Sam - VP Education
Q - Asked for clarification around changes to the Course Rep Training.
A - Sam answered that the training that the team provide to Course Representatives has now been digitalised, this will help those who are on placements or distance learning to still access information and guidance on their new roles. He confirmed that this would result in a quicker and more efficient period of training as those who can't attend will be able to go through the Learning Management System course online before attending their SSLC.
Q - Asked for an update into free printing.
A - Sam confirmed that the cost of printing had been reduced over the summer period which is a big step forward for the project. He has been in talks with an external company but these recently halted due to factors out of our control. This is still an ongoing project and Sam confirmed that he is still moving forward with it.
Q - Sam was asked about the cost of printing for staff.
A - Sam confirmed that there is a difference in the cost of printing for members of staff and students. A recent study showed that 80% of printing is by staff.
Evie - VP Democracy and Creative Industries
Q - Asked about the inbalance in work done so far, most progress is on the Union Review.
A - Evie cofirmed that the Union Review has been a very big piece of work that has been ongoing since the previous academic year. As the AGM is taking place next week it has been a priority to work on the Union Review and ensure is was finished in time.
Q - Is there a fair balance of work in the new structures, in particular looking at the VP Education and Democracy Role.
A - Sam answered by saying that it is very common at other Unions for these two roles to be combined. As the staff team will be staying the same there is support in each area of work and that at present, Sam and Evie already work closely on elections such as Autumn and Summer as these are majority academic representative roles.
Q - The new concepts have not been seen anywhere on the website, more consultation is needed.
A - Evie confirmed that consultation has taken place for the Student Officers structure. The new plan was on the You Make Change portal with a form for feedback from students. The two concepts for the new Sabbatical Officers will go out tomorrow when the Agenda for the AGM is released. There will also be role descriptors attached.
It was also suggested by Union Senate that it would be worth publicising it outside of the AGM meeting so that it is better recieved by students. It was also raised that there seems to be a lot of feedback from the officers up but not top down. After the AGM, will there be more information on the oversight of the Creative Industries work.
Q - What will the rules review entail and what do you hope to achieve?
A - Evie explained that the Rules Review would include all 12 of the Union's rules and the accompanying By-Laws and that it would be a big project to go through all of them. The aim is to shorten them and make them useable for students as well as the Union itself. Over recent years changes and additions have been made to the Rules which have left them contradictory and unwieldy so they now need a full review to ensure they make sense.
Another aims is to take aspects of the rules and move them into By-Laws to make them easier to update in the future.
Q - The You Make Change Portal is very difficult for some students to use. There isn't any automation on the system and it seems as though some projects don't have an end and are stuck with the University.
A - Evie suggested that this be discussed as part of the next agenda item on You Make Change.
Fleur - VP External Engagement
Q - Asked about the aim to have Goal 3 achieved by January but that this seemed very soon considering the progress that had been made. What plans have been made for Refreshers?
A - Fleur confirmed that the goal had been set for January as this is when Refreshers is due to take place. Progress has been made and we are happy with what has been acheived so far. There are no concerns about the timeline.
Q - When will the Freshers Rep Review be taking place and should it not be completed before Refreshers?
A - Fleur confirmed that the review of Freshers Reps is needed before next September 2019 when Freshers will be taking place again but it is not a priority at the moment. Work is needed on more immediate projects such as the Halls Elections and Block Rep recruitment for January.
Q - Will there be any improvements made to the STRIVE Scheme to make it more employer friendly and better for accreditation.
A - Fleur confirmed that the STRIVE Scheme was not just an E-Badge and that employers will be able to click through to a report on the work that you have done to achieve the badge you have been awarded. This means that it will incorporate evidence of skills to help employability.
Q - Linkedin Labs will be used to promote sign up to the STRIVE Scheme but isn't in just for officers?
A - The STRIVE Scheme is for any volunteering that our students take part in and is not limited to elected Officers. This means it includes any work done with Clubs and Societies, Fundraising and RAG.
Q - How will the STRIVE Scheme be able to deal with differences in measuring hours in volunteering, eg. fundraising totals compared to face-to-face hours.
A - Fleur confirmed that this is a big project to work on and that it will be improved continually over the year and may need to be passed on to the next VP External Engagement to carry on the work. At the moment we are talking to other Unions about how they measure the differences in volunteering time.
Q - What do you mean when you mention creating a Hub for information, what would this look like?
A - Fleur confirmed that a website survey had been released yesterday for students to give feedback on their use of the website. Based on what information come through this survey the website will be updated and made more user-friendly.
Q - Can you clarify what you mean by the 'apathetic factor'?
A - The website needs to be more accessible for students and the information needs to be readily available. The survey will hopefully bring problems to light so that we can make changes.
Q - Would it be possible for the code to be opened up for students volunteers to help work on issues?
A - Fleur agreed this would be a good idea.
Union Senate put it to action that Fleur will looking into the possibility of opening up the code for student volunteers to help with problems.
Q - Is it possible to put a previous role on the STRIVE Scheme, and what have been put in place for students on a Tier 4 Visa as working hours are limited.
A - Fleur confirmed that previous roles can be put on the STRIVE Scheme. Fleur thanked the student for raising the Tier 4 Visa issue and confirmed that although she was not aware of this yet she would look into it with the team.
Isabella - VP Welfare
Q - More details were requested about the Stay Fresh event and whether this would be repeated at other sites.
A - Isabella confirmed that this was a one day event during Freshers but that elements would be put into the You Are More Than campaign. A mini Stay Fresh event was run at Halls.
Q - How much traction as the Welfare Wednesday podcast had with students and what is its purpose?
A - Isabella explained that the Welafer Wednesday podcast was an opportunity to sit down and chat with students. It started on soundcloud but this was difficult to access. It has now moved to Spotify but has not had a huge reach yet. It has only had 4 episodes so far so we will continue and see how it does in the future.
Emily - VP Student Communities
Q - What efforts have been made to reach out to postgraduate students outside of halls?
A - Emily recognised that in previous years there has been a focus on using social media but that this doesn't reach all students and can be ineffective. Emily explained that she had met with the Marketing and Communications Manager at the Union to put together a regular monthly email, similar to a newsletter for Postgraduates that will include important information.
There will be more focus on going out to sites in person to ask for feedback. A survey took place at Boldrewood to consult with students there on what ways they would like to be contacted.
Sam also discussed the 5 new academic representation roles for Postgraduate students. These new roles give students a voice at faculty level which is an improvement in terms of representation for PGRs. At the moment we are working on having a similar structure put in place for PGT students.
Isabella explained the Emily takes an active role in the plans that the other sabbs make to ensure that they are reaching out to the postgrad community and that the events and campaigns are postgrad friendly. A lot of this work happens behind the scenes.
Q - There were plans to put together a Postgradudate specific Freshers offering. Why didn't this go ahead?
A - Emily explained that when the new sabbatical team comes into their role in July most of the Freshers schedule has already been planned and so it is difficult to add new ideas in at that stage. The idea behind this years Fresher was for it to be more inclusive and so all events were open to all students to attend regardless of year or level of study. There are plans to do more for postgraduate students throughout the coming year and Emily confirmed that she would be involved in planning for next years Freshers.
Q - What happened to the Postgraduate survey that was mentioned in your campaign during the elections?
A - Emily confirmed that she did not plan to run a survey for postgraduate student specifically but that she had talked about a survey for clubs and societies in her zone. It is difficult to plan out when and who to survey during the year as we don't want to spam our students. However, Emily let the Union Senate know about the "How are we doing?" survey which has gone out to all students and can be on anything that they are struggling with during their time at University.
Q - You mentioned a dedicated social space for postgraduate students, how will this be defined?
A - Emily explained that she had been in conversation with the previous postgraduate committee and that there seemed to be interest in having an exclusive space where postgraduate students can socialise and relax.
Steve - VP Sport
Q - Why have you, as VP Sport, picked up a project on drug awareness? This seems to be fit more with the remit of the VP Welfare?
A - Steve explained that he sees his role as promoting healthy and active lifestyles for students and so a drug awareness campaign fits within the health side of his role. He is working closely with Isabella, VP Welfare on the campaign to ensure there is wider input.