myself, several Experience Officers and the Student Voice manager had our first Liberation Committee, which I chair. This first meeting allowed us to note our priorities and what we want to work on to support the views and improve the student experience for marginalised students at the university. 
  • Met with Jo, from the Chaplaincy team to start planning an online session where we both have a conversation about mindfulness and wellbeing and our own mental health experiences.
  • Meeting with Stewart Dove, Student Registrar at the university to talk about student services and how this can be further improved to help support individuals.
  • Speaking with the universities’ welfare team to suggest that they look into setting up a centralised checking in email to all students, reiterating support available and contact information.

February 

  • Met with the team to look at the holiday calendar and which days we’d like to celebrate on social media, including various religious days to promote.
  • Further Nightline progression, supporting with communicating to the university with further steps, including the recruit for volunteers, all leading to the proposed launch.
  • Looking at how best to collaborate with local MP’s to work more dynamically on things like finance, mental health, and the overall student experience.
  • Had our monthly meeting with the Head of Student Registrar and Wellbeing Manager to get an update and raise various student issues and concerns.
  • Supporting student concerns on housing and lobbying these issues with the accommodation team
  • Mental Health discussions and the potential for some training for the officers.
  • Continuing with my social media project and posting three times a week. It’s now been running for over a month.
  • Had Mental Health First Aid training with a trained aider
  • Working with the Welfare team to produce a checking in email to send to all students, containing support information that’s available at the university.
  • Supporting our FCH Experience Officer with her first Feedback Fortnight themed focus group, gathering student feedback about various themes at the university.
  • Having conversations with various Experience Officers and the Equality and Diversity team about further support for LGBTQ+ and BAME+ students.
  • Having our monthly meeting with the Vice Chancellor and his management colleagues to discuss current issues, concerns and lobby student feedback that exist within the university.
  • Discussing with George, our SU Sports Officer to talk about what more we can be doing to engage with our sport and society teams, from all things events, challenges, and support sessions.
  • Further progression with the buddy scheme and gathering up both trained mentors and buddies to start matching them up together.
  • Meeting with a manager of the student services team to talk about the current mental health provision at the university and what more can be done. This also gave an opportunity for student feedback to be passed on.
  • Gathering as a team to talk about how best we can work with local MP’s to achieve productive change and further improve the relationship.
  • Meeting with the officers to talk about the current mental health crisis and discuss our plans to work on this issue.
  • Networking with lots of other SU Officers all around the South West area, discussing our priorities in our SU’s, as well as comparing ideas and top tips.
  • Undertook Domestic Abuse training from GDASS and how we can best support students.
  • Meeting as an SU to discuss the latest government announcement, what it means and what work needs to be done for our plans moving forward.
  • Meeting with the officers for an update and also to discuss our current work and priorities for students.
  • Attended a BAME+ session where a guest speaker looked at ‘Negotiating Queerness as a Commonwealth Immigrant’ and what more we can be doing as an SU and university.
  • Continued to support the FCH Experience Officer with her themed Fortnight Feedback Sessions.

March

  • Meeting with various students to support them with housing concerns  
  • Continuing our work within the Liberation committee, meeting to discuss pressing issues and priorities  
  • Posting content for University Mental Health Day  
  • Leading and chairing the SU’s campaigns committee, where we discuss upcoming officer campaigns and projects 
  • Mentoring the Mature Students Experience Officer, supporting them with their work 
  • Meeting with the residential advisors to talk about what themes are arising in and around the halls of residence  
  • Working with the equality and diversity team and experience officers to plan a mental health awareness week 
  • Beginning to have conversations on awards and starting to plan 
  • Working closely with the student services manager on mental health concerns 
  • Had our monthly meeting with the Vice Chancellor and colleagues to discuss SU concerns and pressing issues within the university  
  • Working with the education officer, marketing manager and some experience officers to pull together a women’s violence message for social media, with priorities the SU wants to focus on, such as education and self-defence classes to tackle this issue.  
  • Meeting with the Nightline to go over the policy documents and ensuring we are keeping momentum  
  • Attending the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion committee, where the usage of pronouns in the university environment was discussed  
  • Meeting with a member of student services to give feedback on the counselling service 
  • Being involved in the Outreach team’s event for the parents HE information evening to do a presentation on the SU 
  • Having another liberation committee to further discuss and give updates on the subject matters on the agenda  
  • Having our monthly meetings with the Student Registrar and Head of Wellbeing to lobby student concerns and get updates on each other’s work and projects  
  • Meeting to discuss the mature student’s strategy  
  • Leading a mindfulness and wellbeing session for students with Jo from the Chaplaincy team  
  • Attending a pronouns workshop, run by the LGBT society presidents

 

What Hope Is Working On

Contact Us
  • 01242 714360
  • su@glos.ac.uk
  • The Park, Cheltenham, GLOS, GL50 2RH
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