Mid-Semester Impact Report
We’ve now reached half way through the first semester of the year and we at Winchester Student Union wanted to update you with what we’ve been up to and what we have achieved for you so far. The semester has already seen a variety of events and we’ve been busy with Freshers Fortnight and Graduation Week; but that is no all Winchester SU is about. We are sports and societies, welfare support, academic assistance, representation, student voice and events. So what have we been up to?
Sports & Societies
At the start of the year you may have seen the launch of our 2017/18 priority campaigns (26 in total), one of which was to increase the accessibility and affordability of sport. Over the summer we worked with the University to highlight the numerous benefits of partaking in sports; the physical and mental benefits, as well as its ability to increase any student’s sense of belonging at university. A major barrier for some students is affordability and the cost of subs for some teams was highly influenced by the requirement to pay the university for pitch/astro hire.
Following a paper submission to the Universities Senior Management Team it was agreed that Student Union sports teams and societies will no longer be charged for the use of university owned sports facilities. This will save our teams a collective total of just over £13,000 and was one of our first big wins.
We’ve also seen great process in some of our other 2017/18 priority campaigns. Included in the paper submitted to the Universities Senior Management Team was the proposal for an International Guarantor Scheme to support International Students in finding affordable accommodation as well as the proposal to develop a Muslim prayer room that was more accessible than the one currently based in the main building.
The University agreed and supported the case for an International Guarantor Scheme and looking at the variety of different options available in schemes. The Student Union will continue to work with the University to ensure that a scheme is introduced as quickly as possible whilst also being one which will work well and be affordable for all international students.
The University also agreed that a Muslim prayer room should be accessible for everyone. However, current space on campus is proving difficult. A commitment was made to ensure the Muslim Prayer Room is moved to a far more accessible location following the completion of the new West Downs Development and all efforts will be made to make the current Muslim Prayer Room more accessible.
We pride ourselves on having a wide-ranging diverse social calendar with events and opportunities tailored to the wide-range of students we have. We also believe it is important to take those moments at University to look after yourself and relax, in whichever way you see fit, after a busy day, week, month or semester at university. That is why we have worked with the University, and with their financial support, worked to introduce even more events to give students that opportunity.
This year we will be hosting 2 Student Recharge days each semester with free smoothies, massages, therapy dogs and other recharge related gifts to be given to those who attend. We want to remind you that whilst working hard and studying is incredibly important so is looking after yourself.
We have also received funding from the University to run a major event at the end of this semester, keep an eye out across social media for that!
Student Voice is crucial for any successful student union. This week you would have seen our forum weeks gaining feedback from student across a range of areas; from International & ACAS students to plans for entertainments and the summer ball. However, the feedback loop doesn’t stop there. We will be shortly launching our new feedback scheme entitled ‘feedback feedforward’ and our Big Survey.
Feedback Feedforward would see students being rewarded for their feedback through the knowledge that someone else within the community will benefit. The exact details are yet to be confirmed but plans will see each piece of feedback leading to additional support being given to the homeless community and others in need. Your feedback will then also go to make your student experience better.
So that is what we have been up to in the first six weeks of this semester with even more to come…
Diversity Week starts on Monday 20th November and provides us the opportunity to celebrate the incredible diversity we have right here on our campus. The week will see a variety of panels and discussion held focusing on different areas of diversity as well as diversity fayre on the Wednesday and showcase on Thursday. The showcase will include performances and speeches from our diverse students. This year will include a fashion show attire from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. It is definitely a night not to be missed!
Our Playmates (or Please Look After Your mates) campaign focuses on various aspects of student welfare, from mental health, alcohol awareness, to personal safety and sexual health! With one central principal that we all look out for each other. From feeling home sick to being sick on a night out, Playmates encourages you all to keep an eye on one another, supports all aspects your welfare whilst at University, offers guidance & advice and more...We celebrate Playmates with a week of events and activities during semester one and run campaigns throughout the year. Most students are likely to go through some ups and downs, and your Student Union is here to help you through the downs, so if you need any advice or someone to talk to, we are here for you!
This year Playmates will begin in Week 11 of Semester 1 with our second student recharge day!
As well as these amazing opportunities we will still be fighting and campaigning to improve the student experience including…
No Hidden Fees
Students shouldn’t be coming to University and find out that they had more to pay for their course than they first thought. Printing credit, mandatory text books, mandatory field trips could not be barriers to engagement and enjoyment at University. We will be working with the University to find out how we can eliminate these additional costs for our students. University is already leaving us with thousands of pounds worth of debt, we don’t need more!
Whilst we have already had some great success in our sports affordability campaign we know there is far more we can do. We will be continuing to explore what we can do to lower external travel, coaching and pitch hire costs. Similar to the engagement with your course and learning your finances should not present an unnecessary barrier.
Open to All
Soon you will find out more information regarding our open to all campaign. We want our university, sports and societies to highlight how welcoming and inviting they are to all our students; regardless of their race, nationality, gender or anything else. We know we have an inviting campus but let’s work to highlight this to everyone.