Beckie Thomas

What has our VP Welfare done for us this year?

So, we’re all writing these final blogs to tell you about the wonderful things we’ve achieved for you this year, but I am pleased to say that this blog is not the end for me! I am lucky enough to have been re-elected to represent you on welfare and sustainability issues again next year!

Someone told me on elections night 2013 that this would be the best year of my life, and despite breaking my spine, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a second of it.

I couldn’t have gotten through it all without an immense amount of support from DG, Evan, Claire, DMW, Oli & David Martin! 🙂 Thank you guys x

 

I’ll run through the changes I’ve made for you this year, but please feel free to email me at vpwelfare@susu.org, if you’d like to know any more details!Winners-Graphic

last photo 13-14

both teams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMPROVING MENTAL WELLBEING!

  1. My proudest achievement this year is creating an action plan which sets out the ways in which SUSU & the university will work together to tackle mental health stigma.

  2. I organised Wellbeing Week– providing you with information and interactive events to support you with your sexual health, mental health and financial health.

  3. The Wellbeing committee was created showing SUSU’s commitment to your wellbeing; giving students a chance to lead on areas such as substance misuse.

  4. Next year, SUSU volunteers will get to experience diversity training– to enhance their understanding on issues such as mental health and trans* inclusion.

  5. I co-ordinated and facilitated SUSU’s first ever ‘Mental Health Conference’, supported by SUSU’s Wellbeing officer, Josh Cox!

  6. I gave out hundreds of free stress cubes, featuring the 5 steps to wellbeing to remind students to look after themselves.

  7. I aimed to improve mental wellbeing over the exam periods by organising 2 ‘Stress Less Fest’s: events such as the Petting Zoo, Sumo wrestling, and free bananas!

  8. I met with library management to ensure that welfare considerations had been taken into account, so that students would be safe during the 24 hour library trial.

  9. I’ve written a wellbeing survey, to help us see the gaps/ issues with support services available to students, as well as to gain feedback on this year’s events.

  10. I fed back to the University on the support they provide to students, to aid them in their review of mental health services.

  11. We commissioned an artist to create an art installation on the redbrick to engage students with mental health issues.

  12. I secured funding to run the SUSU Safety Bus throughout the night during the 6 week 24-hour library trial.

  13. We set up SUSU’s Peer Support network, giving students a chance to chat to a stranger if they don’t feel like talking to their friends about an issue.

  14. pig-333x250

News Blog (300x200px) News Blog (300x200px)Mental Wellbeing - Facebook Event sfgsg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HOUSING

*David Gilani kindly drove this area forwards whilst I was recovering from my accident!

1.I aimed to stop the rush sign housing contracts. The Don’t Rush campaign was effective, our survey found that students are signing later and later every year!

2. We’ve establish the ‘SUSU Letting Agency’ which has meeting students’ rights high on its agenda!

3. 5 Letting agencies and 2 MPs signed our pledges to treat students more fairly and to reduce the pressure they put on students to sign so early on in the year.

4. We created a Housing officer role on Student Life Zone to ensure each year a student can have their input to driving the campaign for fairer housing forward even further!

5. We collected student opinions on letting agencies in the ‘Vent About Your Rent’ Survey, over 1300 students took the time to give us their views, which is pretty awesome!

6. I worked on the ‘Southampton Students in their Community Brochure’ to ensure students have easy access to helpful advice on moving in/ out of a house.

7. This year we reduced letting agencies leafleting on campuses and at halls!

8. I co-ordinated open days over summer for first years moving into private rented accommodation.

9. To-let signs look awful, attract burglars, and encourage students to rush to rent a house! By working with the council and local residence associations, we made a big move towards decreasing the number of to-let signs up in student areas next year!

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Don't Rush logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YOUR CHOICEblogs5

*I didn’t put as much into this area as I has to take several months off work after my injury, I also realised as the year progressed that my time would be better spent on other projects!

  1. SUSU has promoted alternatives to alcohol focussed events, such as the Laughter Lounge.

  2. We highlighted ethical shopping choices to students during sustainability week!

  3. I have begun to plan a body image campaign for next year.

  4. A variety of choice in events is a main priority of Freshers 2014!

 

 

Extra Stuff!!…………..

 

STUDENT LIFE ZONE

  1. I completed the SUSU Student Life Zone strategy (up to 2016).

  2. I supported the development of a new Personal Academic tutor system with the University, to find a system that would best support student welfare.

  3. I have been lobbying a local MP to oppose the national cuts to Disabled Student Allowance which will affect hundreds of students in fully accessing an education.

  4. I have worked on the sexual harassment campaign which will launch in Freshers 2014.

  5. I built links with Solent’s VP Welfare; offering out Nightline service to Solent, just in time for the busy January exam period.

  6. Nightline became Good Practise Guideline accredited- thanks to the hard work of SUSU’s first ever Nightline Officer, Laura Mason!

  7. I developed SUSU’s relationship with the Southampton Recovery College, by facilitating their successful ‘Tempo Recovery Choir’ event held on highfield campus.

  8. I attended conferences to network and gather information and ideas; Student Minds 2014, and the NUS Mental Health Conference.

 SUSTAINABIILTY ZONE

10414619_10152538035941614_7486640221959253396_n2013-08-09 12.52.22

  1. I wrote SUSU’s Sustainability Zone strategy (up to 2016).

  2. I have recently been working with the University to help them create their own sustainability strategy.

  3. I attended talks by Julian Skyrme to learn how Manchester University work on social responsibility which helped us with the direction of the next Union Plan.

 

 

 

 

 


Environment & EthicsSwap Shop Logo

  1.  We held a great Sustainability week, as well as events throughout the year, such as BioBlitz, waste warsWaste Wars, and Envirorock. Thanks to the great work of SUSU’s Ethics and Environment Officer Charlotte Hollands!

  2. We partnered with the University to run 2 successful SwapShop events in the cube, raising money for the British Heart Foundation.

  3. I have overseen the implementation of the ‘Corporate Critic’ system, using business ethics priorities set by students to filter the companies SUSU has relationships with.

  4. I have overseen the first year of the BEES programme- (business ethics and environment students)-we trained over 30 students in auditing, and I got to attend a celebratory event at the House of Lords!

  5. This year SUSU was audited and we gained award, along with the university, for EcoCampus! I have recently been working towards the next award using the sustainability framework.

  6. I have worked with Claire to co-ordinate a ‘Recycling on your doorstep’ campaign; giving students the option to donate unwanted items to BHF by taking them to their halls reception, or into SUSU in the last week of July!

  7. I re-wrote the SUSU ethics and environment policy; it was in serious need of an update!

  8. We provide cost price bike locks in the Shop to encourage a sustainable method of travelling as well as to improve security issues.

  9. I lobbied the council for better glass recycling facilities in student roads, and you now have glass recycling on your doorsteps!

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bees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equalitymm n,m

  1. We collected data on trans* inclusion to help us create a trans-inclusion policy– thanks to the hard work of SUSU’s equality and diversity officer, Tom Gleeson!

  2. I was on the project team for SUSU’s ‘Improving participation project’ which saw an increased number of females elected into sabbatical positions!

  3. I worked with the University to plan ‘International Women’s Week’ events.

  4. I organised the incredible ‘Inspiring Women’ event in the Bridge, which Claire did a fab job of hosting whilst I was still recovering!

  5. We have held our first few ‘1st Tuesdays’, giving women a chance to get together in the Bridge and discuss any issues they feel are important to women!

 

 

Employabilityyour skills

  1. I ran Yourskills training for volunteers, on negotiation.

  2. I contributed to the Universities external review of the support they give to students to enhance their employability.

  3. I’ve begun a project in which SUSU are scoping out how best we can support students with their employability.

 

 

 

>Events I’ve attended: Welcome talks, presenting at EVA’s, ETA’s, Grad Ball, AU Ball, Graduations, Student Leader Conference, Testing the wetness of water, Varsity and One Billion Rising, to name a few!

>I’ve been on interview panels for SUSU’s: Health and Safety Manager, Advice and Representation Co-ordinator (student-life), Sustainability Manager, Sustainability Assistant, Letting Agency Manager, Bees Interns , Peer Support Consultant, and contributed to Chief Executive recruitment process.

>Finally, I’ve been able to contribute to the next Union Plan to 2018 with the Sabb team and senior leadership team, and can continue shaping this plan next year; ensuring that both welfare, and sustainability are high priorities!

my year in photos

 

 

I can’t express how thankful I am to have had the priveledge of working alongside such driven, inspirational people this year; both SUSU staff, student volunteers, and Sabbs.

 

These are thepeople who keep SUSU alive, pushing forwards to make change happen, and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it!

 

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