Recent Successes from your Sabbatical Officers

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Your Sabbatical Officers have continued to make positive changes for students throughout lockdown and Term 3, ensuring your voices are being heard during the Coronavirus crisis, and the introduction of online learning and teaching.

Emily, Union President, has said: “I would like to stress my very sincere thanks to all the SUSU and University staff and our course reps who have all been working extremely hard to work on student feedback and come up with solutions to try and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on our students. I know not everything has been perfect. But having been involved in many late night email threads and weekend phone calls, I can genuinely say that everyone has been working hard and always with the best interests of students in mind.”

Take a look at the successes and highlights of what our Sabbs have been working on below…

Emily Harrison, Union President

  • Signed a letter, alongside the University, in solidarity with our Chinese community and worked with the Chinese Students and Scholars Association to tackle some of the unfortunate harassment and discrimination our Chinese and Asian students were facing.
  • Worked with the University to get them to agree to a no-detriment policy and worked with our Faculty Officers and Academic Reps to give input in drafting the policy.
  • Worked alongside the University’s Residences team to get students released from Halls contracts and the third term of fees waived.
  • Set up weekly meetings with the University to relay all of the feedback we are receiving from students and to work through solutions to those problems.
  • Campaigned with the University to make amendments to the no-detriment policy following the high volume of feedback received from students.
  • Raised the issue of tuition fees at University Council and asked for the group of students who have been adversely affected by Coronavirus to either by fully or partially refunded, or compensated in some way.
    Update: Emily had a follow-up meeting to discuss this in more detail and the University are currently looking into other mitigation for practical-based Arts and Humanities courses. Emily will also be having a further meeting to discuss how SUSU can work with the University to campaign government more generally about the cohort of healthcare students who are the only ones to have paid three years of fees, due to the removal and re-instatement of the bursary.
  • Currently having ongoing conversations with the University about graduations and potential alternative arrangements.
  • Involved in all conversations about what the next academic year will look like and how teaching and assessment might be delivered.
  • Working with the Dean of Environmental and Life Sciences to secure funding to set up a brand new dedicated Sustainability team.

Laura Barr, VP Welfare and Community

  • Lobbied private rented complexes and private landlords around Southampton to let students out of their contracts early with no fees.
  • Responded to international student concerns around NHS VISAs, general VISAs and extensions.
  • Contributed money from WIDE funding to the University’s Online Learning Grant.
  • Led the Support response from SUSU during the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Conducted a survey which asked students what you wanted to see from SUSU during this time.
  • Helped a student facilitate an awareness video around loneliness.
  • Involved in conversations about the Student Support Fund, making sure it’s inclusive of all situations students might find themselves in.
  • Lobbied for the special considerations process to include NHS volunteers as well as students who are volunteering as part of their placement.
  • Donated sanitary items from SUSU’s wellbeing cupboard to the Children’s Hospital, the Homeless Period in Southampton and Southampton Action for Refugees.
  • Currently developing SUSU’s policies around ethical trading, which includes a section around the aftermath of Covid-19 and how we can help local businesses.

Jo Lisney, VP Education and Democracy

  • Worked with the Doctoral College and the VISA team to get a PGR student’s VISA reinstated.
  • Ran a series of Career Journeys webinars for Humanities studenrs with the Office for Development of Alumni Relations.
  • Worked with the University on transition week, where we moved from physical teaching to online teaching.
  • Worked with the Alumni Office and the School of Humanities to make sure students from that background are feeling inspired about their careers and what they can do in the future.

Fiona Sunderland, VP Activities (also covering some aspects of the role of VP Sports).

  • Worked on committee training – looking at what we’ll be doing next year and updating online resources.
  • Set up the SUSU Online Community group on Facebook and encouraged students and societies to share content.
  • Worked on transition week to showcase our sports clubs and societies.
  • Supported the Activities team in creating the Society and Volunteering Awards and AU Ball, and presented the Society and Volunteering Awards live online ceremony!
  • Lobbied Sport and Wellbeing to refund the first 28 days of memberships and to make sure this was refunded immediately and not after they reopen.
  • Currently organising the SU and Sports Participation committee elections.
  • Planning a Q&A/introduction session with the Activities team for all new presidents of sports clubs and societies so we can give everyone a chance to find out what’s going on and give more information.

Our Sabbs are always here to represent you and listen to your questions, ideas and concerns. They can be reached via the following channels:

Union Presdient
Email: president@susu.org
Facebook page: Emily Harrison SU
Twitter: @SUSU_President

VP Welfare and Community
Email: vpwelfare@susu.org
Facebook page: Laura Barr SU
Twitter: @SUSU_WelCom

VP Education and Democracy
Email: vpeducation@susu.org
Facebook page: Jo Lisney SU
Twitter: @SUSU_Education

VP Activities
Email: vpactivities@susu.org
Facebook page: Fiona Sunderland SU
Twitter: @SUSU_Activities

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