Emma’s February Update
Emma’s February Update
Where has this month gone!? Whilst January lasted 3 months, February has lasted about 3 seconds.
Don’t be fooled, this month has still been busy!
My biggest win this month has been lobbying the university to launch the new “U OK YSJ?” campaign, aimed at reaching out to students and check in on your wellbeing. The uni have been sharing pieces on all student services that are available to all of you, highlighting the work of each team and ways to access them. The aim of this is to gradually create a proactive approach to student wellbeing from the university, encouraging regular check ins and staff reaching out to you. We want a university that cares, and this is the first step.
You may have seen our lockdown keep fit activities on social media, a campaign aimed at getting you moving and active every day to bust lockdown boredom and give you a sense of structure throughout your week. This is a very successful wellbeing campaign which has seen involvement from YSJ Active, our sports teams and students! Whilst we’re giving a lot of physical options, if you want to see anything different, drop me an email! We aim to keep this going past the end of lockdown as well, to keep you motivated and active!
As I mentioned in my last blog, Sexual Violence Awareness Week was the first week of February, and I’m so pleased with how it went! For someone who is a survivor of sexual violence, it was amazing to see the positive response to this on social media. Myself and our women’s officer, Jess, shared our podcast about the effect of intimate partner violence, and I shared my story on social media, which sparked an influx of people speaking out about their own experiences and how meaningful it is to discuss this subject. For me, this week highlighted how important it is to be authentic and discuss these subjects.
Running parallel to this was the start of LGBTQ+ History Month, organised by your LGBTQ+ officer, Emily, and the LGBTQ+ society. It was wonderful to be involved in their amazing work, and the month has come to a close with a great open social from the LGBTQ+ society on Thursday 25th.
Elections have dominated this month, and whilst I haven’t been running in them, I have been helping the SU with little bits from putting up posters to candidate training and drop ins. A huge shout out goes to all candidates for their enthusiasm, positivity and commitment to their cause!
I sit on the Black History Month Working group, which met in the last week of February to discuss moving forward to celebrate Black History. It was decided that rather than focusing just on October (BHM itself), that we would prepare content to be ran throughout the academic year. There is an aim to celebrate other cultures more within YSJ, such as Asian culture and travelling communities. For any students who wish to get involved, email either myself or Kalen, your BAME officer!
Funding – FREE MONEY!?
You may have seen the student support fund is being promoted a lot on social media, and this is because the office for students (OFS) has granted the university £250k to be spent on hardship funds. Unfortunately, there are several loopholes here which mean the fund can only be given to students who are struggling to pay rent due to COVID-19, living away from their accommodation, or other similar situations. However, this money needs to be spent before the end of March otherwise the OFS will take it back. That being said, if you have been struggling financially at all this year, the fund is available for all students to apply for, and I’d strongly advise you check it out here!
I also met with the disabilities team to voice some student concerns that have been fed back to me, and we are working on a plan to increase communication and engagement from the team, increasing visibility and understanding as well! Our regular meeting with the exec board also went ahead, and feedback on the work the SU has done was great, with the U OK YSJ campaign receiving good feedback, showing that the work we do is being noticed, and even better still, being appreciated, with senior leadership keen to get involved as well!
I had a catch up with other welfare officers around the UK, and whilst we’re all finding ourselves in the same boat of confusion, stress and frustration, it was great to discuss some ideas for lobbying the government on student wellbeing and the finances around universities as well, which we hope to carry on developing next month!
Finally, we had great turn out at our virtual decision day this month, with over 80 prospective students attending our student life talk!
Stay safe all,