What a whirlwind this year has been, we are only at the start of the year but already it has started to feel as long as a decade. I think it feels this long as there have been so many changes and we often seem to waiting upon government guidance, so when I returned after the winter break, my first jobs were firstly, finding out what on earth the government was expecting you to do, and working with the university to try and broadcast that to you.
It was then, as Executive Officers, we were finally able to sit down and work out the different areas that we needed to lobby the university for, we decided these were:
- A no-detriment policy to recognise that this year has not been ordinary for any of you, and although we recognise that many academic staff have worked hard to ensure that they are able to support you online, we realise this has not been ideal for everybody, and thus, grades may have suffered.
- As many of our students rely on part time work, mainly in the hospitality industry to be able to afford university, many of you are currently struggling. Therefore, we are asking for additional financial support to be made available, and the process for doing so to be made transparent.
- Additional employment development opportunities to recognise that many students feel like they do not have the required additional experience to be able to compete with previous years graduates.
- Rent refunds for all students who are unable to stay in university owned accommodation due to the new lockdown announcement.
Some of these have happened, some we are still working on.
I am taking the lead in lobbying the university for something similar to a no-detriment policy, at the moment this has been partly successful as they are now working out a ‘safety net’ in which the details are still being worked out. I am sorry this is taking some time, however the reason for this is because we are getting student consultation at every single step. In a way, working on the no-detriment policy last year was a good learning experience, because looking back I realise that although we tried our best, this didn’t work for everybody. If we’d have spent more time talking to students about it, maybe it would have been less confusing and more people would’ve received it.
It’s also strange to think that elections are open now and I will be unfortunately saying goodbye to my role as Academic Executive in a few months time and you will have elected your new one. If you’re thinking of running please do, this job has taught me a lot of things including learning to trust myself and my decisions, the ability to talk to a wide variety of people and how to be a leader. Working for the Students’ Union is one of the few places that you’re able to explore these skills, and you have all the support in doing so, even if the worst happens and you make a mistake you have the best people around you to help pick up the pieces.
It is sad to think that my final year in office has been almost done completely online, I had loads of plans to be able to change the Campus Centre into a place which you felt you had ownership of, displaying Course Rep wins and making it your space. However, it has also given me the opportunity to run campaigns I never would have been able to before, such as our ‘Are you Okay?’ campaign. I do have updates on this and what it has been able to do for you, however I am going to be writing something separate for that- so stay tuned!
You know if theres anything I can do for you Im only ever a message away, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org